No "Fat Chicks" Allowed

Here's a statistic that you probably didn't know and almost certainly won't believe: The average dress size for a woman in the United States (and most of the world for that matter) is a fourteen.

If this shocks you or surprises you, you're not alone. I was shocked by it and nearly everyone I've talked to about it can't believe it either. It seems completely impossible that the average woman could have a dress size in the double digits, not in a country that values bikini-butts, grapefruit diets and Calvin Klien models.

But guess what, it's true, 100% undeniably true.

However, while this is great news to “bigger” women who just realized that they are either at, below or slightly above the statistical average, it does nothing at all to explain how we got such a warped notion of what “normal” really is. After all, most people, especially men, seem to think that a “normal” woman should have a dress size that could be counted on one hand.

To answer that question though, all you have to do is go to a movie, visit a store or simply stick your nose in a magazine. In no time at all you'll be surrounded by images of women with unnaturally small waists and dress sizes that barely break positive digits.

Yes, these women are beautiful, there's no denying that, that's why they're in our movies, on our television, in our magazines and modeling our clothes. But still, the question is begged, “Where are the beautiful women with more normal figures?” After all, I've seen plenty of those walking around the streets, just not on my television.

Beats me.

But outside of the occasional one that either slips by or is thrown in to appease feminists that have, quite justly, been harping on this issue for years, you'll be lucky to spot any girl larger than a size 10 in a role where she's viewed as attractive, popular and sexy. In fact, on a recent edition of MTV's Beach House, Crystal and I could spot only one, one girl out of over 200, that had a figure large enough to be considered normal. To make matters worse, she had traded in the typical bikini for a tank top and shorts, an obvious attempt to hide her nonconformity.

However, none of this is news. We're pretty much all aware that the media skews its model base to unnaturally thin girls and that only 2% of all women naturally have the figure of a model (which, for the record, is usually between a dress size -2 and 2). We've all heard how this causes misconceptions about what a woman is supposed to look like and created problems such as anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders in young girls and teens.

But what we don't hear about is how unbelievably sexist this is and how this fear is used to generate billions in revenue.

If you go to a large department store, you'll probably find the women's section divided into two parts, regulars and pluses. However, at most stores, any woman over a size 12 is considered a “plus” and as such is forced to swallow her pride and “cross the line” into the plus side just to find clothes that fit her. This might not seem like a big deal, but the message it sends is very clear, “You're fat, you're not normal and you need a special section just for you.” It doesn't matter that many of these women are actually below the national average, corporate America is telling them that they're overweight.

However, in the same department store, if you pay a visit to the men's section, odds are you won't find any separation at all. You'll be able to find all sizes, from a 28 waist to well over a 50 in the same section, often on the same rack. Even the largest of men can go their entire lives without “crossing the line” or being called a “plus”. The worst men will ever hear is that they're a “big and tall” which makes being large sound like being tall, a genetic predisposition that's not the guy's fault at all.

If this isn't sexist, I don't know what is. But it's a trend that doesn't stop at just the clothes rack, it continues on into how we view our celebrities. The same media that has hounded Anna Nichole Smith and even Madonna about their weight has made hardly a mention about male celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Johnny Popper, and even American Idol winner Ruben Studdard. In fact, many larger male celebrities wind up becoming sex symbols while female ones become the butt of jokes almost overnight.

Though I hesitate to use the words “misogynistic conspiracy”, they seem to be the only words that come close to describing this injustice. But who's to blame for it? Is it men for continuing to judge women based on their looks? At least in part, after all, if women were judged by more internal attributes, this whole argument would be moot, but if men had a reasonable vision of what an average woman looked like, the world would be a much better place.

Is it the media for skewing the types of women it shows in order to get better ratings? Once again, partly, but once again there are beautiful women of all sizes and if we could change our image of what's normal I doubt that thinner would consistently get better ratings.

Is it companies trying to make money off of the fears of the female population? Bingo.

Think about it a second, women have an inherent understanding that, rightly or wrongly, they're going to be judged based upon their looks. This understanding drives women to want to be beautiful the same as it drives men (although to a somewhat lesser degree). However, if a woman is convinced that she's beautiful, she doesn't spend nearly as much keeping herself that way as she would trying to make herself beautiful if she's convinced she's unattractive. In short, if you show a picture of a beautiful woman and every female consumer that sees the ad says, “Hey, I look like that already!” they don't buy the product, there's no need.

Now, when you consider all of the products sold on the idea of beauty (diet aids, foods, clothes, makeup, hair products, even vacations and cars just to name a few) there's a LOT of money to be made by convincing the vast majority of women that they're not up to the standards of beauty.

This all relates back to something that advertisers call “need creation”. It's a broad term that refers to the techniques advertisers use to take products you never needed before and convince you that you can't live without them. You might never have needed a microwave oven, a cell phone or even a computer fifty years ago, but through clever marketing and adapting to societal changes, advertisers got more than enough people to adopt these products that now they are all but essential.

