Of course you would look at her, sashaying through the streets of Milan in her electric blue heels. She’s elegant, that’s for sure. Stylish? Definitely. But curvy? That seems to have hit a nerve. When esteemed photo-blogger Scott Schuman ‘The Sartorialist’ recently described one of his street style subjects ‘sturdy’ and ‘curvy’, the omnipresent size debate found paper and a match. Readers voiced their outrage, condemning his choice of words, and suggesting he should have described her as ‘normal’ instead.
But the way I see it, one relatively small event has unpacked bigger, more profound debates. Like what exactly is ‘normal’? And what’s so wrong with being curvy, anyway? I always think that matters of appearance are entirely subjective. And, with the variety of shapes and sizes of beautiful women being myriad – I never buy into that fact that we can all neatly slot into one of four fruit-themed categories – can we ever really say somebody has a ‘normal’ figure? I mean, Sophie Dahl is 5”11. Hayden Panettiere is 5”1. Both women are beautiful. But which is ‘normal’? Variety should be celebrated, not inconsiderately characterised and assigned ill-fitting labels. In his rebuttal, the Schuman himself said much the same thing, adding: “I am proud to be a blog[ger] showing women of different sizes. I don’t want to lose the potential power of the post by being caught up in wordplay.”
Are people getting angry about the wrong thing here? Yes, to thousands of readers, and I must say, myself, this woman looks lean and healthy, and perhaps ‘curvy’ was not the perfect way to describe her. But does it matter that he did? Why should the word ‘curvy’ carry any negative connotations at all? Long, lean, petite, curvy; women should be proud of their shape, whatever it may be.
Post by Erin Cardiff
Erin is a second year journalism student at the University of Sheffield. She is currently applying for masters courses in New York to study magazine journalism. Erin has two blogs, Frocking Hell and Erin Actually . You can find her on Twitter @erincardiff.
Editor Charlotte Gush, on Twitter @CavaCharlotte