It has been a while since I have explored the widespread delusions of American women. I have covered boudoir photography, burlesque dance classes and troupes, egg freezing, blaming your career for being single, and the belly dancing chubbsters. It is a bit of fun to tackle the fads that women flock to that feed their delusions and egos. This new one comes from the depths of Facebook (actually started on Twitter). The thousands and thousands of shares reveals its deep connection to 21st century American female delusions.
Facebook is full of memes. Some are funny. Many are cringe-inducing. A few can give you insight into the modern American mind. My mom calls it Fakebook because women create these fake representations of their lives on it. Women will construct whatever reality they want out of quotes, trips, pictures and videos. Faceborg is a nickname I gave it that focuses on the collective hivemind vibe it creates. There is one meme that caught my eye and caused me to do a bit of Googling. The meme is pictured below.
You can just hear the Facebook moms and chubsters saying, "See, that is a real woman! We used to consider it ideal... real women! Where's my bucket of ice cream!" I'll add the commentary that runs through their minds as they see the picture.
|Mind of the Facebook Woman|
|Pornstar? More like nude model|
1. This is a massive retcon of the past. By sharing, approving with a "like"or the lack of push back, we believe that in 1955 men liked those hourglass figures. The lie is that belief as well as that we think the media agreed to show them. Few on Facebook were around in 1955 to know the cheesecake. We feel something has changed, and we agree that hourglass with a slightly softer look was a past ideal. We have seen enough cheesecake photos and Elvgren pin-up paintings to think this model would fit that era. We're admitting it is not the media approved ideal of today, and recall, media means "officially sanctioned".
We are wrong as Bettie Page, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint, Ingrid Bergman and countless other Hollywood stars or pin ups were slender women with maybe C cups. Recall that the average cup size of American women has grown due to rising weights and plastic surgery. Jayne Mansfield was an outlier as the "working man's Monroe" who was also Monroe with bigger curves. Men did like the hourglass as evident by Mansfield's fame, but the ideal was still a slender woman with a slight hourglass. Ideal wouldn't be the workingman's woman because he was of lower social status. The aspirational ideal would be the higher status male's conception of ideal (Grace Kelly, 1954). Elvgren himself often took his real life models and nipped and tucked their figures for his pictures. The Snopes link debunking this photo even comments on this false memory.
Side note: has the progression from slender hourglass to full hourglass for men to prefer a sign of "prole drift" as Paul Fussell noted in his book "Class"? More proles now so now we prefer the workingman's Monroe look. Is it more a sign of American culture absorbing the southern and eastern European immigration of 1880-1920 and subsequent assimilation? Ethnic white girls were built differently than your Anglo/Germanic Americans.
2. The date is important. By assuming it is 1955, they want to push what they think is a non-airbrushed photo. This is real. This is what real women look like. They are trying to appeal to authenticity, and use that "truth" as authoritative evidence for their argument.
3. Who is doing the sharing? The Facebook crowd skews older and more maternal. Women realize they are fatter. From the looks of their posts, they are always trying to lose weight. Women realize American sex lives are different now. Their sex lives are different now. Middle aged women, especially single middle aged women cruising Facebook, now want to excuse away their lack of sex on societal expectations or contemporary conceptions of ideal. "Men aren't interested in me because they are brainwashed to want Charlotte McKinney." The ideal did not change, but the average woman's size did.
Here is a link with nice charts for average height and weights for women in the '50s. Both genders were much lighter then. If you check the charts, even women 5'10" had a median weight of 144 lbs in the '50s. That equates to a BMI of 20.7, which is almost underweight. The average 5'4" American woman of 2015 weighs 166 lbs. The 1950s average woman at 5'3" and ages 35-39 weighed 133 lbs. That is even more remarkable since the average woman of that era and age had more pregnancies!!! Think of Monroe, Page, etc. How much lighter were they in reality? If peak sexy Monroe weighed 115 at 5'5" (probably 120), how much of a gap between her and the average 40 year old mom of 3 was there? Roughly 20 lbs, and if some of it was in the mom's breasts and ass, it's potentially a good gain. The gap between Monroe and the normal, woman under 30 was even smaller. Your 1950s wife did not have Monroe or Liz Taylor's face, but her body was in the ballpark.
4. The picture is from 2004. Because the picture is a contemporary model of a genre (porn) associated with seedier (lower) class men, we see a hard truth that heterosexual men have not changed their preferences for their carnal desires. The .70 waist to hip ratio preference holds even for men born blind. The nude model in the supposed TIME 1955 photo, Aria Giovanni, is paid well to look curvy now. She earns an income off of selling that sexual ideal to men today, sixty years after Jayne Mansfield. Men haven't changed much.
