Monday, April 06, 2009

Celestial Bodies

Newsflash: Kim Kardashian has cellulite. Now Kim, who has one of the most beautiful bodies in Hollywood (according to moi), recently spoke up about the Complex Magazine photos that surfaced, alerting us to the truth about her pre-photoshopped bod.

On her official website, Kim responded:
Complex later replaced the pic with the photoshopped version, causing all of this drama. But you know what, who cares!

So what: I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn't!?

How many people do you think are photoshopped? It happens all the time!

At the same time as this Complex shoot, I was gearing up for my fitness DVD and you should see my thighs now!!! Haha!

This all motivates me to stay in the gym because my goal this year has been to get in better shape and tone up! Hard work pays off!

I'm proud of my body and my curves and this picture coming out is probably helpful for everyone to see that just because I am on the cover of a magazine doesn't mean I'm perfect.
What do you think about her response?

And now, the time has come where we must talk about Michelle Obama's body, mostly because we might miss the bandwagon if we don't. With a woman as well-credentialed as she, it's a shame our focus must land on her shape, but her body and clothing have gotten her more attention than anything else. And, how we love to talk about her arms. . .

AP Photo

A couple of people have mentioned that perhaps Michelle Obama's presence will usher in a new, larger, body ideal (with the idea that she isn't as tiny as former first ladies. . . Nancy Reagan and Jackie O come to mind). I've heard her described as "normal-sized" (whatever that means), and many suggest that she's because she's not a thin woman, she represents the masses.

Terry McMillan, in a piece in New York Magazine, praises Michelle's body, noting her to be a new role model for Black women, where "large lips" and "big behinds" may now find some acceptance. McMillan writes:

In recent weeks, so much focus has been placed on Michelle Obama's biceps, but I'm much more excited about the rest of her body. Especially her hips. Those beautiful curves are hopefully sending a message to women of all ethnicities. . . that having some meat on your bones is and always has been a blessing you don't have to be ashamed of. I think she should make a video: The First Lady's Guide to Fitness and Self-Love or something. Every time I see her on television or in a magazine, I get goose bumps and my cheeks hurt from smiling because she represents us. . . .
Do you agree with McMillan? Does Michelle really represent us? To me, she's a thin, toned woman whose media presence won't necessarily pave the way for a more inclusive body ideal.


PTC said...

Seriously, that's all you hear about are her ARMS and her SLEEVELESS dresses. Who really cares? They're not talking about the ties the prez wears.

I say, good for KK.

Rachel said...

Frankly, when I look at Michelle Obama, I don't think of her "toned arms" or ample hips. Instead I wonder why a Harvard-educated lawyer is being pigeon-holed into traditional domestic roles and responsibilities. What kind of message is that sending to women?

H. said...

I agree with what Rachel said
"Instead I wonder why a Harvard-educated lawyer is being pigeon-holed into traditional domestic roles and responsibilities. What kind of message is that sending to women?"

Also, what large hips are we talking about? I always saw her as relatively thin, more of a Caucasian ideal body than not. Lest someone think that I must have a skewed idea of "thin/slim" I am a recovering anorexic, so yeah, I have skewed version of thin, and if I see her as a slim woman, hell, she's gotta be. I certainly wouldn't call her hips ample...
God. Why do we have to do this to every woman in the spotlight? She's a LAWYER she went to HARVARD, she smart and talented and so many other things than slim or ample, or biceps.
Why don't we talk about President Obama's "cute butt" or HIS biceps? Because he's a man, so he gets to be more than the sum of his body parts.

Shesh...I have more but I'll get off my soapbox now

azusmom said...

Ditto what PTC, Rachel, and RunnerGirl said.

Femaleclaws said...

What I'm a little more concerned about is how she changed her entire family's diet for the sake of one of her daughters who "was getting a little chubby". I mean, having that known by your family is one thing, but the entire country - and the world? Talk about pressure.

technicolorsheep said...

My first thought was exactly along Rachel's lines: The heck, she's a brilliant lawyer, she's intellectual, she witty, sharp and certainly also a good match for a first lady in every way… so what is it about her arms?

On another note: Yes, it is nice she's trim and fit – not starved – but that's also exactly why I don't feel she's so 'average'. Beautiful? Yes. Inspiring? Yes. Tasteful? Certainly. But average? Oh my, I wish I was as trim and fit as she is…

Still, I am sure Mrs. Obama would have a lot more time to devote on other issues if she wasn't subjected to a barrage of comments and questions regarding her arms, her child-raising and her vegetable garden, of all things.

So I shouldn't feel so hung-up about myself, should I? And still, this instant drivel about how she reigns in a new era of body image – I'm not sure she does. And even less sure she ought to, because in the end, to me she's just a highly accomplished woman who happened to marry a guy who then became president. I don't think she should have to bear the brunt of criticism and hopes that she does; for heaven's sake, if she stays the way she is, kudos to her, if she feels the need to give in to the 'beauty myth': Who are we to blame her?

Btw: This wasn't intended as criticising your post, I couldn't agree more. I just hope eventually we won't have to constantly compare ourselves to one another. (And if there's one thing I really want that she has, it's her education and intellect.)

