Will A White Woman Usher Curves Back In?

by Geneva S. Thomas

We gotta give it to her. “Mad Man’s” Christina Hendricks is hot! The 35 year-old actress plays Joan Harris, the sexy and voluptuous secretary on the popular AMC show about Madison Avenue ad guys in 1960′s New York. The buzz is heating up around Hendricks and her striding hips, so much so that an Esquire magazine poll of female readers voted her “the sexiest woman in the world.” What’s more, Hendrick’s influence is apparently so powerful that, according to UK’s Cosmopolitan magazine, more young British girls want to look like Hendricks than top model Kate Moss. Louise Court, an editor for Cosmo says, “Joan has had a huge impact on fashion and on women having the confidence to flaunt their curves.” An Equalities Minister told the Telegraph that Hendricks is a role model for young women who are dealing with the “dreadful pressure” to be runway skinny.

But will a White woman from Knoxville Tennessee usher curves back into the Hollywood mainstream?

There has been a concerted effort to bring plus-size into fashion. From V Magazine’s controversial “Size Issue” featuring curvy women in sexy lingerie, denim, swimwear, and some even nude; to the whirlwind around Kim Kardashian, and “Precious” star Gabby Sidibe. But arguably none of these women have garnered the massive attention that Hollywood red carpet international sensation Christina Hendricks has brought to size. What’s more, Hendricks is a talented and gorgeous red-head headlining America’s favorite TV show that’s happens not to be about crazed vampires.

The excitement for Hendrick’s size 14 body is fascinating. The actress’ form says to White women everywhere that those extra pounds are okay. In fact, some of them are working the aim for curves into their fall workout plans.

The death of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, and the emergence of models like Twiggy in the mid sixties, ushered in a boyish slim. Suddenly the “it” size from runway to editorial became near anorexic skinny. The ideal form quickly transitioned from Monroe to Audrey Hepburn. America’s need to be a size 0-4 hasn’t changed since. But what does this say about some Black women who have never stopped being curvy?

While runways and fashion houses are taking baby steps toward their embrace of plus-size bodies, Hendricks’ influence, much like Kim Kardashian’s coveted derriere, may be the deciding factor that could ultimately turn gaunt bodies from chic to weak.

So what do we say to Christina? Should we give her the knowing eye roll as she rides the curvy train we’ve been boarding for decades into global stardom? Or should we give Christina the sisterly wink in gratitude, thankful that, because of her, we’ll have more denim options that actually fit our thick brown bodies from thighs to the waist?

  • Pilar K.

    Clearly the article isn’t suggesting all White women are skinny and all Black women are thick. It’s a damn opinion piece. Get over yourself! Maybe you’re unhappy because you don’t have curves like Christina. Stop hating.

  • Beef Bacon

    I guess these sorts of topics keep the readers coming. Not sure but yeah, I agree with serenissima…there is SO much more to write about than this.

    I don’t even know this woman.

    If I had time to write, I really would, because I would write about topics such as:

    Why black woman are at more risk of certain diseases; low-birth weight babies, etc.
    Love making myths, tips….
    Suggestions on how to maintain a happy marriage
    Step-parents and children
    Co-parenting with an ex
    The new woman in your child’s life (your ex has found love)
    The new man in your child’s life (”)
    Tips on maintaining yourself during pregnancy
    How to fight fair….

    Maybe these are too boring or something?

  • Me27

    “Will A White Woman Usher Curves Back In?”…maybe she’ll make it more acceptable for white women to embrace their curves. but like the artcle says black women have never stopped having curves…so i find this kind of irrelavant…

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  • Stacey

    I think Clutch does cover a lot of diverse topics for Black women compared to other sites. You seem to be coming really hard Beef, where is your online mag at? I also know they have invited readers to join the panel to offer their ideas on topics they should cover. Perhaps instead of complaining with your hyper-critical comments, you should join. I searched the link for you. http://clutchmagonline.com/newsgossipinfo/memo-introducing-clutch-readers-panel/

  • KB

    Sad to say, but I think it will be White women who make it acceptable to have curves by mainstream audiences/public. It wasn’t right until it was white…lol! It took for J-Lo to have a booty for it to be cool, then Beyonce was considered to have a curvy figure…it wasn’t cool until Kim K started exposing her curves now it’s the hottest thing to have. Everyone one wants to beef up and shape up..go figure. I’ve been embracing my curves and will continue to.

  • Lisa

    Wow another hate comment. Those are the topics you want to read about. Those topics are everywhere. Just pick up any womans mag.

    I agree Stacey.

    Clutch does a good job on their topics. You’re not going to like everything they post. That’s impossible.

