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Old 11-27-2008, 04:00 PM   #1
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Default BBW's and The Body Beautiful

This is an attempt to springboard off a thread Les Toil started in Hyde Park a couple of days ago. He was commenting on a weight-loss ad that featured "before and after" pictures. "Before" was a mid-sized BBW with an hourglass shape; "after" was much slimmer, with what I would call a "boyish" figure (because I looked a lot like that in junior high). After considerable discussion, Fascinita wrote: "One solution to the problem... might be to look at the deeper causes for the constant scrutiny of women's bodies and the culture's hyper-focus on defining "perfect female body." Let's do that.

My $.02 worth: Different body shapes have gone in and out of fashion. In the 1920's, flappers bound their breasts to achieve a boyish figure; that was, perhaps coincidentally, about the time women began to enter the work force in large numbers. Ever since the 1960's, I have observed the "perfect female body" growing progressively thinner as women's participation and leadership in many areas has increased. I remember once when I was dating a woman who was taller than I, one of my male friends asked, "Aren't you afraid she will dominate you?" I thought it was a silly question, but I wonder if this fear might not be a contributing factor to an increased identification of slenderness (fragility?) with beauty. Are thinner women in demand partly because they are seen as weaker or easier to dominate? Conversely,is it commoner for FA's to value strength and independence in women than for non-FA's? Or is it too much of an individual matter to tell? What do you think?
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:13 PM   #2
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Possibly, though I am somewhat skeptical of such connections myself, particularly since the correlation, if any, seems to go the other way. The oft-quoted heyday of fat as beautiful, before the 20th century, was rife with sexism to a degree that vastly outstrips the modern West. And then look at countries like Mauritania where fat women are preferred, hardly paragons of sexual equality. In addition I dunno if I would necessarily equate thin with weak, either. If anything, thinness implies exercise and exercise hardly suggests weakness.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:32 PM   #3
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Default BBWs,BHMs & The Ideal Body Type

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Originally Posted by Dr. Feelgood View Post
Ever since the 1960's, I have observed the "perfect female body" growing progressively thinner as women's participation and leadership in many areas has increased. I remember once when I was dating a woman who was taller than I, one of my male friends asked, "Aren't you afraid she will dominate you?" I thought it was a silly question, but I wonder if this fear might not be a contributing factor to an increased identification of slenderness (fragility?) with beauty. Are thinner women in demand partly because they are seen as weaker or easier to dominate? Conversely,is it commoner for FA's to value strength and independence in women than for non-FA's? Or is it too much of an individual matter to tell? What do you think?



Thinner women may be in the 'so-called' demand based on the expectations the media. Your friend may have doubts about dating a taller women due to his own insecurity.

Very interesting point - I would like to take them to another direction. In terms of our Dimensions community - it has been bought up by others on other threads on what is considered the 'ideal' bodytype for BBWs and FAs.

I guess at the end of the day it's not so much what is 'ideal';but, what the individual preferences are.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:42 PM   #4
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I think that I for one get sick of our bodies as women being constantly scrutinized, analyzed, objectified, discussed, obsessed over.

So yay let's discuss what we think is the perfect body shape again. Don't let women just be, we need to be put through this all over again.
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:11 PM   #5
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I blame fashion

sorry if there any gay dudes here but

most male fashion designers are gay .. that like boyish looking models ... and put them out there to show thier stuff .. they do not care much for curves ....

people on society looks at that and assumes that to be the defacto standard of beauty !!!
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:14 PM   #6
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Dr. Feelgood, the heart of the matter isn't about female beauty, it's about female power, rather, sexual power and who controls it. It always has been and it seems like it always will be. I've always thought that for some men, the fact that women can give birth and they can't, and the power that women have over their libido's scares them enough to keep women from having true power. So we end up with values, laws, rules, mores that tell women any time they try to control what happens to their bodies (i.e. reproductive issues) they are bad, immoral, wrong, whores, sluts, loose, etc, etc. Men do that partly by convincing women they don't look good enough, and women buy into it and beat themeselves up, put each other down, and do all they can to undermine themselves. They spend a lot of time telling themselves their worth is dependent on how they look.

Men are mostly judged on their actions and their character, but women are judged mostly on how they look. It's ridiculous. Traditional women's work has always been undervalued and deemed easy to do. And even then, activities that were always relegated to women didn't begin to have value until men took them over. How many famous male chefs are there compared to women? How many famous fashion designers are men?

