Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks’ body has been declared the “ideal” female body by British Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone.
It’s great that Ms. Hendricks is getting ahead in the entertainment industry despite (maybe even because) of her non-skeletal figure, and I was just as upset as anyone when the New York Times fashion blogger had called Hendricks “A big girl,” but declaring Hendrick’s figure as the new “ideal” is a different matter. Think about it: Is Hendrick’s pronounced hourglass figure any more attainable to most women than fashion models’ extreme thinness?
And doesn’t this go back to the issue of extremes that I’ve discussed in the past – so we either have size zero, or Hendrick’s size 14, as coveted figures – but all the average, healthy, in-between sizes are completely ignored by the media. What does that do to women’s and girls’ body image?
As a naturally thin, narrow-hipped woman, I can tell you right here and now that as hard as I may try, puny little me will never get to Ms. Hendrick’s impressive, beautiful proportions. Should I feel bad about not having an “ideal” or a “feminine” figure? Or should I be happy that I am active and healthy and that my body weight is within the normal range?
The voluptuous Ms. Hendricks vs. puny little me.
Why exactly do we need to set ideals for women anyway? What is this obsession with an ideal female figure? We truly do come in so many shapes and sizes (not to mention colors), that declaring one shape as the “ideal” shape is just plain silly. And while it’s fine for the fashion industry to do this – after all, they ARE in the business of creating a fantasy, and creating an unattainable fantasy is how they sell, anyone else should be very careful about declaring any type of female figure as the “ideal” figure.
As far as I’m concerned, the only ideal women should have in terms of their bodies is eating healthfully (OK, most of the time) and exercising regularly. If you stick with a healthy lifestyle and take care of your body (no smoking, no suntanning, limited alcohol and caffeine, you know the drill), then you’re doing an awesome job and should be proud of yourself.
A fit, strong body should be the ideal female body, regardless of its shape.