"Men like women with curves, so why should you diet to achieve a size zero? Hey, don't worry, eat that chip butty if you want it, because I don't mind if you have a lardy arse. Men like something to grab hold of."
This isn't exactly breaking news, much as it is treated as such every time some dodgy survey corroborates it. We all know that most men have a preference for women with rather more flesh on them than the average Hollywood actress. If women were motivated by wanting to please men, nobody below a size 12 would ever think about dieting. But they do. And it pains me to hear well-meaning men try to solve the problem by telling their female friends that hey, a few extra pounds don't matter to the average bloke.
By suggesting that women should have curves, you are not making an enlightened pro-feminist statement - you are simply perpetuating the idea that women have an ideal to which to conform in order to please men, whatever the nature of that ideal may be. Women's bodies do not exist for male gratification. Women do not shun cake in favour of low-fat low-carb no-taste diet food in order to impress men with their jutting collarbones. The female obsession with weight loss will not be solved by men giving us permission to eat. It's such an arrogant attitude and it really, really annoys me.
An unnaturally (for most women) slim figure is associated with wealth, status, social mobility, stylishness, femininity... There are even crazier factors than that at play - like the fact that skinniness is a trump card for female competitiveness, and that moaning about the size of one's hips facilitates female bonding:
- My hips are so huge!
- Noooo, they're tiny! Mine are enormous!
- Noooo, you're so skinny! I have a jelly belly!
- No you don't! You're tiny! Look at my muffin top!
- Pssshh - if you've got a muffin top I've got an entire wedding cake!
This is repeated ad nauseam, with the slimmer party becoming gradually more and more smug, and the porkier party becoming more and more distressed. But crucially, it gives them something to talk about. There are of course two clear-cut rules: 1 - One must not admit to being happy with any part of one's anatomy; and 2 - One must violently disagree with anything the other party says. Then there's the fact that, since breasts are supposed to be at least medium-sized, any woman who does have a skinny physique can moan about her lack of boobage. See - nobody's left out. It's rather clever really. Of course, there's always the chance that the slimmer woman will attack her peer by saying, "But you've got such a lovely figure! So curvy!" which is as backhanded as compliments get.
Believe me, the body image issue is a frickin' minefield. And if you go in armed only with, "But men like women with curves," don't expect to get out of there alive.
*By the way, this was BLATANTLY an advertorial for Krispy Kremes