The other night I couldn’t sleep so I stayed on the couch and channel surfed. I came across Big Rich Texas on the Style Network. It’s not a channel I watch, but this show was like the Real Housewives (any version), except, well…bigger. (Because that’s how they roll in Texas after all.)
Holy crap, the show lives up to its name. The drama is bigger, the attitudes are bigger, and the catfights are way bigger than anything I’ve seen on any other reality show. (And, sadly, I watch way more of them than I should.) I would not want to mess with these Texas broads!
But I wanted to punch one lady. She wasn’t one of the Big Rich Texas cast. She was a modeling agent who met with one of the ladies who is cast on the show, Melissa.
Now Melissa is gorgeous. She’s older, but not old by any stretch. She’s maybe in her 40s and has a 15-year-old daughter, Maddie. She was once a model, but after she had Maddie she quit and did the mom thing. Now she’s divorced and wanting to get back in the modeling biz.
I think it was another BRT cast member, Leslie, who hooked Melissa up with the agent meeting. Melissa and the agent met for lunch. I don’t remember what the agent ordered, but Melissa got steak and eggs.
I thought it was an odd choice, but it made me like her more. Wow. A woman who looks amazing and eats real food. I thought it was awesome she was so seemingly non-self-conscious.
Well, the agent sure didn’t like that. She started out by telling Melissa she could get her work –plus-sized, that is.
It took Melissa a second to realize what the snarky agent was saying. Hell, it took me a second. Did she really just suggest this gorgeous woman is at all representative of my size? No, I must be mistaken…
Melissa asked her to clarify, and, sure enough, the agent positively answered, “Yes, sorry. You’re plus size material now. You’re older and not tiny.”
Not tiny?! She’s a size 2, sometimes 4, depending on how the garment is made. The agent said she needed to cut back on the steak and eggs and try to get to a size 0, or better yet, a negative 0, if she wanted “regular” jobs.
Melissa started crying. I cried with her. I cried for myself. I cried for all the friends I know who have bad body images. I cried for all the diets we’ve suffered through, all the guilt we feel for not working out one hour a day, and the guilt we feel when we do squeeze in workout time but feel we should be spending hours more.
Mostly I cried for all the times we look in a mirror, or at photos, and see only flaws instead of our whole beautiful packages. How we see only how heavy we’ve gotten, wrinkles, two chins where there used to be one, cellulite, and varicose veins.
I cried that we can look at each other and not notice those flaws, but instead see bright shining eyes, dazzling smiles, lustrous locks, and, above all, the one thing that you can’t get in a bottle, a shot, or under the knife: wit, warmth, sass, and class. Oh yes, our personalities enhance our looks more than any makeup or outfit ever could.
Shame on agents like the one on Big Rich Texas for helping the fashion industry promote bad body images. I am an extra large girl. Melissa is not. If I see someone like her modeling clothes meant for someone like me, guess what happens? I only feel even fatter than I already do.
If I ever had sexy days (which I think I did for about all of a minute when I was 18), they’re past. I’ve made peace with that.
Yet, I see the young girls coming up today being even more bombarded with messages that “if you’re not sexy and skinny, you’re nothing.”
No, scratch that. Young girls aren’t the only ones being bombarded. Even my age group feels pressured to look sexy doing trivial things like running to Target or the grocery store.
It’s out of control.
Then this week the big story is about the 10-year-old model who posed in a provocative layout for French Vogue.
Her spread has caused quite an outcry about the sexualization of young girls. At least in America. Europeans, especially the French, are calling us “uptight.”
Listen, I don’t think any 10-year-old should have a sultry look in their repertoire. The girl is gorgeous, but why steal her youth and dress her up to model in clothes and with expressions that are far beyond her years? Surely by the time she’s 16 she’ll still be gorgeous and capable of producing much less creepy looking ads. (I think she’s stunning, but she looks like someone’s trying to pimp her out for child porn. It’s disturbing.)
It’s also not healthy. Maybe she’ll never get an eating disorder, but there are many, many, many others out there who will see images like hers, feel bad about themselves because that’s not how they were born to look, yet they’ll strive to attain it by torturing themselves.
If you read this, hear my plea. Whenever you feel bad about your body image, immediately recycle your magazines, turn off you TV, and repeat this mantra:
There is more to life than looks.
I am beautiful, strong, and smart.
Everyone has flaws. Everyone wants to be better.
I can work to improve myself but perfection is a myth.
I am wonderful just the way I am.
Today I’m going to let my little light shine as bright as it can and let others see my beauty!