Ann Onimous said...

I think Arnie, the gov of CA was making fun of Obama's "chicken legs", in a desperate last resort of the presidential race. Yeah I was disappointed to see her on the cover of Vogue, I think that sends a bad message too. (I intensely dislike Vogue on several levels)

Leigh Purtill said...

To answer Dr. Stacey's question, no, I don't think Michelle Obama represents "us." As has been noted above, she is hardly average - and who wants her to be? I certainly don't. I want my president and first lady to be extraordinary. They're guiding our country, after all, and representing America around the world. They should be exceptional.

I've read that stores sell out of the clothes Michelle Obama wears because people want to look like her but I think wardrobe is about as far as it will go with the American public. I think people recognize that celebrities and public figures have a very different lifestyle than the average Josephine: they have money to buy exercise machines and gym memberships and personal trainers and chefs to cook them all the right healthy foods.

We didn't have a nation of Nancy Reagans when Ron was president, did we?

azusmom said...

(L1Z4, can I just say I LOVE the cat pic?!?!?!??!!!!!!)

Anonymous said...

Ok, really where the HELL are these "ample hips" everyone keeps talking about? I don't see them. Ever. Where are they?

But of course the real issue here is that it shouldn't matter one way or the other whether she has these imagined ample hips or not.

Not to mention the fact that her body and clothes are a constant discussion of her coupled with the parents' formed family diet for their daughter who was getting "a little chubby" probably sends AWESOME messages to those two little girls - and any others who're within earshot of the news at least once or twice a week.

I Hate to Weight said...

i wish she would wear sleeves. we can't help but be distracted. if hillary clinton were president, would bill wear a sleeveless to the State of the Union?

i think mrs. obama buys into being a fashion icon and that's her choice. but it's disappointing to me

MEP said...

Jackie Kennedy was not tiny. I think one of the reasons Michelle Obama is often compared to Jackie is because they are physically similar -- Jackie was tall and broad-shouldered with large hands. Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton are both of normal body type, then you've got Barbara Bush. What did they usher in?

April said...

I think it's unfortunate that the myth that a woman can't be simultaneously intelligent, strong, competent, and beautiful still reigns, at least here. Yes, she's a Harvard educated lawyer. So what? I'm a Yale educated union organizer, but if somebody wants to compliment my arms, I'm not going to get all huffy about it. Being considered beautiful, sexy, attractive, or whatever, does not invalidate all of our other positive qualities... any more than a lack of what is typically considered beauty should invalidate all the good qualities of others.

Is it possible obsession with not having an obsession with body image can become an obsession in itself? If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you think that every woman has an eating disorder, then every view of a woman, from the most negative to the most complimentary, is suspect.


brooklyn_bound_F_train said...

I like Michelle. I think her biceps are great. I think its ok to be a strong woman, both literally and figuratively. And don't forget, we all go nuts about Barack's pecs when he is photographed in Hawaii on vacation. Well, at least I do. That dude's cut. Really. But seriously...To go from literally campaigning 24 hours a day for 18 months, (one of the longest campaigns in history) and then to step into the hardest job on earth during some of the worst times we can remember AND still find the time and energy to wake up early in the morning and take care of themselves for 90 minutes a day? Hey...I'm inspired. And I think the Obamas should be an insipration to every woman (and man) out there working two jobs, raising kids, taking care of elderly parents and trying to finish up that degree. They're telling us...hey, you are important. You can find the time to put yourself on the priority list and take care of your body and health. You don't have to let life run you over. I think its very empowering. I don't think its about "size" at all.
One more thing...I don't think those biceps on a woman are considered "sexy" at all in classic American media. Go into a weight room at a gym and you very rarely see women repping 25s on the bicep curls lest they "bulk up" and people think they're a "lesbian." (Oh, God forbid.) I support Michelle's snap-you-in-half biceps more than I support a 25 minute 3lb hand weight using aerobics class, because women aren't "supposed" to have big muscles. You go Michelle! Let's hit the preacher bar and have a one-rep-max competition. I'd like to see what you got!

Kjen said...

Eeeh. She's just following the script at this point. The one where any celebrity is actually caught looking less than centerfold ready immediately declares "so what, fat is SEXY"IMMEDIATELY followed by the picture of them looking several pounds lighter the next time you see them. C'est la vie.

"thick lips" and curvy hips and thighs. Have you seen this woman? Just because she's black, they start to associate or see more than their is to her. Sheesh.
Finally, no. The Obamas will not be the turning point of America's "War on Obesity". How many 'thin' celebrities do we have? Have they inspired Americans to successfully slim down? No. That's not how it works. But that's alright.

Ria said...

It might just be this picture in particular - and it is the only one I am faced with now in scrutiny-mode - but that woman is not ordinary. she's a small lady, and very toned. From what I remember of Obama, too, he is unusually toned. And I say unusually based not on celebraties, but on anyone in office, anyone with a demanding job... they are both much fitter and smaller than most people you see on the street. That's interesting... but I don't know what it will mean, if anything, when they act as leaders of the free world. Perhaps the fitness will work against them to mean they are taken less seriously? Intellect and athleticism cannot co-exist side by side. Apparently.

- Ria, Australia