If you haven’t seen the montage of pictures with four skinny celebrities in bikinis juxtaposed against four curvy women (including, of course Marilyn) wondering “When did this [size zero] become hotter than this [classic curves]?” on social media, I’m sure you can imagine it. With strict diets and eating disorders often seemingly celebrated by the fashion world, what nowadays is the perfect image of a woman?
After several millenia of carvings and paintings of curvaceous women, with cinema and the catwalk comes a new image of the perfect woman. The heroine in the movie is supposed to be the woman the audience wants to be. But more than a character, the actress playing a role is first of all an everyday-woman with her strengths and weaknesses. However, media and tabloid-gossip magazines think it is their job to show the actual person behind the screen image.
But does the media really have the right to define the perfect woman, mostly when they show her as skinny or retouched? Despite the battle of who is the skinniest of the celebrities, perhaps it should be the role of society to reassert what our image of “the perfect woman” is. Nowadays, the average dress size of women is said to be 14, so why do media daily show skinny women as supposedly the most attractive and “normal”, when questions of beauty aside it is anything but the norm?
Scarlett Johansson, a beautiful and unashamedly curvy woman, has now entered the battle of the size of beauty. Tired of reading silly articles about herself, she reacted in the Huffington Post to spark a new debate on the subject. Enjoying some “naughty food” occasionally, Scarlett extols the gym and a balanced diet to stay in shape but admits everybody comes with a different size and not everybody can become skinny.
“Curvy” in the eyes of Hollywood, she is in reality a petite woman, and has never seen the necessity to watch her weight too much. Even so, the media seem to associate Scarlett with funny nonexistent diets, telling readers she managed to loose 14 pounds to which she responded, “If I were to lose 14 pounds, I’d have to part with both arms. And a foot.”
Willing to help the thousands of people fighting anorexia and bulimia, Scarlett would like media to become an ally helping people towards a healthier lifestyle rather than pushing them trying radical diets. ‘In shape’ should be associated with a healthy body size, not long-suffering regime of constant diet. The image the media convey of the average woman should be fair and not limited only to skinny or fake photoshopped women.
My native France became a player in this battle as TV shows about confidence and fashion have become normal, and adverts and bill-boards showing curvy and plump women are everywhere. For the last few years, people have even had the chance to vote for a Plump Miss France, but let’s admit it is still discreet and the official Miss France will never been allowed to have peanut butter for breakfast!
Still, the idea is growing and even New York Fashion week decided to include the Plus Size to their styles in order to let all sizes add their creations directly into their wardrobes. Even though it is a step forward, the fact that curvaceous women are still apart and not seen as the norm in the media means that the battle is far from being over.