Tuesday, January 30

Who's fat?

The last poll we hosted on this site was pretty successful, with a bunch of people participating, so I thought I'd do another one on something that's been bugging me for a while now. It concerns former Sports Illustrated swimsuit-issue cover model, Victoria's Secret angel, and all-around hottie Tyra Banks. Ever since her first appearance in SI in, like, my freshman year of college I've thought she was awesome. Now, with "America's Next Top Model" and her talk show and whatever else, she's pretty much turning herself into a brand name. Good for her.

But since "retiring" from modeling, some people seem to think that Tyra has let herself go. A few tabloids (I don't know which ones specifically started it) shot her on a beach in Australia looking a little heavier than she had in the past, and made jokes like "America's Next Top Waddle" and "Tyra Porkchop" based on photos like this one:

An unflattering photo? Perhaps. The pose is a little weird (though to be fair, this was a paparazzi shot, not an actual modeling shoot or anything), and the swimsuit might be a little mommish, but honestly, she's still fine as fuck. At least I think so.

Contrary to the tabloids that "estimated" based on the photos that she'd ballooned up to 200 pounds, Tyra says she's around 161. At 5-foot-10, that gives her a body mass index (BMI) of 23.1, almost right smack in the middle of what the NIH considers "normal." In fact, her previous height-of-her-career weight of 130 put her right on the edge of underweight according to the NIH.

So anyway, when the "fat" accusations were leveled, there was considerable backlash from the "Are you nuts, that isn't even close to fat" camp -- enough that I thought, OK, maybe this was just a non-story cooked up by the supermarket rags and it wasn't an accurate representation of what the general public actually perceives. But then there are enough people out there apparently saying "eww, what a fatty" that maybe this isn't universally recognized as utterly ridiculous.

So anyway, I could've written a long post about how I don't think Tyra Banks is that fat, she's still hot, female curves are something to be treasured, but I took a step back and realized that "Tyra Banks is hot" isn't exactly the most courageous stance out there, and I don't want to go off on some rant on an issue that may turn out to be ridiculous on its face. So to find out whether this is ridiculous, I ask you to take a look at these photos of the 161-pound, 20-percent-more-free Tyra

and then answer the following question:

What do you think of Tyra Banks?
Hott. With two Ts.
A little chunky, but hardly offensive.
Fatty fatty boombatty.
Free polls from Pollhost.com


Anonymous said...

Who in the Hell could think she is fat? Just because Kate Moss gets up to a size 2 does not mean she should join Jenny Craig.

Anonymous said...

"20% more free" - inspired. I'd try that, but unfortunately it's only funny if it's something you'd want more of.

Anonymous said...

She's so tall she could weigh 200 pounds and still look great.

Anonymous said...

This "Tyra is fat" crap just exemplifies the idiocy that impressionable teenage girls have to put up with. And, is it no wonder that we have so many young girls with eating disorders? This affects many more people than minimum wage increases, but this is the only healthy debate I've seen on the topic (Kudos, HJS).

And, no. Tyra isn't fat. She's hot. What makes her hot is that she is normal, self-confident, and still freakin' hot. She doesn't have to be photoshop-model thin to be hot, nor do any other smokin' hotties out there who resort to filthy habits and pill-poppin' to curb their normal appetite. Women are supposed to look like women. The downfall of the feminist movement is that femininity has been lost in the fray.

Anonymous said...

Realist, if you think that it's the feminist movement that's encouraging women to starve themselves down to nothing for the sake of modeling gigs and men's approval, you have really twisted idea about what feminism is all about.

Kanu said...

She's not fat at all- I like women with curves, as do most straight men.

The trick with the modern fashion industry is that it is heavily influenced by gay men (designers, critiquers, etc), and gay men don't want women to look like curvy, voluptuous women, gay men want these women to look like slim young boys/young men, since that is by and large the aesthetic that is desired by gay men. The result is that women in fashion need to look like Olive Oil to succeed in that industry, and the horrible example for girls in America is set, whereby millions of normal healthy women think that they are fat based on what they see on TV & in magazines.

Yet another reason why everyone should simply pay attention to Univision, where healthy curves are not only accepted but encouraged.

Anonymous said...


