This is is Part 1 of a series.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent rash of images on Facebook and elsewhere, of gorgeous women, who are in no way, shape or form, slender. There’s a motivational poster out there called “Thick women” that has four not-slender women in various sexy poses, that encourages people to celebrate women in all their sizes.
It’s a laudable sentiment, and I encourage it. Women should be appreciated for their inherent beauty, regardless of their current size.
Heroines in romance novels aren’t “thick”. Every Hollywood A-List actress you could name is not “thick”.
When you read romance novels, do you ever image the heroine to be carrying the same excess weight as you?
I know I don’t. The heroine is always the perfect weight I have never been. She is my mirror image perfected. She is me as I’ve never managed to achieve.
There was a short-lived attempt to portray “realistic” heroines, about fifteen years ago. The Rubenesque romance line lived a short life and died quietly, unremarked. These days, any romance heroine who is less than perfect is usually only found in chick lit or romances with a high comedic element, like Bridget Jones’ Diary, where the excess weight is part of the humour … as pathos.
We don’t like our heroines to be less than perfect. I don`t believe Hollywood will be allowing their actors to gain weight any time soon, because the box office receipts will drop as the actors’ weights soar.
For the same reason, I don’t believe I would be willing to experiment with an overweight heroine in one of my romance novels. I’m sure it would tank, just as my novels that feature non-Caucasian heroines do.
So while we’re saying we should celebrate the “real” shape of women, why do we cling to this perfect – and slender — image in books and movies? I know I do it.
Next: Slender Is A Status Symbol
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