The internet has been buzzing all week about two stories The New York Times ran after the Golden Globes, and since both relate to the issues on this blog, I want to talk about them.
First, the Times ran an article that quoted an anonymous stylist dissing Christina Hendricks’ dress (pictured above).
The stylist said it was the wrong dress for her and added that “You don’t put a big girl in a big dress.” Thankfully, the blogosphere went crazy over the idea that Hendricks is big.
As CNN explained in an article about the controversy today, “Some were upset by the post, particularly by the use of the word ‘big.’ ‘They bothered me because they called her a big girl because she’s by no means a big girl—the only thing big about her is her chest,’ said celebrity blogger Cara Harrington. Another blogger, fashion editor Vanessa Raphaely, said that by calling Hendricks ‘big,’ the Times was ‘stretching the definition of the word.’”
I couldn’t agree more.
If you look at pictures of Hendricks, it’s easy to see that she has tiny arms, a small waist, and a thin face. But what I love about Hendricks is that she has significant curves—hips, thighs, and a bust—that we can all admire.
And I also agree with the bloggers that The New York Times was foolish to print a quote that refers to Hendricks as “big” because it’s a term that carries only the ugliest of connotations. Technically, a person can be big and still gorgeous, but unfortunately, in our society, big has come to mean bad (unless you’re talking Extra Value Meals).
Like I’ve already said about the word “fat,” the word “big” should probably be avoided as a way to describe a person’s body. I remember a few years ago, a friend of ours described another friend—a man—as a “big guy,” and this comment was not only poorly received, it sent said guy on a crazy, lo-cal diet.
At first I felt like people were overreacting a bit in their criticism of The New York Times. After all, they weren’t the ones who called Hendricks big. They were just reporting it.
But maybe going after the Times is not such a bad thing. If more of us complained about these types of comments and the people who report them, maybe the media would be forced to re-evaluate how they talk about and depict women’s bodies.
At the same time, I do believe that the other criticism of the Times’ coverage of Sunday’s red carpet is unwarranted.
On Monday, the Times fashion reporter, Andy Port, said in a post called “A Rounder Golden Globes” that she thought that three actresses—Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and Kate Hudson—looked like they had “put on a little weight.”
Bloggers and commenters unleashed on Port for this observation, but I think they failed to get her point. In the article, Port describes these women as “sporting sexier curves,” and then goes on to say that “Instead of a Barbie-doll circumference, there was suddenly, amazingly, a womanly roundess to their frames. More Marilyn than Twiggy, that’s for sure.”
Call me crazy, but it seems to me that Port is applauding this change rather than criticizing it. That’s why she uses words like “sexier” and “amazingly.” And her comment that they are “More Marilyn than Twiggy” has to be seen as a compliment because even today, even when we see far too many models with unhealthy BMIs gracing the covers of our magazines, most of us would still rather look like Marilyn Monroe than Twiggy, right?
God, I hope so.
And if that’s Port’s point, she’s not the only one who’s pleased. If she’s trying to say that Aniston, Cox, and Hudson’s new bodies might just mean that our perceptions of beauty are finally changing in our society, then I could not be happier.
Yes, Port could have been clearer about that point, but I’m still glad she said it.
Of course, he irony of this whole brouhaha is that if anyone reminds me of Monroe it is the stunning Christina Hendricks.