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.