The same thing has happened with diet and beauty products. Most women don't truly need these items but through need creation, largely through the use of imagery beautiful and skinny women, have gotten enough people to adopt that almost every woman feels the need to diet, wear make up and dress in the best clothes. So good was the act that they even got men sold on the idea along the way, even though the women they love and cherish usually look nothing like the image that's being presented.

Inevitably, these images seeped out from the advertising pages and into the content pages. Models and celebrities got thinner and thinner over the years. “Twiggy” the 60's model famous for her extremely thin figure, is now put to shame by just the everyday runway model. Twiggy, who weighed 91 pounds when she first became famous, even said she felt fat compared to the other models she saw at a recent comeback fashion show she did.

This, in turn has seeped into department stores and our everyday lives. In fact, where in the 50's the average store mannequin had a waist 34 inches around, now it's only 31 (for the record, average waist size is around 37 inches). In some parts of California, only 10% of all stores even carry sizes 14 and above and more and more stores have the unreasonable expectation that women the majority of women are unnaturally thin.

I'm not falling for it and neither should you. If Marilyn Monroe can have a dress size between 12 and 16 (which she did in the sixties), so should any other woman in the nation and she shouldn't be forced to feel guilty about it, shop only in plus sized stores or to diet in order to fix her "condition". We don't treat men that way and to continue holding such unreasonable expectations of women we, as a society, are not only being cruel but also hypocritical.

But what can we do to stop it? After all, the problem seems to be all around us and there's millions of dollars invested in keeping the status quo. Between diet gurus and fashion magazines, no one causing the problem seems to be ready to relent on the issue. After all, when your family fortune is made by convincing women they're fat, you're not about to shut your doors and tell them the truth. That would just be stupid.

But we as individuals do have a lot of power. First and foremost, we can avoid falling for the lie and avoid giving into these dangerous stereotypes. It might not be easy, especially for those of us that had these images and these ideals beat into us from an early age, but it can be done. After all, everyone has their own idea of what beauty is, all we have to do is learn to listen to it instead of what others have been telling us all along.

Second, we can put different, more realistic images out there. Though magazines may not run your photos, the Internet is a great means of distribution. Services such as Kazaa and Morpheus allow people to swap pictures without ever seeing one another. While most of these photos are pornographic in nature, it doesn't mean you can't use the channel to get your message across.

In short, take a photo of yourself, it doesn't have to be a nude one or even a very sexy one, a school picture will do, and put it out there with a nondescript name such as “Pretty girl” so that it will be downloaded. Trust me, people will see it and even though this would never be able to outnumber the images forced down everyone's throat by the media, it only takes a few instances to plant the seeds of doubt and doubt in the myth is what needs to be raised.

Finally, stop supporting products that engage in this “need creation”. It should be pretty obvious who's doing what and by simply not doing business with these companies, you're sending a strong message. Companies take notice of even slight drop offs in product sales and, if you combine your boycott with a few well-written letters, they might be willing to actually listen to what you have to say.

After all, this whole issue started with the almighty dollar, it will probably have to end there as well.

In the meantime though, I encourage everyone to stop this charade and open your eyes to the not-so-bitter truth. There are beautiful people of all shapes, sizes and colors. The quicker we can all see that, the happier and better of we'll be as a society because we'll stop tormenting people based upon their appearance, and we'll stop setting a self-destructive double-standard.

In fact, putting an end to this gender/size warfare could be the biggest peace movement in the history of the modern world…

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49 Responses to No "Fat Chicks" Allowed

  1. Pia Small says:

    I have to say. This is the most outspoken piece of commentary I have ever read. And from a man! Thank you so much for telling it like it is! I, myself, am a full-figured woman. Yes, I understand the need to be healthy and to take care of one's self. But, after that's all said and done, I will STILL be a full-figured woman. At 23, I've just about turned my back on this horribly twisted, double-standard society. I eat right occasionally, try to exercise (more for dancing and self-entertainment than for health reasons) and I dress conversatively. But, I understand about the whole appearance thing. Believe me, I have been on many job interviews and didn't get the position because I wasn't asthetically pleasing enough EVEN THOUGH I was the BEST QUALIFIED individual for the position (race, size, and looks all factor into it.) Of, course they can't say that to my face, but I'm intelligent enough to read through all the smoke and mirrors. And truthfully, I'm not all that mindful of it. I have the power to change my body if I so desire to meet my own means. So, actually this is nothing new to me. If I had to contend with racial discrimination in our "fine" society (and still have to on ocassion), then the whole weight issue is a cake walk for me.

  2. Jessica says:

    I agree with you completely. In the course of six months I gained 35 pounds (size 3 to 9), from a certain anti-depressant. I was upset and felt embarrassed about my new found weight. But I look healthy now. There's an ass instead of bone. I look normal instead of completely anorexic. There was no reason for me to be upset about the weight gain, but everytime I tried on some clothes at the mall or wherever I'd feel 'fat'. All the 'cute' clothes no longer fit me. I'm afraid of shopping in the plus size section some day. Its not a natural fear, though, its been spoonfed, or forced down our throats rather, to men and women. We, as a nation, should be more concerened about more important things other than outward beauty. I could go on a rant of my own but I'll just say you're right, its all about the money. And its sad that people fall in that trap and its sad that people have the nerve to deliberately make people feel bad about themselves. And how many of those models are throwing up or shooting up on a daily basis? How many of them are insecure because looks are all they know they have, what everything in their career is based on? Does being beautiful really make them happy? Voted People Magazine's Most Beautiful Person Halle Berry's man still cheated on her, repeatedly. The price of what society calls 'beauty' isn't quite worth it.

  3. Kym says:

    I agree with you 100% I'm about tired of walking into a store and being told that there are no 'plus sizes" there. I don't see hw a size 14 became a plus size since the real "plus sizes" are the ones lik 2x and 3x and even then it's not fair to call them plus. Guys need to set their standards better because I'm tired of being judged and looked down apont because i don't have a size 0 waist. Thanks for posting this site it really put things into a better perspective for me. Now I'm going to spred the news.
    Thanks so much,
    kym

  4. Indriana says:

    Wow. You're so well spoken and intelligent. You care about things that matter and aren't afraid to tell people so…thank you for being you.

  5. snyder says:

    Incredibly straightforward message here – and true as anything. I'm with you, as well as legions of America's females I'm sure. I am posting to give some encouragement from the other side: as a male, I can honestly say that I don't find 99% of the models I see attractive. They look artificial under all that gloss and makeup, and they don't exactly look healthy either. True beauty comes from personality. No kidding. I'm not the only one, either: I have at least three friends who are madly in love with their pretty but robust girlfriends.

    Raven, I hope you hit sexism from the male perspective next. Our gender has its own archetype: the well-groomed, boyish, athletic, just-sensitive-enough-to-be-charming, just-cynical-enough-to-be-a-maverick A&F pretty boy. Ben Affleck. Marlboro Man. Kenny Chesney.

    And worst of all it's a homophobic image that presents itself as the only alternative to, unthinkably, being queer.

    Fuck homophobia. Raven, you're one hell of a social commentator and I hope you give this one some thought.

  6. elise says:

    As an art major i see a lot of different nude models, and after a few yrs i think i can draw them within reason (if not very well), when i show my drawings to people outside of my major they usually comment on how the womans breasts sag,…or arms are too built, on what i would consider a very attractive model (and they would too if they saw her dressed). I think most people just don't know what a real woman is suposed to look like…and who cares anymore??? At a size 2 i've had people (b/f's and girls!) complain about my weight (too fat),…which is pretty sickening. But also, a lot of guys i've met recently are very concerned about their appearence…and i've seen much more eating disorders in young guys too. So who's to blame? Me for not eating in order to stay at 116lbs or the men for likeing the 90lbs chicks flaunting their beauty? nether….whats the solution? not a clue

  7. Alicia .M. says:

    Having only visitied this site once, i found it strangely entrancing. today when i had spare time i again decided too look through the options. only when i again looked i found a section on "no fat chicks allowed" (excuse my spelling error(s)) when i opened it and begain reading it caught my attention not only because of you deffending of the "plus size" women, but becaue of your stand on what a beautiful women looks like. i can't say i am a victim of coporate america, but i can say that being thin was beat into me at a young and hurtful age, when i was younger i would have been considered chunky too some. when i got older, i would say about 14 i realized i had to be thin to be "pretty" so that is exacle what i did, i went from a healthy size 8, to a size 3 in 3 months. how is this possible? by not eating, litterly not eating anything. i was picking at salda my first and last meal of the day and drank water. now at sixteen years old, i would be considered pretty too SOME. i am 5"1 and weight 100lbs, at what cost did my prettiness cost me? not my soul, no i know this, but what did it cost ME? my self confidence, yes. thank you for this piece, it has helped me realize that too be beautiful is not to be thin, but to be healthy. not mattering your weight why should it????) so i again thank you, i'm sorry if some of this doesn't make sense, i wrote it in a haste to get my feelings out right after i read this.

  8. Daemos says:

    This is the very first post I have made, due to my usually silent nature.

    But I must say you are exactly right Raven. This nations capitalistic and media driven economy is taking thousands of healthy "full figured" ladies and turning them into mindless, media driven, twigs of skin and bone. In the past I personally thought that supermodels were amazing, then I matured and realized that full figured women were more beautiful, and interesting. I've only been interested in ladies with full figures because I can usually hold an intelligent conversation with them, and when I hug them, I dont feel like I'm hugging a stick. I dont care about a person's appearance. People shouldn't have to deal with the garbage they are force fed by the corporations of this "fine" nation. I looked at a tabloid while standing in line at the grocery store recently and noticed that Renee Zelwegger (or however you spell it) put on 30 some pounds, and you know what, she'd look a lot more beautiful if she put on another 15-20. But the real makings of a person isn't the size of his/her clothing, but the mind and heart behind the skin and bone.

