This illustration, is making the social media rounds, especially within the plus-sized community. It depicts the way plus-sized beauty is seen by most in this century versus how such beauty was seen in previous centuries.
I saw this illustration for the first time at 2:30am just before I went to bed. I could not quite figure out why my gut reaction to it was “WTF?”. I understood the overall point made, but that gut reaction lingered. Considering the time and I had to rise in a couple of hours for work, I emailed it to myself so I can review the art when I was not half sleep deprived.
I have now seen the illustration with a lucid mind (hah since we’re speaking of MY mind), in the bright light of day and now I understand my gut reaction.
The artist has the woman in the illustration gazing a famous painting of what are no doubt big beautiful women, while others near her mock her corpulent beauty. I cannot decide if her expression is wistful of a time when women with her physical attributes were greatly desired and considered the height of beauty, or if she is woeful of the fact that beauty such as hers is not considered so now.
What triggered my gut reaction was Kucerovsky use of Rubens Rape of the daughters of Leucippus as the beauty counterpoint. Why this specific painting? Why could Kucerovsky have not used say…
Now when a painting of the Goddess of Love and Beauty has more rolls than a bakery, there is no mistaking what the standard of beauty was in Rubens’ time. There is a reason to this day that the classic euphemism for a big beautiful woman is Rubenesque.
Of all the marvelous works of Rubens’ available that depict beauty as it was seen then, he chooses a painting depicting abduction and rape of women as his example! So now we are not Goddess worthy even within a picture of a picture, but abduction and rape is a-okay? What exactly is being said to us big gals here?
As a plus-sized beauty in the 21st Century, should I be grateful now if I am lucky enough to be seen as an object of desire even by rapist? Is that the only way we big girls can “get some”? If the female in the illustration is looking wistfully at this painting, what does that say about the artist’s interpretation of what he thinks is the mindset of today’s fat woman? That we’re so desperate we’d willingly accept rape?
Were this a face-to-face conversation, this would be about the point where one of my friends would say to me, “You see too much into things!” and I generally retort with, “And you don’t see at all!”
The overall essence of Kucerovsky ‘s illustration is good, it really is, but it also leaves such a bitter aftertaste in my mouth, that I can barely appreciate the zest of the original flavor.