Body acceptance, including of any and all when it comes to race, culture, age, size and shape, has been much in the news and social media commentary during the past few years. Health and fitness have replaced the word “diet”. Today I saw that Helen Mirren is featured on the Sept. magazine cover of Allure — which magazine has apparently eschewed forevermore the word “anti-aging.”
I’ve always supported the notion that curvy women look better in corsets and “take to” them easier than do slender folks. ROMANTASY features a full-figure gallery to encourage women of all sizes and shape to try a corset for any of a number of purposes. One of our clients pictured on that page had a bosom measurement of 54″ and a waistline measurement of up to 60″ is not all that abnormal over our 27 years in this corset business.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the vast majority of my typical corset clients over the years. Marcia Venema (holding flowers), is one of our most loving supporters of all things corset and of my modest small business venture, with an amazing 16″ natural hip spring (waist vs hips). (Black and white, and magenta corset by Sue Nice, former team member; blue and brown corsets by Sheri; ).
In general, I agree with the body acceptance trend, but honestly, I have always had a vaguely discomfiting feeling that I have not been able to name, when it comes to that term, in conjunction wtih how to think about large waist sizes and weight.
Most of us know about Dr. Oz and many others in the medical fields who advise that a woman’s waist should not exceed 35″ and a man’s 40″, in order to minimize many health risks as we age. Now I’ve read that for us women, it might be 31″ for the waistline goal! (see below)
To me, the bottom line is that we each have to judge our own body size and shape as to whether we feel good and safe in them, healthy, and out of pain. But I continue to wonder if obesity is ever a good thing to support in the name of body acceptance?
As for Mirren as Allure’s Sept. Cover Woman (let’s dump forever the term “girl” as Mirren is surely not that!), one can only muse, “why now, and why not eons ago?” Betty Friedan mused along with me in 2006, but not eons ago, when she published a book I recommend to all, The Fountain of Age. Aging is not a trip to the garbage heap according to Friedan. But there’s a lot more research to be done with attention to men and women over 70, to fill in a huge gap in knowledge as Friedan points out.
And of course, there is a lot more research to be done on weight, waist size, hunger, eating habits, nutrition, and related health matters.
Lately The European Heart Journal reported on a new study from London designed to find a correlation between people who were fat but fit, and heart disease. 521.000 Europeans from 10 countries participated and were monitored for 15 years. It’s worth a read if like me, you are struggling with the concept of body image and how that relates to overall health and health risks.
The researchers noted individuals as being “unhealthy” if they were found to have at least three harmful metabolic markers such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and a larger waist size (37″ for men and 31″ for women). Meanwhile, those with a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 were considered “obese,” while participants with a BMI of 25-30 were viewed as overweight. Anyone with a BMI of 18.5-25 was listed as normal.
While participants who made the “unhealthy” list were more than twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease regardless of weight, people considered “healthy” under the formula who were overweight still had a 26 percent greater risk of battling the condition. Obese “healthy” participants were found to have a 28 percent increase risk.
More than 10,000 people served as a control group for the study and factors such as exercise level, smoking history, and socio-economic status were taken into account for the research.
The authors believe that “the excess weight itself may not be increasing the risk of heart disease directly, but rather indirectly through mechanisms such as increased blood pressure and high glucose.” They agree that stronger awareness and prevention measures, along with treatment of obesity, be offered by doctors so that those who “fat, but fit” don’t lose sight of losing weight.
“I think there is no longer this concept of healthy obese,” says Dr. Ioanna Tzoulaki, from Imperial’s School of Public Health. If anything, our study shows that people with excess weight who might be classed as ‘healthy’ haven’t yet developed an unhealthy metabolic profile. That comes later in the timeline, then they have an event, such as a heart attack.”
I’ll let that be the last word for now, but always welcome your thoughts on the matter!