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Beauty . . . In the Eye of the Beholder

Friday, October 16, 2009

Anne-EmmeThose of you who’ve read Stand-In Groom know that I gave the character of the romantic heroine (Anne) a somewhat unusual twist: I made her a plus-sized woman at 5’11” tall and a size 18. As a plus-sized woman myself, I’ve lived with the idea that only women who are slender (but with big boobs and curvy hips), who are short enough the top of their head barely reaches the hero’s shoulder (I’m 5’9″ tall—the average height for men in the U.S. is 6′, only three inches taller than me), and who are lightweight enough that the hero can easily sweep her up into his arms to either rescue or ravish her are worthy of having that gorgeous, muscle-bound, broad-shouldered, head-and-shoulders-taller-than-the-rest-of-mankind hunk of masculinity fall in love with her. So it was with that stereotype in mind that I chose as the Real World Template for Anne Hawthorne the world’s first plus-sized supermodel, Emme.

I have to say, the response to Anne as a “real”-sized woman has been 99.9% positive. Here are some examples from reviews on Amazon:

One of the things I liked best about this book was that the two main characters were not “perfect.” They were written older than normal, he was thinner than your average dashing hero, and she was not your teeny 19 – 22 year old ravishing beauty. They each had to overcome obstacles, and had strengths as well. That’s not to say that he wasn’t truly romantic and she wasn’t a very pretty and sassy, confident heroine ~ but it was so good to see something dare to be a little different with her main characters. I loved it.
~P. Smith

Anne is a hardworking wedding planner who loves her job but harbors a lot of emotional pain and distrust from her past. I love that she’s a “normal” woman, not a toothpick-thin beauty queen who turns every one’s head. But she did turn George’s head. He is also not a glamorous hot-body but an average looking man full of respect and integrity.

One thing that really stands out in my mind about the book is that Kaye’s heroine is a beautiful, full-figured, size 18 woman. Kaye shows us that size 18 is as beautiful as size 4. The hero, who works out several times a week and is in good shape falls for this shapely woman.
~Kimberly Byrd

Now, I had to downgrade that positive response ratio from 100% to 99.9% because of an e-mail I received from a reader this morning, in which the reader, after stating the fact that she liked the book, expressed her concerns over Anne’s being a size 18—this reader just could not “picture her as a beautiful woman with all that flab.” The reader also took issue with the frequency of food being mentioned in the story, and finished with this: “I would rather see the main character as attractive on the inside (of course) but also on the outside and de-emphasize food.”

It reminded me very strongly of this comment by a reporter who is a self-proclaimed “fattist”:

I am a fattist. I find obese people unappealing in almost every regard. They are physically unattractive, they lead unhealthy lives, they take up too much space on public transport, and (most of all) they are a strain not only on their clothing but on NHS resources.

The secret of their size? Their outsized appetites are matched by a lack of self-control and even less self-respect. There, I’ve said it. Just as I have said it many times in my column for this paper. And each time I do so, it’s greeted by the same howls of outrage.
~Amanda Platell, Mail Online (online version of the London Daily Mail)

Hate much, Amanda?

Whenever I read or hear remarks such as that, it makes me wonder why I’m trying to become a fitter person—why I’m trying to lose weight—because I don’t want to lose weight only to become associated with all of the “skinny,” fat-hating people out there.

But there is hope!

Crystal-Renn-Hungry-CoverThere is a subversive and growing trend in a few branches of the “fashion” industry that is starting to recognize that the average woman (whether American or European or wherever else in the world) is NOT a size 0-2. That, in fact, most of the models who are a size 0-2, who are being held up as the paragons of “beauty” and “fashion” (and therefore what we should all aspire to look like) are actually unhealthy and run more risks of severe health problems than the “average” size-12 woman does.

In fact, a book that just came out in September 2009 deals with this problem from a first-person perspective, that of model Crystal Renn entitled Hungry. In an August 2009 interview with the website, Renn discussed the fact that her desire to be a model led her to becoming anorexic just so she’d fit the agencies’ desired size/shape. (She is over 5’10” tall and at one point weighed less than 100 pounds!)

