Scarlett O'Hara had a seventeen-inch waist.
Get your tape measure out of your junk drawer and see how small that really is.
I just did.
When I read the book, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, back in eighth grade, I was fascinated that a girl could actually have a waist that tiny. Was that even humanly possible? Women have a history of going to great lengths of torture all in the name of unattainable beauty.
Her new green flowered-muslin dress spread
its twelve yards of billowing material over her hoops
and exactly matched the flat-heeled green morocco slippers
her father had recently brought her from Atlanta.
The dress set off to perfection the seventeen-inch waist,
the smallest in three counties.
I shudder to think how small other waists were in Fulton, Coweta or Pike counties in the sovereign state of Georgia just prior to the Civil War.
But Scarlett had Mammy to lace up her whalebone corset so tightly to achieve this miracle, while clutching her bedpost deep in despair. On the morning of John Wilkes' barbeque and ball at Twelve Oaks plantation, Miss Scarlett was plotting how her charm and green eyes could steal Ashley away from that mealy-mouthed Melanie.
And we all know how well that went.
A recent fairy-tale wedding, fit for a princess, took place on May 20th when Pippa Middleton and James Matthews were married in Englefield, England.
While drooling over the gorgeous photographs of these nuptials, my jawed dropped when I noticed the Scarlett-like waist of the ebullient bride.
Scarlett was a fictional character with a fabricated waist size. Pippa is a real woman. Please tell me this was an airbrushing error gone haywire? I believe my neck has the same circumference as Pippa's waistline.
Did her ladies' maid leave her gasping for air while pulling her whalebone corset over that delicate frame? Even a decent pair of Spanx can't hold you in that tightly under all that lace.
Was Pippa able to breathe on her wedding day? Could she speak her vows, drink champagne or dance the Viennese Waltz with James? No nibble of wedding cake for good luck? Did Pippa pass out from starvation just after this photo was taken?
I am quite certain her waist is smaller than those precious little flower girls.
Please pass the smelling salts Aunt Pittypat. I think I'm going to faint.
According to a study in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, the current average waist size of American women is 37.5 inches.
Not a statistic to be proud of, a waist measuring greater than 35 inches and you run a high risk for poor health and chronic illness. Abdominal fat is the most dangerous.
That's more than twice the size of Scarlett's waist. And probably larger than Pippa and James' hips combined.
Of course I advocate for good health, balanced diet and exercise, but Pippa, I think you've gone too far.
Kate, when you little sister returns from her honeymoon, please take her to a pub for a mound of fish and chips, a pint of stout, Eton mess and let her breathe freely again.
After all, tomorrow is another day.
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