I'm not saying all men and women do this consciously, but I have observed the reactions from my male friends after I lost weight. All the comments were all about what they thought I should, could, and shouldn't, couldn't do with my body. I had one friend flat out tell me I couldn't lift weights anymore because it would make me less feminine. He was afraid I'd become more muscular than him. Mind you he didn't say that till he saw I was approaching the amount of weights he could lift himself. My other friend decided it wasn't cool that I was becoming a gym rat or a jock who liked to lift weights, but it was okay for his thin girlfriend to be a feminine pilates instructor. No, I'm not bitter about it. I do know they couldn't stand the thought of a woman being stronger than them. It did make me angry that they felt like I wasn't entitled to physical strength because I am a woman. I call shennanigans.

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Old 11-27-2008, 11:35 PM   #7
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i don't want to take this thread on a tangent, but i think this is worth consideration. We need to remember that these ads are a component of the fitness industry, which is one of the most corrupt and unregulated businesses out there. i think a good documentary for people to check out that is somewhat related is called "bigger, faster, stronger". it actually focuses on aas use (anabolic/androgenic steroid), but it makes some great larger points about the concept of the male body ideal and how it is manipulated by the fitness industry through ineffective products and doctored pictures. in addition to the doctored pictures, these companies actually pay athletic people to gain weight and stand in such a way to accent it for the before pic and actually take the "after" picture before. Also, most of the male fitness models that you see on a bowflex commercial are aas users in addition to using quite a many other products.

i bring all that up because it is important to note that this industry which is on the front lines of the battle to spread anti-fat propaganda and paranoia are not marketing health but watered down supplements (sometimes snake oil) or ineffective exercise gear. The ideal isn't skinny but a user/consumer. They play on the insecurities that people already have to make them spend money. They do not have an earnest commitment to making people thin (their model of health).

As a fitness buff, i find it all fascinating. it really does go back to the concept of sexual power though as olwen pointed out. if you look at fitness magazines marketed to young men, its easy to see that sexual attractiveness is always a purchase away, be it a magazine, a can of whey protein, a cycle of steroids, etc. These are some magazine covers i've seen over the years. i think they show the way that the fitness industry plays one gender against another out of convenience.








what's interesting is these are men that women don't necessarily find exceedingly or irresistibly attractive. finding that out was the shock of a lifetime for me.

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Old 11-27-2008, 11:55 PM   #8
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:59 PM   #9
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looks like a jacked bobby hill.
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Feelgood View Post
This is an attempt to springboard off a thread Les Toil started in Hyde Park a couple of days ago. He was commenting on a weight-loss ad that featured "before and after" pictures. "Before" was a mid-sized BBW with an hourglass shape; "after" was much slimmer, with what I would call a "boyish" figure (because I looked a lot like that in junior high). After considerable discussion, Fascinita wrote: "One solution to the problem... might be to look at the deeper causes for the constant scrutiny of women's bodies and the culture's hyper-focus on defining "perfect female body." Let's do that.

My $.02 worth: Different body shapes have gone in and out of fashion. In the 1920's, flappers bound their breasts to achieve a boyish figure; that was, perhaps coincidentally, about the time women began to enter the work force in large numbers. Ever since the 1960's, I have observed the "perfect female body" growing progressively thinner as women's participation and leadership in many areas has increased. I remember once when I was dating a woman who was taller than I, one of my male friends asked, "Aren't you afraid she will dominate you?" I thought it was a silly question, but I wonder if this fear might not be a contributing factor to an increased identification of slenderness (fragility?) with beauty. Are thinner women in demand partly because they are seen as weaker or easier to dominate? Conversely,is it commoner for FA's to value strength and independence in women than for non-FA's? Or is it too much of an individual matter to tell? What do you think?
Hi,
There are a number of feminist writers that have similiar thoughts and discussions regarding this subject.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:42 AM   #11
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looks like a jacked bobby hill.
LOL I Love that comment!
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:00 AM   #12
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Dr. Feelgood, the heart of the matter isn't about female beauty, it's about female power, rather, sexual power and who controls it.

I agree. But I suspect it's about more than sexual power: I think it's about any kind of power.

I've always thought that for some men, the fact that women can give birth and they can't, and the power that women have over their libido's scares them enough to keep women from having true power.

So if women start to take power in other arenas, isn't there likely to be a backlash putting even greater emphasis on women's appearance?

I had one friend flat out tell me I couldn't lift weights anymore because it would make me less feminine. He was afraid I'd become more muscular than him. Mind you he didn't say that till he saw I was approaching the amount of weights he could lift himself. My other friend decided it wasn't cool that I was becoming a gym rat or a jock who liked to lift weights, but it was okay for his thin girlfriend to be a feminine pilates instructor. No, I'm not bitter about it. I do know they couldn't stand the thought of a woman being stronger than them. It did make me angry that they felt like I wasn't entitled to physical strength because I am a woman. I call shennanigans.
So, isn't this of an example of someone playing the 'sexually attractive' card when you begin to be perceived as a competitor? Maybe I didn't make it clear enough in my original post, but this is just the kind of thing I was thinking about (shennanigans is a good word ).
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:10 AM   #13
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There are some men who are afraid of/ intimidated by the female body and they seek to control it by imposing these "societal standards". They seem especially concerned with the changes that accompany child birth ( her nipples are too big now, I don't like stretch marks, her mommy parts feel or look different now ). There are whole branches of medicine devoted to putting women back to the way they were before having kids.

