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did he just call you rubenesque?

February 8, 2010

size matters?  of course it does.  now, i do not have the highest self-esteem in the world, but i do get compliments about my physical appearance on occasion.  one of my ex boyfriends once compared me to boticelli’s birth of venus many years ago, and recently someone else compared me to the curvy beauties from many centuries ago.  when i shared this information with another male friend his response was “did he just call you rubenesque?”  and i paused…and for the first time took what was meant as a compliment to mean that i am fat.  fucking, fucking, motherfucking patriarchy.

granted, this male friend who made the ‘rubenesque’ comment meant no harm in it…at least i don’t think he did, but it did get me thinking how much a woman’s archetypal body has changed.  i’m watching the show ‘mad men’ right now and the most beautiful character, in my opinion, is a very curvy woman named joan (christina hendricks).  she is absolutely stunning and sexy. i know it is obvious to say that beauty standards are in constant flux, but the size issue is particularly troubling when it comes to women.  there are several theorists and feminist writers who see a correlation between women’s physical appearance and figures shrinking as their (women’s) civil rights increase.  the same can be said for men’s guns getting larger and larger as women become (ever so slightly) more powerful.  (*see Jackson Katz’s phenomenal film tough guise)

so i started looking at my own curves in the mirror and instead of being horrified and annoyed (my normal response), i really looked at it and you know what?  i have a nice figure for fuckssake!  i like my curves.  none of this “i SHOULD” tighten, tone, lose, etc.  for what?  now, if i continue my dance and stretch regimine as i’d like, this may happen naturally.  but there is no reason i should feel like there is something wrong with me just because i have curves because, after all, real women have curves.

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