This lunchtime a friend sent me a link to this slide show from MSN Life & Style, showcasing the 10 Celebrity Body Shapes we Love. My friend thought I might appreciate the generous application of the word “curvy” in what he deemed an “insidious and dangerous” feature.
(Almost) all images from MSN Life & Style
Dangerous is the word. I worry greatly about the mixed messages high school girls (and younger) are getting about their bodies these days. Too thin = bad, too fat = wrong, Cheryl Cole = just right (but only now, after she and her girl-next-door, slimmer-than-average Girls Aloud bandmates were put on a strict diet and exercise regime that saw a steady weightloss for the few years after they first made it big…)
I will never understand why Dita is described as curvy. She wears a corset that gives her an 16 inch waist, yes, but she is the tiniest of women and there’s not an inch of flesh to her. This dress gives the impression of flesh, and I’ve no doubt that she has a naturally hourglass shape, but to hail her as a curvaceous role model is downright iresponsible. I adore her, but with its current connotations of voluptuousity, “curvy” is not a word she should ever be attributed.
Drew Barrymore was better when she was natural (as in Charlie’s Angels) – looks positively ill now regardless of what they say. Just look at her back!
Kate, Kelly and Scarlett are three of my favourite ladies ever – Kate for finding a happy medium, Kelly for being just “as is and ever was” and Scarlett for being the woman I’d kill to look like! But none of them is a particularly accessible role model for body confidence. They have found a way to be accepted into the Hollywood norm despite being larger (except in teeny Ms Johansson’s case) than your size 2 average starlet, and for managing that within the existing constraints they are praise-worthy. But every single one would look extraordinarily slim standing alongside your average-sized British (or American) woman. I’m not saying we (average-sized women collectively, as a nation) couldn’t stand to lose a few pounds for our health’s sake, but to label any of these celebs as curvy is plain ridiculous.
Now, to get onto a favourite subject of mine, Christina Hendricks (conspicuous by her absence in this list) is a different matter. I’ll be interested to see whether she eventually bows to pressure, but have great expectations of her sticking to her guns and staying plus size. She had roles when she was slimmer that didn’t take off as Joan Holloway has, so her shape has become part of her brand image. The Hollywood climate has been softened by the aforementioned not-actually-all-that-curvy women with their happy mediums, complemented by the endless documentaries and makeover shows that have aclimatised us to shaplier forms. And she’s arrived at the right moment economically too: as she hit right around crunch time, the concept of “plenty” she epitomises has become aspirational in a way that only our subconscious can explain.