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Old 17th February 2006   #1
Kaitlynn
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Default Body image and relationships (article)

I just came across an article about male/female relationships, and how significant a part female body image/shape/size play in their success or failure. Actually, the article talks about many more things than that, and is a really thoughtful (and readable) examination of why things sometimes "work" between people, or don't:

http://thetyee.ca/Life/2006/02/17/MenChoose/

Some of the best observations include:

"Different men like completely different bodies . . . some say they [like thin women] because they are ashamed of admitting anything else to their male peer group...But many men in our culture do not want a slender woman: they want someone with riper curves, someone who is larger, more "Rubenesque." Some men like pear-shaped women; some men like inverted pears. Some men want very large women."


And then the article gives a case study of two people, Tom and Rachel, and what stumbling blocks they face in ever making a match. Tom's problem is that he can't vocalize his attraction:

"Tom, who knows his own taste for fuller-figured women is atypical of his male peer group, keeps quiet, doesn't mention that he just lost the love of his life . . .

In Rachel's face, Tom saw warmth, familial comfort, kindness, intelligence. In her words he heard a love for a type of sacred place that he too values. Even her body's sexual appeal to him holds other levels of connection--in her full figure he sees a reassuring quality, and a sensual opulence, that speaks to his emotional needs."


while Rachel can't understand the fact that she is attractive because she is plus-size:

"Rachel's attitude to her body is even more tragically counterproductive. Rachel has regretted since about age sixteen that she is not skinnier. She thinks of herself as full-figured, because although she has a model's legs, she has rounded hips and a full bosom. Actually, she thinks she's f**...Somewhere inside her, a voice still says, "You're beautiful," but lately she has trouble hearing it.

Oh Rachel! The truth is, you have a classic hourglass figure, and plenty of men would find you almost overwhelmingly sexy if you would let them--and if they could escape the caustic stereotypes of their peer group. So Rachel wears her business jackets in such a way as to conceal her generous chest--she is ambivalent at best about it. It certainly never occurred to her that Tom is a man who absolutely cherishes the very body type that she represents, at the weight where she is. Or that her jacket was preventing such an admirer from even verifying that she is what he admires!"

I suspect that a lot of the challenges in male/female relationships today stem from problems like this - the difficulty that men have in acknowledging their preference for the fuller female figure, and women's difficulty in embracing their naturally curvaceous shape.
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Old 18th February 2006   #2
Shey
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Default Re: Body image and relationships (article)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaitlynn
"Different men like completely different bodies . . . some say they [like thin women] because they are ashamed of admitting anything else to their male peer group...But many men in our culture do not want a slender woman: they want someone with riper curves, someone who is larger, more "Rubenesque." Some men like pear-shaped women; some men like inverted pears. Some men want very large women."



I agree 100%!

I am currently engaged to a wonderful man... but he confessed that originally he was afraid to admit his attraction to me, because of the peer group. It came as a shock - but I am "laughing all the way to the bank" so to speak, because yes - he did admit his feelings and his attractions, and he did go against the grain and peer stereotypes - and he is with me; not some skinnier but "lifeless" counterpart.

Of course, I think he also helped break the stereotypes! The other guys we knew/were friends of, started to date curvier ladies soon after. It's as if to say well, if he can do it, so can we!
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Old 19th February 2006   #3
HSG
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Default Re: Body image and relationships (article)


The article is extremely enlightening, and takes a commendably common-sense approach to male/female interaction, and how the issue of timeless femininity vs. modernist indoctrination affects contemporary relationships.

But there is something decidedly unmanly about Tom's hesitancy to acknowledge his preference for true beauty:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaitlynn
"they are ashamed of admitting anything else to their male peer group..."

"Tom, who knows his own taste for fuller-figured women is atypical of his male peer group, keeps quiet. . ."

"plenty of men would find you almost overwhelmingly sexy if you would let them--and if they could escape the caustic stereotypes of their peer group"

It's hard to prevent oneself from rounding on any men who face a similar "dilemma," and telling them, "Grow a backbone!"

