Give me a chubby

If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that women need to learn from an early age about watching their weight. Generally I find this trend extremely disturbing and somewhat nauseating. When my seven year old niece started talking about how skinny she wanted to be, I almost hurled. But then I found some ads that made it all too clear that I was wrong to feel that way.

Is that a girl or a planet????

Let’s take “Sally” in this lovely ad for Lane Bryant’s Chubby Girls catalog. Her parent’s should be ashamed of themselves. How can they let their child get so out of shape? Don’t they realize that girls who are this size will surely never grow up to be attractive women who will get married and give them grandchildren? Sally must be denied all nourishment until she slims down to a more girlie size. Until then, Lane Bryant has yards and yards of fabric to cover that unsightly mess.

And then there is portly Tracy Harper. Tracy might be able to stand with the poise of a true lady, but beneath that bubble gum pink pleated nightmare you will find nothing but lard. Can’t you tell from her innocent eyes and demure smile that she is really really really fat? Her mom knows! Sears knows! When will Tracy know?

Sears: the fat kid store

It is no coincidence that these two ads from different errors evoke the same reaction from me and they undoubtedly reached their desired audience. The Don Drapers of Madison Avenue were worked with social researchers to figure out what all the Sally Drapers should want to be. The ads we have today certainly use different visual language and less text in general, but the granddaughters of Sally Draper still get the same message: thin is the thing.

Childhood obesity is a problem, but disordered eating is too. Our images of young girls must reflect the reality that Sally and Tracy are not going to be the same size and shape because you and I are not the same size and shape. Our bodies all have similar parts, but we all came from different molds. I hope my niece learns that lesson someday soon.


9 thoughts on “Give me a chubby”

  1. My most favorite thing about Ayurveda is the whole concept of doshas: there are three basic body types, with three different and unique states of normal instead of one overarching and wrong ideal:

    A vata person is wispy and thin and probably can’t gain even when they try to; even building muscle is hard work for them.
    A pitta person is medium in nearly every sense of the word.
    A kapha person really does have big bones. They also have round faces and thick skin and will never, ever, EVER look like those dried up vata bitches.

    Even awesomer is the idea that very few people are just one dosha, most are combinations with several factors combining to contribute to appropriate health and beauty for that person.

    Stupid industrial revolution creating our stupid wrong idea that everything should be identical, anyway.

  2. I don’t consider my kid chubby. She’s not “thin” but I think she’s pretty “normal”. Trying to find jeans for her in NYC was sheer torture this summer. All of them require thighs the size of a golf club. ALL OF THEM! Finally, of all things, Jessica Simpson (also known for not being stick thin) jeans fit. It’s crazy. There were tears of frustration, it was not pretty.

    I envy thin people and those with stick thin kids only because shopping is a breeze. You can wear/buy anything.

  3. Hmm, Mikey, this post makes me think that I’m not the ONLY one here who used to wear the “Husky” sized pants as a child.

    I feel your pain. And Sally and Tracy’s as well.


  4. Adam: chubby….pffft! your waist is still smaller than my thigh. Shut up, ya skinny bitch, and have a bacon cheeseburger or something. A Vegan bacon cheeseburger, of course. 🙂


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