In September, there was a minor brouhaha in England over designer Mark Fast’s decision to use three “plus-sized” (i.e., sizes 10/12/14) models in his Fashion Week runway show. (The use of the term “plus-sized” to describe size 10-12 models is very frustrating, because at that size, they’re the optimum size for ALL of the major clothing lines in every department store on the planet. True plus-sized women are the ones with the W or X behind the number on their clothing tags.) Two of his stylists resigned from their jobs over this decision. But let’s look at the shocking contrasts between one of the “regular” sized (0) models (on the left) and one of the plus-sized (10-12) models (on the right):

Size 0 Model Mark FastSize 10-12 Model Mark Fast

Which model looks healthier to you?

Every woman who’s ever gone to the grocery store or Walmart or Target or who has turned on a television has been bombarded with the message—both subliminally and overtly—that the only way to be considered “beautiful” is to LOSE FIFTY POUNDS IN THE NEXT THREE DAYS or to starve ourselves so that we look like those models and actresses on the fronts of the “glamor” and “fashion” magazines—with every bone in their body showing, looking more like survivors of Andersonville or Auschwitz than icons of true beauty. Magazines/tabloids that rain scorn and condemnation on an actress or singer who happens to have some curves, some healthy meat on her body (in the same way that many of them pick on the underweight by accusing them of all manner of eating disorders).

The magazine Glamourshocked readers” by including the following picture of a model in a spread about “body confidence”:

Isn’t she beautiful? And look how happy she looks (unlike most models in fashion magazines)! The model in this picture is Lizzi Miller, age 20, size 12-14—who is described as an avid softball player and bellydancer. Even though Lizzi wasn’t the featured model in the spread, the response to her photo was overwhelming. “The emails were filled with such joyβ€”joy at seeing a woman’s body with all the curves and quirks and rolls found in nature” (Cindi Leive, Editor). This flood of positive response to the image led Glamour to launch a “Body Image Revolution” campaign in their magazine with a spread in their November 2009 magazine featuring “Supermodels Who Aren’t Super Thin”:

The truth of the matter is, when I clicked through the photos of these “plus-sized” models, to me they all still looked slender, healthy, and very worthy of envy—because I know I’ll never be that “small.” I haven’t been that small since I was twelve or thirteen years old (I was already in a size 13/14 by the time I started high school).

Prejudice—hatred, condescension, condemnation—and discrimination against people who are overweight is an insidious social crime, akin to racism and religious intolerance. People who are overweight are more likely to be passed over for promotion or job opportunities than someone with less experience/education who’s slender (therefore perceived to be “fitter” or “healthier”). People who are overweight are charged more for health insurance (exorbitantly, which is why I’m uninsured, because I cannot afford a $500/month premium and a $5,000 deductible). We’re even charged more for clothing. If you look at a catalog or website for a retailer that carries clothes in “normal” and “plus” sizes, the “plus” sizes always cost more. Why should a size 16 cost more than a size 14, when the size 14 costs the same thing as the size 2? (And not only that, but we are much more limited in the number of stores where we can shop, the section is usually shoved in a corner as far away from the “normal” sizes as possible, and there is a woeful lack of choice when it comes to style and fit.)

Just as I’ve been saying in my posts about the modern Christian church and singleness, “size acceptance” is another area in which we all need to put our prejudices and preconceived notions of what’s acceptable/right/good aside and just love each other. Those of us who don’t fit modern society’s standards of “beauty” already face enough problems without having to face prejudice and hatred from the skinny people around us.

  1. Friday, October 16, 2009 6:04 pm

    Amen, Sister! You preach it! I can’t add anymore to what you’ve said because you said it so well.
    The pictures you shared were tastefull and illustrated your point perfectly. And, yes, I’d love to look like any of those “plus-sized” models. I’d be jumping for joy.
    And I love the pic of you in the jean jacket looking over your shoulder. Flirty and cute and yes, beautiful!


