I was recently thinking about this concept of "proportionate equality" (as opposed to the kind that we're more familiar with today, "numerical equality"), and of how the topic of this forum can actually illustrate it quite effectively.
Let's say that there was a plus-size magazine (such as the fondly-remembered Mode
). Today's reductive, "numerical" idea of equality would hold that every model should get the same number of layouts, images, etc. in it. But according to the tenets of proportionate equality,
the most gorgeous and talented models should get more
covers, etc., because their images have the best chance of persuading the public that full-figured women actually can
be gorgeous -- and therefore, of advancing the cause of size celebration.
I think the proportionate approach makes much more sense. The idea also applies to ad camaigns (the best models should appear more often), or, beyond modelling, to any field of human endeavour.
Reading this post over again, I was also struck by the relationship that is described between Lucy Snowe and Ginevra Fanshawe, and how this mirrors the mythological idea "Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus freezes,"
which came up in the most recent "Medieval Beauty" post:
In the example from Villette,
Lucy Snow plays the part of Ceres to Ginevra Fanshawe's Venus, with Lucy providing her fuller-figured blonde rival with the sustenance that Ginevra requires to augment her beauty. I wouldn't be surprised if Bronte has this mythological reference in mind, when she conceived of the relationship between these two characters.