Calling someone fat isn’t very nice—Karl Lagerfeld learned that the hard way, after he called Adele overweight in Metro, drawing the ire of fans everywhere. But using the word “curvy”—is that wrong? It’s usually meant as a compliment for a person with the right amount of flesh, in the right places. We’re thinking Marilyn Monroe’s hips, Christina Hendricks’ bosom and Kim Kardashian’s rounded bum.
But what happens if someone has a little too much flesh where they shouldn’t? Do they go from being wonderfully curvy to dangerously fat?
The line between the two words has been blurred. Britney Spears for example, has been simultaneously described by tabloids as “out of shape” and “stunning”.
Adele is a prime example. Everyone goes on about her weight—she even jokes about it herself (if she could be the face of anything, it would be full fat Coke, she said last September). So why did Vogue UK smooth out her curves on her February cover? On the same note, people can’t seem to make up their minds as to whether or not 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl Kate Upton is fat or curvy because her breasts fill her bikini top.
Plus sized model Tara Lynn has posed nude for Vogue Italia, and last summer, and she was the face of H&M’s ‘Big is Beautiful’ swimwear collection. She knows what it’s like to be a not-so-skinny-girl working in an environment strongly influenced by the size zero.
“Anyone can take one word and use it in an endless context,” she says. “Someone could say ‘voluptuous’ to mask saying another word such as ‘obese’. Thankfully, being plus sized is no longer a taboo, even though the media constantly exposes us to a repetition of skinny images day in, day out, making us feel like we need to fit in.”
The need to conform is what drives us to follow trends, and fear exclusion. “The problem is we can’t go all go by one unrealistic body image,” adds Lynn.
She believes we need is a diverse perception of beauty covering a broad spectrum of shapes and sizes — no matter what we label them. “I’m pleading with you to be happy with your body,” says Lynn. “We should always be working on ourselves but we also need to celebrate our body and feel connected to it.”
Are you still tugging your love handles? Grab a dictionary and you will read something along these lines:
FAT: having a lot of flesh on the body.
CURVACEOUS: a woman who has a body with attractive curves.
See, not the same thing.
Gwendolyn DeVoe: Creator & Executive Producer, Full Figured Fashion Week
Calling someone fat is offensive, but do you think people are now using ‘curvy’ to mean the same thing? “I don’t think so at all. ‘Curvy’ and ‘fat’ are two different terms. Curvy, to me, is a positive term. A woman who is considered curvy can be a size 10 or a size 20. Curves are curves, no matter what the size. When someone describes a woman as being curvy, in my opinion, they are using it in a positive fashion whereas many people tend to use the word fat in a negative fashion. It’s actually refreshing to see people now being more accepting of curvy bodies.”