    • Friday, October 16, 2009 6:12 pm

      Thanks, Evangeline! I had so much fun doing that fashion show . . . and as soon as I get paid next, I’m going back for that faux-suede skirt! I have a fitted denim jacket at home (from Lane Bryant, not CJ Banks, which is why I’m not wearing it in that picture) that will look even better with it!


  2. Friday, October 16, 2009 6:27 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better myself! Thanks for speaking up for all of us who work out and try to eat right in the hopes that we’ll be healthier and maybe some day be “plus size” in a 10/12. And you do look great in those pictures! Way to go! πŸ™‚


    • Saturday, October 17, 2009 3:33 pm

      I’ve been making healthy food choices all week and trying to get in my 30 minutes of activity every day . . . and as of this morning, I’m up almost five pounds over last week’s weigh in. So frustrating, especially haver having received that e-mail suggesting a larger-sized woman cannot be attractive (and some other discussions going on elsewhere that are taking issue with the idea that overweight people can be celebrated and considered attractive/beautiful). ::sigh:: off to munch on some carrots.


  3. Friday, October 16, 2009 7:39 pm

    I also liked that Anne was a regular woman, size- and otherwise, and that there weren’t paragraphs upon paragraphs about how George was blown away with her amazing beauty and glorious body. I have struggled with acne since I was 10 and it has always made me self-conscious. Romance heroines would talk of finding one pimple on an important day, and I would think if it was only one! Any day with just one would be heaven-sent! Your characters ring so true to life and that is the sort of love story I love reading–two average people who find each other without a lot of bells and whistles, but to them it feels like a lot of bells and whistles because they’ve just found their soulmate. And that happens to people of all shapes, sizes, skin types, etc. Thanks for reminding your readers that everyone is beautiful when seen for who they are.


    • Saturday, October 17, 2009 3:36 pm

      Or the romance heroines who cry over not being able to fit into their size-2 jeans and have to wear their “fat” (size 4) jeans on their date with the hot guy.

      While I don’t want to return to the days of corsets and strict dressing standards, what I wouldn’t give for this to be the age when beauty was defined by the artist Peter Paul Rubens.


  4. Adrienne permalink
    Friday, October 16, 2009 8:11 pm

    Thanks for telling me that your book was on sale!


  5. Adrienne permalink
    Friday, October 16, 2009 8:50 pm

    I had posted my previous comment after only reading the first paragraph. Now that I’ve read it, I have to say that it is better to be healthy. I’m not saying a 0-2 is healthy, but being way overweight isn’t either. I believe in a healthy diet, and mine includes no sugar just because sugar causes so many physical problems. To me there is nothing wrong with being slender and it being healthy. Also my mom wanted to say that not all people are prejudiced against “fat” people. And another thing… I feel like society does not take bone structure into consideration. Honestly, that has a BIG thing to do with the size that a person will be. My mom has a medium bone structure and I have a small bone structure. She once had amoebic dysentery and lost weight down to a 108 lbs on her 5’7” frame. She was way underweight and the smallest she got to was a size 8. I am slender but look a lot fuller than she did with amoebic dysentery and yet I’m a size 6. And we are both the same height. So structure should be taken into account, because when a woman is short and has a large bone structure she should not have to feel like she has to be as thin as a short small structure. And same goes for tall individuals.


    • Saturday, October 17, 2009 3:48 pm

      I’m in no way saying that we should “celebrate” obesity. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t be prejudiced against people based on the fact that they carry more weight than “society” tells us is fashionable. There are plenty of people who are healthier at 50 pounds overweight than they were when they were “skinny.” There are as many people who are “average” sized who are malnourished, just as there are underweight and overweight people who are malnourished.

      As I just posted in a reply above, I’ve been eating healthily all week, getting my activity in almost every day — and my weight is UP almost five pounds. I haven’t been sitting here gorging on pizza and chocolate and candy and chips all week. I’ve been eating broiled and baked chicken and salmon, with steamed vegetables; frittatas for breakfast made with egg substitute, fat-free ham, fat-free cheese, and lots of spinach. I drink eight ounces of skim milk a day and at least two liters of water. I snack on raw veggies drizzled with pomegranate-infused vinegar. I don’t consume sugar or simple-carbohydrates, and try to stay away from unnecessary, unhealthy fats.

