Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Standards of beauty... or ways to sell something?

Is the following link saying that rubenesque (meaning like the ones Peter Paul Rubens the painter preferred) figures are back in?

Well I frankly doubt it. There is too much money to be made in keeping women wanting their figures to be girl or boy-like (think diet pills, exercise machines, work out clothes, girdles-- they call them something else today but they're still girdles!), but still one does have to wonder what makes for standards of physical beauty.

At first reading the article, for a moment, I thought I had it made even as I had been uncomfortably realizing my own body is in places it never used to be which are definitely not 'in.'  Nah, not so quick as this would, among other things, require a flat abdomen-- something I haven't had since probably fifteen if I had it then. Back then though Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield were the 'in' figures and I still wasn't 'in'. *sigh*

Then there is this article on the Plus Sized Wars over whether there really are even clothes to buy after a woman reaches a certain size (no, I am not there-- yet). While the fashion world has made the sizes seem smaller, women have gotten bigger. Sizes are apparently how we judge ourselves. If it stays a size 10-- even though a size 10 has grown wider-- we're still okay.

There is a point at which weight is a problem for health, but they say it's mostly what is around the waist; so a thin woman with a lot of belly fat might be more at risk than a fat woman who kept her proportions more... shall we say uneven?

The issue for us as women might be to accept who we are, so long as we are healthy (easier said that done when we are bombard by advertisements and movies where the only acceptable figure is a size 0). If we don't, we will never be satisfied. Our other choice is to constantly lose and gain weight which they say is the worst possible thing.

It's not like I wouldn't like to be thinner, but I hate diets. I haven't done them often in my life. When I have, I lost weight; but they weren't a form of eating with which I could live indefinitely which means I eventually gained it back. Same thing with exercise. The only diet or exercise program that would work for me would be ones I could do forever. So far I haven't found that. I like too many things, like red wine, that will eventually find their way back in to my eating plan. 

I see some really skinny, young actresses, many who are not by metabolic nature skinny (when they are, they can eat what they want and not gain weight-- envy envy envy), and feel they are missing so much fun in food. Eating delicious food is certainly not all of life, but it's a pleasing part of it. Portion control helps but some foods just have to go if I  want to lose weight and keep it off.

It's hard to find acceptance that I am never going to again have that figure so many desire. It's really not even what someone else says, but it's when, for many of us, we look in a mirror and see excessive curves where they didn't used to be and where they are not supposed to be. We have been taught to equate fat with unattractive and unhealthy. Today, articles or no articles, occasional advertisement spreads or not, a lush womanly figure is not okay.

Will the truly full figure ever come back and this means without artificially adding it onto an otherwise skinny frame? If it does, it'll probably be when I reach true old age where most all women become thin due to metabolism changes or loss of taste bud sensitivity making it easier to eat less food. In that case, I would once again not be in...

For this post, I decided I needed an illustration of a rubenesque type figure. It's not like I could ask just anyone to do that given it could be considered insulting; so once again I used me with the able assistance of the ever ready to take such a photograph, Farm Boss. This is by our front gate which is really the back gate but it's the way everybody enters our home; so it is by definition the 'front' gate. A garden sculpture of Kwan Yin is beside me. I wonder if she ever had to wrestle with these problems.Clothing fit looser then. That would help!


la peregrina said...

Sweetie, you look great. I agree life is to be enjoyed and food is a big part of that enjoyment.

Rain said...

thanks but keep in mind that I do know how to pose to hide the worst *s* A little angle, a little shadow. With photos, lighting and pose are a lot of what makes them work... or not.

Paul said...

Rain, you are a beautiful and sensual woman. Your beauty is outside and inside which is the best beauty of all !!

TaraDharma said...

I was having this same conversation with a friend yesterday as we hiked in the mountains. What is fit? What is healthy? Should one give up in middle age, as the metabolism slows even more and exercise often falls off.

Forever pulled by popular notions of beauty, we are. And we are not alone.

Rain said...

We can't give up on being as fit as possible as that ends up unable to do anything. And it's a lot harder to get back in shape the older we get. That much I definitely know. Everytime I get to where I can hike a hill without stopping to break for breath, I think I'll never let that happen again where I can't do that... and then I do let it happen again.

What we have to give up on is trying to fit a standard of beauty that we are sold by advertisers. It's not easy though as beauty brings perks with it. To release is to let go of that but it frees us in other ways, I think.

joared said...

Had a interesting discussion when I had my hair done this afternoon. I think age brings most of us the wisdom to accept our full-figured bodies and the knowledge of how to keep ourselves healthy -- now whether or not we engage in what we know is best for us is quite another matter. *grin*

Anonymous said...

Too much

Anonymous said...

Much adoo about nothing

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

Any woman who can stack firewood and shear sheep and ride an ATV and paint and travel and blog in two places does NOT have to worry about looking any way except the way she does. Which, by the way, just happens to be fantastic, rain.

Annotated Margins said...

Skinny, thin... what's the point? I used to be anemic, but that was to impress the girls. Well, I've had one of those for the past 32 years, so now I just play guitar... and dream about my next helping of cheese.