Welcome to Mary Tyler Mom's first guest blog post! My pal Andy has something important to say. Really important. If you love it as much as I do, share the love. Enjoy!
“Adele 'too fat' says Wrinkly Old Queen with Ponytail.”
That’s how the headline should have read. But instead, news being news, the headline stated the obvious. “Karl Lagerfeld calls Adele ‘too fat’” read the piece from Entertainment Weekly.
It detailed yet another episode of a fashion designer –one rich, removed, and questionably dressed— trying to tell the world what the deal is. But I doubt Adele will be losing any gigs at Wembley or the Staples Center over some mean words from the fashion world’s own Herman Munster.
The strange thing is that, as a guy, this news made my radar at all. I don’t own a note of Adele’s music and would probably switch off a radio playing her songs. Plus I don’t read EW and wouldn’t reach for it unless, of course, I’m bored, waiting at the dentist’s office.
Still the thought of this old white-haired dude, a snooty fashion designer who can't even show his own eyes without sunglasses, criticizing a very talented and beautiful woman about her body…Well, that got my pants in a bunch yesterday. And I’m sure that anyone else reading the headline would take issue with Lagerfeld, and maybe even yank that gnarly thing right off the back of his head.
The issue is always the same. We’ve heard it for years. From “skinny jeans” to “skinny lattes” the constant conversation out there is that skinny is the only beautiful. Or that skinny is the real beautiful, the one you should strive for.
Too often, this mindset is taken as the consensus. And sometimes I fear that women are led to believe that skinny is indeed where it's at and what your potential soulmate really desires most.
Being resident in my usual “guy” mentality, one question came billowing out of my mind. That question is this:
Since when do fashion designers --many of whom are men not even attracted to women, by inclination—get to call the shots on what’s hot, what’s alluring, what is sexy and beautiful?
It could be that Lagerfeld was just being flippant and bitchy as famous people tend to be. But considering how designers get mega-rich catering to women's appetite for high fashion, I think designers should celebrate the woman they dress, not denigrate her.
Even the sexless septuagenarians at the top of Vogue and other fashion magazines may have it right on today’s mix of clothes and accessories, but miss the mark on the body. Certainly it is easier to showcase new threads on the slender frame of a mannequin or similarly shaped high fashion model. You’ll note that the women strolling down the cat walk in haute couture are a size 0 and in the 6 foot range.
But these models are hardly in the ballpark of how most normal, healthy, attractive women are. As far as I’m concerned, most of Fashion has no idea what a beautiful woman looks like.
Lagerfeld in biker gloves posing with acceptably slender guests. Harley-Davidson, chaps, whip not pictured. (pic: Get Noticed Communications)
Perhaps I’m unusual. I’ll admit that as a lad I always found older women to be attractive, even before the term cougar got any legs. A woman’s natural curves are large part of the appeal.
But I think my view is similar to that of most sensible men out there. Ask men to name a celebrity they find “hot” and they come up with a ton of answers. However, names like Calista Flockhart and even Kristen Bell aren’t typically among them.
Sure, we men deserve the flack we get about our fixations. Some of us in our younger years placed a woman’s pretty face (or the size of her rack) above more important features like a brain, a sense of humor, personality and verve. But most of us grow out of that. Believe it or not, token blonde hair and skinny legs is not the only thing we’re attracted to, and it’s usually not the first choice.
If you don’t believe me take a superficial look at the women who take up the most space on our TVs.
I won’t say their names, but there’s a reason many a man is sitting at home next to a girlfriend, watching that show on E! about the dark-haired sisters whose names all start with K. It’s not because of Keeping Up’s brilliant content nor that these women have anything interesting to say. Frankly, most of us curve-loving men would rather watch this show with the sound turned down.
I’m not saying skinny is bad. If skinny is naturally you then go with it. Let’s just stop making women feel bad or even less-than-gorgeous simply because they are not skinny.
But maybe the joke is on me. After all, just a half hour after the last set of bench presses at my manly-man gym, I was square on my couch with my wife, with “What Not to Wear” blazing on the boob tube. As usual, Clinton & Stacy were instructing a pretty woman to ditch the khakis, banish bad golf shirts, and embrace her curves. And rightfully so.
The good news is this. As the crusty old fashion conservatives like Karl Lagerfeld move off the scene, their conventional yet blind ideals will fade away. Besides, the rest of us average joes on the street get it on what’s beautiful.
Andy Frye writes about local football for ESPNChicago.com and other sports/recreation for the Chicago Sun-Times. Follow his mania about sports and curves on his blog or on Twitter at @MySportsComplex.