Saturday, April 28, 2012

By the looks of it

Let me just say that even though I have A LOT of experience with it, I have avoided this subject  cause I don't want to perpetuate a myth of women obsessing about their looks and genuinely feel there is so much more to anyone than the way we look, what we wear or how much we weigh.
But I feel Petra's response over at Indivisualism  to my previous post deserves at least an attempt at debate.
So here is my opinion by points:
1. This one is first by importance as well. I absolutely agree that it's not ok to "notice" or " comment" on someones "skinny-ness" no more than it is about their "fatness", just as it's not ok to judge people for having a food addiction just as it's not ok to judge people for being alcoholics.
2. This is a new thing, but annoying beyond belief. An attempt to be PC about it I guess, this calling bigger women "real women". And every women that is not fat is "stick thin" which is let's be clear a derogatory term. Also assuming that any woman who doesn't struggle with her weight has an eating problem is bullshit too. Fat women is no more or less real than one that is not and all this is just reducing people to objects (I say people, as we .society, not women- do same to men, just over different characteristics). There is about 3 kilos range in which it's OK to be and where people won't find it necessary to "notice" that you're fat or thin.
3. The model that served as a pose for it represents a very popular figure in fashion: it really was a Ukrainian model. Not sure how old, but am guessing not over 25.
Now, I see how someone who gets people huffing at them and hearing wtf comment about how much they eat all the time, can find sentences like "16 year old Ukrainian model" irritating but they are more often than not, a fact, not a figure of speech.
So even though I would huff back at any bitch that would dare to comment on me in the changing rooms (because, that's exactly what she is if she thinks it's ok to do this), the fact of life is that these women have been subjected to a constant campaign of "this is how you're suppose to look" for a very long time and them "hating" and/or ridiculing someone who apparently has what they want is very much a direct result of that and when they say/do that, it is not in any way personal. Petra (or "16 year old Ukrainian model" in my case) only represent an object of resentment.
What I started to resent about these things is that most of clothes that is fashionable at any given moment looks good only on a certain figure. I know, nobody is making me want this clothes, so I can't really complain about this but I find it very strange how we came to accept this like there is something wrong with us and not with the clothes. We get served with an image of very young girls who probably don't look like that themselves and clothes cut to suit them. It's easy to say this comes under personal responsibility, choosing what you'll believe or not, but this isn't quite the case if you consider that we are all literally brainwashed by marketing on a daily basis (and whoever claims they are not influenced by this is in deep denial).
This is a huge subject and I am not sure how would I finish it, so please comment and let me know what do you all think about this?


  1. oh, very interesting. and I actually agree with everything you say. I'm quite aware that being huffed at at H&M wasn't personal. not sure how to take what my friend did... we are all absolutely brain-washed. I just watched 'killing us softly 4', and what Jane Kilbourne says is absolutely true. the women we aspire to look like don't exist. the 16-year old Ukrainian model probably resents the way she looks in photos - because they are retouched and photoshopped to the nth degree. as Cindy Crawford said - she would like to look like Cindy Crawford, but she doesn't.

    there is a lot of talk about this subject, and sometimes I feel like I don't want to add, or rather say the same things over and over. because in the end, it is the same things. we are not defined by the way we look, and there is room for all shapes and sizes. but women, men too, seem to forget this before you've even finished your sentenced (most likely because in the time it takes you to say something about it, they've seen 15 advertisements telling them how to look).

    my post was a little rant about one particular situation. and not everything in it was meant 100% seriously. I hope you don't think I'm on a crucade agains bigger girls :) I'm just tired of being dismissed and not allowed to have an opinion because of being skinny but at the same time the target of a lot of snide and mean comments and looks. I've been told many times that I can't have an opinion because I simply don't know 'how real women feel'. hello???? I've also been told multiple times that I don't have a right to complain about mean comments because I'm attractive - it's apparently ok to be mean to skinny and good-looking girls, because our lives are so much easier.

    this starts a whole new debate, of course. or one related to this one. I'm not denying that attractive people often do have it easier. but I don't agree that that makes them fair game to be insulted. current political correctness has it that we have to be nice to the ones that struggle, and exclude the ones that don't. we are nto allowed to have an opinion or to even defend us when unfairly attacked.

    I guess the way forward is for women of all sizes to join together and have a proper dialogue. as long as we perpetuate the mutual bashing nothing is going to change. and I'm afraid for me one step in this direction is not to be nice and understanding anymore. no, that's not true. I of course understand the underlying set of problems, but I won't understand and tolerate the subsequent passive-aggressive behaviour that comes with it.

  2. I really don't like this subject either as it just annoys the hell out of me and older I get more I realise what a huge waste of time it is to worry about how you look rather than how happy and healthy you feel. I've been on both sides of the fence, I was a skinny little thing who could eat anything I wanted until I hit my thirties (and hated the fact that I didn't have any curves to speak of) and once that changed and I started putting weight on the novelty of gaining those curves quickly wore off and I started to worry about how much food I actually consume. Luckily I have reached the stage where my main concern is that I eat as healthily as I can, that I get as much exercise as I can to keep my self in healthy shape and everything else has become irrelevant and I just can't be bothered to think or worry about any other aspect of this. That's my little rant on this topic, but on a much more important note - I love, love, love your illustration :)


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