Thursday, June 4, 2009




What do men want?

We women think we know. They want women who look like the ones on the Silver Screen, the ones on the pages of Vogue and Cosmo, women who look like Cindy Crawford or Nicole Kidman.

What do women want?

We want to look like the women men want. We want to have perfect bodies, perfect faces. And we want to feel good about ourselves, to wear the beautiful fashions we see in those magazines, to feel as beautiful inside as we think we are inside.

Ladies, women, girls, listen up: we have been deceived.

Men don’t like sticks or bones. Men like women who have some softness to their bodies. A curve or two or three. Women who don’t look like they’ll break in half in their hands. And they like strong women, both emotionally and physically.

There’s an old European saying that the bone is for the dog – the meat is for the man. That means that women with some flesh, some substance to them, are more attractive than women who are skin and bones.

Does this shock or surprise you?

Maybe it does.

Consider this: most of the fashion industry today is controlled by GAY MEN. Seriously. Now, that’s no complaint about gayness – it’s perfectly fine, and they have a unique perspective on beauty that is a true blessing to the world. But would you ask a mechanic to diagnose your liver problem?


What do gay men know about female beauty and sexuality? Are you trying to get gay men to look at you and say you’re beautiful, or do you prefer straight ones?

The answer is obvious.

So why are you looking at Cosmo and runway models and high fashion when you’re trying to judge female beauty? Shouldn’t you be asking men who the supermodels ought to be?

Now here’s another bone of contention: ask most men where they see beautiful women, and they’ll say Playboy or some other “male” magazine. However, if you ask them about Marilyn Monroe (size 14, sometimes a little larger) or the beautiful women painted by artists from the time of the ancient Greeks to just the last century, most will agree that these women are at least as beautiful, many even more beautiful.

Something disturbing is going on. Media images of women are growing thinner, while the average weight of American and European women is getting higher. Men are being told that these bone-thin women are the epitome of beautiful – and they’re believing it. And women who are on the plumper side of the bell curve, no matter how beautiful they are, are being told that they are ugly.

Ugly? Marilyn Monroe, ugly? Titian’s models, ugly? You and me?

We are being lied to by the fashion industry. Women of medically average size, and women who are on the larger side, are not only healthier than waifishly-thin women; they are more beautiful, sexier, enjoy life more. We are being told that fat is ugly. I’m telling you that fat is normal, and no uglier than, say, a nose. On some, it can be ugly. But on others, it’s a beautiful enhancement.

And the West is an anomaly. In Islamic countries, in India, in South America, in Africa, women of size are considered beautiful. A round belly and luxurious curves make a woman perfect, and sometimes that rounded belly or a large bottom and hips are more critical to being sexy than large breasts. African-American men and Latinos all agree that women with generous curves are by far the best.

What is wrong with us?

Part of it is the idea of beauty as an unattainable thing. It is mostly in poorer parts of the world that beauty is seen in large women. This is the same reason that tans became fashionable in the mid-20th century, when working women were pale and you had to have money to be dark-skinned.

But that’s only part of it. The rest of the reason probably has more to do with the images promoted by the media than anything. The media is always looking for the bigger, edgier, more extreme image – and in beauty, extreme is going to be very thin, very bosomy, very perfected. That’s why we have these impossibly-shaped women with ribs showing under their size-F bosoms.

There is a solution.

We must rebel. Instead of bowing to the media, instead of hiding our beauty under a bushel, we must come forward, all the beautiful large women we are. We must lay claim to our share of women’s beauty. It’s ours. We have a right to it.

We must make men stop looking at those unnatural women in magazines as female perfection, and start looking at us instead.

We must let the rest of the world know that we exist, and that we will not stand for it. There are millions who will stand with us if we do it: lovely plus-size women, women who’ve starved their bodies into submission and are just tired of it, men who love women with curves. If we stop being afraid, we can pull others out of the dark places and muumuus they’ve been hiding in. We can let the light of day shine on our voluptuous bodies at the beach and in our backyards, and stop being shamed by those who have no idea what they’re talking about.

It will take a movement. It will take a revolution of beauty. I think we’re all up to it. We have the energy to take on those wispy malnourished girls, and feed them a sandwich or two.

Ladies, let’s bring it on.

Nancy Hayssen, Author of "101 Ways to Market Yourself as a Plus Size Model...with NO Experience!" and former owner of the #1 website worldwide for sexy plus size models.

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