(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum, May 16th, 2004, as a follow-up to the above comments.)
This project arose both out of love, and out of sheer frustration. It suddenly dawned on us just how ridiculous it was to be poring over mass-market fashion glossies every month, hoping to find at least one, single, tiny image of a plus-size model tucked away in a corner somewhere. And once Myrna Blyth's damning expose, Spin Sisters,
revealed that the "mixed messages" in said magazines were not the result of editors not knowing any better, but rather, of a calculated
effort at amplifying and exploiting women's insecurities, we realized that a healthier source of beautiful images was badly needed.
Also disturbing on the magazine front is how the most "progressive" periodicals cynically reinforce the false duality of "glamorous beauty vs. homely reality." For their fashion spreads, they still resort to straight-size models decked out in exciting clothing, enhanced by all of the cosmetic adornments that the top hair/makeup artists can provide, and shot in the most favourable manner possible by the world's greatest fashion photographers. But for topics related to size, they offer "reality" (i.e., unattractive, non-professional models, presented it in the most unappealing manner possible). This leaves the deck aesthetically stacked in favour of the anorex-chic standard, at the expense of plus-size beauty.
Throughout Western history, full-figured femininity was neither a marginal standard, nor a representation of "reality," but, rather, the dominant ideal of womanly beauty. Hopefully, the Pinacotheca will reveal that suppressed truth to contemporary readers--trapped as they are within the ideological walls of the modern world.
Titian, Flora, c.1520-22: