Tuesday, March 3, 2009

If Jessica Simpson is Fat, What Does That Make Me?

The tabloids and entertainment magazines are filled with the recent brouhaha over Jessica Simpson's figure. Apparently, she was photographed in a couple of not-so-flattering outfits, and after she read some unkind comments about her weight gain, Ms. Simpson blogged and blurted her way to several cover articles, detailing how hurt she was, and how she was comfortable with her womanly curves; several other celebrities offered support, including Jessica's lip-synching sister Ashlee. On the one hand, I love the fact that a tabloid darling is resisting the pressure to be a size 0; on the other hand, this is the same bubblehead who gave umpteen interviews about the workout regime she used to get into short shorts to play Daisy Duke, and honey, if you became famous largely because of your body, it's a bit hard to complain that people are judging you based on what you look like.

Still, Jessica looks like a model of sanity and healthy self-esteem compared to this month's issue of More Magazine, which I usually love for its intelligent perspective and focus on women over 40. The March issue has an article about older women with amazingly firm bods, and after breathlessly detailing how hyper-sinewy cougars like Madonna and Sheryl Crow get so ripped (severely restricted calories and two-hour daily intense workouts), the article simply concludes that it takes a ton of work to look that good. Excuse me, where is the rant against societal pressure? Where is the reassurance that the rest of us can look good without such extreme measures? More, I'm disappointed in you - or maybe the other half of the article never got finished, because the writer felt compelled to quit work and go start her 3,000 crunches?

Normal people who have to work, run homes, raise kids, etc., can't devote that kind of time and attention in order to look like a muscle-bound starving marathoner - but even if we could, would we want to? Since when did being bony-yet-with-a-6-pack become our standard of attractiveness? Years ago, back when fashion models were only a few pounds thinner than average women, the beauty icons were women with luscious figures, like Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Annette Funicello, none of whom would be able to appear in People Magazine today without critical comments about their flab. Granted, my resemblance to Marilyn is about as faint as my resemblance to Paris Hilton, but at least I wouldn't have to starve myself and work out for 15 hours a week to emulate Marilyn's figure - a good push up bra would do most of the work!

Fortunately, my husband is like most men, who prefer curves to sinew. I knew I loved him when he saw Nicole Kidman's photo and said, "Ewww, she's way too skinny", and he sealed the deal when he told me he hoped I didn't lose any weight, he liked a woman with a figure. His actual phraseology left something to be desired; he was trying to compliment my legs, so he told me he loved how my calves 'had so much meat on them' - as his friend Doug commented, "When talking to a woman about her body, never use the word meat!' - but he tried!

So Jessica Simpson, good for you for eschewing the super-ripped bod, and for doing something else besides being a busty bimbo who thinks Chicken of the Sea isn't tuna; but could we stop all the discussion of her weight ups & downs? If my husband sees one more photo of her in her short shorts, he's liable to ask me to put on some Daisy Dukes, and as comfortable as I am in my curvy body, that's one act of self-celebration I think I'll skip.


Lenore said...

Even if More DID apologize for trying to make us think every woman over 40 should look like Madonna (momentary pause: ew!!), it would still be filled with ads that can't bring themselves to show women with an ounce of flab. And have you ever seen a model with vericose veins? Me neither. So kudos to you for fighting the good fight! Lenore "Free Range Kids" Skenazy

Anonymous said...

If Jessica is fat then I'm a stinkin COW. :) Great post, from one psycho mom to another!