Plus-Size Sexy

Perhaps, after all, there's hope if Glamour can publish such a celebration of female beauty. But do you notice something? These women aren't just beautiful.  They are really, truly, deeply sexy.  More so than any rail-thin "straight-size" (what a euphemism!) fashion victim could ever be.  Which may be a problem.

Because, you see, our culture has a problem with sex.  Sure, we're (men and women both) supposed to want to be sexy, but it is very unclear whether we are supposed to want to have sex.  We are also extremely uncomfortable with being naked.

Thus, I argue, our cultural obsession with thinness: thin people can never actually be naked--not even in the tiniest bikini or thong--because they do not have bodies as such.  Sure, they can move and breathe, but they don't have any actual flesh to uncover when they take off their clothes.  Nothing to be embarrassed about, sure, but nothing to show, either.  Thus it is, paradoxically, okay to show their skinny non-bodies on billboards and movie screens in public across the country because the last thing they are ever going to excite is, well, lust.*  They are 6' tall children pretending to be grown-ups, not sexual beings at all.

Right size, wrong size?
I am amazed that we, as a culture, have put up with this distorted image of "beauty" for so long--going on, quite literally, nearly a century, at a minimum.  When are we going to wake up and see that the size-0 woman on the left is not a woman at all, but a monster child, while the size-12 woman on the right is drop-dead gorgeous, not "fat"?

*Which, if they do, should be cause for even greater concern than that they are thin.  Just saying.


  1. I like the concept, Rachel, but these ladies are hardly plus size. It seems that conventional beauty also prizes long flowing hair, glowing, perfect skin, oh, and YOUTH. These ladies are probably 5'11 and maybe 160 lbs. tops (One of my crazy carnival parlor tricks is to be able to gauge height and weight very accurately). So, in other words, still fall into that elusive, unobtainable category for most American women (who are on average, a size 14, 5 feet 4, and 160 lbs). --RNS

  2. As for the second photo, I think it is women who have the problem with beauty. I just asked my husband which one was more beautiful and he said both. Then when I pressed him, which one would you approach in a bar, he said whoever would put out first or whoever was the easiest. While not to simplify men, I think it is women who tend to overthink the esoteric.

  3. I agree, "plus size" seems pretty relative to me. The problem is that, in the fashion industry, anything above a 6 is "plus size." And, yes, they're all long-tressed, tall and young (20s and 30s, however, not teens). But surely it's a step to allow them some body fat.

    On women: totally, I agree. In my experience, women spend much more time picking on other women for being "fat" than any of the men I know. (Mind you, even to think of examples, I have to go back to high school--happily, the women I spend most time with now don't seem to worry so much. But, then, I don't tend to talk about this worry except on my blog, so maybe they're just not saying.)

  4. But you don't mention the opposite extreme in any of these posts. Vanity sizing. I am an XL at Banana Republic and a medium or small at Walmart. I'm okay with this, mind you. I will buy ANY garment on which is sewn a size 8 (since I haven't seen single digits in 20 years). I also tend to think that I am much thinner than I really am. Sure, couture fashion wouldn't even make above a size 6, but I don't generally shop Armani or Dior. --RNS

  5. Actually, I don't particularly care anymore about clothing sizes as a marker of anything other than whether the clothes fit me. They are meaningless except as a gauge of what to take to the dressing room first. But I know that others still use them as a way of talking about whether they've reached their "goal weight" or what-have-you. I should have included this tip (from The Seven Secrets of Slim People) in my post on "How to Reach Your Ideal Weight Instantly": cut all the size labels out of your clothes.


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