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Real men have curves

This week, I am going to start my column by placing my soapbox firmly on the ground and standing upon it.

I am, what society considers, a big girl. I have been for as long as I can remember.

I was ecstatic when the fashion industry began imposing weight requirements for their skin and bone models and was pleased when America’s Next Top Model began accepting “plus size” models. I was even giddy with in-your-face-ness when blogger, Jes M. Baker, launched her own “Attractive & Fat” campaign in response to Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO’s comments that his stores’ clothes weren’t meant for larger people.

The movement hasn’t been contained to the fashion industry either. Internet memes have been floating around of voluptuous women in bed with a caption that reads something like “Curves, because nobody likes to snuggle a stick.” Images of a curvy Bettie Page have flooded my Facebook feed questioning when this hallmark of beauty became considered overweight.

Just when my self-esteem was starting to get a nice boost from a society that often makes me feel inadequate – something caught my attention that was a true eye-opener.

I’ve recently seen several side-by-side comparisons of plump and extremely skinny women claiming that the larger of the two is what men truly find beautiful. That is not what caught my eye.

A few weeks later, I noticed a photo of a pale, hairy man whose beer belly was so large he looked pregnant. Now, seeing a man’s naked beer belly isn’t something unusual to see, especially around Springfield in the summer. However, you don’t normally see him next to Channing Tatum. This man was side-by-side with the tanned, shirtless Tatum – seen here: http://www.funnymemes.com/funny-memes-real-men-curves.

At first the image made me giggle. Then, the words around the image hit me like a rock as hard as Tatum’s abs: “Real men have curves.”

It really ruffled my feathers. How dare they take the wind out of my pudgy sails? How dare they make fun of a movement that is helping women feel better about themselves in a world constantly putting them down?

Now, I hope this was done to be funny and to make people laugh. But the message, whether intended or not, is much deeper.

After the initial giggle, the anger that followed quickly faded into a disappointment in myself. Many a times I’ve railed against the injustices of double standards among men and women.

It really bothers me that a man can sleep with several different women and is given a pat on the back and an “attaboy”, while a woman that sleeps with half the number of men as the before mentioned man is labeled “easy” and called a slut.

It annoys me that the mechanic working on my car doesn’t listen to me when I tell him my alternator is bad because I am “just a woman.”

It irks me when a female celebrity gains a little weight and the media loses their minds, but Jonah Hill’s weight fluctuates hour by hour and no one bats an eye.

It never occurred to me that men might be self conscious of their weight.

It’s true there isn’t nearly as much societal pressure on men to be bone thin as there is on women. However, recent movies like “Magic Mike” and “Pain and Gain,” in addition to the attention Tatum’s abs have been receiving, it’s easy to see how men might be looking at themselves in the mirror and notice something lacking.

If people are going to be upset by double standards against women, then they should be equally offended when the same offense is committed against men.

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