So, I watched the Victoria's Secret fashion show last night, and it was some nice eye candy! Definitely got some Mas-playing vibes from a few of the costumes, so I'm hoping our Caribana (yes, I'm still calling it that) costume designers picked up on the same thing! Anyways, as I watched the show, I was keeping up with conversation on Facebook and Twitter. Comparisons to the glory days of Tyra, Naomi, and Heidi; lack of diversity in today's models; and what it means to have the crowd go wild for a coupla' Black dudes performing a song called "N*ggas In Paris" were rampant, but even more so, conversations inevitably focused on weight and beauty ideals.
I'm not going to discuss this topic at length - but there was one facet of the conversation that struck a nerve with me.
"These models need some cheeseburgers."
"I guess eating went out of style."
"Eww! Look at her (insert body part here)!" *
*Now, I know that if you decide to work as a VS model, you're aware that your body will be exposed for all to see and pick apart. So, I can't really defend them from too much criticism (since I also plan on telling people I'm a part-time VS model for fun).
However, as a natural slimmie myself, I find it hypocritical when people look down on making fun of our larger sistas while simultaneously picking apart the smaller ones. Do people think it's permissible to clown on slimmer women because society tries to tell us that "skinnier is better"? Like it's time to exact some Mo-Nique-style "skinny bitches are evil" revenge? Is it not hurtful to receive unsolicited comments about your body and eating habits, whether you're big or small?
I've been slim (skinny at times, even) my whole life, and I've never heard the end of it. People policing my food intake and making comments about my body parts (especially my chicken legs - which is why for a whole year in high school I never showed them) was bad enough. What I really didn't get was the fact that at the same time I was being mocked, I was also being envied. School friends back in London would laugh at my knobby knees in gym class, then turn around and say they wished they had my body. Was I supposed to keep emulating Aaliyah with baggy pants each and every day, or was I supposed to flip my hair like Beyonce and strut my little but fierce behind up and down the halls? Interestingly enough, I recall friends who developed in the breastal region earlier having the same issue of being picked on AND being the focus of others' jealousies. Needless to say, we bonded.
Adding to the body struggles with my peers, being raised in a West Indian household that revered the full-figured and curvaceous woman was a trial. It meant consistently getting teased that I had no hips, no backside, no nothing! I took the familial teasing in stride, but always felt I needed to drink one more Nutrament or take a second or third helping of food to get that kind of growth spurt in order to fit in. Comments from "helpful" Black men who made it clear that they liked their women with junk in da trunk was always fun <sarcasm>. Like the time I was stopped by a dude at the office cafeteria who saw me buy a salad...who made a point to tell me I was pretty, but needed to eat "way more" than that....even though he didn't realize that my salad was a side dish to go with the left-over pasta I brought from home. *blank stare*
The point I'm trying to make? We all have our problems and complaints. Body issues are common to everyone, of every size and shape. It's the typical "grass is greener" situation, but we soon learn that things aren't always better on the other side. Look at all of the women who have lost their lives while on someone's surgical table getting liposuction. Look at the girl who was in the news recently for allowing a "doctor" to inject her with cement, mineral oil, Super Glue and 'Fix A Flat' to get a bigger butt. We're so focused on what we think we need, and not enjoying and embracing what we have right now. Further to that, too many of us are trying so hard to be confident in ourselves that we end up following Bullying 101 and pick on the "other". Sexy big girls should be just that, and refrain from crushing the skinny girls' confidence. Hello Mo'Nique. I'm talking to you. Hot slim chicks should enjoy being lean, mean, sexy machines, but not while throwing epic shade at the beautiful curvy girls next to her.
How about we try an experiment. Can we go a week where we a) love ourselves as we are; b) stay out of other people's grocery lists, kitchens, and lunch bags; and c) refrain from making snap judgements and assumptions based on narrow-minded perceptions? Can we just try?
What do y'all think? This was more of a personal vent for me, so I hope I didn't lose you :) What do you think of the dichotomy of issues that larger and slimmer women face? Have you ever been guilty of feigning confidence in yourself by tearing down another woman? Have you reached the point of resolution with any major body issues? How did you get there, or what are you doing to reach that place of self-acceptance? And finally - does anyone know the name of the lone Black VS model in Tuesday night's show? She was gorgeous!