I’m getting mixed messages again. Just before the Olympics, a ranking official observed heptathlete Jessica Ennis was, and I quote, ‘fat’.
Ennis’ coach quite rightly retorted the official in question spoke nonsense. Many of my male friends volunteered to examine pictures of Jessica, in the name of sport and national interest you understand, to decide for themselves if she was up to the job of completing a heptathlon.
They’re selfless, my friends. True heroes.
The boys and pretty much everyone else quickly decided she wasn’t carrying too much weight at all, and what do you know, Jessica cleaned up in her sport this August. In fact, since so many UK women athletes won medals and were just generally ace during the Olympic fortnight, most have been declared desirable, beautiful, healthy, and indeed the female ideal by the public and media alike.
I was chuffed as well to hear some of the more curvier women in the public eye at the moment have topped a survey by cosmetic surgery group MYA concerning desirability. 1,056 participants across the UK were asked which celebrity body parts they preferred. Kim Kardashian had the most desirable body in all and Beyonce, bottom (with Kim second and Jennifer Lopez bringing up the rear, if you’ll excuse the pun) and legs. Both Kardashian and Beyonce have very curvy figures – and are the epitome of health.
The survey found that ‘…when it comes to women’s body parts, bigger is considered better. Respondents favoured full lips, wide eyes and filled-out bottoms. We’ve really seen a U-turn in attitude towards body shape. It’s great to see curvy women like Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian topping the list for best body. I imagine that if we repeated the study 20 years ago, or in the US, we’d have drastically different results.’
The MYA survey was compiled some weeks before the Olympics. Were those participants questioned now, I wonder how many of the healthy, fit women athletes – Ennis, boxer Nicola Adams, swimmer Rebecca Adlington, and cyclist Victoria Pendleton – would be included, having been celebrated by the media at the female ideal since they won medals and not before, tellingly. It’s only right we hold up these amazing women as role models but curvy fit celebrities should be given their due also, the likes of Beyonce has always maintained her amazing body via exercise – and being healthy.
The singer, actress and model will never be thin, it simply isn’t her body shape. Anyone who has ever seen a Beyonce concert knows that the sheer amount of dancing she does throughout (she doesn’t stop!) means she must be physically fit. Were she not, the woman wouldn’t be able to keep up.
Swimmer Rebecca Adlington is broad shouldered – she has to be, to swim that fast – and if she didn’t have her amount of muscle and healthy body fat she wouldn’t be able to do her job. Fact.
Both women are ‘curvy’, the very word certain corners of our media use as a euphemism for being overweight.
Being curvy and full figured does not make you fat, anything but. The likes of Rebecca Adlington and Beyonce are testament to that.
I hope this new way of looking women continues, and very different body shapes continue to be celebrated.