The following is a chronologically-arranged selection of visitor feedback about this Web site, including answers to the question that I have posed on the Timeless Beauty page. My own responses appear in italics. This page lists comments received from September, 2000 to the present day.
Viewers seeking comments received prior to September, 2000 can find them at the Your Comments Archive page (accessible by clicking on the above icon).
Not only does the media resist plus-size beauty, but we, as a society, have virtually put a ban on fuller-figured women, particularly plus-size models. Despite the fact that women are getting larger, society just can’t seem to accept the fact that you don’t have to be a size 0–6 to be considered beautiful. More than half of the U.S. female population is a size 12 or over. I think that curves make a woman more feminine, and accentuate her true beauty. I also think that there is a lot of competition from straight-size models who cannot accept the proliferation of plus-size modelling. But things always change—they never stay the same—and in time, society will begin to see voluptuous women as just that—voluptuous, and beautiful!
Chrissie Marie Crawford (2000.09.12)
All too true. As I have said repeatedly, there is something about the beauty of plus-size women that makes many people nervous. Femininity is treated as if it were dangerous in our society, and nothing is more feminine than a full, voluptuous figure.
The particular resistance by emaciated models (and thin women in general) to the popularization of plus-size beauty is completely understandable. The cult of thinness was the ultimate revenge of unattractive, underweight women on their more attractive, fuller-figured rivals. For the better part of the twentieth century, underweight women pulled the wool over the eyes of Western culture, and created a hallucinated world, a self-contained media world, in which they became the ideal—as if to fulfil the old prophecy that the “last shall be first.”
Actually, we shouldn’t be too surprised that this deception held sway for so long. To use a simple analogy, if magazines and books and films only showed us pictures of trees without leaves, then sooner or later most of us would believe that trees are not supposed to have leaves! Likewise, by only seeing images of anorexic women, much of society ended up thinking than women are supposed to look anorexic.
But people are finally beginning to awaken from this media-induced hallucination, and instead of looking outward to the fashion world to learn what constitutes genuine beauty, they are looking inward and rediscovering the voluptuous ideal that is graven in their hearts.
[Selection: Kate Dillon] The breathtaking beauty of Kate Dillon has been an inspiration to me. I even posted a photo of her next to my desk. At age 32, I am finally proud of my ample body.
[The media resists plus-size beauty] because its function is almost exclusively to sell products, and selling can be perpetual if what you are selling is unattainable. If women were encouraged to maintain a comfortable, realistic, ample, indulgent, hedonistic body size, they would not have to constantly strive for “perfection” through the purchase of products, gym memberships, cosmetics, etc. How else can one explain the fact that, although the popularity of MODE (and the introduction of larger sizes at stores like The Gap) has proven that larger-size women are clamouring for inclusion in these markets, magazines like Vogue—which represent the truly elite, expensive, and consumer-fetishistic high-end retailers—still insist on forcing these images of unattainable, anorexic, over-aerobicized bodies on their readers? Even Marie Claire…constantly publishes pieces like “Why These Men Prefer Curvy Women” (and, last month [October 2000], ran a profile of Kate Dillon), yet their fashion spreads—the portion of the magazine that exists for the express purpose of selling—continue to present disgusting images of rail-thin stick women, the same ones featured in their advertisers’ inserts. They can’t let us be satisfied with ourselves. If we were, we would stop buying. I’ve opted out of the game. The only fashion magazine that I ever crack open is Mode, and that’s because the women look like me.
Stacey E. — email@example.com (2000.09.17)
This contributor makes an important and valuable observation. While it is true that the scoundrels who run the weight-control industry feed off the promotion of human misery, we should examine why women are so vulnerable to their propaganda. Stacey E.’s comment gives us the answer—to wit, we all yearn to be more beautiful than we actually are, just as we desire to be more talented, or more intelligent. But beauty is something innate. Like genius, it is something with which we are born, not something we can obtain.
However, this is a fact that few of us wish to admit to ourselves. It offends our sense of “fairness.” Most of us want to believe in the myth that with a physical “makeover” of some sort, we can “become” beautiful. We don’t want to acknowledge that people are not born equal, and that some people are born with gifts that are denied to others. And the vultures who run the weight-control industry exploit this weakness by promoting the lie that beauty is something that we can acquire. This is why they constantly equate “being thin” with “being beautiful.” While beauty is a nebulous, intangible quality, weight is something tangible, something that can be measured. When weight-control “pushers” claim, for example that “For $300 you can lose 30 pounds” by buying a gym membership, what they are really implying is that “For $300 you can become beautiful.” They deceive people into thinking that beauty is a quantifiable commodity. This is the same technique beloved by psychologists, with their infamous manta, “If you don’t pay for your sessions, you won’t get better.” (As if one could purchase fulfillment and self-worth!) And while no one would believe that for $300 a person could acquire Mozart’s talent for music, or Rembrandt’s skill with the brush, many do believe that if they lose 30% of their body mass, they can become 30% more beautiful.
But beauty cannot be bought, sold, or magically acquired. No amount of self-inflicted dieting or exercise will ever increase a woman’s beauty (quite the opposite), whereas a woman who is beautiful as a size 12 will be just as beautiful as a size 22—indeed, moreso. Nature is eternally impartial, and beauty is nothing more or less than nature’s arbitrarily-bestowed gift.
[Selection: Mia Tyler] [The media resists plus-size beauty because] when we are young and forming our image of what is beautiful and desirable, many of us turn to mass-media images in magazines and television, which assure us that we can “buy our beauty.” The emphasis is placed on maintaining an image, because that is what makes money. A code of ethics, depth of personality—these aren’t marketable concepts, so no one is going to push for those. However, the media can only sell us what we buy into, so we should try turning off the television once in a while, and picking up a book to read, which will entertain us without asking us to buy anything. We should add to our spirit instead of our debt.
Brandi Elliott (2000.09.20)
Ms. Elliott’s comment offers much hope. Since beauty is something that one is born with, not something that one can acquire, those of us who are unattractive must explore other avenues of self-fulfillment, and define ourselves in different ways. Instead of resenting those individuals who have been given the gift of beauty (let alone spitefully decrying beauty itself), we should revere the attractiveness that we see in others, and rejoice that in a tragic world, such beauty can still exist.
This is where feminists become even more culpable than the criminals who run the weight-control industry in spreading human misery. By converting a feeling of “sour grapes” into an internally-consistent philosophy, feminists cynically exploit the jealousy of women to whom beauty has been denied. They fan the flames of unattractive women’s envy of their more-beautiful peers into open hatred, and exacerbate these women’s resentment of the men who lavish their attention upon their more attractive rivals into naked hostility. Instead of encouraging unattractive women to develop other aspects of themselves, and to nurture the gifts that they have been given, feminist ideologues make their “converts” disagreeable and spiteful, fit company only for other members of the feminist collective—who then, as a group, become little more than activist zombies, aiding and abetting their leaders’ greed for power.
Feminist idealogues give their students a strategy of cultural interpretation that makes them think they know more about the world than everyone else. Then, when the arrogance that this breeds makes their students unsociable, the ideologues explain their students’ unpopularity to them by claiming that men are “intimidated” by their intelligence, or that they are duped by some imaginary notion of a “patriarchy” that doesn’t actually exist. They make their converts even less attractive on the inside than on the outside, and when these poor young girls are socially ostracized, they implant the notion that the students never wanted to interact with members of the other gender anyway. Cults operate in similar fashion.
