Archive for Christina Hendricks

Yes, we can.

When I give presentations on the blog, one of the things I talk about is the fact that, as a society, we CAN change how we define beauty. And I point out that I know we can because we have.

If you look at images of women in the past, it’s not hard to see that for hundreds of years, the model of beauty was voluptuous, curvy, rubinesque. Only since the late ’60s and early ’70s have we become a culture obsessed with thinness.

So today I’d like to offer you a gallery of images that demonstrate just how much we’ve changed and just how far we can go. . .

The patron saint of curves leads us into the light

191 pounds

There has been a lot of chatter lately about Christina Hendricks’ anorexia-kicking body.

As I discussed in my “Curvier . . . Rounder . . . Better!” post, a few weeks ago The New York Times printed a stretched pic of Hendricks at the Golden Globes next to a story about a stylist calling her a “big” girl. What followed was a massive online backlash—people were not happy about the distorted image or the comment. Hendricks is definitely curvy, but she is by no means big. And the fact that the picture was stretched—intentionally or not—proves it.

And the follow-up to that ridiculous faux pas has continued to push the beauty envelope.

This week, New York magazine not only featured Hendricks on their cover—yes, there is a curvy woman on the COVER of a magazine!—they also asserted that Hendricks—along with Glamour and V magazines—may be helping us change the way we think about women’s bodies. According to the magazine, Hendricks “looks the way movie stars used to look. She is, in that sense, proof of how certain bodies go in and out of fashion.” Hendricks may, in fact, be helping us usher in a new definition of beauty: one that glorifies curves rather than shunning them, as the fashion and entertainment industry been for years, probably as long as I’ve been alive.
The magazine even imagines a future when models will be chided for looking like men, rather than being chided for looking like women, as they unfortunately still are today. (The Project Runway episode when the judges called a barely curvy model “zaftig” comes to mind.)

Even better news . . . Hendricks, who used to be a model, has long rejected the idea that beautiful women need to be super thin. During her modeling days, she says she always wanted to discuss “something else” if models started talking about starving themselves.

I knew there was a reason I liked you, Christina. I just knew it.

Curvier . . . Rounder . . . Better!

191 pounds

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.

Why we should all be watching MAD MEN

195 pounds

I recently started watching Mad Men* on DVD. I’m just about to finish Season One, and I already know that what all of my friends have told me about the show is true—not only is it an outstanding drama with amazing actors and brilliant writing, but it is also a vitally important show because of the fact that it features real-sized women who look absolutely fabulous. (A group I argue are all but absent from film and television in my “What’s wrong with this picture?” post.)
The most obvious example of this is Joan Holloway, played by the insanely talented Christina Hendricks. As the most powerful “secretary” in the office, Joan is a true leader. But she’s not just a leader in the secretarial pool, she’s also—and even more importantly—the person who the “mad men” look to for focus and guidance. When anyone in the office—male or female—is struggling, Joan is usually the one who’s called in to set them straight.
This type of characterization would be impressive all by itself, but what makes it doubly important is that Joan is not just a real-sized woman, she’s also a drop-dead gorgeous one who struts her stuff with as much sass and pride as a prize-winning peacock. Because it’s not just her inner strength that the employees of Sterling Cooper are drawn to, it’s her stunning looks.
And who wouldn’t be drawn to her? Joan has a wonderfully full face, knock-you-out hips, strong legs, an impressive badonka donk, and ample breasts. Assets she knows how to work to her advantage. She uses her powerful hips—and sometimes even her butt—like some people use their hands: as tools of expression. In this way, those hips are as much a part of personality—and her strength—as her striking red hair.
It’s also notable that it’s curvy, red-headed Joan—not the blonde and frail Betty Draper—who all the men find so seductive.
Obviously, it’s wonderfully refreshing and completely validating to see a real-sized woman play the most desirable woman on a television show filled with beautiful woman—finally, an actress I can aspire to look like!—but what’s even makes me even happier is that she accomplishes this while also being strong, smart, and powerful.
She’s a triple threat, this Joan Holloway, and I truly hope the writers give such a deserving character something to be happy about.
*The third season of Mad Men is currently showing Sunday nights at 10:00 EST on AMC.
  • twitterfacebook