Monday, September 1, 2008

Plus Size Looks

The Classic and Romantic Age literature is full of description of beautiful women. But the obsession with the female form has been timeless. Paradoxically, the ideal female form is a relative term. So if the Caucasian literary tradition describes ‘slender’ women as beautiful, Kalidas’ Shakuntala back home is voluptuous. In Africa for a long time, fat women were considered most beautiful. These factors depend a lot on climatic conditions as much as they depend on socio-cultural factors.

There was a time when plus-size supermodels like African-American supermodel Tyra Banks ‘fit the bill’ in every sense of the word, she was tall, confident and had what it takes. Yet she felt out of place amongst her super-skinny, anorexic, counterparts.

The Madrid Controversy banning anorexic models from the runway, in a way was a good beginning. Spain has disallowed models to walk down the runway this year if their BMI (Body Mass Index) was lower than 18.

So if London’s Fashion Week has refused to follow suite with a counter debate, with the organizers stating that it was a move that, not only violates the designers’ right to choose their models.

But the ‘thin is in’ trend has caught on and both, teenagers as well as women in their forties are trying out gymming and crash dieting. Cashing in on this trend are so-called ‘health and wellness centres’ who offer you more discounts for weighing more, effectively making you put on more weight.

It is worth applauding the efforts of British model Charlotte Coyle who is determined to change the way the world sees plus-size women. She has created a show called Beauty Reborn, where she will have 12 plus-size finalists, to serve as role models to the young British women.

Happily the trend doesn’t stop to only supermodels. There are stores that stock only plus size fashionable goods. Surveyors were quick to notice that most of the market was full of Small Size stock; where as most average women were nowhere closer.

That is especially true about Indian women. Indian women have genetically been curvy, hence health experts all over India showed concern as the size zero fad hit India via Kareena Kapoor.

Just a few years ago Bollywood actresses (whom most of the young crowd imitates consciously or subconsciously imitate), even top-line ones, were pleasantly plump. Sonali Bendre-like thinness was an exception rather than a rule. But all of a sudden the Gym-fever hit India without warning and spread like an epidemic with health experts saying that the obsession of the new generation about their health is actually unhealthy.

The media however has realised the hazards and has been quick to react. Nicole Ritchie and Victoria Beckham (who was famous for her washboard torso,) showing off their baby paunch was described in a positive light.

If the ongoing global Consumerist culture has a heart, like it now sounds. Things will definitely change and the spotlight will change from being skinny to being healthy.

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