But Ms. Elliott’s admonition to “pick up a book and add to our spirit” is sound advice for us all. Go to the library and find a copy of Goethe’s Götz von Berlichingen—that rousing drama of nobility and honour and love, which is so delightfully free of the crippling irony that pervades modern fiction. Go through virtual museums exhibiting the works of long-suppressed nineteenth-century painters like John William Godward, who rejected the move towards ugliness that was beginning even in his day, and defiantly presented his own vision of beauty to the world. Harken to the serene sixth and sublime seventh symphonies of Beethoven, who once famously said of a prospective bride that “she must be beautiful, for I can love only that which is beautiful; otherwise I would have to love myself,” and out of whose tireless struggle to beget the joy in his music that he was denied in life, the world inherited a imperishable testament to the triumph of the human will.
[Selection: Liis] Where are the black plus-size beauties (e.g., Angellika)?
Visitors wishing to see a fine selection of black plus-size models should visit The Pantheon, the brainchild of Joe Michaels, creator of the Totally Kate Dillon Site. Mr. Michaels’s new Web page compliments mine in stressing the veneration of fuller-figured feminine beauty throughout history, but whereas I concentrate on Western culture, The Pantheon offers a more global perspective.
Why do I think the media of our time resists plus-size beauty? This perplexes me, as I find full-figured women not only beautiful, but extremely sexy, and the very epitome of womanhood. Conversely, I find skinny women not only unattractive and unhealthy looking, but not at all sexually appealing. Perhaps there are far too many homosexual designers of women’s clothing (tongue in cheek). If I were running Madison Avenue advertising, things would be different.
Patrick — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.10.02)
Indeed, people like Patrick should be running Madison Avenue, or at least should have input into its decisions. His response may be tongue in cheek, but the fact is that for decades, an image of beauty that appeals to gay men rather than heterosexual men has dominated the fashion industry. This is an aesthetic monopoly held by a special-interest group, and just as pernicious to a healthy society as a business monopoly would be.
By contrast, consider the admirable efforts of 2 Roads, an Australian clothier for plus sizes. To model their exciting new swimsuit line, they have enlisted the services of a very feminine and utterly gorgeous size-16/18 model named Susan Cottrell, who earlier this year won the company’s in-house model contest. Who can deny that this perfectly-proportioned goddess is infinitely more attractive than any of the models who appear in typical retail catalogues, or in mainstream fashion magazines? Miss Cottrell is both a healthy image of genuine, classical femininity for women to emulate, and also an object of desire for the great majority of men who are normally excluded from high-fashion’s world-view. With such broad-based appeal, shouldn’t the fashion and media worlds cast aside their current, narrow standards, and embrace Miss Cottrell, and girls like her, as true ideals of female beauty? Of course they should. And soon, they will.
And to Patrick and men like him, I say that if running Madison Avenue is what it takes to complete the aesthetic restoration, then that is what we must do…
[Selection: Barbara Brickner] Wow! It’s about time that these beauties can be enjoyed and celebrated.
I wonder why large breasts are hated so much by fashion and the feminists? They are always talking about body-image problems, but if a woman is a “C” cup or larger, she is slammed by fashion and the feminists. The average woman is 37C-27-37. The feminists are bashing two-thirds of all women when they criticize large breasts. They talk about breast mutilation (reduction) like it is some kind of virtue. They never mention the soreness and scarring that go with it. (By the way, I am a large-breasted woman  and proud of it!) I also wonder why large hips are so badly degraded. It is like there is some sort of move towards pederasty and hatred of the female form. I remember reading a feminist book ten years ago that said that anorexia was a laudable rejection of feminine beauty, which was holding women down. The feminists are the ones who made the anorexic look fashionable.
This is one of the most perceptive responses that I have ever received. If anyone knows the book to which this visitor is referring, please let me know about it. Maine890 is absolutely correct in pointing out that feminists were antagonistic towards plus-size beauty for decades, and only “recanted” when it became politically expedient for them to do so.
The reason for this contempt for the female figure is clear. By bombarding society with images of androgynous women, feminism sought to dupe the public into thinking that the differences between the genders are merely culturally determined. What could be more anti-woman than a movement that endeavours to suppress the very notion of femininity itself? And just as the dominance of the fashion industry by homosexual male fashion designers is a very real stumbling block to restoring the timeless ideal of fuller-figured feminine beauty, so is the dominance of institutional feminism by homosexual women an obstacle—not because of homosexuality per se, but because a concentration of aesthetic power among like-minded individuals inevitably leads to nothing less than a monopoly of thought. The inevitable reality is that lesbian feminists have favoured (and will continue to favour) the promotion of masculinized images of womanhood, both for personal and political gain. For a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the need for citizens in free societies to resist barriers to individual thought, this cultural monopoly by left-wing ideologues must come to an end.
Fortunately, in the last few years, a cultural aesthetic restoration has begun, of which Mode is one of the most visible expressions. As I have said before, beauty is no myth—only Vogue beauty is—and people are finally beginning to realize this.
[Selection: Kate Dillon] Please add Anna Nicole Smith. Wow!
See previous responses concerning Anna Nicole.
[Selection: Kate Dillon] Kate Dillon is a truly beautiful girl. It doesn’t surprise me that she is one of the top plus-size models. I also think that Mia Tyler and Barbara Brickner are very pretty. All of these models have been blessed with physical beauty. It’s nice to see them in magazines, showing the world that you don’t have to be thin to be beautiful!
[The media resists plus-size beauty because] some people believe that girls are supposed to be small and frail, while men are supposed to be muscular and strong. I don’t know why people can’t get over the fact that women are not all a size 6. We all come in different shapes, sizes, and colours. I think that they are too afraid of the response they might get if the leading lady is a plus-size girl. I also don’t know why we can have leading men that are pretty hefty, but it’s almost a sin to see a plus-size actress in a lead role. And if they do decide to hire a fuller-figured actress, she is known as the “fat girl,” and is the target of weight-related humour. I just think that they are too afraid to give it a try when the world is so used to seeing fake, Barbie®-doll actresses. The change would be too quick, too drastic, I suppose.
Stephanie — email@example.com (2000.10.10)
Stephanie’s response is very compelling, and only off the mark in one respect. As male aesthetics are not the focus of this Web site, I will not get into a discussion of masculine iconography here, except to say that when we survey representations of the human form throughout Western history, we see that women have always been depicted as soft and voluptuous, while men have always been presented as muscular or lean. These are essential human ideals, and however much the twentieth-century media attempted to replace these ideals with unnatural images, humanity inevitably seeks to recover its natural standards, and is slowly doing so right now.
Ironically, it is partly because of feminist antagonism to depictions of feminine fragility, or vulnerability, or even humanity, that the media of our time has resisted plus-size beauty. Like much of the North American intelligentsia, the media was gradually brainwashed by feminist propaganda to believe that it was politically correct for them to portray women in asexual, or even masculinized ways. Why? Because feminism is an intellectually bankrupt philosophy, and the only way that it could envision making women “stronger” was by making them more masculine. How ridiculous! Could any notion be more contemptuous of women than that? Nevertheless, feminism has preached this gender-bending gospel for decades, and since true masculine images are muscular or lean, those are the ideals that feminism sought to promote…for women.
Stephanie is particularly perceptive in her choice of terminology, i.e., by calling it a “sin” to cast a plus-size actress in a lead cinematic role. Feminist propaganda has always exhibited quasi-religious overtones, and the words that they uncritically use to slander their opponents—“sexist,” “reactionary,” “élitist,” “fascist,” and the like—mean exactly the same thing today that words like “heathen” or “heretic” or “infidel” meant in another time. These words are nothing more than verbal clubs, “words that convict,” ad-hominem slurs that are meant to brand feminism’s opponents with “evil” connotations, and therefore eliminate the need to confront them with objectivity, logic, and reason.
