(Originally posted on The Jugment of Paris Forum, January 27, 2004.)
Regrettably, our schedule no longer allows us to keep our "comments" pages updated by posting the many wonderful responses that we receive to the question, "Why does the media resist plus-size beauty?" (from our "Timeless Beauty" page). However, whenever a reader provides significant insight into this conundrum, we do make an effort to share her opinions with the public, via this forum.
Kathleen (who recently posted here as "Kathy") offers the following explanation as to why our media suppresses the timeless ideal of full-figured femininity:
I have always felt that today's media reflects today's society. That is one removed from nature, warmth and love of abundance and fleshy delights. Today's media covets that which is sparse, plastic and unmoving...cold and efficient and valuing denial of the senses. The beauty of opulent, warm-fleshed women is seen as out of place, a sign of lassitude and sloth. In my own humble opinion though, things always go full circle. The frantic pace of life today, the stress and deprivation that is expected of one, shall fall by the wayside and out of "fashion". Already, in small degrees, people are becoming weary of the restrictive expectations placed upon them by society. We are seeing a return of curves on women, a craving for the simple pleasures that have long been set aside. We women of lush curves are a symbol of that long-ago time when life, while hard, was more in tune with nature and her cycles. The fullness of women's flesh reminds us of the simple abundance of nature, hinting at days spent savoring rich foods, heady wines, and the freedom of men and women to enjoy each other's passions without regret. Sorry, I ramble!
Ramble on, Kathleen. Your words transport the reader away from the mundane world and into a fertile, Arcadian landscape. You identify precisely what we, as a culture, have lost in our unreflective drive to become "modern." However, the natural human desire for joy can only be suppressed for so long, and we will regain what we have lost.
Hendrick van Balen, The Feast of the Gods, c. 1616 (detail):
(Click the above image to view the painting in full.)