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Old 14th November 2006   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default All curves are gorgeous, pt.2

In a recent forum discussion, we noted that one of the most positive effects that plus-size models have upon society is that they show full-figured women the beauty of their natural curves, and demonstrate that so-called body "flaws" are not flaws at all, but just the opposite--irresistible aspects of feminine allure.

In the aforementioned discussion, the specific features of plus-size beauty that we celebrated were the lovely natural curves that a full-figured goddess characteristically exhibits along her back. In this post, we will discuss a different trait, one that is perhaps even more gorgeous.

In his Renaissance-era beauty guide titled On the Beauty of Women (1548), Agnolo Firenzuola observes the following:

If the chin I have described should then slope toward the throat and run into a slight rise, it gains in overall beauty. And in full-figured women it is the foremost ornament, and a sweet companion to the beauties of the throat. (60)

The "foremost" ornament? Absolutely. Like so many aficionados of timeless beauty both before his time, and afterwards, Firenzuola believed that the "slight rise" of a "slope towards the throat" is an irresistible characteristic of womanly beauty.

Lillian Russell, for example, certainly displayed this feature in many of her famous images, and the photographers of the day delighted in capturing it:

It is a testament to just how badly our aesthetic perceptions have been warped by the thin-supremacist modern media that we fail to acknowledge the loveliness of this attribute, and instead, accept a drawn, gaunt, skull-faced look as the "standard" of female appearance.

But today's most popular plus-size models can help society rediscover an appreciation for this most appealing of all facial features. Practically every full-figured goddess has exhibited this alluring trait, in one of her many images.

Here is Barbara Brickner in the Summer 2006 Reitmans campaign, for example:

Here is Shannon Marie, at the peak of her beauty, in her final Fashion Bug promotion:

Charlotte Coyle's lovely facial features exhibited a hint of this characteristic in one of her greatest Torrid images:

Valerie Lefkowitz displayed this trait in her most famous Figure cover, and in this celebrated Nordstrom image:

Liis has displayed this characteristic in many of her finest campaigns--indeed, it may be her loveliest physical feature of all--as well as in her promotional Ford video:

Angelic Kailee O'Sullivan's Ford video offered a glimpse of this trait as well:

In Kelsey's most breathtaking Torrid images--which allow for marvellous close-ups--she often displays this very pretty characteristic.

Click to view image source

And as an aside, note also the lovely make-up artistry in the following image, with the blue eyeshadow complimenting her top, and harmonizing with Kelsey's enchantingly fair complexion and pink lipgloss:

Click to view image source

Firenzuola would have been enraptured by the sight of Megan Garcia, who exhibits "slight rise" of a "slope towards the throat"--as well as every other attribute of timeless beauty--both in this image from Figure It Out,

and in her celebrated Figure magazine cover:

Anna Loukachenets, whose facial features are among the most beautiful of any model's, displayed this characteristic in a recent newspaper image:

Even Crystal Renn occasionally exhibits this feature, as in this Saks image from 2005:

At the peak of her beauty, Melissa Masi possessed this trait as well, as seen here in her marvellous Just My Size television commercial,

and in a Just My Size cover, from several seasons ago:

Jeanna Crawford, appearing in the Summer 2006 Penningtons campaign (in which she achieved by far the best results of her career) would certainly have delighted Firenzuola.

Lindsey Garbelman similarly exhibited Firenzuola's beloved characteristic in a promwear image of her own:

The newest image in this discussion belongs to Victoria Lewis, seen in this Christmas-themed promotion from Goody's, Winter 2006:

We have occasionally credited Old Navy for its models choices. Besides Kailee, we had in mind the following cover from earlier this year, showing size-16 Ford model Ivana:

Several plus-size models have also exhibited the "slight rise" of a "slope towards the throat" in their television appearances--among them Ashley, the popular finalist in the "Full-Figured Top Model" search on the Tyra Banks show:

This lovely facial feature makes Ashley look utterly adorable, particularly in the following screen capture:

Fluvia Lacerda, participating in a recent plus-size bridal segment on The Insider, displayed this attribute as well:

And finally, in her recent appearance on Ugly Betty, actress Sarah Jones was regrettably dressed in bulky layering, but the soft roundness of her facial features made her role as a fuller-figured starlet believable:

Like other qualities of womanly beauty that the modern media has attempted to demonize as "flaws," the "slight rise" of a "slope towards the throat" is a particularly attractive physical trait, and was celebrated as such throughout Western history. Images of today’s most gorgeous plus-size models, many of whom possess this appealing characteristic, can help our society learn to love this attribute once again--just as it was loved in ages past--and help full-figured women everywhere become comfortable with their softer features.

We are, after all, talking about an essentially feminine example of natural curves--and all curves are beautiful.

Last edited by HSG : 20th December 2008 at 04:44.
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Old 15th November 2006   #2
M. Lopez
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 587
Default Re: All curves are gorgeous, pt.2

Something that occurred to me, when reading this post (as well as other recent history-oriented posts on this forum) was how the aesthetic writers of the past had very poetic and complimentary ways of describing plus-size beauty. You can tell from their words that they really adored and revered the traits that they were describing.

Today, by contrast, the vocabulary that the press uses in talking about full-figured women is very negative, even demeaning. I suspect that many women would quickly feel better about themselves, and about their naturally curvy features, if the terminology that was commonly used to describe them was more positive and appreciative, as it was in the past.

Society needs more images of timeless beauty (such as those that appear in this post), and it also needs to rediscover and cultivate a more size-positive discourse.
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Old 1st December 2006   #3
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: All curves are gorgeous, pt.2

Originally Posted by M. Lopez
Society needs more images of timeless beauty (such as those that appear in this post)

Until and unless a more affirmative popular culture emerges, the Aesthetic Restoration will have to depend on the plus-size fashion industry to act as an "alternative media," and to provide such images.

Case in point: the current Penningtons campaign features several pictures of a lovely model identified as "Terra" (although the site often uses pseudonyms for its girls). Terra has a luscious figure, and she exhibits the "slight rise" of a "slope towards the throat" favoured in the Renaissance, and throughout aesthetic history, as noted above.

Jenna Crawford--who did the best work of her career for the Penningtons fall promotion--is very much missed in this campaign, but Terra produces several fine images in her place. Terra would look even more attractive with longer hair, but her soft, full facial features are decadent and gorgeous. And note how the smoky eye makeup compliments her fair skin.

"Mature" retailer that it is, Penningtons always deserves a nod for producing campaigns that, in the best images, are on the leading edge of size-positivity in fashion advertising.


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