But picutres are worth a thousand words, and plus-size beauty terrifies feminists because the more the public sees images of gorgeous, fuller-figured women, the more they rediscover the timeless ideals and essential beliefs that are graven in their hearts. With each passing day, the hold that feminist brainwashing has on North American society weakens, and their last hopes of deluding the populace into thinking that gender is culturally rather than biologically determined crash and burn.
[Selection: Tracie Stern] The Ford 12+ model Lara Johnson, seen in both of Lane Bryant’s recent fashion shows (lingerie and clothing), she is a reminder of what Cupid had in mind when love was his goal. She is fair, with rosy cheeks, big green eyes, and a genuine sense of being. She deserves to be included in your list.
A pox on you for composing such a beautifully-worded suggestion, and then sending it anonymously! Why anyone would not take credit for such a fine comment is beyond me. But this visitor is correct. Miss Johnson is indeed a modern-day Psyche, and definitely worthy of being a candidate for Paris’s judgment. Not only have I added her to the Judgment page, but I have also created a gallery of her images.
In fact, Miss Johnson came to my attention long before I received this comment. Regular MODE bulletin-board readers may recall that the beauty of the “alternative” September MODE cover girl impressed this Webmaster so much that he posted an image of that cover on the Mode forum in an effort to discover her identity. Some helpful soul finally indicated that it might be Lara Johnson—a supposition that was later confirmed. Although numerous visitors have opined that Miss Johnson is rather on the small side of the “plus” category, she is far and away the most attractive model of her generation, and votes for her have been pouring in steadily…
[The media resists plus-size beauty because] fashion designers want the attention drawn only to their clothes, not to the voluptuous figures of the models wearing them! As an African-American woman and a non-professional plus-size model, I have been plus-size and fashion-conscious for years—long before it came back into vogue. I also believe that the media feeds off the response of the general public, and if “thin” is seen as desirable and so-called “fat” is not, then this is what the media will hype.
Genevieve — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.10.16)
While it may be true that some fashion designers oppose the use of plus-size models for fear of having their designs upstaged, such fears are totally groundless. When a full-figured customer sees an outfit on a plus-size model who radiates self-satisfaction, she will want to buy that outfit in order to feel similarly confident. But seeing an outfit on an underweight model will not encourage the same customer to buy it, because she knows that she will not resemble the waif under any circumstances. (And hopefully, she doesn’t want to.)
As Britain’s Marks & Spencer chain realized earlier this year when it launched its radical new advertising campaign, plus-size models guarantee retail success. Consider the following image from the on-line catalogue of Villasanta.com, featuring a gorgeous plus-size model named Jennifer. A full-figured customer might hesitate before purchasing such a revealing outfit, until she sees how it enhances Jennifer’s buxom allure, whereupon she will eagerly buy it in order to duplicate Jennifer’s look. Or consider this seductive item from the same company. A potential customer might feel timid about wearing such a form-fitting dress, until she sees how it flatters Jennifer’s curves.
As for Genevieve’s second point, we must realize that the media is not interested in responding to public opinion, but in controlling it. As Oswald Spengler points out in The Decline of the West,
What Spengler refers to as the “press” is what we call the mass media, the power of which has increased dramatically in the twentieth century. Spengler goes on to ask,
the freedom of the press brings with it the question of possession of the press…the press serves him who owns it. It does not spread “free” opinion—it generates it.
What is truth? For the multitude, that which it continually reads and hears.… [T]he public truth of the moment, which alone matters for effects and successes in the fact-world, is today a product of the Press. What the Press wills, is true. Its commanders evoke, transform, interchange truths. Three weeks of press work, and the truth is acknowledged by everybody.
The topic of this Web site clearly demonstates this. As the Timeless Beauty page indicates, plus-size beauty was beauty in every century prior to the twentieth—i.e., prior to the proliferation of the media. But in the twentieth century, it became possible for the media to convince people of things that their instincts knew to be false. The media does not hype androgynous standards because they “are seen as desirable.” Rather, androgynous standards are seen as desirable because that is what the media hypes. And only when we look beyond “the public truth of the moment” to the timeless ideals of other centuries will we break free of a lifetime of media indoctrination.
I am surprised that we are commenting on plus-size models, yet I don’t see any black plus-size models featured on your Judgment of Paris page. If we must change, then…we must change. Thanks,
Caroline Brown — email@example.com (2000.10.17)
As I have stated previously, models are included on this site due to their beauty, not their race. I resist the notion that the celebration of plus-size modelling is a tacit endorsement of change merely for change’s sake. This is why my efforts are part of an aesthetic restoration rather than an aesthetic revolution. Nothing is more contemptible than rebellion without a cause.
[Selection: Lara Johnson] Lara Johnson looks like a modern-day Marilyn Monroe…only not so slutty.
Let’s not deceive ourselves. With all due respect to that famous American icon, Marilyn Monroe was never as attractive as Lara Johnson. Lara has a universal quality of beauty that enables her to be innocent and pretty one moment, and sensually feminine the next—but always chic, never vulgar.
Although this Web site focusses on aesthetic issues rather than social concerns, it is worth mentioning that, as a representative of the next generation of plus-size models, Lara is setting a wonderful example for modern youth. Young girls today are mercilessly pressured to starve themselves—not only by the media, but by misguided parents and authority figures as well. How (we might ask) could any mother be so callous as to criticize her daughter’s weight? How could she humiliate her daughter by asking her if she has “had enough” at a meal? How could she live with herself if she starves her daughter through a prescribed diet? Worst of all, how could she abuse her daughter by imposing a brutal exercise regimen on her? And yet, these things happen all the time. By somehow convincing themselves that they have “good intentions,” mothers end up persecuting and tormenting their daughters, and instead of helping to counteract the media’s outrages, they reinforce them.
We must lose no opportunity to oppose these negative influences, be they societal or personal. “Free your mind” is a saying often directed at today’s youth, but considering the endless barrage of body-image propaganda that they endure, I would propose offering girls in their teens and twenties a new and far more important maxim:
Free your body!
Free your body to decide how much food you want. Free your body to determine if you really need to exercise, or if you would feel better relaxing. Free your body to decide if you will naturally grow into a larger dress size. Appetite is nothing more than one of your body’s natural impulses. Why not follow it? Why deny yourself a second helping at dinner, or that cheesecake that you’ve been dying to eat? Why punish yourself at a gym, when your body needs to rest? What do you think is healthier—torturing your body with a gruelling workout, or giving yourself eight full hours of sleep every night? Most girls today lead hectic lives, and the first things that get neglected are food and rest. But the prescribed cure for all this over-exertion is simple—free your body by giving it opportunities to recharge. Have a full meal (dessert included), a relaxing bath, and a good night’s sleep. Repeat as often as desired.
Free your body, and you may even learn to love it.
[Selection: Lara Johnson] Lara is my daughter and I am very proud of the work that she is doing. She, along with the other plus-size models, are great role models for women in general. Why should women conform themselves to adopt the “look” that is currently fashionable? I always taught my children that a people should be themselves, first and foremost. I hope that Lara, along with MODE magazine, and sites like this one, will help shatter the stereotypes of the last forty years. Prior to the 1960s, women were never expected to be paper-thin unless they were sick. In today’s high-fashion market, Marilyn Monroe would be classified as a“fuller-figured model.” How ridiculous is that? I also commend Talk magazine for interviewing Lara and some other plus-size models for a forthcoming issue. Someday soon, the fashion industry will embrace the change that is on the horizon, and women will once again be celebrated as women.
