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Old 24th November 2009   #1
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Posts: 417
Default ''In Italy, I want amplitude'' (article)

Every once in a while, even in the modern media world, you come across little glimpses of sanity. This article is an example.

The writer is an underweight woman, a former Manhattanite now living in Italy, who has been positively influenced by the more curve-appreciative Mediterranean society. She has become dissatisfied with her emaciated figure, and longs for curves.,6794094.story

Where a little round is all right

In Italy, a full form is the look of a life lived fully.

By Nina Burleigh

3:57 PM PST, November 24, 2009

Writing From Rome

As Thanksgiving approaches, my friends at home are pondering how to endure holiday feasting and still slip into their size 0s, even though the wafer silhouette is overdue to be replaced as an ideal in these dire times. I have been away from Manhattan only five months and, suddenly, I want amplitude. Living in Italy, where all the women seem genetically curvaceous and not so troubled by extra flesh, natural ectomorphs like me seem like wraiths of the financial apocalypse. I just don't fit in among these robust specimens...

Forgive me if you want to look starved, but being skinny is not all it's cracked up to be. For one thing, I'm perpetually cold in winter. For another, my children will never remember snuggling against a soft shoulder. And my poor husband -- condemned to life in bed beside a skeleton.

The writer describes how being underweight is a condition of inadequacy, of lack, of want:

Italian women make me feel "meager." That is the word the Italians would use if they felt rude enough to explain how I look to them. The root of both the Italian and French words for thin (magro and maigre, respectively) is related to our word for not having enough. It is not at all a flattering word, not a pretty notion.

By contrast, the visual signs of feminine fullness are very pretty notions indeed, and the writer describes them quite sensually:

Frescoes of plump Madonnas suckling holy babies are on every wall here. All summer long, their rightful heiresses stroll the Italian streets, flesh spilling over necklines, hips rolling without shame. Their bosoms don't appear to be man-made either, and they are on display...

It's as if there is some subspecies difference between us, some Sophia Loren DNA they all share. Italian women are rounder than American women as a rule... I suspect it has something to do with generations of three-course lunches, consumed at leisure.

Admirably, in an inversion of the kind of body-diminishment propaganda that permeates modern society, the writer yearns for a way in which to augment her figure:

I know I can never eat my way to Sophia Loren's curves, but in order to put some meat on my bones, I have taught myself how to consume the customary Italian antipasto, pasta and secondi (preferably a slab of osso buco or a filet), followed by a dolce and a coffee at least a few times a week at dinner. When we got here, I used to watch people in restaurants tuck away this amount of food and shake my head in disbelief. Now I know how they do it. It's a way of eating, one that involves time but also, yogi-like deep breathing. Inhale the aroma, bring fork to mouth, taste, chew, swallow. Breathe deeply. Rest. Repeat.

What helps immeasurably, she notes, is the Italian cultural love of curves, and of seeing women eat generous portions:

The other night as I was practicing my newfound skills at one of these dinners, I sat next to a charming Italian gentleman of a certain age -- a diplomat, lawyer, musician and all-around Neapolitan charmer. We talked about olives, wine and Silvio Berlusconi, and every once in a while he murmured, "Grandissima Nina, grandissima," in an admiring tone. I overheard him saying the same thing to the woman on his left: "Grandissima Alessandra, grandissima."

The way it rolled off his tongue made me feel warm, extroverted, fascinating, large. I looked it up when I got home. It's the feminine form of grandissimo, a word that means "very large, tall, high, wide, deep or great."

Now, that is truly encouraging to read - a woman who feels good about feeling "large," and uses that word appreciatively, and knows that it makes her "fascinating."

"Large" is an inherently positive word, despite modern media brainwashing. It's the exact opposite of "meager," which is negative.

Best of all, she feels better about herself after experiencing weight gain:

I guess Italian women hear such compliments all the time. Today, after a month of more or less concerted eating, I notice that my pants are getting a bit tight. This pleases me...I feel a little less meager.

Ahh, grandissima Nina, grandissima!

