Parenting

Guys, Let's Talk About What Women 'Should' Look Like, Mmmmkay?

Recently I responded with satire to an article by The Daily Callers’ David Hookstead, who said, basically, that larger female models should go back to working in retail instead of showing up in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit magazine he likes to ogle. Apparently, some of you conservative men out there didn’t get the joke or the point and got very upset that I had the nerve to chide Hookstead about his looks (while he was doing the same to plus-sized models). So let me drop the sarcasm and explain it in terms you might understand better. Respecting women isn’t a left or right issue.

Hookstead likes very thin women. That’s his preference and he’s allowed to have it. What he’s not allowed to do is determine what is attractive to everybody else while hiding behind concern about “glorifying obesity.” I’ve heard this argument, mostly from outraged conservative men, that showing anyone over 98 lbs. in a magazine is somehow pushing the idea that “fat is good.” I don’t want to see Lena Dunham’s pudge, either, especially in the context she is usually offering herself up.

It’s true that women like Dunham (and the left) seem to want to glorify what is not beautiful and make us agree with them while the emperor is sitting naked on a toilet shoving cake in her mouth. That’s wrong too. The fact that feminists we don’t like (because we disagree with their ideology) appreciate larger female models makes us immediately want to reject them. I get it. SJWs ruin everything.

But look at this issue from the perspective of a parent instead of an ideologue. I have two daughters. I want them to be healthy and fit and happy. I want them to eat well and treat their bodies with respect. But what if one or both of them struggle with their weight? Will berating them and shaming them for their body shape or size get me the result that I want? Or will it damage them and make the problem worse?

OMG she has a belly? I bet she never had a boyfriend. (Nue dans un Paysage, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir via Wikimedia Commons)

What I have seen in the modeling industry over the last forty years is distressing. The reason Hookstead makes the point that women in these magazines are like unicorns he never sees is because women don’t naturally look like that. Some genetically thin women do, and some are naturally muscular, but on the whole, women are rounder, softer and fatter than the standard for models. I’m not talking about obese women, but women who range from a size six to a size twelve are not obese. Some women who wear up to an 18 are not obese, depending on height. This idea that all women must be a size two or under to be attractive or healthy or to avoid ridicule is damaging and stupid. I know women who run marathons who are a size twelve. They are tough! Some get up at 5 a.m. to work out in their garage with the neighbor gals and lift more weight than some of the models in the magazines weigh — and they are still a size twelve. I’ve watched friends eat nothing but celery sticks and hummus for a year and not lose a pound while exercising like the hounds of hell are after them. They do this because they want to stay healthy, but also because it’s what our fashion culture, run by gay men, has told them they need to do to stay attractive. So they chase an ideal that isn’t healthy at all for women.

It is simply impossible for most women to be like modern models in magazines (half of whom I’m not convinced weren’t born boys). Models have gone on record to tell about the horrors of starving themselves and battling eating disorders in order to get work in the fashion industry. A study that was done found that 62 percent of girls who were already underweight to begin with were asked to lose more weight by agents or others in the business. Fifty-four percent of these already thin girls were told that if they didn’t lose more weight they wouldn’t work. It isn’t surprising, then, that the industry is plagued by eating disorders. Any Google search will bring you to horror stories of sickness, harassment and drug abuse suffered by many models. And these are the women our kids are supposed to look like? These are the ideals you guys think all women should aspire to?

Does Hookstead not see the problem with this? Or you men in the comments section who say things like this?

“Fat is not normal. Men don’t like fat chicks. This isn’t exactly news. ”

Today’s definition of “fat” is what’s abnormal. The modern idea of feminine beauty is what is abnormal. Have you ever been to an art museum? For our entire human history men have been painting and sculpting women they found beautiful.

Renoir sure liked his bigger models. (Baigneuse blonde by Pierre-Auguste Renoir via Wikimedia Commons)

Absolutely none of them look like Kate Moss. All of them look like the normal, average woman that Hookstead doesn’t want to see in his magazines. Just admit already that your ideas of feminine beauty have been manipulated for decades by gay dudes who run fashion houses. Uncomfortable thought, isn’t it? But how else do you explain that men used to find this attractive and desirable and now it’s “fat”? Could it be that the gay kings of the fashion world remolded women into what they themselves find attractive, i.e. wide shoulders, small hips, long muscular arms — or in other words…young men?

(Myla Dalbesio is a size 10 and considered a “plus-sized” model. How is she “fat”?)

The level of outrage at my gentle teasing of Hookstead’s physique was ironic considering what prompted it. As a matter of fact, when conservative women write about men it’s to sing their praises and defend them from the left’s assault on masculinity. If conservative men want to retain that support, then maybe they should focus on defending Western values instead of complaining about what women should look like to please them.

Obesity is bad. We all know this. No one wants people to be obese — even the hardcore fat acceptance crowd. I’m not sure they want to increase obesity. Most of what I’ve seen is just girls who are larger telling other girls tips on beauty and how to like themselves. Is that a bad message? Or should girls who have weight problems hate themselves and never see anyone who looks like them in a magazine or on TV?

What happened to the conservative principle of “live and let live”? Are conservative men actually suggesting that the government should intervene and not allow plus-sized models to be in magazines because health or something? Or that private companies should blacklist certain women from employment because their body type is not attractive enough? Who are the SJWs again? If Sports Illustrated’s sales suffer after having bigger models, then the free market will take care of this perceived problem. If sales increase, then we will see more larger-sized models.

Can we stop pretending that a woman who is a 10, 12 or 14 is obese? Average-sized models are great for helping our culture understand what healthy women actually look like without glorifying obesity. Or was Renoir glorifying obesity with his paintings?

This girl would have never been allowed in Vogue. (Nu couché by Pierre Auguste Renoir via Wikimedia Commons)

The idea that the Sports Illustrated magazine is just for men is absurd. I’ve been looking at it since I was nine! And far too many of them have only featured waif models that look like they have problems in high winds. The ’90s brought about the “heroine chic” look, as if there’s anything chic about girls on drugs. Think about that. They sold us the lie that wasted druggies are beautiful.

As a parent, is this what you want for your daughter? I don’t. And as a Christian, I also want them to know that their worth is not bound up in their beauty because that can be taken from them in an instant through fire or injury or any number of things. The Bible, in Proverbs 31, tells us God’s idea of a valuable woman. She is industrious, an early riser, a hard worker, creative and capable, a money earner, trustworthy and savvy, making her husband look good and keeping her children in line. She isn’t afraid of the snow, she is a good cook and generous to the poor. She clothes her family well and presents herself in good clothes. She is kind. In all of Proverbs 31 there is only one reference made to her body. She has strong arms.

Men, if you should find yourself a woman like the on described above, you will be a blessed and happy man. There is more to a woman than the size of her waist.

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)