Normal-size Me

lizzie-miller_pose

Lizzi Miller in the September 2009 Glamour

Those of you who are too intellectual (or too busy) to read the media gossip rags might have missed the latest buzz. Apparently, Glamour Magazine is publishing a picture of a model.

No, wait — not just any model. They are publishing a picture of a model who looks like a, well, less like a model and more like a regular person.

0303-lizzie-miller_at

Another shot of Lizzi Miller.

Lizzi Miller is described as a size 12 “plus-sized” model. That means she has what we euphemistically call “some meat on her bones.”

She is a very attractive woman, who happens to have a little extra on her belly and thighs. You know, just like the overwhelming majority of people in the Western hemisphere. Oh, hell, most people have quite a bit more than just a little bit extra, don’t they? But for some reason, fashion magazines constantly throw imagines at us of women who are a size 2 or smaller.

From the little bit that I know about fashion design, it seems that designers prefer to work with thin models because it’s easier to work with fabric, cuts, colors, accessories, etc. At least, that’s what I’ve read.

But that doesn’t explain why millions of us continue to buy various Conde Nast publications that show models — women and men — with musculature visible underneath 3% body fat, tanned, toned, and wearing clothing that costs more than a car payment — or in some cases, more than an actual car. Is it because we want to look like that? Is it because we think that we should look like that?

I don’t have any answers, but then, neither do sociologists.

It’s interesting to note that last year, a British magazine published a very graphical result of a survey in which men and women were shown pictures of women of various sizes, and were asked to rate them on attractiveness. Not surprisingly, women tended to favor the models with smaller bodies; the reasoning was that women tended to judge based on their own perception of what the “ideal” body type should be. More interestingly, the men tended to favor those models who were several sizes larger than what the women favored.

The ideal woman's body. Sizes are British; in US terms they are 14, 10, and 18, respectively.

The ideal woman's body. Sizes are British; in US terms they are 14, 10, and 18, respectively.

Ironically, the national average size is even a few sizes larger than what the men favored. I’m sure that this says something, but I’m not sure what.

About Tom Allen

The Grey Geezer Dauntless defender of, um, something that needed dauntless defending. Dammit, I can't read this script without my glasses. Hey, you kids, get off my damn lawn!
This entry was posted in Appearance, Body Image, Eye Candy, Media. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Normal-size Me

  1. Lois says:

    I’ve always been a fan of plus-size models! There’s a great site with lots of images of plus-size models here:

    http://www.judgmentofparis.com/

    They’re all gorgeous.

  2. Jester says:

    One of the things on my list of ‘Things to do with the money if I ever become stupid rich’ is start a magazine with pictures like this. Women that are curvier, or older, or otherwise don’t meet the narrow-minded requirements of ‘mainstream’ girlie magazines. You know, /real/ women. The kind of women you see around you every day and would happily take to bed in a heartbeat, but that you’d never find in Playboy.

    Thus, my way of saying that I think a girl is hot is to go “I’d put her in my magazine.”

    I only say it to myself, mind. If I said it out loud nobody would know what I’m talking about.

  3. susan's pet says:

    Hey, I will take any size 16 and up without looking. Faces are nice, but you just have to think of that lovely feeling under your hands when they go alongside her body. Then there is the tongue: fat makes the world taste good.

    Thin women, or women who want to be thin are entitled to their feelings. There are men and women who appreciate them. But the bottom line is always about curves, be it breasts, hips, thighs, or legs. Without some fat, there are no curves.

    Without curves, there are no women. Look at any thin men or boys and you will see what I mean.

  4. Fusion says:

    No “stick chicks” for me either, I feel like they’d break in an embrace. I have always been attracted toward the “national average” or more. I don’t get why the mags put such unrealistic models on their covers, and then you hear the women complaining about it. Maybe if those women stopped buying the issues, things might change.

  5. Jz says:

    day-um!
    Where are you guys when I’m lookin’?

    p.s. Jester- it *might* win you points if you say it out loud. 😉

  6. maymay says:

    This may mean nothing, but why is the picture of “Men’s Ideal” the only model who’s facing away from the camera?

  7. Elle says:

    Well gee, I think I’m smaller than all of them. I usually feel ok about my size/body but when I read stuff like this, with men saying things like “no stick chick for me” and how great curves feel… well you know? It doesn’t feel that great. So yeah, ironically, one can still feel too skinny in today’s society.

    I remember once seeing something on the web about too skinny celebrities and the comments left me feeling pretty bad. They were all about how these women were gross, must have eating disorders, etc. But I assure you I eat plenty. I’m just made this way…

    It’s weird, actually. While I can find myself feeling too skinny, I can also find myself feeling “fat”. Well ok, I should never say the word fat when talking about myself, but I mean, I can feel like my butt , my thighs or my belly are a bit too big, flabby, whatever. Have you seen the girls in the magazines? It’s hard to see that and not compare yourself.