I worked with a guy who got his wife breast implants after their daughter was born and would have gotten her labiaplasty as well but she had a C-section. This pair was the typical Ken and Barbie, high school football star marries the head cheerleader. He hated her after-baby body and paid ridiculous sums of money to "fix" it, and she went along with him because she didn't know any better or have the self-esteem to stand up for herself.

It is more than just about looks, there is a very base thing in the ultra-masculine ego that gets harmed when a woman is different than "normal".
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:12 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Susannah View Post
I think that I for one get sick of our bodies as women being constantly scrutinized, analyzed, objectified, discussed, obsessed over.

So yay let's discuss what we think is the perfect body shape again. Don't let women just be, we need to be put through this all over again.
........really.
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:14 AM   #15
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....FOR FUCK'S SAKE, THERE IS NO APOSTROPHE IN BBWs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:23 AM   #16
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I have nothing to add here as I believe people like what they like and are only really drawn in "societal" ways if they truly have no preference due to confusion. Otherwise they like what they like, even if they choose not to pursue it.

However, regarding those muscle guys (not my thing, AT ALL)... but why do they all end up looking so similar in the face?? It's freaky and weird. (And yes, I realize there's a guy who repeats, I'm not talking about him.)
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:40 AM   #17
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However, regarding those muscle guys (not my thing, AT ALL)... but why do they all end up looking so similar in the face?? It's freaky and weird. (And yes, I realize there's a guy who repeats, I'm not talking about him.)
lol yeah, they also tend to push an "all-american california guy" image as well. its not quite so bad these days, but back in the 70's through the 90's, it was a more palpable thing.
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:05 AM   #18
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......but those guys and girls are just revolting to look at.

there ya go! preferences!
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:07 AM   #19
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I posted some of this earlier and in another way, but i think that fear indeed has something to do with it.

Both men and women see a BBW as a very (sexually) present person. A treath to less curvaceous women and a dominant type to mentally smaller men.

Of course this is generalizing. But it happens a lot though.

What fashion does is another thing. There's no other motive than money and there's the vision of indeed gay designers. And no, this isn't bashing, it's just a fact. I know FA designers, but they design cars.
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:30 AM   #20
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I agree. But I suspect it's about more than sexual power: I think it's about any kind of power.

So if women start to take power in other arenas, isn't there likely to be a backlash putting even greater emphasis on women's appearance?

So, isn't this of an example of someone playing the 'sexually attractive' card when you begin to be perceived as a competitor? Maybe I didn't make it clear enough in my original post, but this is just the kind of thing I was thinking about (shennanigans is a good word ).
Sexual power is the most essential in my opinion. It's so basic and so potent. Everybody feels it. Sexual power begets other kinds of power.

Women have started to take power in other arenas and you are right even more emphasis is put on a woman's appearance. For example, during the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton took a lot of heat for her appearance. She was perceived as mannish in her suits, not feminine enough, and not taken seriously. But Sarah Palin was considered hot, and not taken seriously. The only reason I think Clinton took more heat is because people did see her as a serious contender, able to surpass their expectations. In other words she was seen as a threat, while Sarah Palin was not. Furthermore, Clinton displayed a bit of human emotion by crying and all hell broke loose. She was perceived as a weak little woman (and gee aren't all women supposed to be weak? ) incapable of leading a country. Had a man done it, he'd have been seen as a sensitive and caring man, quite capable of leading the country well.

So yes, when a woman is seen as a viable competitor, she is seen as a threat to all men and her appearance, her femininity, rather, her sexual power is immediately attacked, rather than her character, because that is how women are judged in our society. It has nothing to do with anything other than - sexual power.

Last edited by olwen; 11-28-2008 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 11-28-2008, 06:49 PM   #21
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What fashion does is another thing. There's no other motive than money and there's the vision of indeed gay designers. And no, this isn't bashing, it's just a fact. I know FA designers, but they design cars.
I disagree. I don't think anyone's gayness has anything to do with this, anymore than Pablo Picasso's machismo is responsible for it.

In my opinion, it comes down to power. Sexism is a power game. Most "isms" are power games.

Designing dresses that don't fit fat women is no more deplorable than designing cars or airline seats that don't fit fat people.

