There’s a scene in Gone With the Wind where Scarlett encourages her Mammy to cinch up her corset tighter and tighter so she can be skinny for the men who will be at that afternoon’s party. The Mammy scolds Scarlett and her friends for even letting the men see them eat.
We modern women no longer wear corsets or pretend to not eat. Instead we want to be valued and admired for our intellect, creativity and judgment. Of course as long as we still look good while we’re being so smart!
A friend of mine today was told she was “not a big girl, just curvy.” She texted me at 6:45am to ask me if that was a compliment or a put down. I told her it was a compliment. Even if a backhanded one.
The same guy who told her she was curvy said “Like Jennifer, she’s a little thick. But I saw her in jeans one day, and wow those were some jeans.” Again, compliment or put down?
Now my friend and I both work in the fitness field. We’re both in the gym 5-6 days a week either working out or teaching. We’re both healthy eaters who enjoy a vegetarian meal followed by a double chocolate brownie. We’re both highly educated women with multiple degrees and certifications. We both stay up to date on the latest health and nutrition news.
And we both spent a good portion of our morning today discussing what those comments really meant, if we were too curvy or too thick, admitting to perhaps having gotten a little curvy and thick and encouraging each other that no we don’t look like we’ve put on weight.
We decided in the end it was just a stupid comment from an inappropriate old man. But the word “thick” has been running through my head all day. And I guarantee my friend hasn’t let go of “big, curvy girl.”
I can’t even begin to estimate the amount of money spent on our combined educations. Yet it all went out the window when a guy made a comment about our body type.
We’ve come a long way baby? I’m not so sure.