All Women Are Beautiful

All Women Are Beautiful

One of the best "Curb Your Enthusiasm" scenes takes place in the episode in which Larry David and Richard Lewis assist a blind man moving. For Larry David, any kind of charity act is a huge stretch, and this is no better. The blind man is more than a little obsessive compulsive and works both Larry and Richard to the point of exhaustion, which is easy to do. At one point, the blind man asks Larry to describe his girlfriend, who is less than attractive. Larry describes her as primo, or model material, which the blind man believes without question. What the episode really brought home for me was how skewed each of our perceptions of beauty really are.


While the top fashion models of today seem to be touted for their unique features, the average woman in a magazine advertisement usually resembles either Christie Brinkley or Lucy Liu. Lately, the press has been focusing more on plus-sized models (see Glamour Mag's Nude Photo Shoot here), but the reality is that plus-sized models are a minority in the fashion industry. Real women never get to see how they would look in a fashion-designers clothes because the majority of "real women" are not 5'11" and 115 lbs. Hispanics are a 15% of the population in the US, but are disproportionately represented in the fashion industry.

The average size for a woman in the United States is a size 14 and within that size come all shapes and sizes of women, of which, many are beautiful and most women are not a "perfect size 6". There is no "right" height or right "size" to be. Yet, the majority of the models we see are underweight and suffering from eating disorders. In a country in which roughly 34% of the adult population  is suffering from obesity, there aren't very many models for us to look to as actual role models. If someone needs to lose 30-40 pounds for their health and well-being, wouldn't an attractive, physically fit plus-sized model be more inspirational than an emaciated model with more bones than flesh? Why isn't the average woman represented in the media?

Even the companies and designers that are supposedly on the side of "real women" often have different interests. For an interesting take on Dove's specific campaign to broaden the horizons of the American public about models, definitely take a look at this article depicting the numerous contradictions in the Dove campaign's quest for beauty-equality.