In Praise of Adipose Tissue

It was the 6th of January and my mother and I were queuing in the Post Office to send off some parcels. The Post Office is also a newsagents and so we were standing by the magazine rack.

“Lose 5lb by Friday!” said one magazine. “How I lost 7 stone last year!” said another. “From Flab to Fab!” screamed yet another. It was an absolute bombardment: it seemed that every woman’s magazine in the place was obsessed with weight loss. There was one exception. Sadly I can’t remember the title of the magazine, but its front cover featured three women who had gained weight and were much happier with their curves.

At House of Colour we have over 100 consultants. We range in age from our twenties to our seventies, we range in height, colouring, personality and – oh yes – we range in size. Some of us are a size eight and some of us are an unashamed size 22 or more.

And you know what? We all look fabulous, whatever our size!

So today I want to reclaim size “whatever you are” as beautiful.

I have some help here. I’d like you to look at this short video showing how an attractive girl is photo-shopped to meet today’s standards of beauty. She was better beforehand, yes?

And  a hard-hitting image from the anti-anorexia campaign “You are not a fashion sketch”. Here a real model is (again) photo shopped so her proportions correspond with that of the sketch used by fashion designers.

Are you a Fashion Sketch?
Are you a Fashion Sketch?

Scary, isn’t it? Look at that toast rack chest.

I am cross that my lovely fit and active eleven year old daughter thinks that she’s too fat just because she has some muscles in her legs. Apparently to fit modern standards of beauty one should have a gap between one’s thighs. Some of us do, some of us don’t. She doesn’t. She could of course follow the advice in this amusing little video…

Now you may be thinking “But that’s ridiculous: I’d just like to be as slim as I was when I was younger”

But there’s a reason why we have “middle age spread” – why our waists thicken and our tummy is no longer as flat as it used to be. Once all that lovely oestrogen stops sloshing around inside us (and  levels start declining sooner than you think) we start to need more padding for our bones. It is generally healthier to be a little overweight than underweight, especially in after the menopause.

Then too – there’s the wonderful effect a little fat has on our skin: it irons out wrinkles.  Barbara Cartland once said “There comes an age when you have the choice to lose your face or to lose your figure. My advice is to lose your figure” I’d echo that advice. (Although I wouldn’t follow her example for make-up  in later years!)

Barbara Cartland in full warpaint
Barbara Cartland in full warpaint

So I’m standing up for my right to be a size 14, to have a tummy, to generally be round and compact and to look great anyway. My husband likes me curvy and my children like me cuddly. Everyone likes me better if I’m enjoying life and not miserable because I can’t have that cake. And I don’t have wrinkles either; so there!

Well, I’m near my self imposed word limit (oops – over it now) so I’ll leave you with a lovely quote from 1930’s Artist and producer of Photoplay Magazine, Earl Christy, when he was judging who had the best figure of all the film stars of the day. ” Backbones” he said “should not be social, protruding like clipped wings when low cut evening gowns are worn. They rob a women a that lovely, rounded look. They are reminders of the mechanism of the body, of joint fitting into joint. Joints of course are very important, but they function quite as efficiently unseen.’

Oh, and if you’re wondering – Delores Del Rio won that award.

Delores Del Rio - no gap bewteen her thighs!
Delores Del Rio – no gap between her thighs!
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