Judy S. Johnson (2000.10.22)
What an uplifting comment! Let’s hope it is genuine. If only more mothers followed Mrs. Johnson’s example when bringing up their daughters, and made them realize that today’s androgynous ideal is merely a ludicrous fad that is rapidly becoming passé.
I particularly wish to praise Mrs. Johnson for exhibiting so much pride in her daughter. It is not misplaced. Not only is Lara one of the most beautiful women in the world, but she is obviously confident and healthy as well—and in this case, her mother’s influence appears to have been an asset in building up her confidence, rather than a liability. How seldom this is true! Mothers frequently burden their daughters with feelings of “weight guilt” that stay with them for the rest of their lives. There is simply no excuse for any mother ever to criticize her daughter’s weight, let alone cruelly attempt to restrict her daughter’s appetite. Not only is this emotional abuse, but it can have dire physical consequences for the girls who are persecuted this way. The teen years are the time when a young girl’s self esteem should be nurtured, not destroyed.
Incidentally, the article to which Mrs. Johnson refers, which is called “The Next Big Thing,” appears in the December 2000 issue of Talk magazine. The article is positive and inspiring, and includes full-page photos of many plus-size supermodels, including an unforgettable image of Lara in which she resembles a Titian Venus. I implore every visitor to this site to send enthusiastic e-mail messages to Talk magazine in praise of this story. Talk’s e-mail address for reader feedback is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let them know how impressed you are by their uncommonly positive attitude to plus-size beauty, and express a desire to see more stories on this theme, in the near future.
[Selection: Kate Dillon] They are all lovely. Beauty should be celebrated in everyone.
Jill W. — email@example.com (2000.10.25)
Undoubtedly it should, but when a certain kind of beauty—plus-size beauty—has been suppressed for so long, we need to showcase its most undeniably gorgeous representatives, in order to persuade the public of just what it has been missing. For this reason, along with the predictable human resistance to change, plus-size models must always be held to the highest possible standards of beauty.
[Selection: Lara Johnson] She has such a fresh look! And she has the perfect figure. [The media resists plus-size beauty because] it’s the Barbie® era. We all grew up with it.
Which is why the Body Shop’s ad campaign featuring Ruby, their plus-size variant on the Barbie-doll motif, was such an inspiration. How sad that neither Mattel, nor any other toymaker, has yet seen fit to market Ruby to the general public. The response would surely be overwhelming, and its quietly subversive value would be incalculable.
I think you have the question [Why does the media resist plus-size beauty?] somewhat reversed. Perhaps the question should be, “Why are media consumers so resistant to plus-size beauty?” Why, indeed, does a cover photo of Heather Graham, for example, sell more magazines that a cover photo of Emme? As you know, the 20th century has seen some changes in this area for Western society. For forty years, the standard has moved away from even not-so-huge beauties such as Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. I think it would be a mistake to blame the media, who are only trying to sell what the Zeitgeist demands. I think that one thing we should consider is how skinny women look wealthy to us, and wealth is typically more appealing. Also, I urge you to consider how we, in Western society, tend to mistake youth for beauty. Younger women are typically much slimmer, and top models can be as young as fifteen years old. If they put on their adult bulk, their careers are over, because the weight will age them. Thanks for the interesting Web site.
As usual, the best visitor feedback comes from an anonymous source. The best, but also the most misleading, on all three counts. First, does the media merely “sell what the Zeitgeist demands?” Well then, who creates this Zeitgeist? As stated in earlier responses, many sources of authority over people’s lives lost their power in the twentieth century, leaving the media today’s sole generator and arbiter of public opinion. If there is a Zeitgeist, it is because the media perpetuates it. Why, you ask, does a Heather Graham cover sell more copies than an Emme cover? Well, what is Emme’s celebrity status compared to Heather Graham’s? In an interview for BBW’s Holiday 2000 issue, Emme herself states that when she auditions for film roles, she is turned down because she is “too pretty to be the big girl.” That decision is not make by the public, but by the casting director (i.e., by the media). The media will not permit a plus-size actress to be attractive. It would shatter their aesthetic monopoly. When a plus-size model or actress is allowed by the media to attain the celebrity status of Heather Graham, then we will see just how many covers plus-size beauty can sell!
Your second point, the equation of wealth and thinness, is also entirely media generated, especially since it is counter-intuitive. (Prior to this century, affluence and fullness were always considered synonymous.) If posh haute couture designs are draped exclusively on skeletal bodies, while plus-size models have to content themselves with presenting bargain-basement fashions to the public, then yes, society will continue to equate wealth and thinness. But if plus-size women are allowed to sport the richest fabrics cut by the world’s best designers, with matching jewellery and accessories, then this delusion will vanish from the public consciousness.
Finally, you state that we in the West do mistake youth for beauty, and see thinness as a sign of youth, but I ask you, Why is this so? The answer is because the media exclusively showcases young girls who are slender. Statistic show that North American girls are getting larger, but the media acts as if the opposite were true. If the media were to stop presenting a false vision of the world, and show girls for who they really are—young, beautiful, and full figured—then the “youth=thinness” illusion would evaporate, like mist in the sunlight.
[Selection: Kristin Briscoe] [The media resists plus-size beauty because] it is hard for them to accept the fact that fuller-figured women can be beautiful. For so long, companies have tried to convince the plus-size public that we have to take creams, diet pills, and other magical solutions for our “problems.” But we have finally taken a stand and let the press and all the world see that we are here and we are going to stay. It is horrible to reflect on how we were pushed back and denied a voice, but things are different now, and I hope to continue to put our energy and gusto into letting people know that we are all beautiful.
Patricia Tracy — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.10.30)
Well said! One of Nietzsche’s most powerful dicta is, “Beware lest in casting out your devil, you cast out the best part of yourself.” For too long, fuller-figured women have been led to believe that every curvaceous part of their body is a “problem area,” a flaw, something to be hidden. But those devilish curves are the very essence of feminine beauty. Those are the physical qualities that make women most womanly. And women should beware lest in attempting to eliminate those curves, they lose the very features that make them most attractive.
[Selection: Kate Dillon] Kate Dillon and Mia Tyler are truly beautiful women, and a credit to the modelling industry.
Angela Godfrey — email@example.com (2000.10.31)
[Selection: Kate Dillon] All of them are wonderful, but Kate is simply the best. I’d like to know the measurements of all these beautiful women. And please add Renoir to your Timeless Beauty page. His full-figured blonde girls are the most wonderful of any time.
Thank you for the suggestion. Renoir (the only Impressionist painter who had any real talent) is definitely on the short list for future inclusion in “Timeless Beauty,” as soon as a worthy model is found to match his lovely subject, Aline Charigot. As for measurements, Wilhelmina does not provide such statistics, but Ford offers the measurements of its 12+ models on each of their on-line composite cards.
[Selection: The media resists plus-size beauty because] since the invasion of the Puritans, America has been gripped by the notion that hard work and self-deprivation are measurements of willpower and, well, of power. Women who starved themselves were venerated, and this idea has pervaded recent history. The ’60s brought an acceptance of a more hedonistic lifestyle. The ’60s media allowed voluptuous women (e.g., Marliyn Monroe) to become celebrities for the first time. Then came Twiggy and the “waif”—women who represented the denial of difference between male and female with their boyish figures, perhaps in a subtle effort to reduce discrimination against women. Perhaps Feminism inadvertently made the lack of a figure fashionable.