Please let's get away from the idea that any one group (blame it on the gays!) is responsible for the state of things. It's all of us. Knowing how the power game works is a good first step, but shifting blame and responsibility will put us right back at square one.
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Old 11-28-2008, 07:22 PM   #22
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I disagree. I don't think anyone's gayness has anything to do with this, anymore than Pablo Picasso's machismo is responsible for it.

In my opinion, it comes down to power. Sexism is a power game. Most "isms" are power games.

Designing dresses that don't fit fat women is no more deplorable than designing cars or airline seats that don't fit fat people.

Please let's get away from the idea that any one group (blame it on the gays!) is responsible for the state of things. It's all of us. Knowing how the power game works is a good first step, but shifting blame and responsibility will put us right back at square one.
Fashion is one of the problems where facing on the surface today. Fashion couldn't care less. They've a different interest. Commercially and sexually. That's all i meant to say.

But, the main thing i highlighted in my post was fear. The fear for feminism, the fear for a strong and sexually feminine presence.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:47 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by t3h_n00b View Post
i bring all that up because it is important to note that this industry which is on the front lines of the battle to spread anti-fat propaganda and paranoia are not marketing health but watered down supplements (sometimes snake oil) or ineffective exercise gear. The ideal isn't skinny but a user/consumer. They play on the insecurities that people already have to make them spend money. They do not have an earnest commitment to making people thin (their model of health).

As a fitness buff, i find it all fascinating. it really does go back to the concept of sexual power though as olwen pointed out. if you look at fitness magazines marketed to young men, its easy to see that sexual attractiveness is always a purchase away, be it a magazine, a can of whey protein, a cycle of steroids, etc. These are some magazine covers i've seen over the years. i think they show the way that the fitness industry plays one gender against another out of convenience.



what's interesting is these are men that women don't necessarily find exceedingly or irresistibly attractive. finding that out was the shock of a lifetime for me.

The Fitness Industry has always been one to market exercise supplements and equipment with dubious claims. Look as isometrics and power racks
(they were touted as the next best strength routine) the sad part is that most of the users were taking roids at the time and such claims could not be proven.

The Fitness industry to some extent has been filled with examples of folks that contradict their message. I recently watched "Bigger,Faster,Stronger" and the eye-opener for some was that the so-called icons 'Arnold' - 'Hulk Hogan' an 'Stallone' were building their bodies through chemical means & not following a lifestyle of "saying your prayers and eating your vitamins". To paraphrase the words of Greg Valentino in the movie " They are waving at you with one hand and giving you the finger with the other"....

In addition, the use of female models with bodybuilders is a means to contradict the rumors (fair or not) of homosexuality that is often stamped on the sport. Plus, the one group that is getting the real shaft in terms of bodybuilding are the women competitors. The next time it airs on cable check out 'Supersize She'

Brief Clip on Youtube "Supersize She"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLwStRk7T4g






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Originally Posted by AnnMarie View Post
I have nothing to add here as I believe people like what they like and are only really drawn in "societal" ways if they truly have no preference due to confusion. Otherwise they like what they like, even if they choose not to pursue it.

However, regarding those muscle guys (not my thing, AT ALL)... but why do they all end up looking so similar in the face?? It's freaky and weird. (And yes, I realize there's a guy who repeats, I'm not talking about him.)
If you mean that drawn out look - Diuretics or other supplements to try to get as vascular as possible


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Originally Posted by t3h_n00b View Post
lol yeah, they also tend to push an "all-american california guy" image as well. its not quite so bad these days, but back in the 70's through the 90's, it was a more palpable thing.
Don't know if it was more palpable. I mean the last bodybuilder with a classic look was Frank Zane. The next would have been Bob Paris;but, since he came 'out' he was pretty much snubbed by the sport.The trend has been for the more 'freaky' physiques to win... I guess the closest now would be the 2008 Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:10 PM   #24
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Don't know if it was more palpable. I mean the last bodybuilder with a classic look was Frank Zane. The next would have been Bob Paris;but, since he came 'out' he was pretty much snubbed by the sport.The trend has been for the more 'freaky' physiques to win... I guess the closest now would be the 2008 Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson
yeah, i focused in on muscle and fitness et al because they have a slightly more mainstream appeal and don't really feature the freaks on the covers like that. Flex and Muscular Development are a whole other fish.

As for the classic look thing, a lot of people seem to think Toney Freeman has it. i don't necesarily agree. Those days are long gone because amateur competitors are looking like that on weak juice. all those compounds have gotten stronger. its sad and in a way funny. young men are led to believe that looking like Zane and Paris is what most women consider attractive and its not. most women like men w/ average body types. i'm not particularly big but a good number of girls find me too muscley.
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:36 PM   #25
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So what do you make of the trend for muscular women out in the regular world, noob? You know... abs of steel, buns of iron... that kind of thing?
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