Monday, October 29, 2007

Through Thick and Thin

The majority of African-Americans and Latinos in this country have generally allowed for a standard of beauty which says that a woman doesn't have to be stick-thin to be beautiful. Feminine curves have been appreciated by these groups, while the larger American culture screams from the front pages of magazines, from the casting of televisions shows and commercials and from movie star-studded red carpets, that a woman can never be too skinny.

You think those models and actresses look thin on television? You should see them in person. I've seen TV stars on stage and been repulsed by the knobs of their spines or the sharp angles of their collar bones sticking out. It would be one thing if these were their natural shapes, but some of these same actresses have complained that they have to choose between eating and working.

Sometimes Black or Latina or other women choose to embrace a standard of beauty that allows them to avoid endless dieting, hours in the gym everyday, and constant "do I look fat in this" worries. Sometimes we take it too far and insist there is beauty in a physical standard that's clearly unhealthy, and that kind of thinking desperately needs to be corrected. But so too does the standard that says we should live off of coffee and cigarettes, implant bags of silicone in our breasts, and inject ourselves with toxins in order to be beautiful. Let's be real. It's not only possible, but all too common to be too thick or too thin.


Teri said...

You have been writing some powerful, moving stuff that is touching a nerve, keep up the great work.