Heather — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.11.19)
I would question how “inadvertent” feminism’s efforts to make feminine figures unfashionable actually were, but you are absolutely correct that the “waif” models were intended to blur the distinctions between men and women. Equally significant is your reminder about America’s puritan background, which may indeed have resurfaced after World War II and initiated the “aesthetics of guilt” that dominated the arts and society for the last half-century, and from which we are only now beginning to free ourselves. However, I would adjust your timeline a little, because Marilyn Monroe, and other slightly curvy actresses like the legendary Anita Ekberg, came to prominence in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and there is no indication that the “hedonism” of the late ’60s did any good for plus-size beauty at all. Quite the opposite. In the twentieth century, relatively politically-conservative eras have been more accepting of natural feminine figures, while left-leaning periods (the ’20s, the late ’60s, the early ’90s) have been more hostile towards plus-size beauty—perhaps because of the feminist influence to which you refer.
[The media resists plus-size beauty] for a number of reasons. Theory one: it’s a youth thing. In the last half of the twentieth century, people associate skinny with young and voluptuous with old. Theory two: It’s a clothes thing. It’s easier to drape cloth over a shaker chair than an upholstered sofa. When women who model clothes have curves, people look at the curves rather than the clothes. Designers don’t like that, and the fashion mags will always prioritize the will of the designers.
Brad Hall — email@example.com (2000.11.25)
Compelling possibilities, but perhaps they tell only part of the story. We must ask ourselves why people now associate “skinny with young,” and the reason is certainly because the only girls that people see in the media are thin girls. As usual, the media has not reflected society in its presentation, but has created an illusory image of society that is totally false.
Mr. Hall may be right about the will of designers, but here we must distinguish between the practical and impractical aspects of modern fashion. A good deal of modern fashion is as irrelevant to the general public as is…modern “art.” Many of the clothes that designers create, and have their armies of walking skeletons parade down European runways, are utterly ridiculous and unwearable. By all means, let ugly models exhibit such ugly attire! They suit each other perfectly. But when it comes to modelling attractive outfits, clothes than can actually be worn in public, then magazines should look beyond the whims of ivory-tower designers, and consider the needs of their readers, who, before they purchase on outfit, will want to see how it would look on models who approximate their own body type. What most mainstream designers and fashion editors fail to realize is that any outfit looks better on a plus-size model—especially on a genuinely full-figured plus-size model—and that when a customer sees their outfit on such a model, that customer will make a bee-line to her nearest retail outlet to try to recreate that look for herself.
[Selection: Sophie Dahl] The French model Laetitia Casta is quite curvy for a model, and even for a normal woman. Just look at her Pirelli picture!
I confess that I haven’t seen the Pirelli image in question, but compared to the figure of, say, Barbara Brickner, Ms. Casta’s curves are negligible.
I just wanted to let you know how much of a fan I am of Lara Johnson. The recent photo of her in the December 2000 issue of Talk magazine totally has me transfixed. I am originally from Jamaica (now living in the U.S.A.) and have always admired women with a little extra something. Must be a Caribbean thing. :) She takes it all to a new height, though. Are there any other publications that I can catch her in?
Patrick Williams — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.11.28)
Alas, I know of no other sources of Lara’s pictures. But if anyone is aware of such, please bring them to my attention, so that I may share them with Lara’s rapidly-growing fan base.
I think the media of our own time resists plus-size beauty because we, as a society, have been brainwashed into believing that “thin is beautiful.” For years, the only women who have been acclaimed as beautiful have been those who are a size two, or lower. Because there has been such a lack of attractive plus-size clothing, the media assumed that the public only wanted to see thin women on television and in magazines. Perhaps the media assumed that the public would react in a negative way to the introduction of plus-size women, rather than seeing this as a pioneering effort.
Caitlin Cartmell — email@example.com (2000.12.04)
Once again, I am not inclined to be so charitable towards the media, which takes a more active rather than passive stance when it comes to (literally) shaping society. But Ms. Cartmell’s point about the lack of attractive clothing for fuller-figured women is a vital one. For all that we speak of the importance of MODE magazine in effecting the aesthetic restoration that is under weigh right now, the revamping of Lane Bryant four years ago, and its decision to target a younger audience with more daring, form-fitting clothing, had every bit as much to do with changing public attitudes towards weight and beauty. It wasn’t until plus-size women could dress beautiful as well as feel beautiful that society began to realize that they are beautiful.
[Selection: Liis] I think the media resists plus-size beauty because they still believe that thin is the way to be. I guess they haven’t realized that plus-size women can kick ass on the runway just as good as the skinny girls.
Tiara Hills — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.12.04)
I would not presume to argue with you, for fear of the reprecussions. :) Indeed, one never realizes just how much more beautiful plus-size models are than their starving counterparts until one sees a genuinely full-figured plus-size model walking down the runway. Straight-size stick figures always look ungainly and awkward on the runway, no matter how sour an expression they contort their face into, while true plus-size models are poetry in motion. They have poise and elegance, their every step is soft and graceful and captivating to watch, creating as natural an impression as the movements of a ballet dancer. When crowds watch fashion shows featuring mixed-size models, the plus-size girls always steal the show, eliciting cheers of approval the moment they appear on the runway and, as the saying goes, “strut their stuff.”
[Selection: Sophie Dahl] Thank you for creating this Web site. The models are a million times more beautiful and healthy than the anorexics whom the media love. Thank you for showcasing them. Keep up the good work.
You often speak of a combination of two traits in these women: (a) being plus sized and (b) being vain or proud of their size and beauty. Given Sophie Dahl’s situation (i.e., a steady weight loss), which would you say is your “preferred situation”: (1) the plus-size woman who is self-conscious and hides her figure, or (2) the woman who loses weight but in the process gains self-confidence?
A.J. — email@example.com (2000.12.07)
Both scenarios are tragic, but the latter is also pathetic, because just as vanity is an extremely attractive feature in beautiful women, nothing is as unattractive as misplaced vanity. The woman who gains confidence by unnecessarily losing weight is merely conforming to society’s expectations, and often loses the very qualities that formerly made her attractive. It is as if a great poet were to begin writing trashy but popular romance novels, or a great composer were to begin writing pop songs. Sure, they would win a fleeting kind of acclaim, but they would also forsake the very principles that previously made them great. They are figures to be pitied. On the other hand, the plus-size woman who is self-conscious about her curves has no reason whatsoever to feel that way, and it is the goal of this Web site, and of the aesthetic restoration of which it is a part, to make her realize that lavish curves are the very essence of feminine beauty. Every age prior to our own knew this, and every age after ours will realize this as well.
[Selection: Sara Morrison] I like her legs, what can I say?
You can say that you like her legs. You can also take credit for your preference.
I recently saw Lara Johnson in Talk magazine, in the image where she is holding the pillow in front of her. Wow. A major turn-on. She is totally a knockout. I’m glad I found more pics of her. A “true” beauty…Lara is all of that. Nice! Hope I’m not too much out of line. She is beautiful, though! I would tell her, if I could.
“A Lara Johnson Fan” — JohnnyNobody1538@hotmail.com (2000.12.14)
This fan is obviously making a superhuman effort to couch his ardour for Lara in the politest terms possible, and for that he deserves a special commendation. But when one considers the power of Lara’s Titian-inspired “modest Venus” pose, is it any wonder that he finds self-restraint so difficult?
[The media resists plus-size beauty because] people are less and less encouraged to think as individuals and to have a personal opinion. Society dictates the standards. The media representatives are very happy not to rock the boat.
John — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.12.15)
How utterly true. This is the very essence of the answer to my question—and in fact, raises an even more significant issue. Award-winning filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici has coined the apt term, “Hollywoodism” (from his documentary feature of the same name) to refer to this process of eroding individual opinions and replacing them with media-generated (Hollywood-generated), mutual opinions. As he describes it, the media creates a “glass bubble that we all live in, that we can’t see out of.” And realizing that the “cult of thinness” is merely an artificial construct of the media of our time, in opposition to the natural standards of feminine beauty that held sway in every century prior to the twentieth, is the first step in breaking out of this bubble, and freeing onself of the tyranny of all of today’s prevailing values and opinions. This is the larger purpose of this Web site—beyond modelling, and even beyond beauty—for those who are interested.
The Sunday Times Magazine printed a picture of Lara Johnson wearing the cushions. Now that’s what you call a woman! I am going to pray for a longer life, now, in the hopes of living to see more pictures of her. Before I saw the picture of Miss Johnson, I could not understand why some men become stalkers. I feel so stupid writing all this, but I wanted to. Many thanks,
M.H. — email@example.com (2000.12.17)
Lara seems to elicit the most amazingly hyperbolic responses from visitors to this Web site—even those for whom size 12 does not qualify as a plus size. If you listen carefully, every time another Lara Johnson image appears on this Web site, you can hear another crack forming in the bubble in which that the media has surrounded society. Just a little while longer, and no one will ever again confuse “thinness” with “beauty.”
[Selection: Lara Johnson] Great to find a site that recognizes truly shapely women!
John — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.12.18)
[Selection: Lara Johnson] I suspect that the reason [the media resists plus-size beauty] has to do with how designers believe their clothes look on thin women, at least on the catwalk. Before Twiggy, movie stars were voluptuous. After Twiggy, women in movies and in the arts became smaller.
Please see my earlier response regarding the effects of modelling plus-size clothing on genuinely full-figured plus-size models.
I have no idea why the media resists plus-size beauty. But I do know that I’m not the only man who thinks that real-sized women are incredibly beautiful, sensual, and really nice to be with. When I eventually settle down, I hope that it’s with a woman shaped like the women on this site. Keep up the great work. Best wishes,
Liam Rooney — email@example.com (2000.12.19)
Indeed, it is beyond doubt that most men share Mr. Rooney’s opinion, and his dream as well. He should consider himself fortunate that he has freed himself enough of society’s norms that he can see exactly where his path to happiness lies, and feel no guilt or shame about it. Hopefully, as more men acquire his confidence in their own desires, more women will free themselves to indulge their instinctive appetites and allow their bodies to settle into their naturally generous shape, knowing that this will be an asset, and not a hindrance, in finding the truest kind of love.
The current definition of beauty seems to be “skinny with large breasts.” This is an unnatural combination, and therefore very rare. Normal and large women are counter to the current common definition of beauty and the mainstream “sheeple” simply can’t cope with anything that isn’t mainstream. It confuses them a bit too much.
Bonni Hall — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.12.20)
“Sheeple!” I am, in Internet parlance, ROTFLOL about that coinage. But your point is all too tragically true. Sadly, this even affects plus-size modelling. How absurd to see faux-plus plus-size models, especially those who lose weight, who are buxom, but have no other curves to speak of? What a false representation of beauty that is! The classical example is always the one that we should keep before us, and when we gaze upon the masterpieces of Greek and Roman sculpture, we see that the women who were chosen to represent their ideals of divine beauty were always exceedingly voluptuous, with very pronounced hourglass shapes, with curves distributed in every part of their body, from rounded arms, to full legs, to generous waists, and more. The first requirement for plus-size models should be that they have full, proportional, womanly figures, since they bring to life for us these timeless ideals of feminine beauty.
[Selection: Mia Tyler] Mia is one of the most stunning and attractive women I have ever seen. I saw her poster in a Lane Bryant store, and told my friends. Subsequently, they have remarked on her beauty as well.
Jon Willis — email@example.com (2000.12.20)
Is Sophie Dahl the same model who is in the controversial Opium advertisement for Yves Saint-Laurent? If so, do you know where I can see this “banned” ad?
Valerie Anne Brown — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.12.21)
For a “banned” ad, this image has circulated quite widely. Visitors interested in seeing a scan of this rather disappointing graphic can see it at the “Unofficial Sophie Dahl Pages,” the link to which I provide on my links page.
[Selection: Shannon Marie] All of these women are beautiful, especially Sophie, Mia, and Lorna, but I think Shannon Marie has the prettiest facial features, and, of course, that beautiful blonde hair. Sophie is also gorgeous in the Versace ads. I think that now that she has “cleaned up,” Anna Nicole Smith is extremely attractive as well, with her blonde hair and Marilyn-Monroe-like features and playfulness. These women are just amazing! Who could ever put a plain-faced waif with thin hair like Kate Moss next to these gorgeous women?
No one, except someone committed to suppressing feminine beauty at all costs, for political reasons that many contributors to this page have identified. Despite a recent dearth of appearances, Shannon Marie is now the secure front-runner in the Judgment of Paris, and one only hopes that pubic pressure will finally encourage MODE to return her to a place of prominence in its pages. The magazine has never been the same without her.
[The media resists plus-size beauty] because for so long, the mantra for beauty has been, “the skinnier the better.” In my honest opinion, some of the skinny models look very unhealthy—almost like they’re dying! How can this represent someone in a “model” position? People need to get with the times and show beautiful women the way they really are.
Deanna — email@example.com (2000.12.24)
[Selection: Barbara Brickner] I think these are the most beautiful women I have ever seen!
Martin — firstname.lastname@example.org (2000.12.26)
If anyone doubts Martin’s claim that plus-size models are the most beautiful women in the world, he should download Elena Mirò’s breathtaking and revolutionary Barbara Brickner Calendar for the year 2001, which can be downloaded here as a screensaver. The download is a full 1.3 Mb, but please be patient, because the result more than justifies the lengthy download time. For years, aficionados of plus-size beauty have longed to see a swimsuit calendar featuring their favourite full-figured models. But this calendar is even better, showcasing Mrs. Brickner in countless gorgeous poses, wearing tasteful but seductive attire (and yes, even a swimsuit or two). Thanks go to Mr. Manuel Hood for bringing this to my attention.
[Selection: Jennifer Larkin] Get yourself a copy of the 1999 Lane Bryant lingerie and fashion show. It will exceed your wildest expectations!
This is a tantalizing prospect, but how (I need ask) is one to obtain this treasure? If any aficionados of plus-size modelling wish to submit this item to yours truly, I will gladly make it available via this Web site to the rest of the world.
Please tell Lara Johnson if at all possible that I think she is just heavenly, and I have every one of her pictures printed out. Are there any more pictures of Lara on the Web? Thanks, from “A Lara Johnson Fan,”
Mick — RareSideEffects@aol.com (2001.01.01)
Sadly, I know of no other source of Lara Johnson images, apart from Mode magazine.
[The media resists plus-size beauty] because of the revenue it reaps from the diet industry. Think of all the ads with which we are bombarded on television: diet food, diet pills, diet creams, diet plans, diet books, diet magazines, diet shakes, gym subscriptions…is there no end!?
[Selection: Kate Dillon] Allegra, of course!
Allegra Doherty? Of course not.
[Selection: Barbara Brickner] How is it that you have chosen the girls who are nominted? For example, I see that most of them are very famous, except one perhaps. How did she get entered? I, for one, would vote for my wife, Stephanie, if she were listed. She has the most amazing eyes and a beautiful smile! She is the woman of my dreams, and she apparently appeals to others as well. She won a “bathing beauty” contest last year at plusmodels.com. You can see her Web page by going to the plus models site and looking in their directory. The thumbnail picture on the directory is the best, but it is not on her site yet. She has a photo shoot coming up soon. Make sure you stop by and give her a look!