      My body is working against me in a way I cannot control. And I still have to face all of those societal pressures telling me that I’m not attractive, I’m not acceptable, because I’m overweight. Because of my obvious obesity, they automatically assume, like that quote from Amanda Platell that my “outsized appetites are matched by a lack of self-control and even less self-respect.”

      Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. And just like the title of this blog post says, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That is what we should be celebrating.


  6. Friday, October 16, 2009 11:23 pm

    Well said, my friend! And I have to tell you – I LOVE that suede skirt! Very fun & sassy, and looks great on you!! Looks like the fashion show was a lot of fun. πŸ™‚


    • Saturday, October 17, 2009 3:50 pm

      They have a lot of cute new sweaters, too, and it looks like I’ll need a lot more than the few I already have at home this winter. (Since it looks like we’ll be having a long, cold winter this year–YAY! But I do hope we’ll actually have an autumn season before winter settles in for good.)


      • Saturday, October 17, 2009 8:14 pm

        This weather has been wild! I can’t remember the last time we’ve had a fall that was so SOAKED. Definitely makes the cooler temps seem more bone-chilling.


  7. Saturday, October 17, 2009 1:06 am

    That was what I loved most about Anne. To be honest, I really, REALLY dislike when the attraction is all about how gorgeous/perfect he/she is. I prefer books when they fall in love with their personality and character (which is closer to real life) vs. their looks. Sure, a person will probably notice sapphire colored eyes upon first sighting, but if that’s all the hero/heroine thinks of during the whole novel, um, I have to question the depth of their emotions.


    • Saturday, October 17, 2009 3:51 pm

      I have to admit, Anne does obsess over George’s cinnamon-hazelnut colored eyes quite a bit in the book—that’s a reflection of my tastes, though. I’m definitely an eye-girl.


  8. Anonymous permalink
    Saturday, October 17, 2009 7:29 am

    Thank you for addressing this touchy topic, Kaye. I admire your courage in bringing sensitive issues to light. Might I bring another topic to the discussion?

    I look like the first model, only my arms are skinnier. I am a size 00 and fading fast (yes, that’s two zeros.) I have an autoimmune digestive disorder, and while it’s in decent control, it does flare from time to time. The first thing that happens in a flare is I lose weight. To some people that sounds delightful–but imagine being thin and pulling out just a yogurt for lunch, because that’s all your stomach can tolerate. The stares and comments are horrible. The assumptions are worse. And I really do not want to explain Crohn’s Disease to people I work with or barely know.

    I DON’T look healthy. My body must fight a daily battle with its own immune system. I’m doing okay: I can raise my family, work, and even enjoy some (quiet) hobbies. I’m deeply grateful to God for that. But I’d be grateful if I didn’t have to tolerate whispers behind my back. I’d be grateful if people stopped asking my husband questions about me. He worries about me and the questions about my weight just add to the burden. (It might be better if those people asked out of concern and offered to pray–but it doesn’t work that way. They seem repulsed, like “What’s wrong with your wife??”)

    Size discrimination goes all ways, I’m afraid. It affects skinny women too. Like Kaye said, I wish we could just love each other and accept each other for who we are–on the inside and outside.

    (Kaye, I’m going to be Anonymous on this comment for obvious reasons, but have included my real email address. I want to sincerely thank you for posting this, and for allowing me to air my concerns about this issue from another angle. Even though I’m Anonymous, it feels really good to be able to “talk” about this. I so rarely can–and the issue hits really close to home. Thanks again.

    And PS–you make a gorgeous model. Love that swirly skirt. πŸ˜‰ )


    • Saturday, October 17, 2009 3:54 pm

      Even though I wasn’t aware of your plight when I wrote this, I knew there was a reason why I felt led to change “fat acceptance” to “size acceptance.” Just like no one has a right to judge me or make disparaging remarks about me because of my size, no one has the right to judge you based on your size/appearance.

