July 2017
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Beauty beliefs -- thin is in fashion, not the definiton of beauty (I argue with Lword vlog watchers)


Recently on The L Word there was a shower scene which included normal women who varied in age, race, shape, and size. (NWS screencap) I was delighted, but when I watched the We're Getting Nowhere recap, the vloggers weren't so pleased. They made negative and disparaging comments about those women, so I responded with this comment:

I thought those women were beautiful. And I think that your not-so-positive reaction to them contradicts your previous statements about disliking the unhealthily thin trend in the media. "We don't want to see that"? Well I do! The blonde woman who threatened Helena was stunning -- mature, fit, and curvy -- and her companion was also lushly gorgeous. I'm annoyed that they had to go to prison to find these women. Apparently all normal-sized, varying in age women get sent to jail in L.A. -- perhaps for the crime of not being young, thin, and stereotypically beautiful? I'm disappointed that you seem to agree that those who are not young, thin, and stereotypically beautiful should not be on TV. Perhaps if they were, people would not have such a narrow, ridiculous idea of what 'beauty' is. Thin is merely the fashionable body shape -- it is not natural human inclination to find only thin people attractive. If we changed the fashion to thickness (as it was 100 years ago), your average person would think of thin women as unattractive. What we should be looking for is a fashion of variety -- truly believing that all people are beautiful.

Beauty is variety, not sameness. You can have your bland, airbrushed, altered, starved women. Give me the ones with flavour: the ones who don't change themselves to fit into the fashionable shape! (which includes those very few who happen to naturally have the shape which is in fashion)

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boywithmoonandstars: But you seem to be taking the "unhealthily thin" comment a bit to heart. I would apply that label to the actress who plays Helena. She is far too thin for my taste, however that is MY taste. It is neither right nor wrong, merely my perception of what is attractive in the female form. Your personal tastes obviously run towards large beautiful women, but there is no need to castigate the Terrible Three because they may or may not share your opinion in this matter.

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My response to boywithmoonandstars: actually, my personal tastes run the whole range of women, from slender to voluptuous (did you read my comment?). I truly believe that beauty is variety -- NOT 'big beautiful women' or any other exclusive category.

I was not criticizing their personal taste, but their expressions of disgust toward that which is not their personal taste. Had they said 'these women are not my taste' or 'I prefer more slender women' I wouldn't have had a problem with it. I certainly did not castigate them. I simply pointed out what seemed to ME to be an inconsistency in their statements: first railing against the industry for forcing women to starve themselves to be actresses/models, and then playing into that very thing by implying that thicker women should not be on TV. They didn't express personal taste -- they expressed a belief about certain women being categorically unattractive and not appropriate to see on TV.

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boywithmoonandstars: I can see your point and agree I may have been a bit over the top with the use of "castigate". One of the things I love about this sight is that we are capable of a reasoned debate over differences. On so many other sites one minor disagreement ends up in a flame war. So, whatever else may be said, yay us for being civil.

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This one was not so civil. It pisses me off that this kind of prejudice is still socially acceptable.

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Dylan: To be fair, I don't think the girls were talking about weight issues here :) I heard no mention of weight.

And really, who really wants to see normal when the fantastical is what MOST people fantasies about.

How many of you really fantasies about 'normal' looking women? Or can you admit that you're rather more inclinded to do that about people like Jill, or Angelina Jolie, or Eliza Dushku, Jessica Alba, etc, etc :)

I think their reaction was normal. Who wants to see something so painfully normal (or supposedly normal. Though I don't personally consider overweight as 'normal') when we can have people that aren't particularly skinny...yet not as rough as old sandpaper on our screens? Like Cybil for instance, or Pam. They're not 'skinny' by today's standards...but still at least attractive.

Don't we all prefer something nice to look at? Wouldn't TV be just a little bit too bland if all we saw were people most of us would never even consider taking home? :/ Especially on such a highly sexed show. I think it's a bit silly to think otherwise, even though some of us have different tastes and views when it comes to what we find attractive. Although it seems - judging by the shed load of responses here about the hotness of Jill, Dara and Karman - that most of us have at least some notion of what is generally considered attractive, and it's not what was presented in that shower scene, no matter how much some may protest that pointing it out is unfair or wrong.

Was it realistic? Yes. Was it particularly pleasent to see? No. And I see no reason why the girls in the blog can't hold that opinion like a lot of viewers would. If that's taken away...then I think everything gets just a little too PC. And then we'd be left with a blog with no personality.

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My now-decidedly-irritated response:
I didn't say it was about weight issues. I said it was about their expressions of disgust -- "eww" "I don't want to see that on TV" "be careful what you wish for" (paraphrased slightly). Yes their reactions were 'normal' -- that's the whole problem! This narrow concept of attractive is what is the problem. 'Attractive' is NOT AN OBJECTIVE QUALITY. It is purely subjective. It doesn't become fact because a bunch of people agree any more than the world was flat because everyone agreed on that concept. The concept of an objective beauty standard is FALSE.

Don't we all prefer something nice to look at?

Yes. Some of us have broader definitions of that than others. I personally find those women in the shower scene every bit as 'nice' to look at as the L word actresses, if not more so because they were natural. Being worked on for three hours (hair, makeup, etc) before a scene is shot and having a personal trainer and being on a restrictive, unhealthy diet is not normal or natural, and I don't find it especially attractive.

And no, I don't think TV would be bland if it had more variety! I think it would have more spice because of more DIVERSITY. Since when is something more flavorful because it is homogeneous?

most of us have at least some notion of what is generally considered attractive, and it's not what was presented in that shower scene, no matter how much some may protest that pointing it out is unfair or wrong.

What is 'generally considered' is not necessarily fact. Just because YOU thought it wasn't "particularly pleasant to see" does not mean that it wasn't. Your opinion is just that -- not objective fact for the rest of the world. You assume that everyone thinks thin is nicest and most attractive -- that this is some universally accepted and timeless idea! it isn't. It is a modern fetish. If all of the L Word main characters had the same skin tone and the shower scene ladies had a different skin tone and the vloggers reacted with disgust because of that skin tone, would that be an acceptable reaction? NO. Body shapes naturally differ the same way skin tones do, and should be treated with equal respect even if one doesn't find them equally attractive. I don't consider it 'PC' to treat every person with equal respect -- I consider it respecting one's fellow human beings.

just to make sure I am perfectly clear: I'm not asking the vloggers to like different sizes and shapes. That is their personal choice, of course. I'm simply asking that they treat all shapes and sizes with equal respect, without displaying disgust or disdain based on someone's appearance.
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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.