A real man defends Beauty's honor from anyone who would dare to criticize it. When circumstances require it, he enters into a noble feud, willingly and unafraid, in order to champion Beauty's cause. He is unambiguous and vocal about his allegiance to this (or any) timeless principle.

This is a matter of loyalty, of honour--and while such concepts have been devalued, parodied, and cheapened in modern society, they nevertheless retain their intrinsic legitimacy to anyone with even a shred of dignity.

In the intellectual sphere, if the Toms of the world would have defended Beauty's honour from the ideologues who dared to besmirch it early in the 20th century, then modern culture might not be in its present sorry state.

Likewise, today, in private life, if more men would stand up to the worms and wiseacres who cast aspersions on full-figured goddesses, then more women would embrace their bodies' naturally curvaceous tendencies.

Shyness and natural reserve, on the other hand--these are understandable traits, and a man of principle will inevitably consider himself unworthy of the object of his affections. He will rightly place her on the pedestal that she deserves, and will always consider it the height of audacity to court a living goddess.

Tom's trepidation in approaching a plus-size beauty is therefore understandable, and warranted. But his juvenile need for the validation of his peer group is not. After all, what does popular opinion matter--the opinions of his peers, or of society in general--when it comes to an issue of timeless principle?

To appreciate Classical beauty, and not to champion it when circumstances warrant--to be "ashamed," to "keep quiet"--this is indefensible cowardice.

Only a Siegfried who braves the ring of fire deserves a Brünnhilde.

Barbara Brickner in full bloom, on the C.J.Banks cover, Spring 2006:

- Lovely spring campaign at CJBanks.com


Last edited by HSG : 19th February 2006 at 06:02.
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Old 20th February 2006   #4
M. Lopez
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Default Re: Body image and relationships (article)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shey
Of course, I think he also helped break the stereotypes! The other guys we knew/were friends of, started to date curvier ladies soon after. It's as if to say well, if he can do it, so can we!

I think Shey makes SUCH an important point. This shows why it is so very important for men who admire plus-size beauty to stop being timid about it, and to be open about their preference- both in terms of why they date, and even in terms of what they say. The more men make their taste for curvy girls known, the more of their peers will realize that they feel the same way- and will admit to it, too.

All it takes is a few trailblazers. After a while, those men who initially feared that being up-front about their admiration for voluptuous vixens would single them out, will find that they DO have a peer group who agrees with them.

All it takes is a little gentle but persistent persuasion.
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Old 21st February 2006   #5
Emily
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Default Re: Body image and relationships (article)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaitlynn
"Rachel's attitude to her body is even more tragically counterproductive...Rachel wears her business jackets in such a way as to conceal her generous chest--she is ambivalent at best about it. It certainly never occurred to her that Tom is a man who absolutely cherishes the very body type that she represents, at the weight where she is. Or that her jacket was preventing such an admirer from even verifying that she is what he admires!"

That's a rather important bit of fashion advice, buried in this helpful article. Thanks to the New Romanticism in fashion, plus-size women are at least starting to dress in more feminine ways, which better compliment their beauty, and are far more likely to attract admirers. But there's still a lot of the warped thinking of the past out there -- the hide/disguise mentality of flowing formlessness, which does nothing except turn a curvy, sensuous figure into a shapeless mass. And by their very nature, suits/jackets (or any other kind of masculine clothing) are the worst choices of all. Whoever first duped voluptuous vixens into wearing such attire clearly had personal issues with the womanly figure. It's too bad so many women, like Rachel, still follow these misguided rules.

As for men and bravery (or lack thereof), it's sobering to think that in the heroic age of Greece, the entire nation went to war just to defend one beautiful woman's honour (Helen of Troy's) -- and then, centuries later, they composed their greatest national epic about this event. And today, by contrast, a man is too timid to approach a modern-day Helen of Troy, just because of what his "friends" might think? Achilles died for Beauty, while a modern man is afriad to die of...embarrassment? No wonder greatness seems to be a thing of the past...
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