Lingerie & Body Image Link Round-Up, Rant Edition

1. Via Buttercup Clothing’s PinupLifestyle Page I found this interesting article: Tattoo Etiquette 101. Which reminded me not only of our discussion about tattoos and lingerie but of how people touch pregnant women — and how women and their bodies are not respected in general.

2. The Chicago Tribune covers the launch of Bare Plus, noting that more than 60 percent of American women wear a size 14 or higher — what we call “plus sized” even if that’s the majority of women. I still hate “plus” and “BBW” as terms because if we’re the majority, shouldn’t others be called “minus” or “TBW” (for “tiny beautiful women”)?

3. Agent Provocateur makes news for the old idea of using models to stand in for mannequins. Yup, it’s an old idea. This is what fine department stores once did to show off fashions, including lingerie, in their stores. And it wasn’t that long ago that runway models were hired for being nothing more than a “hanger” that could move itself down the runway… Now, of course, models are viewed completely differently. Sorta. But everything comes back in fashion, hmm?

4. Nipples freak Forbes out. This photo prompting an excitable, amazed, “Sears, where my grandma historically goes to buy me floor-length nightgowns.” Oh no! Grandma has/had nipples! Why else do so many men recall, fondly, the Sears catalogs of their youth? Anyway… Uh, lingerie is lingerie, and when it’s sheer, bits will show. I don’t understand the freak-out of a functional body part. Rather than police photos, or breastfeeding and the like, why not institute some sort of Sharia retail law that says Thou Shalt Not Sell Sheer Garments. Of course “sheer” will have to be designated by some weight or light-penetration factor that can be quantified and measured… Or just go with the burqa. That makes things simpler, right?

5. Last, but not least, model Kylie Bisutti quits Victoria’s Secret because it clashes with her Christian beliefs. “[M]arriage is very important & with divorce rates rising I want to do everything I can to protect my marriage and be respectful to my husband.” A husband she insists was supportive of her career and never asked her to quit. But, mmm, OK… That’s a valid personal choice, right? ‘Cept that Bisutti is compelled to make the personal public. Some sort of combination of “I’m famous” and the need to evangelize that today we all just are supposed to accept. Ugh. But beyond that…

Bisutti gives conflicting messages about her departure. It’s not just some respectful notion of “I want to reserve my body for my husband.” In her interviews she also said her decision was based in part by an encounter with her eight-year-old cousin:

“I was doing my makeup in the mirror one day and she was watching me,” she told GMA. “She looked at me and was like, ‘You know, I think I want to stop eating so I can look like you.’

“It just broke my heart because she looks up to me and I didn’t want to be that type of person that she thought she had to do that to be beautiful,” she said. “Thousands of girls that think that being beautiful is an outer issue and really it’s a heart issue.”

Wouldn’t there be other ways, better ways, to educate girls (and women) regarding what beauty is besides quitting a job? Especially when Kylie Bisutti has no intentions of quitting modeling — including swimsuit modeling:

She is also not quitting modeling altogether; she will continue to model bathing suites as long as the job does not represent her as a “sex symbol.”

“As long as I feel that my body is not used to sell sex, I will feel comfortable modeling, including modeling bathing suites,” she told CBS on “This Morning Show.”

She says there are many swimwear brands that empower women and do not produce sexually provocative bathing suits.

Um, Kylie, honey, all modeling is about sex. Even the “before” photos are about sex. Car ads? Sex. Financial institution ads? Sex. Well, at least using “beauty” to unconsciously elicit a sexual response of desirability. There are no modeling gigs which do not promote, distort, extort or otherwise participate in the commerce of our current ideals of “beauty” — physical beauty. The very same thing you said you want to protect your cousin and other girls from. Only artists employ “beauty of the heart” in their works; it’s not readily a part of commercial modeling gigs today.

Whew! So many rants! So I had to soften my appearance as well as illustrate my points on body image with vintage pinup Hilda, by Duane Breyers. Don’t worry, I love skinny girls too; see my other body image posts!

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