In the world of celebrities, the phrase “full figured” is applied to such women as Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet, and America Ferrera—a category of women who I’ve always viewed as “Hollywood fat.” The women who are called “full figured” are often treated as overweight by the media; we’ve seen it time and again. The problem escalates when regular, ordinary women start to interpret the data in the obvious way: larger than a size 6? Forget it. You are (or Eva Longoria is) “fat.” And thus, the pressure is on to adhere to this unrealistic standard.
Celebrities like Longoria, who apply the word “fat” to themselves when they are clearly no such thing, might be part of the problem. But how about Mariska Hargitay, who referred to herself as full figured in Self magazine? My first reaction: “Mariska Hargitay? Really?” Glossed Over says:
Is Mariska Hargitay’s appraisal of her body self-deprecation, the misuse of a term commonly used to mean “plus-sized,” or the result of working in an industry where breakfast is a cigarette and a swig of Starbucks? I don’t know, but it depresses the hell out of me.
But then Jezebel jumps in to say that Hargitay might not mean what we think she means:
I sincerely doubt that Hargitay is trying to tell Self readers that she’s at all overweight. I think it’s more that terms like “full figured,” “curvy,” “plus-size,” and “big-boned,” have become so obfuscated by the dieting industrial complex that their original meanings are essentially moot at this point.
In mag parlance, Gisele Bundchen and Jennifer Hudson are both “curvy,” (which these days means “possessing breasts”) and Whitney from America’s Next Top Model is “plus-size.” We got an angry email after New York Times reviewer Manohla Dargis described Keira Knightley as “a big-boned beauty” because the reader had assumed that Dargis was calling Knightley fat. The thing is, Knightley is “big-boned” according original definition of the word, which is “having a bone structure that is massive in contrast with the surrounding flesh.” Her shoulders are broad and her clavicle protruding, but she has little flesh on her bones.
So now my mind is a little blown. What do we mean by terms like “thin” and “curvy” or “full figured” or “average” or “voluptuous,” and what should we mean? Is “full figured” automatically a euphemism for fat, and in the celebrity world (or the real world) is it automatically a negative thing? Is Keira Knightley really “big boned”? I don’t know the answer, but I sure would be interested in having the conversation.
Thanks to Nonk for the link!
Posted by mo pie