Everytime I see “No jobs available at this time” pop up on Subfinder, my heart drops and I get a sick feeling in my stomach. I need, so badly, to be busy everyday. The redeeming quality of this morning is that I went to bed last night with a blog on my mind and now I get to write it. A lady I just met over twitter had posted a statement about the figure of one of the female celebrities at the Emmy Awards last night being so boyish she wouldn’t want a man who was attracted to it to come too close to her seven year old son. It struck a cord. Not because the statement angered me, but because it liberated me. It felt pretty damn awesome to have someone else take notice of a reality that’s been bothering me for some time now but it seemed nobody else noticed. Earlier this year I’d gotten into a pretty heated exchange with a woman on facebook about this topic. She was a model trying to garner votes for a contest she had entered. An Asian women, attractive, but with a frame so unnaturally thin, her body looked like that of an eight year old girl. And that’s when it hit me. This kind of figure has been popular on the Hollywood market since twiggy, or perhaps before, with Audrey Hepburn. Now, Ms. Hepburn was, in my opinion, one of the most exquisite creatures on earth. Not just for her ethereal looks, but her incomparable soul. But, what I noticed about her, in all her photos, was a shyness about her physique. Her body was never “Sexuallized” by photographers or film makers. Sexy was Elizabeth taylor or Sophia Lauren. Undoubtedly and deservingly Hepburn was attractive to millions, but NEVER was she posed or postured half naked, or vamp like for viewers. And had she been, she would have had the same effect on me as this lady on facebook. Because now, unlike 60 years ago, it has become all too common for a frame such as this woman’s and Ms. Hepburn’s to be “sexualized”, and it’s scary. Because it is not a figure attained naturally. Ms. Hepburn readily admitted to suffering malnourishment as a child. She attributed her eating habits to getting used to not having a lot of food during her suffering through WWII. And this lady online, on facebook, acknowledged that she had to drop 15 lbs for the Maxim shoot that the photos had been taken for. Ummm…. So let’s review: the only way to attain a figure like this is through unhealthy practices, chosen or not chosen (in Ms. Hepburn’s case) and the figure that results is one without breasts, hips, or the curvy and naturally distinctions of WOMANHOOD. Yeah. Capitalized. Because it’s important. Because the distinction between these emaciated bodies and the bodies of those that eat right, weigh a healthy weight and take care of themselves are ones of physical maturation. And though no one would argue that Ms. Hepburn and even this lady online were lovely, the sexualization of their bodies, bodies reverted back to the state of “child-like” because of malnourishment, is just wrong and always will be.
But now, we see it all the time. What we’ve done is label this body type “waif” and for some reason that seems to suit most people enough so they don’t see, or can easily ignore, the fact that what ever you are labeling it, the body type is that of young children (boy and girl alike, since before their pubescent developments, their bodies aren’t much different in form). Yes, there are many ways to be beautiful when you are a woman. Tall, lean, statuesque, curvy, hourglass, plump, more to love… all different body types have been proven appealing by a varied and sensational group of WOMAN. But this body type, this “waif” like figure, earned not by developing into your natural body, but through the manipulation of over dieting and over exercise, to work against natural development, is not only unhealthy for the individual, it is EXTREMELY unhealthy for the society that sexualizes it.
How clever that some how advertisers found a way to convince woman of LEGAL age to starve themselves into looking like little girls so it would be legal for them, the photographers, designers, producers or whomever, to portray the body of a child as a sexual object, so long as the individual in the photo wasn’t technically a child. And that made it okay. It’s okay to sexualize the body type of a child so long as the person modeling it isn’t really a child? Then, it’s a consenting adult and that’s the escape clause to this perversity?
Full grown adults, male and female, have to do unnatural things to their physique in order to have bodies like that, because THEY AREN’T NATURAL. A full grown man or woman is supposed to look different then that of an adolescent, and ESPECIALLY a pre-adolescent. When breasts aren’t fully realized, hips are not curved, the ratio from hips to waste isn’t differentiated because there aren’t hips to speak of; this is all terrible. It’s taking a full grown woman and convincing her it’s fashionable to force herself into a body type she was supposed to grow out of ten years before. But it’s more than that. It’s more then the negative effects on the Psyche of women; it’s child pornography, legalized. It’s the sexualization of the bodies of children. It doesn’t matter that the models or actors are not children. What matters is that their bodies ( especially now, in pop-culture), being tossed, turned, bent and bruised in sexual situation after situation, LOOK like the bodies of little children. That’s the body that you’re actually getting when you eat too little and exercise too much. An androgynous form that only naturally occurs in the bodies of pre-pubescent human beings. And this is okay with everyone. That’s the scary part. It’s totally okay with everyone because it’s “legal”. It’s legal for a grown woman to treat her body unnaturally so she has the figure of a little girl. It’s okay, because she’s a “waif”, she’s not a little girl.
It’s not okay at all.
It’s not okay that a man would rather jerk off to the bodies of little girls instead of full grown women! It’s actually REALLY scary.
And this isn’t a jealous rant on youth and beauty disguised as a concern for children. No. Not at all. I’m happy to admit I’d love to have the figure I had when I was twenty. It was lovely. But I was 20! Not 10! I had breasts and curves and smooth skin and I can see why somebody would think that was lovely. But I was HEALTHY! I was 5’5″ and 122 lbs. which is a healthy weight. My breasts weren’t sagging, but they were there! My butt was tight and round. I’d LOVE for this to all be true again. And I absolutely do NOT hate young women when I observe that all these things are in tact. I’m talking about an entirely different phenomenon. One where women, young or older, with a frame such as mine, would force themselves to weigh between 105 and 115 lbs to be accepted by photographers as “beautiful”. And why would any industry set those standards? Why would they sexualize an ambiguous, child-like body type??? Nobody else thinks that’s frightening as hell? It’s not just thin vs. curvy. It’s nowhere near it. It’s what “thin” is making a person look like. It’s making them look like children! That’s just SICK. Forget the health implications when people don’t eat right or exercise too much. What are the moral implications when other people think that body type is …SEXY!? Implications that lead me to an even worse feeling in my stomach then I started out with this morning. The body my son had at seven years old shouldn’t be sexualized in a photo just because the girl that’s modeling it is technically 21. Disgusting. And nobody is talking about it. We talk about how unhealthy starving yourself is. We talk about eating disorders. We talk about drug abuse and it’s effects on people’s bodies. These are all things we should be talking about. But, as my twitter friend eloquently put it, let’s talk about the elephant in the room that we’re all ignoring. The resulting figure of these unhealthy practices is a child-like one that NOBODY should be thinking of as “sexy”. It’s just fucking gross. As a mother it horrifies me. These aren’t natural figures, they’re manipulated ones. And it’s wrong.
We have to start talking about this.