What about “thin” makes us feel “whole?”

What makes us value thinness?

What makes us value thinness?

Do American women really want to be “model thin?” Is “model thin” becoming “too thin?” there was an outrage at the “thinness” of Calista Flockhart back in the early ’90’s but now I dare to say she would be lost in the crowd. The photo above is not real, the model was fired for being “too heavy” at 120 lbs on her 5’11 frame! When R.L. Used a photo from her very urproarious shoot, she was aghast at how R.L.’s graphic designers Photoshopped her to a near-death depth of thin. What I ask you is where in the world did R.L. get the idea that American women either identify or pine to look as thin as the model whose image is represented in this photo?  I say “represent” because 99.9% of all photos of either celebrities and / or models, for clothing or couture, are “Photoshopped” in some way.    Most usually they are modified to correct “normal” things such as small sun-spots, blemishes, smile  lines, discoloration of the skin, and increasingly the larger lines of form around the body that are seen as crucial as they define the “value of the woman” as in the angle of the curve of her waist, the breast-to-hip ratio, the width of the thigh in relation to the arms and the torso, are Photoshopped as well.   Some popular “shape profiles” are  “waif”  “statuesque model” “boy shape” ” hard /fit” or “thin but curvaceous” (which by the way is still extremely thin, but the model retains some more normal looking curves) Any of these “profiles” can be achieved with photoshop and most are.  The models provide the basic ballpark figure and for sure the hair, eyes and teeth, but the neck can be elongated, the torso also as other parts can be radically changed by the same process.  What interests me is a psychological question.   Is this seemingly increasing hunger for thinner and thinner icons of beauty a reaction to something that we recognize in our culture that we want to distance ourselves from?  Is it the entropy that American people are seen as embracing?  As diabetes reaches alarming levels and appears more often in poor, lower or even middle class Americans, could it be that we fantasize about setting ourselves apart?  Does 120 lbs at 5’11 scream  un-popular, overweight, and underachieving?  I should think not, but the Ralph Lauren people thought that this weight / height ratio would not send the right image.    It is my theory that by contrasting the shapes of women when shown in print as extrememly thin, the idea of elevated class and superiority within the culture is achieved. During the Roccoco era of American and European Art, women were portrayed as not only voluptuous, but somewhat chubby, no doubt healthy, but not fat by any means. It was widely thought that women of that time who were “fleshy” were more desirable. This was also due to the perception that women who were “thicker” were more sedentary as a result of not “having to” work in a physical vocation. This “women of leisure” or “perceived women of leisure” was in turn sexy to men, either innately, or the idea of a “higher class woman” resulted in feelings of finding them “sexy”   Maybe they just felt better than a bag of pointy bones?  Women of the time wanted to keep that “more than a modicum of thickness” would thereby strive to have the few extra pounds. It’s all tied to class and how our society perceives the body shape of the poor en masse.  For us women with “some extra padding” which even nowadays could mean only  3-4 pounds, we long for the attitudes of the Roccoco period.  Oh what a world that would be!

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