    Yes, I know, it’s all lighting effects, photoshop, makeup, etc. That’ll make ANY woman look amazing 😉 I’ve said this before, in fact: every woman should go through a magazine-type photoshoot, to see that she, too, can look like that! It should be a lesson thought to little girls in schools. This society has a LOT of work to do yet with body image.

  8. Elle says:

    “a lesson taught”

    not thought

    Ops!

  9. havingmycake says:

    I think that’s a great idea! We should all have a proper photoshoot to learn to feel good about ourselves and see that with proper lighting, makeup, hair… and airbrushing, we can all look like the models.

    I never buy glossies any more. Full of gossip about people I dont know and their yoyo diets. Back in the 70s they were the reason I became anorexic in the first place. Now, three decades on, I eat well but Im lucky enough to have developed a metabolism that burns it off very quickly.

    Sometimes, my body can be pretty sharp if Ruf lies on the wrong place but he’s got a good covering so, despite being pretty fit, we dont often get bone clash 🙂 He has a six pack but it’s hidden beneath a good fat cushion. If you want to be able to withstand punches, you need some padding! I think guys who are too muscly look odd.

  10. Blacksilk says:

    Excellent post, Tom. I’m glad this magazine is using a ‘bigger’ woman, but it’s sad to think that this kind of thing is news.

    There’s been a couple of magazines that I read doing this sort of thing: Scarlet, who used both a larger model (UK size 14, I believe) and an older model (in her mid-forties, IIRC), as well as Bizarre, who’ve used April Flores numerous times on the front cover, but it’s all too rare. And those are magazines that go against the grain anyway.

    I’ve a fairly wide taste range in women, dammit! I demand some more meat as well as the ones with ribs! It’s just unhealthy to make what is not the norm, and what would be a dangerous weight for some women, seem normal and indeed the be-all and end-all.

    Plus, this lady is hot.

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  13. Bean says:

    There’s something really problematic about referring to women larger than fashion models as “real” women. Because while their images may be doctored, I have no doubt that those models are also “real” women. (What else would they be?)

    Just sayin’.

    And Tom, I’m approximately in the size 2-4 range in American women’s clothing, were I to buy it. At least, according to everything I can find online.

    Nevertheless, I still carry more body weight around my belly and thighs than anywhere else.

    I have absolutely no doubt that even photographs of size “0” fashion models are heavily photoshopped. You may have seen the links to online portfolios for people who do that sort of photo “touching up” – models get “fat” shaved off their bellies, thighs, calves, butts, and even upper arms before those photos ever go to print.

    The lack of reality in magazines is partially due to their choosing models who do not reflect average body types. But if you ask me, the photo retouching has a much, much greater influence on what we think we “should” look like – fashion models are meant to look “perfect,” and that goes beyond just size…into creating an image of something which literally doesn’t exist.

  14. Elle says:

    Bean: Exactly! What’s worse, if a woman who’s a bit heavy manages to lose enough weight to be in the same range as those models, then notices she still has fat around her tummy and thighs (cuz it’s not photoshopped, in real life…) what will she do? go on dieting? I’m a size 0 to 3 (depending on the line of clothing) and guess what? My belly and thighs do have a bit of fat. Oh, I am not fat by any means, but the body fat is there nonetheless. I imagine it’s just normal, but on my bad days, those parts bother me and make me feel bad. And it shouldn’t.

    All this to say, we just need to accept the way we look. It’s unhealthy not to. Makes our lives miserable for something oh, so shallow!

  15. bella says:

    Um I’m a size 2. I don’t have an eating disorder. I’m 5”5, weigh 116 lbs and I still have belly fat. I don’t look like any of these 3 women. My bf (as well as most of the men I have dated in my life) prefers petite women so I don’t really mind but something keeps nagging at me, making me feel like I’m less than ‘ideal’ because I happen to be small.

    I don’t see why there has to be an ‘ideal’ anything. Women should be represented (and celebrated) by many different shaped models; curvy, thick, thin, etc etc. There shouldn’t be one ideal representation of what “most” men want or what “most” women prefer to look like.

    It’s insulting to tell people that they shouldn’t be happy with their own bodies because they don’t fit into the standards. I think if you’re healthy and fit and eat well and take care of yourself, you should be happy with your body no matter what your size.

  16. susan's pet says:

    Dear Bella,

    You are right when you say, “Women should be represented (and celebrated) by many different shaped models; curvy, thick, thin, etc etc. There shouldn’t be one ideal representation of what “most” men want or what “most” women prefer to look like.”

    It is that way. The reason why this stick figure so-called models make a living being thin is because of some idiotic male who decides what is the right look for a female.

    You have the equipment, and you use it to your advantage. You will not satisfy all males or females with the result, but who gives a damn? It is what you do with it that counts on the end. Enjoy what you have!

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  19. So sexy , and potent post . I adore this visual and almost everything associated to mistress!

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