  9. Vera says:

    when i was in elementary school i was tormented for being overwieght os as the kids put it " fat"until in the 8th grade my amily bought bathroom scale i started to wiegh myself everyday just to see how much i had gained i actually managed to get up to about 210 before i said i didtn want to be tagged with the fat name in highschool i started working out i started to bike to my friends house that summer and i think i only got down to about 180 i thought that this wasnt good enough i became anorexic adn when that didnt work i became bulimic one day i caught a glimps of myself in the mirror adn thought what the hell am i doing this for to be thin adn pretty just like my sister i stopped that which wasw amazingly hard i relized that it wasnt jsut thechildren on the playground in grade 8 that made me do this to myself but the adds on the television magazines and just about everywere else becasue by that time i wasnt on the playground i was in the 9th grade. i am now in the 11th grade adn have gotten down to 160 pounds a wear a size 33 waist adn i'm proud of it i know that almost all of myfriends are in the 25 range but i dont care anymore i'm not going to put myself into dangerous circumstances just to be like them. being hefty as my mom puts it isnt the end of the world you can still find beautiful clothing adn it dosent matter what people say though it does hurt get over it if you dont like the way you look go to the gym work out do something but if you are happy just stay the way you are the only person that matters is you adn how you feel those people who call you fat are arrogant adn pigheaded dont pay them a moments notice here the onesthat barely eat there the ones that are unhealthy and there th ones that need to get a brain if they cant see the beauty within then well they suck ^_^

  10. Nevaeh says:

    I am what you would call a "full-figured" woman. I cant go into a store and walk out in five minutes with four pairs of pants that will fit me, I have to search for at least an hour before I can find my size of jeans. What's worse is that in my town they put the "Plus Size's" right next to the maternity section so whenever I am shopping for clothes some people would probably think that I am pregnant. I was tormented in grade school, was forced to feel inferior in high school, and now that I am out in the real world I have found that my size hinders me a great deal. Most employers would rather hire somebody that is politicaly "beautiful" on the outside rather than somebody that is beautiful on the inside, equal opportunity employer or not in my town if you look good you're more likely to get a job if you are overweight, your chances aren't so high. However I think I am a beautiful person and I don't care what anybody else thinks, but there are thousands of overweight people whose self confidance has been belittled by the beautiful people.

  11. P. Davis says:

    This is a brilliant piece of literature that I have emailed to all of my friends.

    The media has us all so brainwashed that I sometimes find it hard to believe that my prince of a husband could possibly love me.

    Raven, I stumbled upon this article by mistake(?) but it is one of the most important things I have ever read. Thank you.

  12. Becky says:

    Excellent Read. I have been full figured my whole life. Tormented by other kids when I was young, Discriminated against by prospective employers, amusement parks, and even some restaurants (the way their chairs are build) But I am healthy. Over time I have found that this is the important thing. I have given up on stores that have so called plus size shops. Lately it seems the sizes seem to be shrinking even more. (no I am not gaining more weight either) I shop at stores like Cathrines to buy nice clothing that fit my shape and size. They don't say anything about being plus size and have full figured women in their ads and flyers.

    I used to do all the dieting and exercising and it never did any good for me. It was just destined that I be a large person. I still feel the whole Phen-fen case was because it actually worked and hit the industry in the money belt.

    I have learned to be happy with who I am. I no longer sit in the corner of a room silent afraid of what others might say if I spoke up. I no longer fight with myself everytime I want a good meal or a piece of candy and hate myself with every bite.

    My husband loves me just the way I am. Inside and out. Unless my weight starts hurting me physically I don't worry about it. I just enjoy the life that I have and the body that the good Lord blessed me with. I am happy, I have found a great wonderful husband to share my life with and best I am content with who I am.

    I have come to the conclusion that there are so many angry and mean spirited women in the world because they are starving themselves trying to be something they are not.

  13. Courtney says:

    it's about time that a guy finally stood up and said that that was sexist! every day when i got to school and see every cute and amazing guy with some skinny, preppy girl, i wonder to myself, "how come i dont look like that? why am i not normal??" and for once it's nice to know that i am… i always would tell myself "it's weird to be normal, and it's normal to be weird". and in a way that still stands, but then again it doesnt. i could cry right now just from reading what you wrote righ tnow! that you can be "plus" and still be beautiful. if only people would stop looking at outter beauty and focus more on the inner beauty so many of those sexist pigs would have a whole not prespective on things… and when you said the thing about "crossing the line" and having a whole nother section just for us "plus size" girls is soo true! it really makes you feel like crap and i hate going over there when there's a group of skinny girls in the "regular" section and they look at you as if you were some kind of animal!
    so once again, i must thank you for what you have said. i really think that i can think more highly of myself now.

  14. Lycosidae says:

    For a person of the male gender, that is a very insightful article. Most men believe that women are only beautiful if they are underweight. I find it very intriguing that you find women of the larger persuasion as being beautiful as well. It's good to hear someone stand up for these women and I applaud and agree with you entirely. Excellent, Raven.

  15. Michelle says:

    Thanks for writing this. It means a lot to know that all women do not have to be tooth picks to be beautiful especially when this is coming from a guy. Thanks again.

  16. Karl says:

    Ugh… this article made me pretty mad at corporate America…

    My g/f would be considered somewhat curvy, and it really gets her down. This article just makes it more clear about how sexist the issue is.

  17. Valerie says:

    Raven, all I can say is "Thank you". You have a way with words and I hope that many young women will see this "ranting" of yours and make a conscious decision to stop living and breathing thinness.

