July 2018
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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.

connecting: ,

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Comments
Page 1 of 2[1][2]
bluebl00d ══╣╠══
Bel you already know how I feel about this whole ordeal ♥ Seems we're the only two who spoke up about it in the AE comments. Thanks again for thinking the way you do ;)

Have you seen last night's episode? the we're getting Nowhere ladies got a more "pleasant" shower scene, curious to hear what they have to say about this one.
shock
belenen ══╣shock╠══
there was one more who spoke up, but yeah, I was surprised that there weren't more!

I did see the episode but I don't remember a shower scene... I'll have to watch it again.
anchasta ══╣╠══
You rock. :)
adoring
belenen ══╣adoring╠══
thanks! :D
sabr ══╣╠══
Amen. I of course, might have been more brash, and I always applaud your ability to come across even when angered so. I come across as "rip your face off", never as civil :P
amused
belenen ══╣amused╠══
haha, well there is always a place for the ripping off of faces! ;-)
Mangoes!
jendaby ══╣Mangoes!╠══
I totally agree with you, and I think it is awesome that you spoke up about it. i guess many people get really defensive when someone points out they are being biased and rude - and kudos to you for doing so!

And I agree, I think diversity in how we look is a beautiful thing, and I find beauty in all shapes and sizes. Sure, I personally like very full hips and a soft tummy on women, but I can appreciate the loveliness of other body types, too. I find it refreshing when there is a range/spectrum. :)

I am glad to have friends who do, too.
curvygirl -- me (cynosure)
belenen ══╣curvygirl -- me (cynosure)╠══
yay! I also like those two features, but like you I find other shapes equally attractive, just in a different way! ;-)
Love Pudge
tralfamadore ══╣Love Pudge╠══
I've never seen the show before and know nothing about the premise, but I agree with the comment that I saw on the site which asked the question of why every person we see on television has to be worthy of our sexual fantasies. I don't see why the mark of worthiness for screentime is whether or not the person is the type who could appear in our fantasies. Personally I don't find every person I see on television attractive, not even in cases of hypersexed shows, such as Grey's Anatomy. I don't expect that everyone who graces the screen will be "my type of person." But that doesn't make their plotline any less interesting or worthy. Why can't a person be just for the sake of being?

Personally, I find curves and pudge and rolls and stretch marks sexually appealing. I love the body displayed to the right of the screenshot, and would find myself excited seeing her nude showering on screen. But she amounts to more than that! This isn't porn we're watching. These people have more to offer than just "getting us off." If you want to live in the world, you're going to have to learn how to respect a lot of different people. Just because you don't find it the most appealing doesn't mean it's any less worthy of our time.
strong
belenen ══╣strong╠══
YES. I really loved that comment.
dio_aiutami ══╣╠══
curvygirl -- me (organic)
belenen ══╣curvygirl -- me (organic)╠══
UGH! It is really horrifying -- EDs are absolutely everywhere, mostly undiagnosed. Even those women who don't have an ED still do not have a healthy relationship with food... It's very upsetting.

Sometimes I do just sigh and forget about it, when it is just one person and they don't seem as if they would listen; but when it is in a public forum and everyone is seeming to agree with those lies, I feel I have to speak up. Not for the sake of the original speaker, but for the sake of people who would see that and feel helpless because it seems as if the whole world believes it. When everyone says the same thing, it is very hard to realize that it is a lie. Even one dissenting voice can be the catalyst for a person to learn self love -- so since I can, I feel I must be that voice.
thiswaste ══╣╠══
I admire your eloquent responses. I would have been to angry to write so diplomatically. Go you!
amused
belenen ══╣amused╠══
haha, thanks! ;-)
opheliasxflower ══╣╠══
Beautifully said. I think if there were a variety of different shapes and sizes in the media, women wouldn't feel as though they are in the minority if they happen to be within the normal, or higher, weight range. The human body should be celebrated for its beauty - not just the thin, tall ones.
curvygirl -- art (hannah & bel curves)
belenen ══╣curvygirl -- art (hannah & bel curves)╠══
yes! indeed, all shapes should be celebrated ♥
fionavere ══╣╠══
Commenter #2 needs to learn how to spell "fantasize". ;)

I find it interesting that the same commenter used the word "overweight" in their comment, when it would appear to me that possibly only one of the three in the picture could be considered "overweight" (and by that I simply mean, at a weight that might be considered unhealthy for her height from a medical standpoint. I do not equate that word with unattractive, disgusting, etc.)

Your responses were well written, I would have been meaner, or ignored it altogether because I am easily frustrated by ignorance on the internet. Good for you for putting yourself out there in that way in an attempt to enlighten a few more people. Here's hoping it worked.
curvygirl -- me (cynosure)
belenen ══╣curvygirl -- me (cynosure)╠══
haha, yes.

Sometimes I just ignore it, when it is just one person and they don't seem as if they would listen; but when it is in a public forum and everyone is seeming to agree with those lies, I feel I have to speak up. Not for the sake of the original speaker, but for the sake of people who would see that and feel helpless because it seems as if the whole world believes it. When everyone says the same thing, it is very hard to realize that it is a lie. Even one dissenting voice can be the catalyst for a person to learn self love -- so since I can, I feel I must be that voice.
fionavere ══╣╠══
kevloid2008 ══╣╠══
poindexter guy chimes in
normality is NOT subject to opinion - by definition, normal is whatever occurs most commonly. in north america as a whole, normal is hovering around chubby. indisputable fact.

big macs are just so damn tasty - what are ya gonna do?
garrulous
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
Re: poindexter guy chimes in
no, normality is not subject to opinion, but attractiveness is.

