Notions of Beauty

As an adolescent she’s told her looks are of a different class
Thus she finds herself staring hard in the looking glass
Not something she understands like ‘cute’ or ‘pretty’
Or even something as distinct like ‘siddity’
Just a tad too young to get the full meaning of erotic
But just old enough to know it’s not good to be exotic

Ferried every other Friday to the beautician’s chair
The only way to tame her long tightly woven hair
Suffers sleeping at night with a snug clothing pin
Shaping her nose so it’s straight and thin
Wooing her lips to sit just a tad inside
Knowing what they say about lips that are wide

Gone are the colorific beads that once adorned her hair
She’s older now and looks like that look cause stares
No batiks of blazing hues or other prints of ‘that’ fashion
More intents to belie the stereotypes of passion
Make sure her posture, like her diction is just so
Muddling through comparisons to a cookie we know

Walking ramrod straight without a rounded swerve
An attempt to camouflage of her natural curve
For decades she carefully toed that social standoff
Through the changing climes of wardrobe and coif
Never looking like ‘that’ was her personal pride
But conflicted as social and ethnic respect collide

But one perm too many turned it all about
Years of chemicals caused her hair to fall out
She tried extensions and other sorts of hair aids
She’s told leave it alone or more will fall out in spades
Her hair short and kinky, not since her childhood
She’s forced to face her definitions of what is good

Her childhood teachings, the well meant suggestions
Every single bit of it came into question
Resentful for feeling defensive of other’s disdain
Now that her looks no longer follow the ‘main’
Realizing she herself was once guilty of the same negation
That had nothing to do with her character or her education

It was a few years more to combine mentalities
Before she was comfortable with her new realities
Now she revels in her cultural prints and chains of jute
And she’s just as gregarious in her pinstripe suit
No longer concerned with how well she blended
Notions of beauty redefined, her spirit mended


dVerse ~ Poets Pub | Poetics– The Art of Letting Go

In The Eye of The Beholder and The Artist

"Wrong Century" by Tomas_KucerovskyWrong Century by Tomas Kucerovsky
(click for larger view)

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…

Judgement of Paris by RubensJudgement of Paris The goddesses Hera, Aphrodite and Athena being judged on their beauty by Paris.
(click for larger view)

or better…

The Three Graces by Peter Paul RubensThe Three Graces – more naked goddesses to behold!

or best…

Venus in Front of her Mirror by Peter Paul RubensVenus In Front Of Her Mirror
(click for larger view)

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.

Beautiful Monster – Sorta

In a nutshell: Disney has a new beauty line of cosmetics with MAC Cosmetics called Venomous Villains, featuring make-up inspired by classic Disney female villains such a Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians) and Maleficient (Sleeping Beauty). My rant is what they’ve done to my favorite of the female villains, Ursula the Sea Witch (The Little Mermaid).

Disney's Ursula

In some sick stroke of insipid marketing they gave my girl some serious celluloid liposuction just so she can shell out sea shell eye shadow?  C’mon Disney – really? Really!?!

Ursula was a mature ass.
Ursula was a glam ass.
Ursula was a bad ass.
Ursula was a fat ass.

Ursula was a mature, glam, fat ass and an unapologetic bad-ass vamp to boot! Don’t believe/remember that? Check this thick chick out here…

Tell me this does not scream “I’m sexy and I know it!”

Above is the Ursula millions of little girls (and the women who had to sit through the movie with them), loved to loath to love. Not this…

Disney's skinny UrsulaSeriously, who is this female?

Had I seen this image out of context it likely would have taken me a full fifteen seconds to get that she is supposed to be Ursula.

So what is Disney is trying to say? That you’re only allowed to be a bad-ass and glam these days if you’re young and slim? This reboot is a slap in the face of all of us mature, bad-ass glamorous women, especially those of us who just happen to be fat.

The real ugliness of this is, had they left Ursula drawn as originally intended almost no one would have batted a false, rhinestone eyelash at her glam fatness. By changing her they’ve made a non-issue into one. If Ursula is worthy of being included in the Venomous Villains Beauty Line (and she damn sure is), then she should be worthy as originally drawn; not re-drawn and quartered.