  18. LunamYstiQue613 says:

    Thank You! I've always been made to feel ashamed for being bigger,and always question what my husband sees when he looks at me because I don't look like a supermodel,but you shined a good light on the subject. Keep up the ranting!

  19. Charmaine says:

    This article was comforting in that it's an echo of my own fears (and to know I'm not alone in them). I sincerely believe civilization in general is not capable of being compassionate towards fat chicks. I do point the finger at the media a little. But I shake my fist more at "natural selection". We're animals. A male's basic animalistic instinct is to pro-create the species. Any animal (male OR female) instinctively flocks to the most attractive of its species(however that's defined for the particular species). I've been a big girl all my life. I'm not going to give up the struggle to be thin – it's not all to do with cosmetic relief, but more for my own health and pride. I urge all my fat sisters and brothers to keep trying too, and HAVE FUN DOING IT!! I enjoyed this rant 🙂

  20. Christine says:

    This piece was very reassuring to read, and I stumbled upon it as I was looking for plus sized clothes by typing in "Fat Chick Clothes" in the google search engine. (Ironic?) The title caught my eye, and I was so surprised to hear someone talking positivly about large women! I was actually feeling pretty crappy after a day of shopping and coming home empty handed, but this article lifted my spirits and inspired me to remember that I am a normal girl… This article has touched me and I thank you for it.

  21. Sinsade says:

    Raven, your words inspire and comfort. You truly have a gift. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

  22. Andrea says:

    This is great! I loved reading every minute of it! Almost my ENTIRE life, I've been fat. All through elementry school I got "mooed' at. Middle School I got called a "heffer". And in High school (the first 2 years) I got ignored and the occasional dirty look. Well, I finally lost weight and I finally started getting attention, but not the kind I intended to get. I had people grabbing me, calling me "baby", and people just down right disrespecting me. So, in skinny people's defense, they have problems too! hahaha. Well, I'm big again. Granted not as big as I was but still big! But I'm jolly! =D hahaha. Well, I've come to find out in my experience in being a "fat chick" that its all in the way you carry it! Hold your head up high and strut your stuff! =D When you show confidence, most men tend to take notice. And if you get funny glances from the skinny girls when you cross the "plus size line", just smile and wave! hahaha. Besides, ask the majority of men (at least the one's I know) and they'll tell you that think the models are hot, but they'd rather have a "thick" girl with curves.

  23. ashley says:

    Very Good Article ! and Full of inspiration! There are beautiful women in the media such as Camryn Manheim, Queen Latifah, whom both modeled for Lane bryant. I love this article, well put together. 🙂

  24. christina says:

    i agree.last month my grandmother had some extra money and she decided to by me some clothes and we went to a well known store(hint,hint:it starts with a"g" and also has oody's in the name and i was so upset about not being able to find anything in my size that i broke down in tears and i only wear a size 24 so what about me.if you feel the same way PLEASE PLEASE e-mail me at
    LADYDOWNLOW35057@YAHOO.COM

  25. *kill_ur_idols* says:

    thanks so much raven, for this article- not only is it a reading delight, it embodies the synthetic issues that suffocate the female persona.

    @ the commencing of the year, my boyfriend (ex at present, for the right reasons..lol) passed a remark like "ooooh ur getting a bit chubby around there!" -evidently my self-esteem plumeted and i felt worthless in the scheme of things. did every1 think this of me? was there any worth in going outside when all i thought was that people were thinking how huge i was?

    i stopped eating and things went downhill. i went to work, past out and hit my head on a "safety rail". i had fractured my right cheek and i was an abundance of bruises. i did this all in the name of conforming to the media ideal.

    im a size 10/12 and i still feel like i have to be sum1 else, infact prior to reading this article this morning, i was contemplating whether or not i still wanna go to an inflames gig next week, purely b'cos i have a frame of mind where i think the world whispers behind my back.

    once these attitudes are engraved in ur mind, it is so incredibly difficult to wipe the negativity away and start afresh. however thanks raven, ..really great!

    look what the conforming to the media stereotype got me: a fracture, endless lectures about not eating, iron defficeny, a body that became susceptible to sickness afterwards.. and a mental scar for life. whats the worth? beauty magazines promote low self-esteem.

  26. walkaway_grim says:

    I would just like to say that although most of the country may by sexist but i have found that men aren't always drooling over some size 8 chick. my Boyfriend has said to me numerouse time that most of his mates actuly like the chicks with clurves instead of the boney sticks the media presses on us. he has said numerous time that i am perfect in every way and noe that i have thought about it i must say that i believe him. i am only a size 12-16 but even shopping for coths like everyone else wears is uncomffortable. i think i have it easy because i have someone who will support me. what about those larger chicks who have no one because no one cares enough to look at thier soul not the shape and/or build of thier body…

    so i must say that you sound like one of those people who will take time to look into some one raven.

  27. moogs says:

    i'm about a size 14. and like so many other girls my size, i am constantly watching what i eat and trying millions of diets that either dont work or dont have lasting effects. it's extremely frustrating because those few who have that microscopic waist size were born with that gift…or have become that way through unhealthy means. i used to have compulsive bolemia, and every once in a while i go back to that.
    i just wanted to thank you raven, this article really eases some tension.

