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Old 13th November 2007   #1
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Plus-size is the new healthy

An excellent New York Times article over the weekend announced the truth that many of us have long known: being full-figured is healthier than being underweight.

It comes with an absolutely brilliant editorial illustration, showing a Shannon-Marie-like blonde beauty using her generous hip to knock the crown off a malnourished brunette pageant winner. It's as if Helen of Troy came back to Earth, to reclaim her title of ideal beauty.

Has there ever been a more perfect graphic illustrating the Aesthetic Restoration?

The article is here:

And here are the pertinent excerpts:

Chubby Gets a Second Look

Published: November 11, 2007

HEALTH and beauty. They seem inextricable. That smiling, slender woman on the cover of Self magazine. The ripped guy looking out from the pages of Men’s Health. They’re thin...

But they might be better off if they had listened to their grandmother and put a little meat on those bones. Chubby, it turns out, may be the new healthy. Who knows if it will be the new beautiful.

Two years ago, federal researchers found that "over"weight people had the lowest mortality rate of any weight group. Investigating further, they were able to link causes of death to specific weights...thin people had more deaths from everything but cancer and heart disease.

But there were 100,000 fewer deaths among the "over"weight than would have been expected if those people had been of normal weight. This is what might politely be called the chubby category, with body mass indexes (a measure of weight for height) of 25 to 30. A woman, for instance, who is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs between 146 and 175 pounds.

About a third of Americans fall into that range, defined, less politely, as “overweight” by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s not exactly the Madison Avenue vision of beauty. Perhaps Rubens, the Baroque master, was closer to the mark. The women in his paintings were considerably rounder than the women celebrated today. “Over upholstered,” as Holland Cotter, a culture critic for The New York Times, once put it.

It’s too soon to say. But it may not be a bad thing, say some social scientists. “The ideal image of a woman is almost impossible for anybody to achieve,” said Peter J. Brown, an anthropologist at Emory University.

Dr. Brown is among those social scientists who say that being thin really isn’t about health, anyway, but about social class and control. the 19th century...Heavy women of that era were stage stars. Lillian Russell, “airy fairy Lillian, the American beauty,” weighed 200 pounds...

The body mass indexes of Miss America winners, according to a 2000 study, have been steadily decreasing since 1922, so much so that for most winners in the last three decades their indexes would cause them to be considered underweight.

How thin is thin enough? One Miss America had a body mass index of 16.9, which is considerably underweight. A woman of Emma Newkirk’s height would have had to weigh 99 pounds to have that body mass index. That may help explain why, in recent years, as many as two-thirds of women...have expressed dissatisfaction with their weight.

So what does this all mean for the chubby among us, who may be the healthiest, or at least, the most likely to live the longest? Will chubby become fashionable? That may have to await the day when chubby becomes inextricably linked to health..

Note the tell-tale references to Lillian Russell and Rubens. Uniquely among journalists, this reporter actually has an understanding of Western aesthetic history, and realizes what an artificial blip, what an aberration, the cult of emaciation is.

Let's hope this finally signals the move towards the restoration of the full-figured feminine ideal.
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Old 31st December 2007   #2
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Re: Plus-size is the new healthy

Originally Posted by Emily
It comes with an absolutely brilliant editorial illustration, showing a Shannon-Marie-like blonde beauty using her generous hip to knock the crown off a malnourished brunette pageant winner. It's as if Helen of Troy came back to Earth, to reclaim her title of ideal beauty.

Has there ever been a more perfect graphic illustrating the Aesthetic Restoration?

The illustration is sheer genius, and better expresses the theme of our Web site than the longest essay ever could. It even captures the "restoration" aspect of that favourite phrase of ours--aesthetic restoration. A "restoration" is, of course, the term for the reinstatement of a sovereign, a monarch. And the way in which the blonde beauty is reclaiming her crown in the graphic, and displacing a pretender to the throne, represents our own premise, whereby timeless beauty--the aesthetic of ideal femininity that dominated Western culture from the dawn of Classical civilization until modernism's cultural coup, early in the 20th century--will return to cultural prevalence, and dethrone the androgynous standard that has been imposed for the past hundred years.

The findings described in Kolata's article also underscore the natural basis for this timeless preference. The legitimacy of the aristocratic ideal of full-figured beauty flows not merely from its aesthetic superiority, but from the fact that it embodies a natural and--as has finally been proven--healthy standard of appearance for women. This notion of the congruence between beauty and health also originated in the Classical world, and was codified by the Neoplatonists, who affirmed that, just as in nature, the full-blooming beauty of flowers and fruits indicates the goodness of the living organisms, so the luscious attractiveness of well-fed goddesses testifies to their own robust vitality. "A healthy appetite" has always meant "a generous appetite," and one of the prime characteristics of Aphrodite/Venus, the Classical goddess of beauty, was her self-indulgent nature and uninhibited love of food.

Only in the modern era have these natural principles been upended, and an absurd, artificial ideal put in their place, whereby self-deprivation and starvation (traditional markers of unattractiveness) have been enshrined as some sort of standard of appearance. But studies such as those cited in Kolata's article are finally confirming the superior wisdom of the Ancients--in this, as in many things--and no matter how deeply-entrenched the Modernist pretenders to the throne may be, their rotten ideological edifice is crumbling around them, and we will yet see true beauty bloom again in the world, and the timeless ideal regain its rightful crown.

Shannon Marie, loveliest of all goddesses, in the most gorgeous picture that any plus-size model has ever created:

- Timeless Beauty

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