InStyle's Insane Ideas About Women's Bodies
In “What’s Age Got to Do with It?” (InStyle, October), a survey conducted by the magazine reveals a wealth of terribly predictable stats. Readers think Demi Moore and Helen Mirren look great for their age! Forty percent of 20-year-olds use anti-wrinkle creams! (This is not news to anyone who has ever read a women’s magazine.) And 68 percent of women surveyed proclaim that they are not afraid of aging. Of course they aren’t!
I, however, am a bit fearful about the implications of this particular statistic:
8 out of 10 think their legs aren’t perfect, but still wear skirts [emphasis mine]
“But”? Why would they say that? Oh, I get it! The subtext is that women without “perfect” limbs should stay covered at all times. No one told me I was committing a fashion faux pas by baring my legs in a knee-length skirt! What have I been thinking, unleashing my size-10 calves on an unsuspecting public?
Of course, InStyle may not be the most discerning judge of which bodies are worthy of revealing. Take a gander at the models they use to illustrate the story “Fit to Be Tried,” about jeans that solve figure challenges.
These women, from left to right, are modeling jeans that solve “tummy” (as if the mere existence of one is a flaw), “love handles,” “boyish figure,” and “large hips.” The featured jeans must be miracle workers, because I don’t see a trace of those “problems” on any of these women.
Next up, these models are grappling with a “big behind,” “flat bottom,” “saggy butt,” and “full figure.” InStyle helpfully notes that the “full figure” jeans come in plus sizes—even if models apparently don’t!
Then there’s Instyle’s version of “tall & slim,” “petite & slim,” “tall & curvy,” and “petite & curvy.” I won’t be purchasing any of these styles either, because if that extra bit of hip is what makes a woman “curvy,” then I’m spherical in comparison to these models.
Where did we get this idea that clothes should camouflage rather than compliment our shapes? I’m feeling the urge to subvert this ludicrous standard. Forget squeezing into Spanx, forget wearing head-to-toe black, forget anything designed to mask my so-called flaws. Anyone know where I can get a pair of fabulous hot pants?
Related: Girl With a Satchel has a terrific post about the media’s obsession with women’s bodies.