Saturday, July 5, 2014

Body Love

I was reading some very well written articles in The Economist The Wall Street Journal People and Elle (because it was a long grocery line, and because E. Jean makes me laugh).

Two interviews, one theme:

First interview,  with singer Mary Lambert, exploring the subject of her poem titled Body Love.
The interview covers Lamberts style of writing, her survival of being gang-raped, then includes this sentence:

She mines both ends of the spectrum, serving grueling and confessional lyrics with the gentle, come-hither appeal of a plus-size Jessica Rabbit.

Second interview, actress Melissa McCarthy addresses the trend of describing powerful female artists in this "plus-size Jessica Rabbit" way:
A recent reference to her as "America's plus-size sweetheart" in an article did not go unnoticed. "It's like I'm managing to achieve all this success in spite of my affliction ... Would you ever put that in the headline for a male star?"

Good question. 

Many interviews, with male or female stars, include a description of what the subject is wearing, how they are postured, and their demeanor.
But rare is the interview that automatically equates a male star's body size with his sexual desirability.  

Like Diego Rivera being described as a plus size Desi Arnez.  Hard to conjure.

The trend of equating women's body size with their desirability is rooted in an old idea:
that men's greatest need is to feel powerful, and women's greatest need is to feel desired.

In this concept, power, for women, only comes if they are first desired.  And to be desired, their current shape has to match the current definition of desirability.  (That is only the first condition.  The physical one.  Then there are about 20 more that aren't connected with body.  Be nice.  Be polite.  Don't offend people with your opinions.  Raise your hand.  Speak when spoken to.  Etc.)

Lambert's version of this idea is: "I only know how to exist when I am wanted."

But she challenges this idea, and ultimately discards it, writing:

          Your sexiness is defined by concentric  circles within your wood
                                              It is wisdom
          You are a goddam tree stump with leaves sprouting out

Because some ideas are bunk. 
Some ideas need to be vetted, and when found false, can be released.

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