There is a great deal of noise generated about appreciating women of all body types. After a very long stint at perpetrating the sickly anorexic body model for young children, Mattel’s Barbie underwent a much needed body revamp. Its result: three variants of Barbie body types in different racial representations met a mixed response. What caused this sudden change? Although it was much appreciated, was it because Mattel gave in to the recent surge in body diversity movements? This is a question that the organization must answer.
As much as parochial diversity is a small relief, reality is bitter indeed for women on the higher side of the weighing scale. Take a look at beauty pageants around the world. Isn’t it perfectly natural for tall, fair and skinny women to win the coveted title ? One can count on one’s fingers the instances in which a woman belonging to none of the above categories has won.Although Beyonce’s touching music video of ‘Pretty Hurts’ does not touch upon this particular topic, we do witness a stereotypical beauty queen take away the prize by beating a curvy, dusky and relatively shorter woman. If at all anything is felt for curvy women, its nothing more than superficial sympathy. We still have to ‘lose just a little more weight’ to be accepted. Who would be around to help when a formerly full figured women develops depression simply because she cannot identify herself with the now thin being she sees in the mirror? While the shallow society will laud her act of embracing her ‘beautiful’ new body, she grapples with the painful truth that the world has no real love for curvy women. All that noise about accepting people irrespective of body type is just drivel. Why then are people around her busy losing weight? Why then are shows like ‘The Biggest Loser’ popular despite the horrendously negative message being sent out to full figured people?
Its absolutely funny how those who say “Its fine. Just be who you are. Don’t lose weight like me” are thin, ‘beautiful’ and accomplished. They carry on with their kind of artificially thin body and fill our ears with hypocrisy. The poster children for body diversity are still thin and have the ‘perfect’ bodies while those who really need emancipation sit crushed under the weight of nature’s punishment. There was an interesting writing contest organized by Women’s Web; it was about beauty being in all sizes. Sadly, the poster enough to demoralize women who are not thin. It was shocking to see a renowned women’s emancipation website endorse this normalization of thinness and smallness.
A very significant proof of the shallowness of the ‘All body types are beautiful’ brigade is that the message hasn’t trickled down to organizations that disseminate essential commodities. Go to any shop in the neighborhood and you don’t find clothing for women of wider body frames, shoes/sandals for women of broad and large feet, and basic lingerie for large busted women. My only request to retailers is: Don’t punish those of us who have been punished by nature. My request to the advocates of body diversity: You’re gonna have to work harder. We, big women, don’t need your sympathy. Every time we don’t find commodities that suit our bodies, we feel enervated and demoralized. When we see a thin poster girl endorsing a body appreciation message, we cannot help but notice the shallowness of the campaign.