The New York Magazine article “Every Single Woman in America is now ‘Curvy’” has instantly become the talk of the town addressing how the term curvy came about in describing the gamut of women’s bodies from a size 0 to an 18+.

“By democratizing and then celebrating “curvy,” it makes us feel good about ourselves. It means we’re open-minded. Forward-thinking. Because we’re so brave to praise a body that defies Hollywood standards,” asserts writer Lauren Bans.

Like Bans and others taking their turn at voicing their opinion on the curve-calling bandwagon, I’m not buying it, and neither should you. The reality is that our society is using the word as a cop out for addressing perhaps unhealthy lifestyle choices and dismissing the conversations on true body acceptance and responsibility.

What we’re advocating in our attempt to be politically correct when it comes to judging the female figure is completely doing a disservice to not only ourselves but the young women who swallow and chew the trends and rhetoric displayed to them by the media and society. We’re teaching young women as well as ourselves that “curvy” is acceptable albeit those curves may be accompanied by love handles, diabetes and lack of exercise.

Ty Alexander, associate editor at HelloBeautiful writes: “This problem is most visible in celebrity fashion. To be polite or politically correct some would describe both Lala Anthony and Gabourey Sidibe as curvy. I’m gonna throw out my red flag on this play. Grouping two completely contrasting body types is just an example that supports my theory that America is in denial. If we’re set out to really teach young girls about body acceptance, is it not counterproductive to allow them to think that, dare I say it, fat is curvy?”

Black women, in my opinion, have it the worst. Interchangeably, the words curvy and thick have been used to describe our bodies from the dawn of the first rap video. If you’re too skinny the boys won’t like you and the girls will tease you. And don’t have the nerve to be one of the many black women (including myself) without a voluptuous backside. Our culture will be out for blood — hence the butt injection trend that’s left many black women with abnormally rotund derrières (think Nicki Minaj) at the risk of imparting irreversible consequences on themselves.

I agree that our bodies as black women bodies have consistently been at war with society. We’ve been scrutinized, ridiculed and criticized compared to the “others” who’ve taken our most prized au natural features and bought them at the plastic surgeons office. Case in point, the recent “prank” performed by Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki who in all “fun” mimicked Serena Williams (whom I would rightly call curvy) was just another round of shaming the curvy black woman despite Williams’ incredibly toned and tight figure.

Williams’ curves, however, don’t apply to everyone. Celebrities we once lauded for their plus-sized appearance on the red carpet like Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Raven Simone, and Janet Jackson traded in their “curves” for fitness and nutrition routines that rewarded them with a svelte figure we fawn over.

There’s a fine line between curves and fat. No matter how pop culture tries to package the term to make each of us feel “one,” it is plainly absurd and irresponsible for us to keep quiet, crossing our arms in complicity.

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  • seriously?

    Its mainstream way of trying to celebrate “all body types” not a way to equate healthy body types.
    And like a lot of stuff that goes thru mainstream media gets overuse, wring out and the message change.
    Fat people knows they’re fat, morbidly obese people KNOW they are morbidly obese. Rather they begin to choose to become healthy or already on their journey they too get tired of the constant dissecting and the screaming reality that there weight is bringing diseases onto them. We can’t scream to work on themselves and their mentality is shot. By getting them to love who they are now they will be able to love themselves healthy, without fear of having to stop living because they are not quite there yet.

    Granted I get it because the message is becoming overuse they are some whose getting stuck thinking the size they are is okay. But it’s not the lot, just seems like it.

  • Anonymous

    Can we stop peddling the notion that small is automatically healthy and fat is automatically unhealthy? I am larger. I have low blood pressure, normal blood sugar levels, low cholesterol, etc. I eat healthful and work out four times a week. A lot of my smaller sistafriends are riddled with “fat-associated” diseases: Diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. By feeding into the notion that every fat woman wants to be thin and every thin woman needs curves, we are denying all women the agency to be comfortable with their bodies.

  • apple

    all real women have vaginas.. how about them apples. some people are curvy and some or not .. sometimes you just dont have control over it ..

  • I agree with the article because I think “curvy” is becoming a buzz word that is often used incorrectly! Granted not all “curves” are created equal but curvy refers to an overall shape and proportions not size/weight per se. So yes, you can be skinny/slim and curvy just like you can be “big” and curvy. Curvy is NOT mutually exclusive to one body type just like being “ruler” shaped isn’t exclusive to one body type because you can be “ruler” shaped and skinny or plus size. I think people use buzz words like these because they don’t want to use “fat” or “obese” when that is more appropriate, hell even “plus size” is becoming a buzz word now and is misconstrued in definition. I know nobody wants to be mean and address the pink elephant in the room but sometimes you have to call a spade a spade and called fat and obesity just what it is being fat and obese but that doesn’t mean you have to be mean, condescending or nasty about it. But at the other extreme of this equation, I don’t think thinness should be epitome of beauty and the standard every woman should strive to look like and be to be consider worthy of praise and opportunties. It just feels like there is no happy medium in this debate on body wars. I never really cared for the “real woman…” slogans I just felt like it was divisive than helpful when it comes to women and self-esteem, every woman should be celebrated and considered “real” in their womanhood.

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