Why can't big be beautiful?
At a barbecue last weekend, conversation swung from Alan Jones to Kim Kardashian's bottom. More accurately the size of it. Was it real? Was it normal? How did she buy clothes? Did men honestly find that sort of bum attractive? Then the chat u-turned into a debate about whether it was too big. And by big everybody really meant fat. Of course, no one actually admitted it, but let's be honest, they were substituting one three letter word for another. If you squint, 'big' spells 'fat'.
I watched Kim being interviewed by Oprah this week. She said that people constantly told her "how much fatter they expected her to be", and admitted that she sometimes found this scrutiny hard. Kim endures constant commentary on her weight, shape and size. From the media to her best friend everyone has an opinion, joke or an aside. Remember when then BFF Paris Hilton referred to her bottom as a "garbage bag filled with cottage cheese"? I don't care how many millions you've made (even if it's thanks to your much-talked-about bottom), all this white noise must hurt.
For the record: I've met Kim and she is much tinier than you'd imagine. Exquisitely gorgeous with little arms, miniscule waist, lovely, natural boobs and yes, a bottom that defies gravity and engineering. Really it's a shelf. You could sit on it and have a rest. It is big but I also think it is beautiful.
I wonder why it can't be both?
I'm not sure when 'big' became a bad word but it has. Unless you're talking about boobs, diamonds, slices of cake or men's feet, big is basically a negative adjective. Sometime in this century, its usage has flipped and now it's one of the worst things you can call a woman. Or any of her assets.
Christina Hendricks, who's equally famous for her luscious big bits, took offence to being referred to as 'full-figured' during a recent interview. She was so angered that she subsequently shut down all questions related to body image on every interview she's done whilst on her Australian tour.
My guess is that she's utterly sick of talking about her body - but like Kim's bottom, Christina's figure is always going to be the elephant in the room. It shouldn't be, but like it or not, she's a walking, talking conversation starter. People have an opinion about how she looks and that opinion will almost always have something to do with her shape.
We live in a size-centric world were people are referred to as 'zero' or 'plus'. Everywhere you look, there is a label. There are many things about the Kardashian family that I don't like and as far as role models go, I certainly won't be pushing my daughters in their direction. However, in among the landscape of homogenised images that surround us, these girls do offer an alternative. They show that short can be as pretty as tall, that dark hair and dark eyes are just as lovely as blonde and blue, that muffin tops over jeans are normal and prove that bottoms don't all have to look like Pamela Anderson's in a Baywatch suit to be sexy.
When I had my second daughter, I made a conscious decision to stop using the word 'fat' in front of them. I substituted it for 'pink' so instead of "feeling fat in my jeans", I would feel 'pink' in them. This was based on the knowledge that girls watch their mothers, not listen to them (their advice, that is). If they heard/saw me talking negatively about my own body they may repeat the same behaviour regardless of my love and advice to the contrary. It has worked a treat, and my girls think pink is a cool, ghetto term for awesome.
I don't want to have to do this with the word big. I want them to grow up using it to describe all sorts of things in a positive way.
Big hair, big dreams and beautiful, big bottoms.
- Sydney Morning Herald