"normal is hovering around chubby"

that... doesn't make sense. Chubby is by definition thicker than normal.
kevloid2008 ══╣╠══
kevloid2008 ══╣╠══
p.s.
I might also point out that silicone implants and plastic surgery are not normal.

phydeau ══╣╠══
If I had gotten into this argument, I probably would have just told the guy he was an ignorant pig, and left it at that.

I'll tell you what happened. The guy saw boobs, and immediately went into voyeur mode (probably why he's be watching a sexually-jazzed-up show like the L Word). Being a women's prison shower scene, he probably thought, "ALL RIGHT! Where's the bow-chicka-wow-wow music? Wait. Is this fucking ART?", got pissed that the women who didn't agree with his particular fetish ruined his buzz, and lashed out.

Pornography follows the Hollywood and Madison Avenue definition of what's supposed to be beautiful. That standard, oddly enough, developed from the capitalistic need to get consumers to continuously buy more and more clothes. Fashion designers became very important. Unfortunately, a fashion designer's ideal model (and this is not a metaphor) is LITERALLY a coat hanger, because that's how consumers see things in the stores - hanging on hangers. That's how the skinny models became important. They had to be the same height because of photography. Two models of widely different heights next to each other shot from the waist up look ridiculous if your intent is to display the clothes. So a standard was set for height range. Tall women, having an ability to make longer clothes look slimmer (like the hanger), became the standard. Tall, skinny actresses followed shortly, as the best advertising is a popular movie.
Unfortunately, as clothing became increasingly more revealing over the 20th century, horny young men didn't give a crap about the clothes. They liked how much of the MODEL they were able to see. The ads, for them, were reinforcing the idea that all skinny, tall women must be sluts to dress like that (perhaps subconsciously, and in variations, but thereabouts).

Sorry to hijack your thread, here. I know you knew this stuff, already. My point is that the idiot, to me, seemed to be booing the producers for messing up his "porn", and just happened to offend beautiful women of all shapes and sizes in the process. In a sense, I think he actually DID mean to say that "normal" women were not appropriate for television. As if it was up to him. Which is why I would have simply said "ignorant pig" and walked away. :P

But I agree with you. If we started seeing more variety, society would eventually adjust its sense of what beauty really is.
curiouslittleme ══╣╠══
I think somewhere in my mind I probably new this on some level too, but never had seen it explained this way. The connection between the clothes hanger and the model makes a lot of sense.
belenen ══╣╠══
barkdust ══╣╠══
You = kickass.

I'm so tired of all this crap from the media, and to get it from lesbian media as well? Ridiculous.
feminist
belenen ══╣feminist╠══
thanks! ;-)

yeah I know. Somehow I expect more from the lesbian media; being a double minority, I'd think they'd be more aware of prejudice.
curiouslittleme ══╣╠══
I think you state your point very well and quite obviously. This isn't an issue of weight, it is an issue of people allowing their personal stereotypes to contradict the values they would like to portray to the rest of the world.

I used to watch the L Word; the first season really had me hooked and I looked forward to the second season which I watched avidly. I missed the third season due to personal circumstances, but when i started with the fourth I had stop watching after the first or second episode. By this time I had made a tradition of watching the show with a good friend. I would go to her house after knitting group and we would catch up with all the girls. The reason we stopped watching was because it seemed to turn into a show about everyone making out and chasing after each other. In the first few seasons there were characters that did things that I may not approve of but I related to them more because of those choices. It seemed to me and my friend that all the true plot points were skirted over so the show could jump to another sex scene. Now here is an issue of what everyone wants to see: I didn't want to see that. It had become overdone. Women showing their affection in the form of physical love is a wonderful thing, and even showing that some women could play the field just like their male counterparts was refreshing, but when that was all I was seeing I stopped watching.

And because you open yourself up to us, I will do the same for you. I have had a few bisexual relationships; my longest one in high school with a beautiful and voluptuous girl who looked a lot more like those women in the shower scene than any of the other actresses. Since then we have gone our separate ways both choosing a heterosexual lifestyle. Yet there are still times I think about her, and even fantasize about our time together. I have thought more about her than any actress that meets the current commercialized standards of beauty. The skinny=beautiful equation is not what everyone wants to see, so much so that I stopped watching the show completely (and I am sure there are others out there too).

Thank you for letting me use your journal as a forum to talk about these things. Again, your points were eloquent and intelligent.
shows -- the l word
belenen ══╣shows -- the l word╠══
thank you very much for sharing your story and your point of view! I have to say I rather agree with how the L Word is failing. I went from being very excited at the beginning of this season, counting down the days, to being so annoyed with the lack of proper characterization that I don't even look forward to the next episode (though I still watch).
77; misc.
delicatexflower ══╣77; misc. "profile & sunset"╠══

omg, you are so amazing!! from the bottom
of my heart, i want to say thank you so much
for saying what you said to them. i think you
said it best when you said, Beauty is variety,
not sameness.
it's so true... i love you bel!
beautiful
belenen ══╣beautiful╠══
awww *hugs* thank you Angie! ♥
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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.