    #teamClutch

  • opinionatedgal

    This has nothing to do with race…

  • Akai ([email protected])

    Wow, just…wow!

    Anyway, I think females, generally, look to those who share their race, coloring and/or body features for influence regarding fashion, makeup etc. This is quite normal and it’s the deal regardless of size so for bigger chicks:

    -Some like the plus-sized Queen Latifah who is hailed for her beauty and a Covergirl spokesmodel.

    -The next loves the heavier Toccara who was a top 7 finalist on America’s Next Top Model.

    -Many dig the thick and beautiful actress America Ferrara.

    -Others look to the size 14 Christina Hendricks…on and on and on!

  • ohreally

    this article is relevant 2 the white folks.. not the AA’s.. we always have been curvy and have always embraced our curves.. it’s what makes us, us.. we have no reason to feel insecure about them.. we weren’t made like slim jims and we shouldn’t try to look like them either..

    because whites didn’t accept it – what that means that we shouldn’t have? I don’t think so.. if they want a actress or singer to give them the ok, than that’s them..

  • Beef Bacon

    To Stacey and everyone else that feels its ok to comment as long as you do not criticize—-GROW UP: I bet you are the same people who will not listen to criticism for fear of getting your feelings hurt. SMH!

    I appreciate Clutch and the great articles that come with, however, if this magazine is geared towards me, am I not entitled to my OPINION without having to create my own damn online mag? Damn….That’s like all Essence readers being told to create their own mag, just because they don’t agree with some of the material!!!!!! If everyone created and stopped reading than where would Clutch and every other mag be? DUH?

    At some point we have to support what’s available and build from there…RIGHT!? I don’t feel I was saying anything offensive.

    As with anything, THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT!

  • Happy Island Gal

    I think it’s gorgeous to see the beautiful scope of sizes and body types God has gifted the women population with. I just want to see the return to HEALTHY!! This promotion of everyone should be skinny has damaged so many psyches and bodies. I’m on #teamhealth and #teamclutch :-)

  • binks

    Personally, no because having curves and being curvy has always been in with me whether it is a black woman, white woman, Hispanic woman, etc. etc. Personally, I think Christina is gorgeous and it is good to see she and other women regardless of their race fighting the stereotypical image of Hollywood that being thin is the only acceptable beauty when it isn’t. But for the many of people who embrace curves it doesn’t matter who is at the forefront of this battle

  • EmpressDivine

    Will a white woman usher covers back in?

    Answer: Yes….for other white women. I don’t think women of color really give a damn unless that woman of color is really following the white mainstream like that. As some of the other commenters stated, we’ve always been curvy and will continue to embrace our curves.

    BTW no hate in my comment, #i’mjustsayin

  • jamesfrmphilly

    i am not much interested in what white women do……..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ashleigh-Elle-Aye/507714421 Ashleigh Elle Aye

    She’s beautiful and if her prevalence leads to acceptance and celebration of all body types, then I’m all for it.

  • no solidarity

    Why is she just a white woman? She has a NAME! it is Christina and I love her curves. Why is everything us vs. them.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    until they dismantle the global system of white supremacy,

    they all just one more white bitch to me…….

  • Simone S

    Thank You! This has absolutely nothing to do with race. It mentions a curvy woman, who happens to be white. But the article mostly is discussing the appreciation of curves on a woman. Regardless, if she’s white, the article can reach and relate to anyone. Its so narrow minded to say that this is unrelatable because it features or mentions a woman of a different race; that is evidence of not being able to look past skin color. That’s like saying one can’t buy a certain product, such as a specific lotion brand or type of apparel because the person in the advertisement is of a different race. That would be completely ridiculous, just how saying that one can’t relate to this because the person whose is featured is white.

  • secret ninja

    honestly, i think Christina is getting the same attention J.Lo got when she wore that infamous dress, as Beyonce got when “Bootylicious” came out, as Kim Kardashian (ugh, why is it i have to acknowledge this woman alongside other women with actual talent…) is getting because of her reality t.v. show.
    curves are one of those things that is accepted in Hollywood as outside the norm but okay, an acceptable picture colored outside the llnes if you will. even Queen Latifah is accepted, but when you get to Gabriel Sidibe’s size that’s when it is unacceptable. i think any extra fascination to curves on white women is because i guess the opinion is that that is going against the norm of what a white woman looks like, and when it is not surgically enhanced, i guess it is even more fascinating. my question is…who gives a f***?
    i mean, really? i am not going to work myself in a tizzy because the mainstream media is finally paying attention to women of a certain size. you know why i don’t care? because the media is good for taking one thing, over emphasizing it, and pigeon holing it, holding everyone else to that one standard when there really is more than one. women are killing themselves to be skinny, killing themselves to be curvy or what the hell ever. no one needs to look to the media for what the socially acceptable size is. how about the healthy size, for your height, for your body?

