The Aesthetic of a Full Figured Woman

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Reflecting on aesthetics, I couldn’t get Alessia Cara’s song out of my head.  Really, I am still humming it as I write.  She sings “Scars to You’re Beautiful”.  She tells the tale of a girl, like me, that you don’t see in magazines.  A girl craving the adoration reserved only for the beautiful, or so she assumes.  Alessia’s observation is that, “She don’t understand she’s worth it.”  

I decided to take a look at full figured aesthetics in the arts; and how artists reflect on what is striking, sensual, lovely.  Artist Peter Paul Rubens offers vast examples of women considered full figured at the time; but like the plus sized models of today they rarely measure past size 14. Yet, still there is no Twiggy here.  Venus at the Mirror (1615) and Ermit and Sleeping Angelica (1628) are two of my favorite paintings.  I love the movement, you see the ladies stretched luxuriating, fluid in their stance.  Still life paintings that move.

venus-at-a-mirror-c-1615
Venus at the mirror 1615

Photographer Leonard Nimoy (Spock on Star Trek) went where few have gone before in real life.  Nimoy’s photography celebrates women who Hollywood has passed by.  In his book the Full Body Project (2007) he showcases ladies of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  Rebecca Ruiz’s article on Mash.com, outlines why our beloved Mr. Spock chose to feature larger women.

leonard-nimoy-photo

Natalie Angier, an author who wrote the introduction to The Full Body Project, told Mashable that Nimoy was deeply troubled upon hearing that most women felt some degree of body shame.

“It really disturbed him that women who considered themselves overweight had this terrible feeling about themselves,” Angier said. “He wanted to show the world that there’s beauty to be found in different body types.”

There’s never been more of need for a Vulcan Mind Meld; then there is when the media world shuns the majority of women.

Choreographers aren’t seen as folks who work with the hefty.  Adjectives to describe their clientele would be slender, svelte, willowy.  Well, get ready for a Pretty Big Movement created by Akira Armstrong.  Armstrong, a dancer/choreographer with a lush, cushy, flourishing frame; outlines her journey in a mini-documentary “The Scene”.  She is destroying dance stereotypes by putting her moves on the stage and wowing judgement to silence.  Click here to see her testify as to why.  There is also 4Thirty-Two, a dance group promoting self acceptance at any size.  Their moves are current, young, carefree, and outstanding.

Cara is still crooning in my mind, “She craves attention, she praises an  image, she prays to be sculpted by the sculptor”  She testifying about how a world’s image can weigh down the spirit of one who can’t conform.  Aesthetics view is broadening.  The world is changing and selfies that get liked look like most.  Yes, media is holding onto a limited standard, with both hands and two feet; but its grip is loosening.   I hope, like Cara, that the world will change its heart.  Beauty is more than the skin we are in.

 

Also checkout gorgeous in gray

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33 thoughts on “The Aesthetic of a Full Figured Woman”

  1. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:

    Sharing this because I too see stereotyping beauty as a big step in the wrong direction…Leonard Nimoy’s (Spock on Star Trek) photography celebrates women Hollywood has passed by. In his book the Full Body Project (2007) he showcases ladies of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Rebecca Ruiz’s article on Mash.com, outlines why our beloved Mr. Spock chose to feature larger women. “It really disturbed him that women who considered themselves overweight had this terrible feeling about themselves,” Angier said. “He wanted to show the world that there’s beauty to be found in different body types.” Read the whole post here…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. LOVED the post and the video (and the response of Nimoy) — however I am just a bit perplexed that I didn’t see any heavy white women (or orientals) in the dancing line-up. If they were there, they certainly weren’t featured.

    It’s only okay for blacks and latinos to be heavy?
    Or maybe white girls can’t dance unless they’re thin?
    All Asian women are tiny?

    See what I mean?

    Just a thought that popped up for me – and I’m sure the subtext above wasn’t intended. Still, I’d REALLY love to see another great video that features ALL the colors in our human rainbow.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks, Mira (and thanks for reblogging or I’d never have seen it)

        I know I’ve seen a video of “ordinary women” of various ages and types who got together to form a pole dance troupe — and of course you see heavy dancers in specific roles on B’way. An ex-client auditioned for the “seniors” troupe at Washington Redskin’s games (successfully), and they are a mixture of sorts.

        Every once in a while some fashion magazine will do a 20s-30s-40s-50s thing with various models of different colors and shapes – or “a bathing suits to hide problem areas” type of deal. (hide? problem areas?)

        I’m all for progress of ANY sort – and I really do love this post and the video – but until we start noticing and pointing out how much farther we need to go, we are STILL stereotyping.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think first people gain self-esteem, strength, in numbers. They find those numbers initially in their own community. Again thanks, I have much to reflect and write on.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Love the idea; I will research deeper. I’m all about inclusive. I realize regardless of color, creed; women of size suffer their own brand of bigotry. Thanks for the comment; knocked me off my blocked horse.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bigotry of any sort is a sad comment on the human race, isn’t it?

        I wonder how that size nonsense ever took hold? I clearly recall the first time I saw a picture of Twiggy — my first reaction was that she looked ill, and my expectation was that the article would say that she was dying from some horrible disease the poor waif wanted us to support. Really!

        There was a time when a bit of girth was considered a status symbol – the wealthier the man, the heavier the wife. Different kind of “trophy wife,” but still, quite the opposite of society’s views today.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

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