Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Add Color, Add Curves

Not that my mother and I needed more proof that we're on the absolute cutting edge of thought in America, but thanks to Robin Givhan for assuring us that we are. Just recently as we rode the subway together, Mommy and I had a little conversation about how none of the women of color we could think of in the entertainment world have the standard "Hollywood" (read: rail-thin) body --and concluded that maybe it is the case that if you're Black in the entertainment world you have to be a little rounder, a little curvier, than the average blond in order to make the grade, be desirable to your target audience, and be believable to the public at large. It's a problematic structure, for sure, this rearticulation of what Givhan calls the "stereotype of the large black woman as the diva-like sexpot: strong, aggressive and entitled", but also interesting for what it tells us about how race/color mediates gender. And then there's the part of me that wonders: is it possible that Black women might come out on top on this issue--if only in the sense that they are able to avoid starving themselves to feel pretty? Not sure, but glad to see some bodies on the covers of the bigs that look like what God meant a body to be.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Have you seen that Tyra Banks recently recreated the same shot from the cover of the '97 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in the same bikini a whopping 20 lbs heavier after ten years? Not sure what that says about how age (Tyra, born: 1973; Beyonce, born: 1981) plays in the mix for black women or women generally, but Tyra says she may do it every 10 yrs ...something tells me that there is an age and a scale reading beyond which a woman is no longer the acceptable image of a "little" curvier sexpot and I hope it isn't age 34 and 20 lbs. heavier than at 24!