I don't know about you but these are two of my favorite sentences from a romance novel:
1) She was soft and yielding in all of the places he was hard.
2) He tenderly ran his hand over the gentle swell of her belly.
Now the latter would imply that our lovely heroine, paragon of feminine beauty that she is, actually HAS a belly. I'm a big believer in the scientific fact that women are genetically predisposed to store fat in certain areas of their bodies. (Especially in the winter when a package of Oreos may be all that stands between us and the horrors of famine.)
I also happen to know that men are genetically predisposed to look for good breeders. (That means hips large enough to pass a good-sized hobbit through the birth canal.) Before he asked me out, my future husband was busted by a fellow classmate for checking out the junk in my own proverbial trunk as I walked (strutted) across the room in front of him.
So why does society keep telling us we should aspire to look like this?
That's right. That's Teri Hatcher and Lara Flynn Boyle, just two of the Hollywood actresses who seem to be vanishing right before our eyes. Lara Flynn Boyle is so skinny she recently ended a guest stint on LAS VEGAS by (are you ready for this?) BLOWING OFF OF A ROOF!
The standard of female beauty in the Renaissance was typified by the Rubens painting above. But you only have to travel back to the 1960's and watch any James Bond film to see how our standards (and our actresses) have shrank in the past 40 years. The women in those movies were considered some of the most beautiful of their day. They looked glowing and healthy. They had thighs and (oh, miracle of miracles!) they even had bellies and they weren't afraid to show off their bellies in their snappy little bathing suits. They were much more likely to push someone off a roof than blow off a roof.
So how do we combat this ridiculous and unhealthy ideal? Can we just quote Sir Mix-A-Lot's BABY GOT BACK--"Cosmo says you're fat. Well, I ain't down with that!" Personally, I love the solution put forth by inspirational author Liz Curtis Higgs, who calls herself a "big, beautiful woman living in a nervous, narrow world." Liz suggests that we stand in front of the mirror every morning (with or without clothes), spread our arms wide and proclaim, "Blessed am I among women to live in such a beautiful temple!" That way, even if you feel you need to lose weight and get more fit, you can still love yourself while you're doing it.
One of my dear friends who has struggled to gain weight all of her life assures me that being too skinny is just as great a social problem as being too heavy. As she described to me the terrible ordeal of being forced to drink 3 chocolate milkshakes a day, I did the only thing I could.
I pushed her off the roof.