So many cultures around the world reference their own aesthetic histories and traditions as a preferable alternative to globalized-media infiltration. I recently came across an article about how this is happening in Fiji.
This is particularly significant because studies have shown that in the South Pacific islands, where the people always venerated plus-size beauty throughout their history, women traditionally enjoyed positive body image, until the mass media and fashion magazines began showing up; then, almost overnight, eating disorders began to proliferate.
Anyway, the article in question notes the fierce public outcry against the organizer of a Fiji Fashion Week, who had championed anorexic-looking androgynous models and had slammed fuller-figured women.
What makes it significant is how the women who are quoted as being opposed to this modern vogue for emaciation reference their own ethnic heritage and culture to defend the plus-size ideal and to decry the underweight, alien aesthetic:
"What is wrong with the Pacific reality of large voluptuous women" said Ms Ali.
"Why do we need to promote an image that is less than 5 per-cent of the population and say that the 95 per-cent does not fit into the dictated image of beauty?
"We can define our own concepts of beauty and this is what we need to inculcate in our young people - that they are beautiful as they are and should not measure themselves by what they see in magazines and now, unfortunately, in local newspapers."
Adelle Khan, a model who participated in Ms Whippy's 2010 FFW show, said she thought organisers of the show would have been taking steps towards celebrating the voluptuous curves Pacific women are known for.
This shows, yet again, how important it is for women in North America to reconnect to their Old World heritage. These Fijian ladies refer to a "Pacific reality" of plus-size beauty, and call for their "own concepts of beauty," and champion "the voluptuous curves Pacific women are known for."
Well, we in the West had all of this too. We had a "European reality" of curvaceous beauty. "Our own" traditional ideals of femininity were full-figured. If people here could overcome their media-imposed cultural amnesia and rediscover their own blood-and-soil roots (whether they be Nordic or Slavonic or Mediterranean, etc., as Emily notes), we would realize that we have a curvy, traditional alternative to artificial media standards that we can call our own.