Tish Jett, writer of the blog A Femme d'une certain age, published two posts on les rondes, with photos of large-sized models, which unleashed a spring storm's worth of comments. If you haven't read them, see Tish's posts here.
Reaction to the photos ranged from dislike through the middle ground of grudging admiration to the enthusiastic "yeah, baby!" Comments on Tish's posts are a window into the female flesh-psyche, the weight women carry in all senses of the phrase.
Shari Graydon, covering Toronto Fashion Week, wrote in an editorial, "Disordered eating' is still a beauty of a problem" (The Globe and Mail, March 31, 2010):
"... girls and women who are taught by beauty advertising and fashion media to view their naturally sized bodies with puke-inducing disgust often withdraw from health-enhancing activities, abandon academic studies and limit their career opportunities. They also diet like crazy. And teenaged girls who diet are at a significantly greater risk for obesity than those who don't."
I don't know about teenaged girls, but have noticed the obsession with weight gain among 50+ women, who will pinch the tiniest roll at the waist–the one any woman has when seated– and say "Oh, I'm so fat".
If one is naturally thin, she is told she is "lucky". If prone to gaining easily, she says she has "bad genes".
Food is the enemy, carbs worse than crack. I hug a woman. She falters against me, tottering like a 90 year old. One acquaintance has vanquished her appetite, does that cutting-food-but-not-eating charade. I will no longer cook for her. "You know what a problem food is", a blonde at a dinner party remarks. "No", I reply, shocked that she's saying this while at the table.
Furious that they are no longer size 6, 10, 14, women are caught in self-loathing. I'm heartsick about it.
Six yesses, two nos
No to obesity, which is a health risk, especially for diabetes. Yes to viewing thin as only one of several attractive body types. Yes to realizing that even if you maintain your age-25 weight, your body is going to shift over the decades.
Yes to eating, yes to occasional treats and yes to enjoying a fabulous soup, even if you strongly suspect there is butter in it.
Yes to a full life, rich with experience, no to requiring it to be lived– by women of any age– as a particular size.