      Just as much as it frustrates me to hear the media harping on Kirstie Alley or Kelly Clarkson for their weight gain, it makes me so angry when they harp on the actresses/singers who are underweight. If the media were to stop obsessing about public figures’ weight, we’d find fewer people doing it in everyday life as well.

      I’m sorry to hear of your condition, and will definitely pray for you.


    • greyfort permalink
      Monday, October 19, 2009 9:23 am

      Anonymous – I’ve known a couple of people with Crohn’s disease – BIG HUGS going out to you (and prayers too) – the weight loss is not something I’ve seen before (both people I know ended up with “pregnant bellies”) but I’ve heard the pain they go through. Its heart wrenching.

      About a week ago I started seeing ads on TV for meds for Crohn’s disease. While I hate the prescription drug ads with a passion; I just realized that it may bring more education and understanding of this horrible disease.


  9. Saturday, October 17, 2009 10:03 am

    Kaye, you might really enjoy Body Wars by Margo Maine, which is a book I used while writing my research paper for SHU. You and I think so similarly when it comes to size issues, that you would probably fly through it like I did. πŸ™‚ My alter ego has yet to receive any negative comments regarding the fact that my heroines are plus-sized. In fact, I’ve received a lot of emails thanking me for writing “normal” women who are beautiful and confident and intelligent and who find love. Reviewers have also enjoyed my heroines, which has been awesome. There’s definitely a market for plus-sized heroines in romance, and I’m so glad to see more publishers embracing heroines of a larger size (and slightly imperfect heroes).

    And like you, I was a size 13/14 heading into junior high, and haven’t been smaller than that since. I’m healthy. I exercise, eat healthy, and have perfect cholesterol and blood pressure. I’m just…not genetically predisposed to thinness. I wish more women would accept that, and be able to accept that thin doesn’t always equal healthy, that it’s more about your body having a “natural” weight that it’s most happy at, and embracing that and loving yourself no matter how thin or voluptous you happen to be.


    • Saturday, October 17, 2009 4:04 pm

      I had to laugh at your “genetically predisposed” comment. There are, unfortunately, two distinct gene pools coming from my mom’s and my dad’s sides of the family. My sister inherited the “skinny” genes from my mom’s side while I inherited my dad’s “big” genes. So I had to go through my teen years with an older sister who was a size 2/4 while my size increased pretty much as a mirror of my age. But I played volleyball (in junior high), and was good enough to be made team co-captain two years. I rode my bike at least an hour a day. I walked the dogs. I walked a couple of miles a week with my parents. Yet I still put on weight.

      Eventually, by the time I was in college, I got to the point where I gave up trying to “eat well” after having joined Weight Watchers and “failing” at it. I’ve admitted many times before, I’m a food addict who’s a compulsive eater. Just like an alcoholic at an open bar, if you put food in front of me I’ll eat it (unless I know I’m allergic to it) even if I’m not hungry.

      My goal weight is 170, which I’d like to be at by the time I turn forty years old. My goal size is a 14/16. But my true goal is to get myself healthier so that I can come off the prescription drugs for blood pressure, so that I don’t have to live with the fear that I’ll have to have the same bypass surgery that both my father and his brother have had in the past five or six years, so that I know I won’t face Type II Diabetes in the future, and so that I feel comfortable and confident in my own skin.


      • Saturday, October 17, 2009 4:58 pm

        My brother took after our father’s family–skinny as can be. Me? I look just like every other woman on my mom’s side of the family–big chest, wide hips, tummy, big booty. It’s crazy how genetics can play such a huge role in your body type, but you can look at my brother and me and see the differences (he’s like 5’5″, 25, and weighs like 140 soaking wet). We may have the same nose and shape of our eyes, but that’s about it. *g*


  10. Lois permalink
    Saturday, October 17, 2009 10:44 am

    I’ve always been a fan of plus-size models! There’s a great site with many images of Crystal and other plus-size models here:

    They’re all gorgeous.

    The site’s forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.