  • ohreally

    u need to seriously get a grip.. i don’t know if this is your 1st time visiting this site but if you check them out you will see that they beat us in the head w/these articles all the damn time as if these are the issues that only BLACK WOMEN and BLACK MEN have! u sound as if we are the end to everything – now y don’t u go and run along..

    i’m quite sure u are either a self-hating black person or a non-black person on here to try to belittle AA ppl..

    Sorry it’s not working..

    ENjoy your day!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ebonylolita Ebonylolita

    What I have an issue with is when AA attributes are found in WW they are “more exotic” or “cool”
    I want MY skin, MY nose, MY mouth, My thick legs/behind, to be acceptable on ME and women that look like me aka BLACK/HISPANIC women. I don’t want attributes of me to only be beautiful when they are whitewashed.

    So….. Ms. Hendricks might bring attention to “a white girl with a donk/hips like a sista” just like Kim Kardashian, but she AIN’T ME!!!

    The fashion world and most of White America DO NOT find a lil thickness as being acceptable & I doubt that one white women will change their minds. It’s a fad for them just like Kim K’s & J.Lo’s behind is a fad for them.

    #BlackGirlsRock

  • Akai (Akai.Santiago@Yahoo)

    I agree, Binky!

    Personally, I don’t usually find the combination of pale skin and red hair attractive (especially on men), but Christina Hendricks is gorgeous. She has a unique look that stands out and sets her apart from the typical brunette or blonde and, with her curvy healthy-sized body of a woman, it all comes together beautifully. She appears comfortable in her body, and that’s also a plus on the ‘beauty’ side!

    Being flexitarian and a lifelong dancer and athlete, I also co-sign the commenter who wants to see a “return to healthy.”

    Gabby Sidibe was mentioned in the article and that was a bit confusing since she’s morbidly obese, more than “plus-sized” and nowhere near “curvy.”

  • Fatimah

    She`s a hot woman, love the red hair, love her body.

  • Alexandra

    I think she’s Hot too. She’s on my girl-crush list lol!!
    And I’m glad that she’s a redhead too. Everyone is sick of the typical ‘standard’.

    Nice to see something different.

  • Clnmike

    A better question would be if white woman were to usher in an age of curvy love would AA benefit from it? I’m going out on a limb and say no.

  • sheedah

    Curves may have always been accepted in our community but there has also been a rise over the last decade, if not more, in black women having body image issues, eating disorders and so on. There has also been a trend over the past decade in black women following and wanting styling like celebrities and models of all colors (since visibility of black actresses and models is limited). White, Black or otherwise….I would love to walk past a Benneton, Gap or Bebe storefront and see a styled ad of a celebrity like Hendricks in the window. Size wise…it is for the same reasons we crave having positive portrayals of women in our skin tones, facial features and hair types in the media that a celebrity like her is important. Can I look at my aunts and friends and find inspiration for these things….day to day of course. But does seeing it celebrated publicly boost the self-esteem? Most definitely

  • sheedah

    I agree….well, not that it is a better question but that it is a great follow-up question

  • renee

    whatever!! if you just throw white folks in our faces and title them bringing back curves thats what people will be CONDITIONED to think—hell, black women BEEN having curves way before most of us were born, white folks use to stick thin and have pointed nose, now most of them are have work done to enhance all of this, so know “they” are the people who bringing curves in–well curves never left try putting more thicker black on the magazine and stop calling us overweight black folk carry there curves different than our counter parts–know look at the “white generation” they have our pugs noses, you find very little white folks with the “white noses” so i guess they developed the big noses black always had—whater ever people get a grip

  • Emelyne

    I love Christina’s body, but she is curvy, not fat. I seriously hope people don’t start confusing the 2, because fat usually distorts or even hides a curvacious figure.

  • CJ

    In my world it never left.

  • simone

    I dont understand why its such a big deal about a white woman with curves.I see a lot of beautiful black women with curves and it only becomes popular when a white woman show her curvy figure.Im so sick of it.

  • lavyd

    Christina Hendricks is a UK size 14. US, more like an 8, 10 at most.

  • http://mostbeautifullest.com huny

    UK14 is a US12 or US10 at the absolute smallest, actually. I wear a US16 and most of my clothes from overseas are UK18.

    whatever the case we can agree she’s bigger than sample sizes and thus bigger than most of her counterparts in hollywood.

    anyway, this reminds me of the hullabaloo over j. lo & jessica biel’s asses. um, hello there. black woman here. been had ass since the beginning of time.

  • Muffy

    I love CH and Beyonce!

    Great Ladies.

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