In Italy, this writer freed herself from the media culture of New York, with its alien values, and reconnected to the natural, feminine appreciation of feeling "large," and of augmenting her curves. All women should feel this way.

Last edited by HSG : 29th December 2009 at 19:08. Reason: URL edited
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Old 29th December 2009   #2
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: ''In Italy, I want amplitude'' (article)

This wonderful article forms a natural complement to the "Greece Still Loves Curvy Beauty" story that Melanie posted a little while back. In the case of the Greek article, the writer was larger to begin with, while this story is written by someone who is underweight--but longs to be fuller-figured, and is "pleased" as she becomes so.

Imagine that. What a marvellous reversal of the false world of the media, where emaciated women are idealized, and full-figured goddesses resent the very curves that make them beautiful. In Rome, this writer entered the timeless world, a world permeated by the same healthy values that governed all of Western culture prior to the 20th century, a world where the fuller-figured a vixen is, the most beautiful she is, and where thinner women idealize such goddesses, and long to acquire their opulent curves.

By escaping the artificial environment of Manhattan and immersing herself in a more organic culture, one with deep historical roots, the writer awakened her natural, feminine appetite. She had her aesthetic compass righted, and recognized the appeal of true womanly beauty. The way in which she describes the well-fed women of Italy is unashamedly sensual. When she enthuses so poetically over the women's

flesh spilling over necklines, hips rolling without shame. Their bosoms don't appear to be man-made either, and they are on display,

she is specifically praising the figure features that these women acquired through uninhibited self-indulgence, through the pleasure of eating freely.

How fitting that these two articles, one praising the endurance of feminine beauty in Greece, the other in Italy, should have been published in close proximity. After all, the ancient Roman Empire so fell in love with Classical civilization that it appropriated its entire pantheon of gods and goddesses, its building style, its art, its architecture, and especially its feminine beauty ideal, and spread that ideal throughout the world. Most of the sculpture of Antiquity is known to us only through Roman copies. The West owes Rome for what we have of Greece. It is not surprising that the Classical ideal should have endured, even into the modern day, in these two nations, with their interwoven history.

It is also fitting and symbolic that the authors of both of these articles, one writing from Greece, one from Rome, should have had their appreciation for voluptuous beauty reawakened by visiting those lands. Similarly, Western culture as a whole could rediscover the timeless ideal by revisiting its Antique origins. Today's plus-size models are the intermediaries, the latter-day Aphrodites and Venuses and DanaŽs, who bring that Classical ideal to life and make it tangible for us in the present day. We should all turn to them for inspiration, and be guided by their beauty toward an aesthetic restoration.

DanaŽ Receiving the Golden Rain, (c.1553-54) by the Italian master of the High Renaissance, Titian. Observe the well-fed luxuriance of DanaŽ's figure, its untoned softness, the swell of her abdomen, her lush thighs and plump calves. Her physique appears to be as soft as the pillows on which she reclines so indolently, so seductively lazily. In a larger scan, one sees that even her face is full. She possesses the "overspilling flesh" and "rolling hips" that the writer of the above article celebrates as emblematic of Italian beauty. Imagine the many "three-course lunches, consumed at leisure," the "antipasto, pasta and secondi (preferably a slab of osso buco or a filet), followed by a dolce" (as described in the article) that the model would have consumed eagerly, greedily, to attain such a curvaceous figure, knowing that her self-indulgence was only making her more beautiful.

In place of the "meagre" world all around us, we can restore the softer, more pleasurable, more beautiful world of this DanaŽ. All it takes is the will to make it happen.

- Titian's five versions of this theme

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Old 30th December 2009   #3
Join Date: March 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 71
Default Re: ''In Italy, I want amplitude'' (article)

Despite being underweight right now, if the writer of the article indulges herself in Italian cuisine (and who doesn't love Italian cuisine in all of its regional forms?) she will eventually become a fuller figured, beautiful woman. She won't have to simply stand back and admire Italian women. She'll look like them herself. What a wonderful article indeed!
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