    • Saturday, October 17, 2009 4:05 pm

      Thanks for the link, Lois. There are some great images there, and I’ll be exploring further to add some of those beautiful women to my “casting book” as potential templates for future characters!


  11. Saturday, October 17, 2009 3:25 pm

    Kaye, you look marvelous!!! I am all for normal sized woman, meaning normal comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. I’m also a little tired of heroines being, well, quite often still teenagers. My sons are 21 and 22 and I’m so done with the teenage years that I like to escape into a world where the characters are all sorts of ages. Romance can be had at any age, and a great story need not be a romance. Sometimes it is just about romancing life and discovering the Lover of your Soul. Keep up with the real life characters you create. I truly think people appreciate reading about someone who just might be like them or someone they know.


    • Saturday, October 17, 2009 4:06 pm

      Reading about people like me is one of the reasons why I chose to write characters who are in their thirties who’ve never been married and are taking a chance on love.

      One thing I’m not sure I mentioned, but two of the three heroines in the new Matchmakers series are “plus” sized. I can’t wait!


  12. Saturday, October 17, 2009 9:38 pm

    Wow that girl on the right does not look like a size 12, I would have guessed a 6 or 8…but either way she looks the healthiest out of the two. Why don’t people smile like you did when they model? I’d rather buy a dress that makes me happy not look like it’s killing me to wear it! But then again those dresses are terrible so if I had to wear it my expression would be the same!


    • greyfort permalink
      Monday, October 19, 2009 9:26 am

      If you are talking about the pictures from the British show – that’s British measurements – which one person said that 12-14 would be 8-10 U.S.


  13. Jess permalink
    Sunday, October 18, 2009 11:38 am

    I don’t understand this thing about losing weight. Doesn’t muscle weigh more than fat? Shouldn’t people be trying to lose inches, not pounds?
    Even size doesn’t say much. A 200-lb woman who exercises will always, always look better than a 150-lb woman who doesn’t. Anyone who sits hunched in front of a computer/TV all day will not look “good,” even if they eat well and are the “right” weight. The texture of their bodies is just different somehow. This dependence on numbers to tell you how good you look is just…weird. I mean, I feel happier when I exercise. That’s enough.


  14. Larry permalink
    Sunday, October 18, 2009 12:13 pm

    I find it truly amazing how women have this need to look at other naked women (such as the pictures you posted) to compare and evaluate their body size. It seems that you are very concerned with what other women think about your body size or what you find attractive in other women. It smacks of being lesbian – being attracted to or not attracted to another women’s body. I don’t know how the Church tolerates such comparisons. If men did such comparisons it would be considered “gay” by the Church.


  15. Sunday, October 18, 2009 1:03 pm

    Hey, you! Just read through the comments, and have to agree with most of what’s been said. As you know, I’ve lost and kept off 41 pounds. My reason? My mother had a stroke a few years ago, found out she is borderline diabetic, and I DON’T want to have a life changing experience before I get healthier.

    So, I cut my calories. That’s it. Lost 22 pounds just doing that. No exercise…well, other than what a mom of three does everyday! LOL The rest I lost while I had a personal trainer so I could get muscle rather than just lose fat.

    The result? I’m a happy 8/10!!! My cholesterol is WAY low, no high blood pressure, and blood sugar is normal. Do I feel better? Yes. Is this the size/weight every woman should be? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What someone mentioned above about bone structure is CRUCIAL. I’m of German decent. I tend to be a little bigger boned than most. My best friend is tall and slim, with smaller bones. I’ll never look like her at her healthiest weight. Don’t want to, either! πŸ™‚

    We are ALL made in the image of God. He created us to be what we are. I pray more of us are able to embrace His view of us, getting on with the business of glorifying HIM and not ourselves. πŸ™‚

    My $.02. πŸ™‚ Love you!


  16. Sunday, October 18, 2009 1:04 pm

    You mean like men do all the time at the gym/athetic arena? Come on, Larry. This was a viable discussion on body image issues that women are facing and showing bodies of women who are closer to the American average versus the image created by society.