Tony La Torre — email@example.com (2001.01.02)
The formula that has always determined inclusion on this Web site is B2C (two parts beauty, one part celebrity). Not only can the minor accomplishments of aspiring plus-size models not qualify them to be included on this page, but even the substantial career successes of genuinely famous models are insufficient to earn a model a place here—although, in some cases, exceeding fame (such as Mia Tyler’s) makes up for a certain deficiency in beauty, and in other cases, celebrity status coupled with a memory of past beauty (Sophie Dahl, Kate Dillon) can enable a model to preserve her place. But the overriding principle to which this site adheres, and that governs models’ inclusion, is Beauty—specifically, the timeless ideals of feminine beauty that held sway in Western aesthetics in every century prior to the twentieth. This is the site’s raison d’être, and the immediate motivation for the creation of the Timeless Beauty page—i.e., to demonstrate to visitors the continuity of true beauty, the fact that its essential character has not changed in three millennia of Western civilization. The same features that made history’s most celebrated paragons of loveliness the embodiments of feminine comeliness in each of their respective eras are the same ones that qualify today’s most attractive plus-size models to be deemed the loveliest women in the world. And if a model’s beauty is so conspicuous that it perfectly embodies those timeless feminine ideals, then her qualification for inclusion here is self-assured.
[Selection: Chrissie Marie Crawford] She is simply stunning! Of course, I am not biased or anything since I know her. (Heh, heh.) Glad to see you included her!
Anne (yes, that Anne) (2001.01.02)
Thank you for casting an official vote. Based on the voting tally, many people agree with your choice, and I am sure that your decision will be influential in helping others determine which model is most deserving of their support.
I would like to think that things are changing. I think the great beauty of your Web site and its historical metaphors are a great help. I’m looking forward to seeing these great beauties at Victoria’s secret someday, or in a rival enterprise. The reason [why the media resists plus-size beauty] is almost arbitrary, just as fashions are sometimes “created” simply to generate sales in the new season. With this theory in mind, the P.R. and advertising firms should realize that the trend towards full-figured beauty is something that they should promote. It only seems natural, since everyone can simultaneously relate to, and be captivated by, these women, who radiate both inner and outer beauty.
[Selection: Lara Johnson] Great contest. I’ve never seen so much beauty in one place. It was hard to pick a winner. Shannon Marie, Emme, and Kate Dillon were strong runners-up.
Dan McGrain — firstname.lastname@example.org (2001.01.03)
But let us ask ourselves, what is actually more remarkable—the fact that this amateur Web site exhibits such an amazing concentration of beauty, or that the professional mainstream media exhibits so little? We have theorized about why this is so, but for a moment let us consider the possibilities of a world in which the aesthetic restoration was complete. Imagine a world where feature films would star Kate Dillon as the object of desire, or where television dramas would present men dying for the love of Shannon Marie, or where billboards would feature Barbara Brickner displaying her sinful curves. Impossible? Not at all. We shall see this reality within our own lifetimes. And when it is in place, the old twentieth-century fascination with underweight women will be no more comprehensible than its love of abstract art, or atonal music.
[Selection: Lara Johnson] Please add Tami F. from Ford.
Visitors seeking images of Tami Fitzhugh-Thompson can find a generous selection at The Pantheon, brought to you by Joe Michaels, the creator of the Totally Kate Dillon Site.
[Selection: Barbara Brickner] A very beautiful woman with a very beautiful smile!
Nathalie Vandeuren — email@example.com (2001.01.07)
[Selection: Sophie Dahl] Mmmmmmmm Sophie. I think I’m in love!
I have been searching the Web for Barbara Brickner sites, and the only URLs that I have found are your pages, and some on-line portfolios. Do you know of any more?
Joe Lacdan — firstname.lastname@example.org (2001.01.12)
All of the Barbara Brickner links of which I am aware can be found on the home page of Barbara Brickner: An Encomium.
[Selection: Kate Dillon] I mentioned your site in my communication course because I think it’s amazing, and it really promotes full-figured women. I chose Kate Dillon because I think she is a model with an attitude. She used to be a “regular” model, and I think she is even more sexy with “meat on her bones”—as she put it! Keep up the great work.
Annie — email@example.com (2001.01.12)
Thank you for reporting on my site in your course. This topic of this Web site should be studied in all venues of higher education—indeed, everywhere where feminism attempts to deceive women into thinking that chimeras like “the patriarchy” are responsible for perpetuating the androgynous ideal. Lest anyone doubt the true source of this blight on womanhood, consider the following description of the ideal world envisioned by feminists. This passage is excepted from a feminist tract in Who Stole Feminism?, a scathing exposé of the so-called “women’s movement”:
With the elimination of sex roles, and the disappearance, in an overpopulated world, of any biological need for sex to be associated with procreation, there would be no reason why such a society could not transcend sexual gender. It would no longer matter what biological sex individuals had. Love relationships, and the sexual relationships developing out of them, would be based on the individual meshing together of androgynous human beings. (265)
The media has spent decades attempting to create this feminist dystopia by implanting in people’s minds the intensely counter-intuitive belief that androgynous-looking women are “normal,” whereas women with feminine figures are somehow “flawed.” We can securely conclude that the short answer to the question posed on the “Timeless Beauty” page is this: Why does the media resist plus-size beauty? Because of its vulnerability to the influence of left-wing political ideologies (most particularly feminism and socialism), and its collective intention to see that their ends are achieved. One might then ask, why do feminists resist plus-size beauty? Because this kind of beauty is natural and feminine—and its existence prevents them from successfully brainwashing society into thinking that gender is a cultural construct, and that their androgynous dystopia an achievable or even desirable goal. There are other reasons, of course, but many of them derive from this basic factor. The battle of plus-size beauty versus the androgynous ideal is nothing more or less than the most significant campaign in the cultural war being waged between femininity and feminism.
I’m a 19-year-old girl who’s a classic size 14/16. After years of starving myself, dieting, and going to extreme measures to lose weight, it was my wonderful finacé who finally got it into my head that my curves are an advantage. Here in Australia, popular women’s magazines are slowly introducing plus-size models into fashion spreads and the like. Your site is wonderful.
J. Whitrod — firstname.lastname@example.org (2001.01.14)
In many ways, Australia is far ahead of North America and even the U.K. in promoting full-figured femininity. The Australian edition of Cosmopolitan magazine has used plus-size models in many features—even in a recent swimwear layout—and we can only hope that in time, the rest of the world will follow suit.
Congratulations on freeing yourself from your self-induced weight-control torture. It is not merely when women sentence themselves to exhausting exercise regimens that they allow media standards to diminish their lives. Any time a woman desires the simple pleasure of a second helping at dinner, or a rich desert, and denies herself this indulgence because of her conditioned fear of the supposed consequences, she is letting someone else control her mind. This is not “self control,” but a surrendering of control. When a woman suppresses her natural appetite, she relinquishes her own will to that of a group of individuals (media moguls and left-wing ideologues) who couldn’t care less about her as an individual, who don’t spare a moment’s thought about her personal happiness, but merely wish to use her, and millions like her, to advance their own political agenda. Embracing full-figured femininity is not merely about true beauty, but also about true freedom.
Plus-size beauty represents generosity, abundance, sensuality, pleasure, relaxation; and these qualities threaten a society that thrives on efficiency and insecurity. Feminine sensuality requires stretching of time and body. Once people get a taste of it, there’s no going back.