  28. Amelia says:

    I recently read a book called "the beauty myth" by Naomi Wolf. It goes into a lot of what you are saying in greater detail, and i feel that if you enjoyed reading this article, then perhaps you should further your reading with this book.

  29. Lynn says:

    At 45, I'm probably a bit older than the rest of the readers, and can remember when plus-size clothes were from size 18 up–all the 12s, 14s, and 16 were in the normal size department. Clothing sizes have changed significantly in the past 20 years, so when The Author claims that MM was a size 16, it's probably equivalent to an 6 or 8 in today's sizes. Also, remember that women today have the advantage of much more knowledge about exercise and diet (and more affordable plastic surgery) than women of 20 or 30 years ago–the trend is toward increasing thinness. It always has been, as women have become more dependent, worn more revealing clothes, and have been encouraged to be more active. As a 45-year-old woman, and having been fat all my life, I realize that all the lies about being beautiful in spite of being fat are just that–lies. Ultimately, the reasons behind the perception of thinness as beauty don't matter. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the beholders are men. The absolute truth is that men, especially American men, DO NOT LIKE heavy women. It's not their fault, that just the way things are. (I've heard of so-called chubby-chasers, but I think they're an urban myth.) So, if you want the man, the job, or a different life, get busy, diet, exercise, and get thin. If not, just face the fact that you're not good-looking, forget about men, settle for the job that you can hired for, etc. You can still have a happy, great life–you can have anything you want, just not everthing you want.

  30. Sacha says:

    I think you wrote a wonderful article but where did you get this "statistic" from? Not all of them are accurate, and I surely wouldn't trust anything I saw in a magazine. I was reading a magazine (I can't remember which one) that said 33% of women were obese and a few pages down, claiming 1/7 of women are obese (in Canada). Sorry if you cited a source already on your page, I must have missed it if it's here somewhere

  31. Veronica says:

    It is ridiculous to say that being thin is not a healthy ideal. Of course starving yourself, or trying to be thin by an unhealthy means is not a good idea, but being thin is not a bad idea at all.
    People in America need to realize that they need to start taking more of a personal responsiblity for their health. There was a woman who said they were "only" a size 24, that is not healthy! There are a lot of health problems and risks associated with obesity that cannot be ignored. It cannot be socially acceptable for people to be sedentary and eat fatty processed foods. Most other countries do not have as much of an obesity epidemic. Westernized countries allow people to be lazy and be instantly gratified by food. I think we need to find other things in our lives that satisfy us besides food. If you feel the need to complain about being overweight, then you probably should rethink your lifestyle.

  32. Jon says:

    I just figured I would chime in as another male on the subject. I always appreciate criticism or subjective comments on my writing, so I hope this is all taken lightly.

    I'm 5'10" and weigh about 160 lbs. My biggest problem is that I'm not tall enough. I know this article is about weight in general, but somehow, I think this relates. Truly, my height has always made me feel inferior and lowered my self esteme. Even though this may not seem necessarily short, I struggle with my insecurities in the corporate jungle every day. I get the "cute guy" comment from girls, and never the "sexy man". I'm tired of always looking up to everyone, even the people that work for me.

    If I could change it I would. A man should be tall, dark, and handsome. I'm not necessarily unattractive, and I've done my share of tanning, but some things you cannot change.

    When I was a heavier person, I could appreciate the challenge of being able to make a change. Weight really is a health issue and should be viewed not from the perspective of trying to achive a "look" portrayed in a magazine or by a model, but rather approached from the perspective of a particular level of health. Leading a healthy lifestyle just has the positive advantage of looking better. Viewing it the other way around is like putting the cart before the horse.

    "But not everyone can just lose weight, it's genetic." Someone once told me that if you believe it can be done, you can make it happen. Nothing is impossible. I think what makes it hard is the way to lose weight is so often incorrect. The key is living a healthy lifestyle and exercise plus learning how you personally matabolize food. So many "snake oil" cures are so easily found today like "diet pills (really bad idea), "Low carb diets (again, another unhealthy option), "purging (very dangerous), and even surgery. Instant results litteraly contradict the idea of beauty in it's purest form. A mask cannot change that, and these ideas are simply an attempt to "hide" the truth. The truth is hard to accept sometimes and I agree that the female ideal, or the girl on the cover, makes this seem like a rediculous task. But what you see in magazines, on tv, and in the movies is not the truth. And it will always be there, no matter how much you disagree with it. There is a better answer than screaming at the walls to deaf ears, it's called reality. Turn off the tv, put down the magazine, and go take a walk outside. Look around you at the real people you see. So many times I have seen the world around us compared to what is being displayed on a tv. Can you believe that? It's true, think about it. Where do these ideals come from? Why do you think advertisers use women that look like that? It's because it sells a product. Or lest we forget, tv is an advertising tool, and it's in everyone's house. It's not a link to the real world, it's an ad running 24/7 like a bill board in our living rooms. Of course the women are 95 lbs. and of course the man are all 6'4" with perfect bicepts and cut abs. That's what these products can do for you (or so they claim). This is not the real world. Ever wonder why tv is free? It's not. It costs money to make shows and play movies. Who pays for it? Advertising.

