The New York Magazine article “Every Single Woman in America is now ‘Curvy’” has instantly become the talk of the town addressing how the term curvy came about in describing the gamut of women’s bodies from a size 0 to an 18+.
“By democratizing and then celebrating “curvy,” it makes us feel good about ourselves. It means we’re open-minded. Forward-thinking. Because we’re so brave to praise a body that defies Hollywood standards,” asserts writer Lauren Bans.
Like Bans and others taking their turn at voicing their opinion on the curve-calling bandwagon, I’m not buying it, and neither should you. The reality is that our society is using the word as a cop out for addressing perhaps unhealthy lifestyle choices and dismissing the conversations on true body acceptance and responsibility.
What we’re advocating in our attempt to be politically correct when it comes to judging the female figure is completely doing a disservice to not only ourselves but the young women who swallow and chew the trends and rhetoric displayed to them by the media and society. We’re teaching young women as well as ourselves that “curvy” is acceptable albeit those curves may be accompanied by love handles, diabetes and lack of exercise.
Ty Alexander, associate editor at HelloBeautiful writes: “This problem is most visible in celebrity fashion. To be polite or politically correct some would describe both Lala Anthony and Gabourey Sidibe as curvy. I’m gonna throw out my red flag on this play. Grouping two completely contrasting body types is just an example that supports my theory that America is in denial. If we’re set out to really teach young girls about body acceptance, is it not counterproductive to allow them to think that, dare I say it, fat is curvy?”
Black women, in my opinion, have it the worst. Interchangeably, the words curvy and thick have been used to describe our bodies from the dawn of the first rap video. If you’re too skinny the boys won’t like you and the girls will tease you. And don’t have the nerve to be one of the many black women (including myself) without a voluptuous backside. Our culture will be out for blood — hence the butt injection trend that’s left many black women with abnormally rotund derrières (think Nicki Minaj) at the risk of imparting irreversible consequences on themselves.
I agree that our bodies as black women bodies have consistently been at war with society. We’ve been scrutinized, ridiculed and criticized compared to the “others” who’ve taken our most prized au natural features and bought them at the plastic surgeons office. Case in point, the recent “prank” performed by Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki who in all “fun” mimicked Serena Williams (whom I would rightly call curvy) was just another round of shaming the curvy black woman despite Williams’ incredibly toned and tight figure.
Williams’ curves, however, don’t apply to everyone. Celebrities we once lauded for their plus-sized appearance on the red carpet like Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Raven Simone, and Janet Jackson traded in their “curves” for fitness and nutrition routines that rewarded them with a svelte figure we fawn over.
There’s a fine line between curves and fat. No matter how pop culture tries to package the term to make each of us feel “one,” it is plainly absurd and irresponsible for us to keep quiet, crossing our arms in complicity.
Black women, in my opinion, have it the worst.
That’s where you have it wrong. ALLLLL of us get it in one way or the other. White women were some of the first women trying to capture the natural curves of other women, funding what is now a billion dollar plastic surgery industry. I totally agree that black women have it harder not worse though.
Like the great Zora Neale said: “The Black Woman is the Mule of the World”
You are so right, we always end up taking the blame for this and it is unfair. The whole “real women have curves” movement was started by White women.
Good article! I don’t think everybody should be a size 0, but something about these curvy campaigns are a little unsettling. Curvy and fat are now used interchangeably. Yes, you should love yourself no matter what size, but we must also remember to take care of our bodies. Being overweight is not a game; the obesity epidemic in this country has gotten out of hand.
I always thought curvy meant your waist had a natural curve to it. When “they” call Kate Upton curvy, I die inside. At the same time, when they call Gabby Sidibe curvy I also die. When I think of curvy I think of an hour glass (or close to hour-glass) figure.
I am curvy!!! I am 5’9 and a healthy size 12 and I love it. Yes i go to the gym EVERYDAY!!!! Eat very healty and i take care of my self. I have NO desire to be a size ZERO or anything less than what I am!!! Who cares what others think about the size of someone else, if you are happy at a size 20 or a size 2… be you and be the best you there is!!!
I HATE when folks always try and down someone else because of their size. you dont know how they got to that size!!!
curvy as i’ve said a thousand plus time’s is between hip and waist ratio not the other way around
No offense, but WHO in their right mind is referring to G. Sidibe as “curvy”. I don’t believe the term reaches that far at all. In my opinion, it’s about a body TYPE and not a body size and you are more likely to be curvy at a size 8 or 12 than a size 2 or 4.
@RBG&F: you just contradicted yourself. First you said body type determines whether someone is curvy not size than you go on to say that someone is curvier at a size 8 or 12 than a smaller size. So which one is it?
I am so glad that Dorsey mentioned the thin black women and how their lack of curves impacts them in society. Mostly because I am in that margin. I am not a curve hating woman. However, I love the feminine physique in all it’s glory. I believe that every body type has strengths and personal weaknesses. I wish that BLACK media could recognize this, but all you hear is butts. I can’t be accepted for my body type by my own people. Even though I have been dealing with the negative comments and back-handed insults from men and WOMEN in the black community. I don’t see the media helping these views at all. I feel that they focus on making the “curvy” woman feel comfortable and praising a “thick” body while, skinny girls get the short end of the stick.
it’s the same for us plus sized girls were the one’s who have to put up with being told were not curvy at all but in fact well fat society make’s you hate your body here’s something to live by your mother didn’t spend nine months creating you in her womb just so you can come out hating your self bye