Big guys like to look
good just as much as others
and why should they not?
Considering it is the holiday season, and people have probably been having a fine time eating and drinking (I know I have even though I usually complain about the gluttony of this season), I thought I’d talk about this. A new magazine is being brought out for Japan’s more generously proportioned men. The editor, who is already at the helm of one of Japan’s fashion magazines for perhaps more sprightly men, is one of these Japanese men for whom finding something stylish is difficult because of their size and weight. I think Japanese men are traditionally big-boned yes? To the western world, big-boned is a synonym for ‘fat’ but it’s not actually being fat in my opinion. A lot of Japanese men and women are strong-boned (probably better than big-boned) whether they’re fat or not. Maybe it’s in their genetic make-up. I’m thin and wish I did not have such frail bones, preferring Japanese strong bones, but anyway!!
The big-boned v. fat terminology reminds me of a film I have from 1978 called Shogun’s Samurai (Hiroyuki Sanada is in it as a youngster, and Toshiro Mifune is in it in a small role). In the extras, they have a clip showing the original promotions for the film and in one reel, the voice-over proudly, and hilariously, announces the film as a ‘big boned film for big-boned people! Or ‘a big-boned film with big-boned actors! (I can’t remember which exactly right now). None of the actors are what you would call fat but they are ‘big-boned’. Still, to a western ear, the voice-over might as well be announcing ‘it’s a FAT film for FAT people! or Fat Actors!! The voice-over really HAMS it up. Anyhow, it’s the same with skinny v. thin. Skinny has more negative connotations than thin which is negative enough. Slim is a more positive word. I’m thin but healthy and yet have comments to me made all the time ‘where do you put it all?’ ‘You’re shockingly thin’ (eh no I’m not just to you I am), etc., etc.. Most are thoughtless, but some are jealous as I know/knew the people who made them have/had issues with their own self-esteem (sometimes based on weight, sometimes not) while other people of varying sizes have said nothing to me.
Fat or thin, exercise and a good diet is what helps us all get healthy. There are obviously extreme levels of skinny and extreme levels of obesity which are equally disgusting and neither should be put on show (why should putting your life at risk be something to show off ?) but I don’t fat-shame people and definitely don’t skinny-shame people and I abhor this type of behaviour. In real life or in the cyber world. I heard something appalling earlier in the year by a media/tv ‘personality’ in my own part of the world, suggesting that children be weighed in before they start the day at school. What!!! ?? Are they boxers about to go into the ring? A jockey about to get on a horse? Both jobs where your weight is crucial. That was a ridiculous idea which would only shame a child and lead them in a harmful direction either way. They might feel so ashamed that they might comfort eat to obese levels or they might develop anorexia nervosa or bulimia to bring them to a ‘desired’ weight. It would also serve as a green light to kids to bully each other. This personality, a woman hosting a weight loss show, is a complete tool and I doubt her daft, irresponsible, suggestion will ever be taken up. I sincerely hope not. I hope parents complained about this because if I was a parent, I would have.
In France, particularly Paris, still the fashion capital of the world to most people despite strong competition from elsewhere, models are now being asked to get doctor certificates to prove they are healthy enough to work. Fair enough. It could be messed with like any system but it’s a start. Seeing bones jut out of a model while they’re modelling clothes takes the focus off the clothes surely. I think agencies are already been asked to keep an eye on their models’ weight so maybe they are weighed in, and the designers definitely have a part to play, but these professions (boxers, jockeys, models) are made up mostly of adults (though models can start young), who should be able to take responsibility for themselves. Forcing children to weigh in, in public, at school every morning would be a disgraceful idea.
I think young girls (and boys) need to be taught by their parents to value themselves and appreciate food and themselves long before they’re able to read magazines that feature models (or models or gym-obsessed men for the guys) and dream of becoming them. Or before their introduction to social media where people, including so-called friends, may taunt them over their looks or bodies.