Female body image is a huge hot-button topic right now. I know this is a shock, so I’ll give you a moment to digest that….
Okay, that’s long enough.
We’ve all heard a joke like this one:
“Fucking a fat chick is like riding a moped. It’s fun until your friends find out.”
We’ve all heard someone cluck their tongue disapprovingly at a larger woman who dares to eat more than one celery stick and one carrot (and may God have mercy on her soul if said woman uses ranch dressing or any other condiment to jazz up her meal) at an all-you-can-eat buffet. “Maybe she shouldn’t be eating at a buffet if she looks like that.”
How about this particular epithet: “Chubby chaser?” This applies to men who dare to buck the societal pressure to try to score a supermodel nymphomaniac whose father owns a Lamborghini dealership and a chain of liquor stores.
Before you get all offended, and I’m taking it as an article of faith that someone WILL be offended by something I’ve said above, I want you to bear in mind that this is ME talking here. These jokes and snide remarks offend me just as much as they do you. The only reason they’re here at all is to set a context for the rest of this post.
When I was *kaff kaff hack kaff* years old, Sir Mix-A-Lot put out “Baby Got Back,” an ode to the more curvacious figure.
While the imagery in the video is edgy, bordering on vulgar, it nevertheless continues to serve as a power anthem for guys who would knock over a malnourished stick figure to get to the side of a curvier woman. Even so, guys who appreciate the more Rubenesque figure continue to take shit from the establishment, in much the same way as their preferred women are deluged by advertising and both overt and subtly disapproving societal messages saying that to be a few (or more than a few) pounds overweight is bad and shameful. Guys get this same crap in a different form: “You’re so handsome and intelligent. Can’t you raise your standards a bit, hmm? There’s a good lad…shuffle off and go find yourself a woman who rattles every time you make love to her, so you won’t embarrass yourself or the people who want to associate with you.” Women get a bad rap if they can’t fit into a size three dress; men get guilt by association.
BUT let me make this distinction right here: if you put gravy on and in everything, including your ice cream and coffee, or you pack away four breakfasts at Denny’s every morning, then yeah, munching a few celery sticks and trying to keep the gravy out of your coffee probably won’t kill you. This applies just as much to guys as women, in case anyone’s wondering. These are not the people I’m talking about here.
Some people win the genetic lottery and can eat any amount of anything without ever gaining an ounce, while some people can’t look at a piece of penny candy without putting on five pounds. Some people are physiologically predisposed to be larger than others, while some people enjoy the kind of insanely fast metabolism that lets them do two crunches a week and be in the same physical condition as an MMA fighter.
Women enchant me. Women of all shapes and sizes, colors, nationality, and ages. (At or above the age of legal consent, naturally; don’t let’s make this weird or creepy, shall we?) There are some women I want nothing to do with, but this is almost universally a matter of their attitude and the airs they put on and not anything physical. (Although it goes without saying I do have certain personal preferences and proclivities with regards to a woman’s body, just like everyone else.)
So, let’s have a comparison, shall we?
The picture on the left is the “typically desirable” woman. And there’s no question she is beautiful and fun to look at. If she loses five pounds, however, those fascinating curves will likely vanish, leaving only skin and bones. Some guys are into that, and if that’s you, as Katt Williams said, “Do you, Boo-boo.” Nice to look at, but not for me at a probable size 2 to 4 at the high end.
However, take the picture on the right. While she is apparently larger than the other women, I appreciate her body type more because it’s fuller. Additionally, she’s facing the camera with an attitude of unconscious sensuality and an open pose that invites the viewer to make their own judgments while not implying in any way that the viewer’s judgment has any particular effect on her. In my opinion, this makes her the clear winner of the contest (if it can be called a contest at all; see below for more on this). This woman is probably a size 12 to 14. According to an article on WebMD, this is about average for a woman standing 5’4″ in the USA as of this post.
All of this does have a point. When I sat down and got to thinking about my next novel, I wanted to do a paranormal. Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why another paranormal isn’t in the cards right now. (A discerning reader can probably figure out that most of these reasons link back to one word that has been conspicuous by its absence of late around here.) So that’s kind of off the table for the time being.
Luckily for me, all was not lost. I’ve often thought about doing a BBW romance, maybe something with a little edge to it. Come on, it’s J.S. Wayne…of course there’s gotta be an edge! Speaking of edges, guess what the whole Fifty Shades thing does to my teeth? So that was the second component: a little BDSM. (Okay, okay…more than a little.)
I didn’t want a heroine who felt the need to go on a diet, and I found it in Regina, a Caucasian size twenty. She’s tried all the diets, all the medical marvels, does all the right things…same old story, her weight never fluctuates by more than ten pounds. So of course she’s got more than her fair share of body image issues, especially when she wanders by Victoria’s Secret and realizes she can’t fit into any of the fluffy, frilly confections on offer or hears someone making a smartass remark whether she orders a skinny latte or an Italian soda with extra cream.
Now enter our hero: an Afro-American artist named Marcus Pike. When he sees Regina in the cafe, the first thing he does is approach her about posing for him as the model for a triptych piece he’s working on. This guy makes Shemar Moore look a little plain to our heroine, and once he establishes his bona fides as an artist and not some guy running a con, she agrees (with reservations) to pose for him. The stage is set for a blazing hot romance, or a bitter disappointment on both sides.
The working title for this novel is Artistic License, and I’m hoping to have it done by May 2nd. I’m really excited about this project, because I think it sends a very important message at a time when it’s really needed. Even better, it gives me a chance to examine various stereotypes and biases and do a little social commentary, something I think has been missing in any overt way in my work of late.
And because it’s my name on it, you know the romance…and the sex…will melt your monitor!
I know this is an unusually long post, especially lately, but I’m curious to see what other people have to say about the body image issue. Feel free to drop a comment and weigh in! In the meantime, I’m off to get a bit more work done.
Have a great week, y’all! And ladies, the next time someone makes a comment about your body (whatever shape or size), remember there’s someone out there who thinks you are the most beautiful woman on earth. Haters are going to hate, but don’t let them make you hate you.
ETA: I received this comment shortly after posting:
Until next time,