I’ve seen this picture pop up several times on my facebook feed. It’s been followed by a lot of likes and comments such as ‘Right?!’ or ‘Completely agree!!!’ At first, as someone who doesn’t fall into the ‘when did this’ category, my first reaction was a bit of the same. But you know what? My next reaction was disappointment at myself and all the women going ‘hell yeah!’ when they see this image.
Because you know, these women? They’re all paid to be beautiful. They’re all impossibly beautiful to begin with, and their livelihoods rest or rested upon them keeping up that appearance and perfecting it to the best of their abilities. The women in the ‘become hotter than this?’ category? If they were alive today and in their ‘prime’, maybe they would look like the women on top. Just maybe it says more about us than about them. And by saying ‘you, curvy lady, are better than these skinny ladies’, we’re setting up a paradigm in which no one wins. No one wins the oppression Olympics. At the end, you get a big fat ‘You lose!’ ribbon. There is nothing wrong with either set of women. They all share that they’re very beautiful women who are in an industry that requires perfect beauty, and they’re delivering it.
Here is a list of crazy diets. All are used by women, and some go back to the 1920s and 1950s. And you should try none of these. They’re all garbage terrible and unrealistic for normal people. However, if your job is to be thin and impossibly beautiful, you might see appeal in these diets and extreme measures. It’s a good bet that these ‘natural’ women in the bottom row were on some of these diets. It’s known that MGM put Judy Garland on a chicken broth diet and appetite suppressants to play Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz. I’m sure the lasting memory you took away from the Wizard of Oz was how attractive or fat Judy Garland was in her role.
What I’m saying is that these terrible standards have existed in Hollywood and entertainment forever. If you want to go into that field, this is what to expect. Is it going to change? Not if the public doesn’t change, and even then, executives might just ignore the public anyway. But to take these women, compare them, and pit their body types against each other? That’s ridiculous, and even if you feel bad about your curvy body, there’s an anorexic girl somewhere not eating who feels just as bad about her body. And by saying there is only one way to be sexy, or that one type of (impossibly beautiful and maintained to look like that) body is better than another, you’re not helping your cause. You’re making other women feel bad, and I would like that to stop.
Note: for those of you not familiar with the term “Oppression Olympics” here is urban dictionary. And here is Melissa Harris Perry, saying the words on the big TV (or internet screen) with Colbert: