Basically, a surprising number of girls I know have this specific attitude:
“Oh [curvy woman celebrity] is super hot, she’s a real woman, not like those disgusting anorexic bitches blahblah I wish I looked like her…”
Yet these same girls complain about their own weight and how they want to lose it because they’re so “fat” (By the way, they’re not even fat, just have a few extra pounds). I find this blatant inconsistency quite interesting, especially because it’s not one or two girls who say these things - I regularly encounter this mindset (and I’m a girl).
So… why would someone idolize curvy women yet be upset over themselves being curvy?
I imagine for the same reason every issue of every woman’s magazine has a feature article on an amazing diet and a feature with an amazing (non lo-cal/lo-fat) recipe. Conflicted creatures, these femmes.
It’s a female thing. My wife has been complaining about her weight, regardless of the actual number. She complained about it when she was 110 pounds, she complained about it when she was pregnant and 150, she complains about it now that she’s 130.
Maybe it’s partially because they see the curvy celebrities with hair, makeup and clothes that accentuate their features or in airbrushed magazine ads that make the curves look flawless. With themselves, they actually see themselves naked, and there’s no airbrushing in the mirror at home, so they feel like their only real option is to try to lose a few more pounds.
Praising other people’s curviness - if it is believed - would encourage other women to gain weight, increasing her relative skinniness and presumably attractiveness.
Believing that she herself is fat would cause herself to lose weight, increasing her relatively skinniness and presumably attractiveness.
Not saying this is the whole story, and even if true this dynamic would not operate at the conscious level (so “I personally don’t think that way!” is the wrong retort for two reasons). Add in the fact that women need to be more agreeable than men to avoid being called bitchy (and hence will praise almost any appearance - in public) and there we go.
My girlfriend recently complained about gaining a few pounds. “Oh no it’s horrible; it’s all gone to my boobs. See how swollen they are ?! …!” O_O! At length I explained how this was not at all a bad thing, but there was no consoling her.
I’m being completely serious. The added kilos were 110% awesome, but she could not see this. It takes all kinds I guess.
It’s a conspiracy, led by the magazine industry. They do it to men, but with gadgets - we all admire manly men of manliness who could build a house with naught but an axe and a can-do spirit, but that won’t stop us dropping £250 on DIY tools.
Women like attention, and compliments. I mean, I think everyone does, but I think more women feel some need to hear them. I don’t, sounds like you don’t either, it’s not all women who do. Most people (male or female) don’t just wander around handing out compliments, so those women who need them always have the fishing pole at the ready. “Ugggh, I’m sooooo fat.” gets a socially obligated “Oh no, honey! You’re gorgeous the way you are!”. “This magazine cover girl is soooo skinny! I’ll only ever get a man by being this thin!” needs a “What, like that stick insect?! No way, real women have curves!”. They have short hair, they tell you your long hair is, like, soooo much better, you have to tell them what a pain in the ass it is, even though you don’t think it at all. And so on, until you get into the bizarre world of having to tell a coworker that her feet are totally cute, just to end the conversation. It’s as pointless and stupid as weather-related small talk, but some people need to constantly fill up time with chatter. When a chatterer also happens to be a compliment-seeker, you get situations like in your post.
So it’s fishing for compliments, plus body-snarking on other women in order to get more compliments.
What you’re not getting is that her perfect hourglass figure is not “real” she’s packed in with a million girdles. Now, she has a pretty distinct hourglass figure in “real life” – as do many women – but in real life curvy figures for most women are lumpy and don’t go where you want them to.
Thus, her look on Mad Men is AT LEAST as unrealistic for the average woman to acheive “naturally” as Kate Moss. Even she doesn’t achieve it naturally.
I came in to say something along these lines, minus the conspiracy.
We all like to root for the everyman, because it makes us feel good about our own foibles. “That guy’s just like me, flaws and all, and yet he’s succeeding in life!” Then we turn around and continue to feel bad about our flaws.
I think it just shows how unconvinced we are by our own bullshit.
Agreed, especially because Hendricks is all natural - her boobs do NOT sit that high, no way.
However, when the unrealistic body talk comes up, there’s often a comparison between a super skinny model and a curvaceous sex kitten actress. Of course, the foundation garments and professional makeup artists and all that make looking like either unachievable for most women. But I think one important point that the debate rests on is that people feel like Ms. Hendricks’ body is styled to look a certain way, but the basic shape is her own, healthy shape. Whereas there is a feeling that insert catwalk model here is starving herself, is using lots of cocaine, whatever. That the model’s basic shape is the result of dramatic and unhealthy tactics. This is not always true, of course, a lot of runway models are in their late teens and that skinny body is all their own. But I think there is a perception that the Hendricks body type is superior because most women could imagine healthily getting to that size, whereas most women would have to starve themselves to get to a model’s size. (even though, as I said, most of the models don’t starve themselves to get a to a model’s size. That’s why they’re models, and the rest of us aren’t).
sheepish I’m sort of in this camp, though it’s more complicated than this.
I *like * to look at women with more of a hourglass ratio than a ‘straight as a ruler’ ratio - though I agree Hendricks is rather ridiculously proportioned and corseted up. The fact that so many actresses are thin to the point of losing their hips is frustrating to me, and I’m more likely to support Hendricks as a slap in the face to that.
(This is a hijack) I mean, so many actresses have stick thin legs and are so straight and this is supposed to be hot? I look at Kristin Stewart, or Anna Kendrick, or even the cute-as-a-button Ellen Page and I am turned off. They all are pretty girls, yet…they look like they have the bodies of a pre-teen to me. I want women in media who don’t look like twelve year old girls. They don’t really look like women to me.
To clarify, if we then turn our gaze to Scarlett Johansson or Scarlett Johansson (who I judged as less hot than others until that black get up in Iron Man 2) - she’s soft and curvy and thin and ‘Hot’!
I guess I see what the women in the OP might mean, because I want more women in movies like Scarlett, who don’t have that…‘twelve year old girls body’ look I guess? It doesn’t have to be unreachable proportions like Hendricks, but just…you know a bit of a butt or thighs aren’t bad…
I don’t understand it, and it sure is annoying! I agree that a lot of it is fishing for compliments. I try to avoid talking negatively about bodies and weight, these days.
These examples are mainly of body type, though, not of weight. Scarlett Johannson at 110 lbs (she was the thinnest she’s been in years when she did Iron Man) or 160 lbs is going to have nice boobs, a small middle, and round hips/butt/thighs. Ellen Page, and Kristen Stewart have straight waists, narrower hips, and thin legs proportionately. If they gain weight they’re not necessarily going to develop curvy hips and thighs, and they might mainly develop bigger boobs and a tummy. Anna Kendrick would do well to gain a few pounds, I agree- she didn’t use to be this thin, and she has a great figure.
I really wish I could have the boobs at my current weight that most women around my size do. But I’m proportionately flat-chested, and gaining 10, 20, or 40 lbs isn’t going to change that. People suggesting that small-breasted women look like ‘12 year olds’ isn’t very helpful either.
Like you, I adore curvaceous figures and nice asses, and dislike the super-skinny, hipless, thighless trend pop culture has been indulging for the past 15 or 20 years. There are far too many actresses and models with great hips being left out in the cold! But, I don’t believe in criticizing people for what they look like. My own body type is far from what I most admire, even with my best efforts.