By using her to create a false group memory or idea, we are supporting the idea that beauty can be objective, that today's offerings are far from what is beautiful, and that we all agree that is an attractive look. I think Aria Giovanni has stopped modeling and definitely doesn't look like she did in 2004 at age 27, but the point stands: that body type is still a winner for broad male approval. Spreading this meme actually destroys a prog idea that beauty is subjective and relative and blah blah blah, why won't anyone sleep with ugly feminists.
5. Women get angry at the anorexics of Hollywood and fashion. Not all are anorexic, but the pushed "size 0" image bothers them. Women also joke about gays running Hollywood and fashion. They never put it together that women and gay men are making many of these casting selections and decisions. Women are not putting it together that the male ideal does not line up with the anorexic look pushed by the media, yet they can blame it on some vague, nebulous idea of a male conspiracy to push eating disorders on them. The conspiracy fails since we have all time highs for obesity and other overweight metrics. If hetero men were making decisions to push an aspirational type for a conspiracy, the Hollywood rom-com genre would be stacked with Sofia Vergara types, not Kate Hudson types.
The conspiracy does succeed if you view it as a conspiracy to make you unhappy that you cannot match up with a freakishly rare form. They want you to be unhappy with that image in the mirror not aligning with the sexy, skinny CSI because during the commercial break, they will sell you the fix. A mom over age 40, and shucks, you just don't look like Marg Helgenberger or Julie Bowen? Don't worry. Food manufacturers and the diet industry will air ads every 7 minutes because they know you are watching. Only the stars used to get plastic surgery and Botox, but now you can too! If you are too fat to change to even a close approximation of them, don't worry. There are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills during the same commercial breaks.
6. They will blame a male conspiracy, but who are these models/actresses selected for? Who really is the target audience for rom-coms, fashion and network television? Women. The women selected are trying to fit a female ideal. Women project themselves into these roles. They want to be the lead doctor in the ER that is still skinny enough to slip into something sexy for a date with George Clooney. They want to think they can be the single mom still skinny enough to go on a date after a long shift at the precinct. Why? Because being thin is a female status marker. Being thin is associated with being young and sexually attractive. Being thin gets you better men.
Rom-coms are not made for a man's utopian romantic/sexual situation (porn is). Men are not watching chick cop shows. Women always choose a thinner female body as "ideal" compared to men, always. Disregard the numbers shown in the below image as I have seen them altered multiple times, and this version seems to be for soothing fatties' minds. Jesus Christ, the woman in the middle is not a size 12! The original was "women's ideal size 2", "men's ideal size 6", "national average size 16".
|Of course Middle is the best! - signed all hetero men|
7. Truthfully, this is an "impossible" ideal as well. the hourglass proportions and sizes of Christina Hendricks, Sofia Vergara and Aria Giovanni are almost as rare or impossible to achieve as a size 0 model. Add to this other effects. They are done up, photoshopped, possibly surgically altered and in 2015, possibly using HGH-steroids that cut fat to look in peak condition. They are paid to look amazing. Most of the breast implant industry is thankful for the decades of coverage of Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie's breasts. The hourglass is a different ideal to reach, but more possible than a zero. The curves of your girlfriend are hourglass in shape but just are not "Hendricks sized". The truth these TIME 1955 meme supporting women avoid is that Aria Giovanni's near perfect hourglass is just as short lived as getting down to a zero for those who have it. It is a couple of years, but women still support it. The message built into females supporting it is that they are much more likely to have some T&A in an hourglass or pear shape of sorts compared to the "race to zero" stick look.
Sorry ladies, but this is your love-hate relationship with media portrayals of the female body. You want to be thin. That's your fantasy. You made Sarah Jessica-Parker a sex symbol and fashionista. Men did not. The media gives it to you. Processing the reality in the mirror with your media provided hopes causes frustration. Still, it is the media giving you the escape fantasy that you want. You might have been envious of Britney Spears in 2001, but you enjoyed that she was not a stick looking waif. When she gained weight and chubbed out, you laughed at her. Who gained or lost 25 pounds is always an US Weekly fixture. Weight loss/gain has become the second act of Jennifer Love Hewitt's career. Women will always notice a photographed woman's weight, and the old saying fits, "you can never be too rich or too thin". Just do not tell me it creates pressure to conform and be thin because over two-thirds of you are overweight. The bucket of ice cream allows you to feel comfortable, safe, accepted and part of the growing, oversized herd. That TIME 1955 ideal is not real, was not an ideal for everyone, and for you ladies... has never ever been what you wanted.
|Breasts are real, Facebook beliefs, not so much|