Rembert — email@example.com (2001.01.15)
How true. This is where socialist thought involves itself in the attempts to eradicate plus-size beauty—indeed, every sort of beauty—from the world. “Parasitism” is the socialist term for anything beautiful, which is why numberless castles and cathedrals were demolished in the former Soviet Bloc nations, and replaced with machine-like rows of sterile, concrete housing. Socialism visualizes humans as little better than farm animals, or drones, whose destiny in life is nothing more than to perform labour in order to meet the basic needs of sustenance and shelter. Socialism recognizes no other human needs than those. But a man is neither a machine nor an animal. He has imaginative needs as surely as needs for food and water.
Consider this truly gorgeous image of Chrissie Marie Crawford. The picture shows her modelling sportswear, and yet the inspired pose that she has struck is completely relaxed and casual. An image such as this does not make the viewer think of labour or punishment, but of leisure and enjoyment; not of exercise, but of having fun. This playful aspect of life, this search for diversion even in the midst of day-to-day drudgery, is what elevates man from animal and ultimately involves him in the quest for deeper meaning in life.
My brother, who works in the rag trade, attributes the emaciated ideal to the fact that a lot of designers are gay. (I’m not bashing, just making an observation.) Apparently, the waif era began with the boyish look of the ’20s. Also worth taking into account is the fact that heaviness is no longer a luxury of the rich. Today, the choice to follow the whims of fashion is the test of affluence. Regardless of fashion, though, beauty will always remain in the eye of the beholder. Thank you so much for your truly great site. May I like to it from mine?
D.B. — firstname.lastname@example.org (2001.01.16)
Many other visitors have commented on the fact that the sexual preference of fashion designers is a major contributing factor in the proliferation of the androgynous ideal, and we see no reason to dispute this contention. By all means, feel free to provide a link here from your site. My only question is…what’s your site?
[Selection: Lorna Roberts] I just want to say that I am glad that women like Lorna Roberts and the others are becoming more accepted by society. Because of the harsh expectations of the social norm of “beauty,” we are too often robbed of seeing absolutely gorgeous women like these.
Greg Hernandez — email@example.com (2001.01.17)
Indeed we are, and the most insidious aspect of the “social norm of beauty” is that it is neither normal, nor beautiful. Plus-size beauty do not merely represent some “alternative” notion of beauty that should find a place in the periphery of the mainstream understanding of what constitutes feminine attractiveness—plus-size beauty is beauty (normal, natural, true, and timeless), from which every other conception of attractiveness is nothing more than an artificial deviation.
But our culture is truly experiencing an aesthetic restoration. It is slowly but surely recovering its essential understanding of genuine beauty, despite the best efforts of the American media to prevent it. A fine example is the recently-released BBC/A&E television adaptation of R.D. Blackmore’s magnificent novel, Lorna Doone. Not only was this reasonably faithful adaptation of a nineteenth-century classic refreshingly free from any efforts to rewrite it according to modern political sensibilities, but, even more shockingly, the actress who was cast in the title role (a ravishing newcomer named Amelia Warner) was remarkably attractive, and although not actually plus-sized, she exhibited the soft facial features and gentle feminine beauty that remain conspicuously forbidden in Hollywood.
[Selection: Emme] I like the site, and, of course, the subjects you feature will reflect the view of its creators, but for the rest of us, we feel that you are missing some very worthy ladies, including Kim Hampton (WNBA), Kim Coles, Queen Latifah, and Chaka Khan. Whenever you speak of voluptuous women, don’t forget that beauty like that comes in all colours.
Bruce Johnson — firstname.lastname@example.org (2001.01.17)
[The media resists plus-size beauty] probably because we continue to consider plus-size, “real” women as somehow out of the norm. There are more plus-size women in the world than “regular-size” women, so why do we have fewer clothing options and fewer designers vying for our purchasing power? Why are we considered abnormal? We are the norm. Stick-thin models are abnormal. The average size of a woman recently rose from 12 to 14. What does that tell you? But men and the fashion industry are finally catching on—real women have hips, ample breasts, shapely full thighs, cherubic cheeks. What man could possibly want a stick in bed? Plus-size women are built for comfort. It’s too bad I’m spending my youth in an era that doesn’t appreciate full-figured women. Maybe my future daughters won’t be treated as second-class citizens the way I was, when they are entering young adulthood. Maybe their beauty will be admired and accepted. I really hope so.
Kimmi — email@example.com (2001.01.20)
As stated earlier, it is precisely because plus-size beauty is normal, precisely because a fuller figure and a robust appetite are natural for women, that the media resists it so ferociously and attempts to suppress it. This basic fact negates feminist and left-wing dreams of a world of identical, androgynous working drones at a stroke. Only by brainwashing the public into believing that the artificial (emaciated) figure was normal, and the natural (voluptuous) figure was abnormal, could the ideologues have succeeded in reshaping the world according to their will. And yet, after decades of unchallenged domination of the media, they have failed in their efforts, and as surely as Berlin Wall crumbled beneath the hammer-blows of thousands of Prussian hands, so is the wall of cultural hegemony that they spent decades building into a monstrous edifice now cracking to its very foundations.
How do you go about choosing who is posted on your site? Do you use famous models only?
Cori Durfee — CoriSteveD@aol.com (2001.01.20)
This is a question that is frequently asked, and for an answer, I always refer to this formula: B2C—two parts beauty, one part celebrity. With enough beauty, a model can be admitted without celebrity, but no amount of celebrity can make up for a complete lack of beauty. To differentiate the Judgment page from the new Plus-que-partfait page, a model’s admission to the former rather than the latter depends on an appearance in a nationally-distributed fashion magazine or commercial advertising campaign (i.e., national in the model’s country of origin). Anyone seeking more information about the aesthetic component of the admission process should read the present author’s essay, “A Beauty of Their Own,” which discusses in some detail the classical aesthetic principles upon which the ideals of plus-size modelling are based.
Hey, everybody should read this excellent interview with Chrissie Marie Crawford, a new face on the plus-size modelling scene. It’s a highly informative and entertaining discussion of her career and how she feels about society’s attitude toward larger women. You can also find a lovely gallery of Chrissie’s photos here. And while you’re at it, take a look at the entire rest of the site. “Liis: A Tribute” is the best Web site ever on the topic of plus-size beauty.
D. Trull — firstname.lastname@example.org (2001.01.22, posted on the Dimensions forum)
Thank you for your kind words. If anyone is not aware, Mr. Trull runs a marvellous Web site called “The Lard Biscuit,” the best-known feature of which is the “Hot Chicks” section. Please note that this may be the only such site on the Web in which the “chicks” who are being showcased actually qualify for the designation “hot.” How so? Because this page is not any ordinary Internet shrine to attractive women, but a gallery devoted specifically to plus-size beauty. Unlike the present author’s Web site, Mr. Trull features many full-figured goddesses besides models, including a singer, an actress, and (as he himself terms it), “a former White House intern turned impeachment catalyst.” Mr. Trull is a fierce individualist and colleague who has supported my own efforts in countless ways, and when the media-induced androgynous ideal is finally toppled, it will be expressly because of men like him.
[Selection: Kate Dillon] Beauty and style doesn’t do justice as a description of Kate Dillon.
[The media resists plus-size beauty] because they’re (a) women, and (b) gay men, and therefore they love women who look like men.
Gilles Coin — email@example.com (2001.01.25)
Mr. Coin has an enviable talent for concision. His brief response is absolutely correct. If one couples this pithy observation with the previous discussions of the political influence on the mainstream media, then the question of why plus-size beauty has faced so many impediments is well answered. Now, having identified the root of the problem, it is left to every free-thinking individual to do everything in his power to solve it. Don’t just reflect—act!
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