Foreheads, Flaws, and Fashion Statements (I’m looking at you Tyra Banks)

I had the great misfortune of stumbling onto a post by Tyra Banks telling ways to pose that hide your “Flaws” in pictures.  In this scenario fixes included:

  • Making your waist look smaller
  • Making it look like your thighs don’t touch
  • Making your calves bigger

Of course we’re all familiar with the obsession with small waists and thin thighs, but calves that are too small – I never even know that could be an issue…

I may go through my whole life not understanding how parts of our body that work can be considered flawed.  In the “before” picture Tyra’s apparently too-small calves seem to be holding her up without  incident.  Her forehead does a fine job of bridging the gap between her eyebrows and her hair.

I was complaining about this to a friend who said “Well, this is fashion – it’s what they have to do”.

So let’s talk about fashion then shall we?  First of all, I’m not a fatshionista at all.  While I understand the art in it and absolutely appreciate people who are into fashion – it’s just not my thing.  (To which anyone who knows me will attest).

So I don’t pay a lot of  attention and am completely fine with clothing coming in and going out of style.  Since I am fat and therefore limited in my shopping, I can sometimes be a slave to fashion since the Fat Girl Stores can have a tendency to all carry the same thing. (I still remember walking into Lane Bryant when it looked like 70’s threw up in there, turning around and finding the same scenario in three other stores.  I just had to cover my eyes and make my existing clothes last until that one went away.)

What I am not ok with is parts of people’s bodies going “out of  style”.  Perhaps I have a bigger chip on my shoulder than most because I have naturally curly hair.  I remember the days when everyone was paying a fortune to get hair that looked just like mine.  Now I read on a site for girls with naturally curly hair “We can’t expect to be respected in the workplace if we just walk in with our curls as they are.”  Really?  See, this is why I own my own business – people can respect me with my curls as they are or they can damn well take a hike.

I think it’s time to take a stand ladies.  I say it’s not ok for parts of our bodies to go “out of style”.  We are buying into this system and allowing it to continue and we can stop anytime we want.  A few examples to get us started:

Waif/Athletic/Curvy are not fashion statements.  They are body types.  See also Ectomorph, Mesomorph, Endomorph.  It’s effing science people – your body is your body, appreciate it.

Lips are not a fashion statement.  Why are we willingly putting on a product called  “Snake Bite”, gritting our teeth through the pain while it makes our lips swell.  Swelling is not good – it is a sign of INJURY.  Get a grip and an ice pack – your lips are perfect just as they are.

Tanning is bad for you.  Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad.  Skin bleaching is bad for you.  Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad.  Your natural skin color is beautiful on you.  Do you know how I know that?  Because it’s your NATURAL skin color.

Botox is botulism.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate – botox is a neurotoxin produced by the botulism bacteria (clostridium botulinum).  Oh, it’s not actually Botulism – it’s a neurtoxin  that causes paralysis?  I feel way better about this – inject away.  No, wait…don’t. I just remembered that it’s a  neurotoxin that causes paralysis.  I think I’ll just keep the lines on my forehead (which is perfect-sized thank you for asking).

And what is with all of this hair drama?  If you like to change your look with color, and products etc – that is awesome, knock yourself out.  If you are walking around exhausted because you get up two hours early to straighten your hair since curly hair is “out”, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy.

In the end I think it’s all about doing what makes you happy.  If your stomach is girdled, your lips are swollen, and your hair is fried, as long as it makes you happy I say go for it.  However, I think it might be worth it to give some thought to  source of the “happiness” – is it because you truly want thicker lips, or is it because you feel like you need to fit in to an artificial, arbitrary, standard of beauty?  Is that ok?  The answer is up to you, but I do think it’s worth a thought.

Published in: on July 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm  Comments (7)  

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I agree that we should celebrate our own bodies and not conform to what the “experts” say is “in” or not. A healthy attitude about our bodies should always be “in” in streamlined media and fashion circuits. Our poor daughters are fed this trash every single day and we need to stop the madness somehow. Through one blog post at a time I guess.

  2. I like what you added at the end about the source of this so-called “happiness.” I am not saying some women cannot feel empowered and enjoy just activities, but I think the knee-jerk response to legitimize it by claiming it makes you happy, so it’s empowering is very problematic. People do need to really think about their actual motivations behind such endeavors.

  3. Well said! Thank you!

  4. I love your blog posts – thank you!

  5. Although I enjoy my wavy hair, I considered straightening it when I heard about the “new” Brazilian process. Then I studied up on it.. turns out a major ingredient is formaldehyde. And it flakes off, and onto your skin and into your mouth (etc) as it wears off. Super insanely toxic. The people doing the process are supposed to wear masks to prevent breathing in the chemicals. Of course, they don’t give masks to the recipient… though why should they, since you’re already absorbing the chems through your scalp?!?! BIG FAT PASS!!

  6. I look at it the same way I would look at donning a costume. Body alteration, decoration and primping are done for the perks they give you. You are the one who has to judge whether a particular effect is worth the cost in terms of money, time and (physical as well as mental) health. It’s not entirely as frivolous as it appears.
    About the curly hair – I’d say enjoy it while you can. In the past decade due to age, my naturally thick curly hair has morphed into something a lot thinner with some wave to it. The good news is I can grow it downwards now instead of diagonally and sideways. Bad news is I still can’t grow it as long as I want.

  7. Thank you :) I’ve been told I have a “perfect” body shape by some of my friends, and they envy me. I tell them not to, I just do what I love: Martial arts, I’m healthy and happy with exercise and eating right. So many people think they won’t be happy until they’re “perfect” like a Barbie, but they’d be truly perfect if they were just happy and healthy. I have piercings and body mods not to try and look good for anyone else, but for myself. They make me happy and are my way of saying I love my body. I know some people wouldn’t agree with that, but it’s the only thign I change. I love my curly hair and my body. I make sure to pamper them. And I love you for this!


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