    • greyfort permalink
      Monday, October 19, 2009 9:36 am

      I’m so glad a GUY pointed it out – because so often comedies, dramas, any movie by any male comedian – if they have a bathroom scene or a gym scene…..and never have I heard anyone call them gay – yet there they are staring at each others…..

      If this was one of the non-Christian sites that I’m a member of I would tell people to “not feed the troll” – trolls just like to hurt peoples feelings and stir up trouble. Often times they don’t even believe what they say – but the say it to get people angry and vengeful.

      But this guy invoked “church” – Larry – you may be a troll. You may not be. But remember this – men are the ones looking at pictures of naked and semi-naked women and then turn around and tells us we aren’t beautiful because we don’t look like them.


  17. Sunday, October 18, 2009 2:45 pm

    I’m glad you’re going back for that skirt. It is too cute to leave on the rack! I’d love to have one cut like that. It’s flattering and sassy on every body type.

    I love Anne and George. They’re two of the realest characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in fiction. I took them as a personal challenge to stay away from body stereotypes in my own characters. I love Major too. He’s absolutely right. You should never trust a skinny chef!

    Like “Anonymous”, I’m another one of those skinny girls. It took two prescription medications to slow my metabolism down to the point where I could gain enough weight to be at the proper weight for my height, which is 140-155. I could still gain another 10-15 and be perfectly fine. Before going on the meds, there were people at church I avoided like the plague because of the way they would comment on my weight. One had the audacity to ask me to my face if I was anorexic. I was stunned into complete silence, then cried that afternoon. I’m small boned, as are most of the women on my mom’s side of the family. My sister inherited the genes from my dad’s side of the family and she’s a much bigger girl.

    I do sort of understand how difficult it can be for a plus-sized woman to find clothes. It’s not any easier when you’re 5’7″, 40″ of which is legs, and you weigh 110 soaking wet. To get my jeans long enough, my mom would have to put no less than 3 1″ darts in the waist. It’s only been in the last 3 years that I’ve finally found a brand of jeans that fits me in the waist and is long enough. Skirt shopping is a nightmare, even now at a weight of 145! Everything is either too big or too small. I can’t shop in the Juniors section anymore because everything is too short, but everything in the Ladies/Misses section tends to be too big in the waist or not big enough in the hips. I have wide set hips that my husband adores, and will make having a baby a little easier.

    There’s no such thing as a perfect body. We each have the body that God gave us. He made us the way we are on purpose. Whenever there’s something about my body that I don’t like (which for most of my life has been restricted to my ears) I stop and remind myself that God made me this way on purpose.


  18. Monday, October 19, 2009 12:43 pm

    Did anyone see last week’s episode of The Shark Tank, the show where entrepreneurs present their ideas to a panel of venture capitalists to solicit funding?

    There was a woman who was trying to get money for a line of plus-sized clothing. She must have worn at least a size 18 herself. But she threw me because she kept saying her clothes were plus-size for sizes 12 and up. I thought she misspoke. I’d never before heard that a 12 or 14 was considered plus size. I’d always thought 18 and up, and more recently 16 and up. Obviously the bar keeps moving. Will the day come when plus-size is size 6 and up?

    Whoever determines these things is doing so much damage to women’s psyches. All those young women who very naturally and in good health wear a size 10 or 12 are now being told they’re plus size? And those us who are desperately trying to lose weight and hope to get down to a 10 or 12 will still be plus-size when we get there? This whole weight/size thing is out of control.


    • greyfort permalink
      Monday, October 19, 2009 1:06 pm

      I’ve always known that size 12 is plus size. I was a size 10 up through my freshman year in college – and that was 12 years ago….

      Apparently sometime in the 70’s or 80’s (or 90’s) there was a shift in the sizes. I remember reading Sweet Valley Twins and awhile back there was controversy that the books were being re-released where the twins were not a “perfect twelve” but now a “perfect six” – there was some controversy as you can imagine – but as one person pointed out – sizes have changed and what was a 12 is now a 6.


  19. Sarah permalink
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 8:44 am

    I just have one question. Was it completely necessary to put up pictures of naked women that could cause one of our brothers or sisters to stumble? I have really enjoyed reading your books and your blog but was really disappointed to see these pictures up. I agree with what was said though.


