Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eye of the Beholder

I usually try not to go to heavy in social issues here, but I do not shy from them either.  Something has me thinking, I need to discuss a subject.  In the last year there has been quite a bit of talk about Body Image and Cosplay.  As I have reflected here before, I have had some issues with Body Image.  Mostly these had to do with my hang up about my cleft.   I have another issue.  I am a big guy, 6 foot even and 350 plus lbs., I was not always this way.  I was barely over 150 lbs till I was 20.  I did not struggle with my weight till I was 34.  I was heavy but not over 300 lbs until then.  In this country we have a cult of thin and fit.  One can be big and fit, but that is not acceptable based on Western Media.  It is hard to tell if this is just the media or truly reflects society.  Personally I doubt it reflects society.  The only reason I am working on my weight is because of health concerns.  If I was the same weight I am now, but solid muscle I would be happy with that. 

One of the things I hear in the Geek/Nerd community is the whole body type appropriate Cosplay debate.  I have a simple rule to this.  As long as the clothes fit the person, I have no problems.  Ill fitting clothes, mostly too tight, I find unsightly regardless of Cosplay or not or body size.  Hey I do my best not to do the same, myself.  Am I always successful?  Sadly, no.   A big Superman or Wonder Woman works if the costume fits.  Personally I would pick a costume of character whose Body type matches my own.  That is just my aesthetic.  I do not believe I have the right to be the Cosplay or Fashion Police.  I do have my own opinion and everybody has the right to disregard it. 

I am weird; I know you are thinking, duh.  My tastes in Women do not match what the media and Madison Avenue keeps telling us.  I like strong willed Women and Women who know who they are and are comfortable in their skin.  I like Women who show that they are powerful in some way.  I like Intelligent Women, Passionate Women, Muscular Women, Curvy Women, and Real Women.  I find submissiveness and boniness unattractive.  I find the aesthetic of today unhealthy.  Too many Women in media are thin almost to the point of Anorexia.  Some of these sizes are unattainable for some women, base purely on their body type. Some Celebrity Women do have that disorder in the attempt to fit our cultural requirement.  I watch a great deal of British Television and Film.  They seem to have a healthier attitude about Body Image.  You see Men and Women of Average or larger build in their media.  Too many TV Programs and Films in the U.S. are full of the Beautiful People.  That goes the same for “Reality Shows.”   We need to teach people that if they are healthy, that body type and size does not matter.

Another problem with body image and the media is the over sexualization.  We are seeing girls not even in puberty expected to look a way that they are physically impossible to attain.  We get mixed messages of over sexualization and shaming of any female who shows any sexual independence.  It is the whole Madonna/ Whore paradigm that is a hold over from the Victorian/ Edwardian Era.  The bigger Problem is we are at a crossroads in attitudes and because of that we have this confusion.  Hopefully we won’t have the mixed messages of over sexualization and expected modesty in the near future.  Empowerment without creating power over others seems to be what we should strive for.

I know my tastes are not reflective of what we are told is normal.  Sheesh, I do not fit the mold.   I do my best not to judge.  I think we need to learn that old Star Trek philosophy of IDIC or Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.  What makes this world fun is the infinite possibilities.  I want to celebrate both our similarities and uniqueness simultaneously.  This Has Been My Not So Humble Opinion.

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