    At least there is an answer to the problem. Since platform shoes went out with medalions, I can't really solve my height issue. Maybe I should write a rant called "No Short Guys" and blow off a little steam. Hehehe…

    Men are attracted to many types of women, not one. The ideals of the perfect woman based on what you see in advertisements are not real. They are there to sell. The intentions of advertisers are not to make a woman's life hell, they are to sell products that make money. Unfortunately, the secret is to show "the proof in the pudding". We all know deep down that a big huge fat man cannot tell you how to lose weight. He can talk all day, but look at him, he's fat, so obviously whatever he's doing is not working. So we use the lean muscular guy and we can "see" that the product works. That's the long and short of it.

    To sum up: Turn off the tv or shoot it. Stop obsessing over magazines, and get real. Go outside. Get out of the vicious circle. If you are beautiful on the inside, then it will show on the outside. Everyone has the power to make a change, and it doesn't mean you have to try to weight less.

  33. Natasha says:

    That was so incredibly great!!
    AMEN!!

  34. Chris says:

    as an artist, this particular post hits a very personal chord. in all honesty bony women are not fun to draw. (unless you consider holocaust victims a good time) To me, if you really see a skinny waiflike creature as beautiful why not just go for a skinny guy? i mean honestly, most of these "gorgeous" models look like emaciated guys. the common argument is that beauty is on the inside while this is true, the issue is that most people are afraid of the first impression. people make a judgement in the first thirty seconds of seeing a person, its natural. but first impressions are NOT everything. i wonder what did people think of Einstein when he walked into the room?? my second point bones are meant to be under the skin. I repeat under the skin. one's pelvis shouldnt be jutting out a mile and a half. i was watching one of those awful clip shows on VH1 and a very… feminine man was talking about how great tara reids hip bones looked in her – sized hip (or lack thereof) huggers. my only thought was "what ever happened to women like elizabeth taylor and marilyn Monroe being attractive.(and dont even get me started on fake breasts). this whole issue is men's fault. somewhere down the line one of us said "wow twiggy looks like the most beautiful peace of chicken wire iv'e ever laid eyes on"and then we destroyed the stability women were working so hard to achieve. We're sorry Ms anthony you cant have the right to vote because your too big. thanks alot guys now we can all have a negative self image.ill just say this women you are part of the human race as are we all (excluding Bill Oreilly) that in and of itself makes you beautiful.

  35. Belinda says:

    A store I used to frequent with my mother when I was a child, Fashion Bug, had two entrances side by side in the mall F.B and F.B. PLUS. I was so skinny but was still embarrassed to walk into that side of the store. Now I might have reason to be with a massive weight gain 45 pounds in 6 months caused by depression. It's so much harder to lose than to gain. So even skinny girls are plauged with the dread that one day they might have to choose the fat door. And fat girls live with constant hope to one day enter the "normal side"

  36. Angie says:

    I'm like 4'll and I weigh well over 200 lbs. I never realized how the size chart is so sexist. I have to admit me, being 15 it's amazingly hard to live in today's world. I'm a size 22/24 and to be 15 shopping with grandmothers and mothers of three its hard and embarassing. And not to mention the guys that are butt faces and dont think that us, big girls are attractive. Actually as you get older the opposite sex starts to look at your personality more. In order to stay alive every day I look at everyday as " Well there's another day that might be better ahead." Take life one day at a time and enjoy my people!! Life is too short to be worried about, how tall you are or how "fat" you are. We should be focused on how many times we are telling our mothers we love them! Love life and have fun some of the time! – Love you all!!! Anyone with comments or ways to help me, during my "dark moments" – soulblazinsista@Yahoo.com

  37. Ashalee says:

    Well as a 15 year old who weighs aout 190 i can tell you that alot of the judgement comes from girls too. Most of my friends (girls) are like a size 9 and under while I am anywhere from a 9-15 depending on style and brand. But i have found that in stores like Wal-Mart and K-Mart it is very difficult to find stylish ((or even just clothes i like)) that fit me. I also notice that plus size clothing cost more,take Hot-Topic for example and countless other stores that charge anywhere from $5-20 more just for "plu sizes". Its ridicuous and its nice to know there are lots of men out there who enjoy a full figured women rather than a little twig.