    • Sylvia permalink
      Tuesday, October 20, 2009 5:23 pm

      Thank you, Sarah. I wanted to say something, but didn’t. Other than the stumbling block thing it’s rather pornographic imo. I would at least like a warning sign at the beginning of the post. Like Sarah, I do agree with what was said, though.


      • Tuesday, October 20, 2009 9:00 pm

        I was addicted to porn for almost 15 years and those pictures didn’t trigger me at all. Nude does not equal porn. God created the human form and just because a photo or painting might have a nude in it doesn’t mean it’s automatically porn. I understand sensitivity to it being someone recovering from that addiction but there was nothing lascivious in those photographs. If anything, they helped illustrate the point being made about body consciousness.


  20. Tuesday, October 20, 2009 12:13 pm

    Apparently Larry is unaware of how many men, Christian or not, watch wrestling, boxing, or MMA/UFC and talk about how ripped the guys are. We’re no better and there’s nothing gay about it.


  21. Analisa permalink
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 5:49 pm

    According to Merriam-Webster,

    “Function: noun
    Etymology: Greek pornographos, adjective, writing about prostitutes, from pornΔ“ prostitute + graphein to write; akin to Greek pernanai to sell, poros journey β€” more at fare, carve
    Date: 1858
    1 : the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
    2 : material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
    3 : the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction ”

    As a result of this evidence, I do not, in any way, see how any of the aforementioned photos can be considered pornographic. I believe Ms. Dacus’s intention–in providing such photos–was to show evidence as to how media and societal views constantly dissect the human form, and how it can affect self-esteem and development within women.


    • Analisa permalink
      Tuesday, October 20, 2009 5:50 pm

      I forgot to mention, that I was providing a dictionary definition of the word “pornography.”


    • Tuesday, October 20, 2009 6:59 pm

      I ❀ you, Analisa. I also completely agree–the images are hardly pornographic. I thought they were great examples of how a few tools in Photoshop can so alter someone's body that they're virtually unrecognizable from their actual selves.


  22. Shannon permalink
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 8:40 pm

    Bravo, Kaye! From a mom-of-many who is proud to “only” wear an 18 … I’d love to be thinner, but I’m sure I’ll never see a 10/12 again unless I’m sick! For me, too, it’s a matter of Irish peasantry genes (I’m shaped just like my grandmother, LOL!) and an ongoing struggle with diet-controlled diabetes and thyroid issues. It certainly isn’t always about how well we eat or how active we are!

    I love your “real” characters. Can’t wait to read Stand-In Groom!!


  23. Meredith permalink
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 8:59 am

    You said it all. I would say the great threat is those 0 – 2 models is that the industry protrays as them as the standard, when in fact they are the minorty. We need to learn to accept individual differences, and stop making judgements. Thanks for your opinion.


  24. Carol Bruce Collett permalink
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 3:24 pm

    Great post, Kaye. One of my favorite things about SIG is Anne’s confidence and her comfort in her own skin. Personally, I think the photos you used are perfect for this article. Like Jason, I don’t get ‘porno’ from them. I also believe that in order to be gay or lesbian you have to be sexually attracted to the same gender. Not sure where the idea came from that we cannot appreciate someone we think looks good regardless of gender. Love the photos from the fashion show-you look great.


  25. Clark permalink
    Thursday, December 3, 2009 10:34 pm

    If you are looking for luscious ladies for your ‘castings’, have a peek at this website called that archives fashion imagery of models all over a size 10, and it’s packed with post after post of beautiful women. And there are lots of videos, so you can give your ladies a ‘voice’ as well.

    It’s really interesting to see just how much gorgeous work for these bigger models exists outside of the narrow view of the weight/body/celebrity-obsessed US media. If you think that those Glamour photos are gorgeous, then take a look at the stuff on here. Search under “Johanna Dray”, for example. She will blow you away. In fact, if you make a character out of her, then you MUST give her a french accent. Nothing else will do. LOL


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