The tabloid dichotomy

February 28, 2009 § 7 Comments

curvation1I was flipping through People (which, full disclosure, I glance at if it’s in the apartment) this morning and had to lift my gaping jaw off the floor when I saw this ad.

???!!?!!?!!!!!?! An advertisement featuring a fat woman who isn’t being mocked, chastised, or scrutinized? My favorite thing about this ad – which is for Curvation, a lingerie company – is that the woman has a body that’s not just a bigger version of your standard super-skinny model. This model has somewhat different proportions than the beauty ideal, and (gasp!) her stomach even has a little roll of flesh! And she’s in a mainstream magazine!!

I also like the text, which reads…DRESS: will hug every curve. MAKEUP: just mascara. ACCESSORIES: confidence, style, wit. Most of us feminists have known for a while that fat women have just as much confidence, style, and wit as other gals, but it’s taken tabloids like People (and don’t try to tell me it’s not a tabloid) a fucking long time to get in on the secret. Kudos.

Unfortunately, I ignored my instinct to put the magazine down while the going was good, and glanced at the Oscar coverage. There was the usual “ZOMG what did you eat for breakfast today?!” section, and an estimated 99.97% of the celebrity women had egg whites in one form or another.

No offense to anyone who eats egg whites – whether you have a health issue that prevents you from eating yolks, like my grandmother, or you just like the taste – but I have a really hard time believing that so many women truly like their flavor and texture. Personally, I’d rather just skip breakfast than eat some scrambled whites – and I am not the sort of person to ever, ever skip meals. I’m reminded of what Julia Louis-Dreyfus said when asked about how she stays slim at the Emmys a couple years ago: “Basically, I never have any fun. For breakfast this morning I had scrambled egg whites. BLEH!” (Forgive me, I can’t find a full quote or video of this hilarious exchange; this is the best I can come up with.)

In summary: thank you, People, for the long-awaited gift of putting a seriously hot fat model into your magazine. When your next issue comes out, I’ll ask around to find out if there are any other great ads, so I can go straight to those pages and skip all the diet commentary that tries to make me feel guilty about my 3-real-egg-omelets.

§ 7 Responses to The tabloid dichotomy

  • shira says:

    As for the hot curvaceous representative model, whoo-hoo! It’s about time women got to see some aspect of themselves in mainstream media….Rather than just seeing something they are told they have to “aspire” to. Thumbs up to this advertising company for doing what it’s supposed to: sell a product without compromising women’s acceptance of their bodies!

    For this second article on egg whites, I have a few words: It is not OK to dictate what people should or should not eat or to criticize what people eat. Acceptance is crucial. Pleasure is crucial. Happiness, which hopefully comes from the two, is most essential. As a feminist, I believe in an individual’s right to choose their own happiness. If they like eating egg whites (which, by the way, I do — with some goat cheese and tomato in the middle because I like my omelet to taste like the filling, not the eggs), so be it. If they don’t, it is not up to us to judge or make assumptions to the same degree we don’t feel magazines have the right to do so.

    In short, I believe it’s not OK for us to criticize eating habits/diets of groupings of celebrities in a similar way that it is not OK for magazines to broadcast them in order to promote a beauty standard that is both connected and disconnected to food.

  • mzbitca says:

    I agree that we should not criticize what they eat but what we can definitely criticize is the fact that the question was asked at all. I also wonder if all of those women really did eat that or if they feel like they have to say something “healthy” because otherwise they will be criticized for taking extreme measures to be thin in an environment that practiclaly demands such measures

  • Lysergic Asset says:

    shira: Well-stated; I was going to say something similar about food choices.

    Does anyone know if that model is Mia Tyler? Whomever she is, she is seriously beautiful. My self-esteem goes up just looking at this marvelous picture.

    Good blog (discovered via Feministing); unique subjects, which I truly appreciate because many times you see the same exact stuff on dozens of blogs.

  • Meg says:

    I especially love the pose and facial expression. To me, it seems like she’s powerful and confident. She knows she’s hot, and it doesn’t so much matter if the viewer agrees. Whereas a lot of the other lingerie ads (see: pretty much anything from VS) have women who are trying way too hard to seduce the viewer with the coy, submissive, come-hither stuff. It’s like this model owns her sexuality while the others are letting the viewer own it, if that makes sense.

    I don’t read People. Does this model have a name? I think I have a lady-crush on her.

  • mirandanyc says:

    Shira, mzbitca: Absolutely. I should have made more clear that I certainly support women eating whatever they want – and that includes egg whites. I shouldn’t have hated on women who truly enjoy eating them.

    I’m concerned with the same thing you are, Shira: acceptance, pleasure, happiness. I don’t want these celebrity women to forgo all of the above in order to conform to the beauty standard.

  • Steph89 says:

    I would say that “fat” is a slight exaggeration, however I totally agree about the positive message. She is totally hot!

  • […] 21, 2009 · No Comments I seem to be an ad/product lady (and I’m not alone). I don’t plan to stop anytime […]

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