naked: keep calling bullshit on the beauty ideal

gwyneth_paltrow_oscars.jpg
Do you remember this Oscar dress Gwyneth Paltrow wore? This image is burned into my head. I recall thinking, when I first saw it, that flashing your tits at a red carpet, formal event was probably not the classiest thing in the world to do, but I figured when you’re beautiful and have a nice rack, you’re going to be into showing it around town. That kind of bodaciousness should be shared with the world.

Here’s why I really remember the whole thing: the next day, in the Oscar fashion roundups, the vitriol poured on her pretty blonde head. Not because she was wearing something a little trashy–though that came up, of course–but because she was not wearing a bra, and her breasts looked saggy. Saggy! They were calling a pair of small, well-formed perfectly natural breasts saggy because they were not rack-and-pinnioned and plumped and hauled up underneath her chin, the way they are, apparently, supposed to be.



I was reminded of the whole thing when I saw Fleshbot’s salute to little boobs
(so NSFW!), a collection of gorgeous girls with little boobs. And it
reminded me that bodysnarking is not a new practice, that it goes far
beyond too skinny! too fat! and no one is safe from being told that
they are wrong in some way. Cellulite, and boobs that are the wrong size, and thighs that are too big and an amazing body that is still not good enough, ever.

It’s
not new news–it is old news that never, ever gets any better, or ever
stops making me sad. But things like Fleshbot’s celebration of little
boobs, like the Women En Large project, a collection of beautiful fat nudes, like Weetabix’s Cellulite Challenge (why haven’t you sent in a picture?), the This is What Beautiful Looks Like photo pool, the BMI project, our own Pictures of You
project, are so important. They call bullshit on the idea that we are
broken because we are not the current ideal. We need to keep getting
together and calling bullshit.

  7 comments for “naked: keep calling bullshit on the beauty ideal

  1. July 17, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Man, I wish my boobs were as “saggy” as Gwyneth’s!

  2. Alyssa
    July 17, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I’d still like to line up all the magazine/online editors/fashion”experts,” etc. and make them strip naked so the rest of us could comment on THEIR bodies. See how they like it!
    Yeah, actors are paid lots of money to look good, yada yada yada. What ends up happening is that actors are paid lots of money to have serious eating disorders and to work out 4 hours a day, then to put their sickly-thin bodies (covered in Spanx) on the red carpet for the rest of us to emulate.
    No thanks!

  3. jen
    July 17, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    That dress is ugly and unattractive, and the only possible appeal is the flashing aspect — though even that seems sad somehow.
    The problem with screaming at the beauty ideal is that no one is there to listen and say, “you’re right, we are full of shit. Guess we should cut it out.” This bullshit sells a lot of magazines, clothes, and beauty products.
    We don’t have to keep playing the game, though. Because if Gwenyth can’t win, who can? We can stop buying the crummy magazines that sell this kind of crazy, and live our lives. That’s the only real way to fight back.

  4. Anonymous
    July 19, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    All I can say is we are being brainwashed that overpumped scars are the beauty ideal of breasts.

  5. mary
    July 23, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Man, you gotta say if the sites you link are work safe! I opened salute to little boobs, thinking it was a blog entry!!

  6. July 23, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I’m sorry! That’s what the “so NSFW!” parenthetical was for!

  7. VGal
    August 6, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    That picture does not do the dress its proper “justice”, cause it was truly horrifically bad.
    I’m sorry but that dress was hideous and NOT flattering on her. And Gyn, of all people should know that she MUST wear a bra. Even tho she’s small, she’s sagging and that’s not attractive. On ANYONE.

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