  38. jade says:

    yes i totally agree..im a big girl myself …i wear a size 11…and seeing all those pretty thin girls with toothpick figures makes me feel really insecure…i've tried to become anorexic on purpose..and my friend assured me that i dont need to lose weight…she said i was prettier than she was anyways…but now that i read your rant i can go around and hold my head up high knowing that there are more women in the world just like me than anything else..i can look at the stereotypical people and say 'Ha!!! im more normal than you'll ever be!!!' thanx for writing that rant…elegant beauty, jade

  39. abby says:

    im over weight i weight 213 and i am five feet seven and my hubbie is 58 and he weight 215 and he call me fat heck my breast weight 10 pound each so what he got sot say for that , he realy hurt me but im afraid he going to leave me for be over weight abby

  40. chevyman says:

    As a guy who read this article (and most of the responses), i have to agree with Andrea posted July 3. Sure the models are hot…but that is not what i want to be with. I would much rather have a girl with curves. I also think there are some health risk to being too overweight. But as long as you are healthy and happy, stop worrying about weight and dress sizes, they are just numbers. I am 6'4" about 185 lbs. My girlfriend is 5'2" and i really dont know her weight but we are no where near the "perfect" size for either gender. I am much more attracted to personality than looks. (Except that i really am not attracted to very skinny girls who look sick.) I am 22 years old also, so its not just older men who place more emphasis on personality. I think women need to quit obsessing over their looks and they would be much happier. Also as a side note, I would rather see a natural girl with no makeup than a bean pole clown girl.

  41. Nikki says:

    I agree completely with your article. I've just recently bought a bikini, and I'm not the skinniest person ever (I weigh 120, and I'm 17). I'm normal size, but of course there's the "flab" that every normal sized girl frets about! What will the hot guys at the beach think of me? Will they see my rolls when I sit? And now I want to start cramming in excercise when I clearly need to study for my finals. F*** YOU MEDIA, this is all your fault. When will society view real girls and women as their ideal? All we can do is pray for that time to come soon.

  42. Leigh Mack says:

    I think this fat trend is due to our society changes. Today, people can buy food 24/7, buy at a wholesale club – in super size, McDonalds always asks "you want to supersize (you) that"? Hmmmm, also more TV channels and inernet may mean more just sitting around watching and eating all those large food quantities.

    Both men and women are fatter now than ever. Look at all the drugs on the market and medical proceedures that deal with diet and weight. Well, why don't people work out or do PT (physical training)? They would feel better and live longer. If you are 50 lb or 100 lb overweight how many years do you think your cutting off your life? How much more time will you spend at the doctor's office for problems related to being overweight?

    I went to college in the late 80s and I remember the "No Fat Chicks" bumper stickers. I personally could never be sexually attracted to an overweight woman. I have tried and I have no desire to kiss them let alone anything else. I am 6'-0", 184 lb and work out to keep myself looking good for women. This is just the way I am wired; my girlfriend is 5'-0" and a size 1. I have dated women that are 5'11" (size I don't know) but they weighed 160lb but looked good. The women like this are interested in keeping in shape for health sake and feel good about working out. They realize it will allow them to live longer and happier.

    In China most women are HWP. It is mainly the US that has this fat issue. So why can't American women keep in shape? I believe 90% of these women are lazy and/or have never worked out – ever. So in my book "no fat chicks" is a strong feeling I have and I agree with.

  43. Dani Marie says:

    This is so true . I myself am considered pretty sexy by all my peers … Im a size 11 – 13 and weigh 150 … I find it so funny that the " preppy" girls weigh 110 and wear a size 3 but still think they are fat … I always think … wow , where's the sex appeal in that ?!? She'll break in half if you hug her ! And with that thought I've kepy my confidence .

  44. Tamsine says:

    Out of all of the articles I've read on this site, this one is definately my favourite. i myself am 17, and I weigh 170. I'm only five foot tall, and I know what common society would think if they heard of a 5' 170lb teen. Obese. But you know, I find myself attractive. I feel lucky that at this weight, I still look relatively good. This article made me appreciate it even more. I'm proud that I can wear sexy clothes and not feel ashamed, and I'm VERY happy that by national quota, my dress size is under the norm. Thanks Raven, you're like my morning cup 'o joe. <3

  45. mr choppy says:

    spoken like a truly fat person

  46. Jess says:

    Wow. Thank you so much. I have had extreme problems with this for many many years. I have been obsessed with losing weight. Depression. People tell me that I need to gain weight but all I want to do is lose it. No matter how much I lose, it is never enough. Some days I can't watch tv at all because it just depresses me even more to be reminded that I am not good enough. It is so nice to hear this from a real man. Thank you.

  47. Sean says:

    America is with Britain and Australia as the fattest nation on Earth.

    Why denigrate men for desiring women who are truely desireable?

    Your logic that 'normal women are fat so you should be happy with that' is retarded. If I got to a used car lot and all they have are clunkers, am I supposed to just pick one? No, I'll go to another lot that has cars in better shape.

    Problem is, most people can't easily move to another country, can they? They have to sift through the chaff looking for the wheat.

  48. Lee says:

    The sexiest girls have lean physiques, narrow hips, and small toned butts. Women with a bit of weight usually have flatter wider asses. Skinny girls have cute well shaped behinds that are perky and tone and that’s what is sexy. The skinnier and leaner a girl is the smaller, firmer, and better shape her ass gets, which is as important as a bright and beautiful face. When a girl gains weight it only covers her figure with shapeless layers of fat which hides the character and beauty of her muscle and bone structure. Skinny girls have more shape to their arms and legs too, you can actually see some muscle tone, unlike women with “full figures” whose arms and legs are shaped like sausages. I’m not advocating an eating disorder or anything, skinny and lean can be achieved through a healthy diet and exercise.

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