What I mean is that the feminist movement has lost sight of the finish line. It is no longer about confronting the wrongs of a patriarchal society. It is about how women can be/look/act like men. Take Sex In the City for example. Women are "taking ownership of their sexuality," but the women are having casual sex with no emotional or spiritual attachment or commitment, which is basically catering to the whims of men. I'm not saying women should all be prudes. What I am saying is that you are perpetuating the stereotype of women as sex objects "on your own terms," which is doing nothing to stamp it out... like African-Americans calling each other the "N" word. With this phrase or idea or theme being constantly accepted in pop culture, how can you legitimately step back and decry someone for using it because they happen to be a different skin tone or gender or religious affiliation?

I'm married to a femi-Nazi (a term I use affectionately), so I'm not dumping on women. I just think the feminist movement has made such a mockery of itself (I mean, seriously. Most feminists look like middle linebackers and carry wallets), that it has no modern relevance and has basically lost touch with reality. There are so many young girls who need help and reassurance and a role model that are largely being ignored so we can light a candle in honor of Roe.


Anonymous said...

Once again, Realist, if you think that "most feminists" really look like linebackers and carry wallets, you have no idea. It's easy to ascribe all of these societal ills to feminism if you pretend that all feminists are hairy-legged man-hating wallet-carriers, but that simply ain't so. You might as well pretend that money comes in big bags with "$" on the side and all whiskey is marked with "XXX."

Feminism is about ensuring that women aren't denied rights and opportunities because of their gender. And, yeah, having some sense of ownership in our own sexuality is part of that. How is that becoming a man? Is a woman only feminine if she remains pure and virginal until some guy - who's probably been whoring it up since his daddy took him out when he was 16 to make a man out of him - marries her good n' proper and pops her? If a woman is truly having sex on her own terms, she isn't catering to the whims of men - her own whim are actually lining up with the whims of a guy, which ought to make everyone happy, right? And she can just as easily choose not to have sex. But if she chooses not to because she's afraid some guy is going to label her a slut, that is letting the whim of some guy keep her from doing what she wants to do.

Beyond that, feminism is not all about women having sex or not having sex. In case you haven't noticed, the gender wage gap still exists. Fat white men in Congress are still trying to tell us what to do with our reproductive organs. Pharmacists are still trying to withhold birth control and emergency contraception. Women are getting murdered by their families in the name of "honor." A man in Georgia was recently charged for "circumsizing" his daughter - also known as female genital mutilation. So if you think that all feminism is about is slutting up like Samantha on "Sex and the City," you're the one who hasn't a clue.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and kanu, take it from a devoted fag hag and a recovering fashion journalist - skinniness in the industry isn't because of gay men. In fact, every gay man I know is all about a woman with curves.

The skinniness actually comes from two things. One is that couture - not Wal-Mart stuff, we're talking high-end - is designed to look good on the hanger, so the ideal runway model will be the one who best resembles that hanger.

The other thing has to do with rarity. Generally, things that are rare are considered more valuable. Once upon a time, chubbiness was valued as a sign of wealth. Now, it's the opposite. The skinnier you are, the more likely it is that you can afford prepared Zone meals and a personal trainer, and the more likely it is that you can afford to drop $1,500 on a French lace ballerina-skirted cocktail dress. Designers design for women who can afford to be skinny, and they make their designs all the more valuable by designing them all the skinnier. It's a vicious cycle.

The other point on rarity and value is the girls themselves. Models are pretty much objects in the fashion industry, so having the skinniest runway models is like owning the most valuable possessions.

The mass popularization of the fashion industry is partly to blame for girls' self-esteem issues today (although I'd blame Hollywood moreso). There was a time when fashion magazines were actually about the fashion. The dawn of the supermodel put more emphasis on the body underneath the clothes, fast forward twenty years, and here's the Victoria's Secret runway show and America's Next Top Model giving every little girl the hope of standing up there next to Tyra. Girls want to be like whoever the hottest celebrities are; now that models are celebrities, girls have a new, far skinnier set of idols. As if the Hollywood starlets weren't getting skinny enough.

But anyway, yeah, show me a runway model, and I'll show you a gay man who wishes she had more T&A.