Over the past few months, I have noticed that feminist blogs have been writing more and more about women who sit outside the narrow confines of conventional beauty. Female bloggers on popular websites including Jezebel.com and XOJane.com have started to discuss female beauty and body shapes in its many forms and sizes.
For too long now, women have been resigned to seeing svelte, white women plastered across billboards who have become the striking ideal that all women have to aspire to. Unfortunately, this has the effect of pitting women against each other. This expanded notion that women can be larger,
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news. Unfortunately, this acknowledgement and even celebration of female beauty pits one against another. The comments section in these articles often end up with feuds of how thinner and petite women are other, and their own experiences with issues of self- esteem and body image are invalidated. What has stemmed from this is that women who adhere to the conventions of beauty are ridiculed and derided for what is
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What this argument fails to acknowledge is that women, all women are struggling with some form of body image issue. The standard of beauty is unattainable, as popular comic Tina Fey writes in her memoir Bossypants,
“But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to
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admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha
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ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a
lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.”
What Fey points out is crucial to the discussion of body issues- we just keep moving the line. We are all in this struggle together. For centuries women have subject themselves to trying to be beautiful and
stay beautiful and this obsession spurned a multi-million dollar beauty industry that is builds its profits by pitting women against each other and attacking their self-esteem.
By othering each other we are simply falling into the same trap the industry imposes upon us. As opposed to celebrating the many different sizes and shapes in which women come in, we are once again being pitted against each other. Beauty and women come in a wide variety of forms and it’s time we start to learn to embrace that.