As a stay at home mom, I am usually a bit behind on current events. I’m just now getting around to this “Fat Lady Gaga” controversy. Apparently, she gained some weight, and various websites were poking fun at her. She responded by saying she was happy and urging her fans to accept themselves as they are- fat, thin, whatever. Which sounds fantastic, but then she went on to post pictures of herself in a bikini to show she’s not fat. Boo!
I wonder if this is ever going to be a passé topic. Celebrities lose weight, celebrities gain weight, we applaud, we ridicule. Shouldn’t we be over it by now? When I say we, I include myself in that number. Because I saw the headline, I clicked to read the article. I am part of the problem.
I am constantly hearing women, myself included, talking about how we want to diverse representations of physical beauty in advertising and entertainment. But when we see such a representation, we deem it an anomaly, instead of accepting it as a standard. Pointing out its’ strangeness speaks to why it shouldn’t be included in the first place.
Within the article I read about Lady Gaga, there was mention of Ralph Lauren hiring a plus sized model to improve the brand’s image. I mean, is it really that strange that a clothing company hired a beautiful woman to model their clothes? It’s not like they hired a “real woman,” with stretch marks and sags and short legs. They hired a glamazon and a professional model- making clothes look good is what models do.
What does that title even mean, “real woman?” Anytime there is an article about beauty beyond the stereotypical tall, thin, waif physique, the woman in question is deemed to be a “real woman?” It’s kind of a double-edged sword. I don’t know too many real women who look like models of any kind, plus-sized or otherwise. And aren’t all women “real?”
By encouraging the use of these terms, we are still making it acceptable for advertisers, producers, and the like, to deem people with a certain type of beauty to be better than you or I. Isn’t that what this is about- we do not want them (models, actresses, singers) to be better than us, yet we somehow accept that they are, merely because they are attractive, glamorous, and famous. The same way we enjoy attending our high school reunions and seeing that the Mean Girls got fat, we love to see our celebrities chunk out. We think it evens the playing field. But we need to just stop playing the game.
As women, we make a sport of loathing our bodies. Even if we are thin, we are not as thin as we were in high school or before we had kids. If we think we look good, we have to add the words “for our age.” We stuff ourselves into shapewear like sausages, even if it means we can’t breathe most of the night. We dye, curl, bronze, buff, shave, clip, manicure, and perfume our way to perfection, but even that is not sufficient- we still want more. We obsess about being younger, thinner, curvier, more polished. To my husband, being polished is wearing button up shirt with jeans.
Yesterday, I heard someone referred to as a douchebag. For whatever reason, this got me thinking about douchebags and their intended purpose- to make a vagina’s odor something other than what it is naturally. I use the word “other” instead of “better” or “more appealing”. There are also deodorants, vaginal wipes, specific washes, and I’m sure a host of other products for this purpose. Do men stress about their parts being too pungent for the opposite sex? Hell no. A washcloth of Zest soap and perhaps a spritz of Old Spice. Ladies, why are we doing this? Why do we want tampons in fun colors? Why do we bedazzle our nether regions? It’s stupid! We are smarter than this!!
I don’t know what the answers are. I love fashion. I enjoy makeup. I’m not ready to go full-blown hippie. But does that also mean I have to have my brain liposuctioned? That I need to be in an uproar because Lady Gaga gained a few pounds? I live for the day when someone’s weight, good or bad, does not draw significant comment. Wouldn’t it be nice if people’s actions bore as much scrutiny as how they looked?
I recently took a hip hop dance class. Yes, I get down with the hippin and hoppin. I completely developed a girl crush on my instructor. I think most of the women in the class did. Her wardrobe was cool, but appropriate. She did not dress to be sexy; she dressed to move comfortably. Her hair started out in cute little buns, but when the movements got more intense, she had no problem ripping out those buns and just letting her hair be. When she danced, she didn’t try to draw attention to herself, but she moved with confidence. I guess saying I had a girl crush is not really correct- mostly, I just wanted to be her.
One day, I noticed she hadn’t shaved her legs. I mean, really hadn’t shaved them. That sealed the deal for me. She was officially awesome. Because she was feminine, hip, poised, aggressive and lovely, but all on her own terms. She was not going to let anyone else define what it was to be beautiful, and that was the most gorgeous thing about her.