When did chubby become “normal”?

lizzie-miller_closeupThere has been some discussion lately, regarding the weight and look of 20 year old Lizzie Miller – published in Glamour Magazine.

On one hand, its hailed as the body of “normal” women and a healthy step away from the anorectic supermodels we have become accustomed to, while others see this as a normalization of overweight, unfit and a generally unhealthy female appearance. I think I belong to the latter category, possibly with some adjustments.

Firstly, I do not like the Popsicle look on many celebrities and models today, the twig bodies with the big heads and boobs – that’s just unnatural and frankly looks stupid. Neither do I like the soft, “flabby but skinny” or “fat but thin” models that roam the catwalks of the world, where its all to evident that they are only thin, not fit in any way – with soft behinds and flat chests. Well, then – whats left – or are we destined to become fatter and fatter?

What happened to the fit bodies of women that keep in shape, that do sports, that have muscles, that are toned, well shaped and healthy?lizzie-miller_chubby model Where are those bodies to idolize? I want to have healthy role models, with bodies that look like they have been used for something other than sipping Latte at the local mall or as extras in a concentration camp movie. Too much of everything is not good for us, not too fat and not too thin.

I must say that I admire Lizzie Miller – who daringly show off her unfit and/or heavily built and/or normal body for all to see, but I hardly find her body to be something to copy. She is slightly overweight, but more importantly, she looks unfit.

Lizzie Miller looking somewhat better

Lizzie Miller looking somewhat better

She is 20 years old and flabby – flabby like women in their late 30s have a tendency to be, or more correctly, like women in their late 30s was in the past. They say 40 is the new 20, but now it looks more like 20 is the new 40 when it comes to body shape and fitness level. Its sad, really – by promoting this body type as something to strive for, we are striving for the mediocre. The human anatomy has the potential for so much more.

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16 Responses to “When did chubby become “normal”?”

  1. Lois Says:

    I’ve always been a fan of plus-size models! There’s a great site with many images of plus-size models here:

    http://www.judgmentofparis.com/

    They’re all gorgeous.

    The site’s forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.

  2. BlingYou Says:

    The great thing with humans is that there is someone for everybody, and some like them skinny -- while some want beefier partners. The way I see it, presenting oversize/fat/chubby/heavy/whatever as the norm is unhealthy. The model on these images, even though you like them like that, does not have a “normal” belly for a 20 year old woman. It should be flat, she should be lighter -- and being heavy while young will almost certainly mean that you will also be a fat adult. Being fat is unhealthy and will result in illness, reduced mobility and work ability, followed by a premature death. That is the default setting, but the milage will vary. That is not something our youth should be content with, and I therefore think that projecting a more sporty, healthy image of young women -- not necessarily skinny -- is better.

  3. Claudia Says:

    Apesar do seu blog ser em inglês vou escrever em português porque meu inglês está um pouco enferrujado. Espero que entenda.

    Quando li sobre Lizzie Miller, não achei que a revista estivesse promovendo a ideia de que ser gordo, flácido, com estrias, seja algo a ser considerado como “modelo”, como padrão de beleza a ser seguido. Mas o que a revista quis realmente mostrar é que as mulheres que estão um pouco mais cheinhas ou fora do padrão magra, não devem se sentir constrangida, já que o importante é ser feliz do jeito que você é. Ser bonita é ser feliz, se estar feliz te faz bem, então isso é ser bonita. Na foto Lizzie Miller parece estar muito feliz consigo mesma e é isso o que mais chamou a atenção das leitoras da revista “glamour”. Para seus 20 anos de idade, Lizzie está com a barriga flácida, mas quantas e quantas mulheres há pelo o mundo que tem a mesma idade de Lizzie e também tem a barriga flácida? muitas, porque muitas tiveram filhos, ou porque tem outras prioridades na vida. A revista não está promovendo a ideia de “não faça ginástica, coma mais, fique fora de forma”, não é essa ideia, até porque isso não é nada bom, mas está promovendo a ideia de “seja você mesma, tenha saúde, mas sem se frustar por não seguir o padrão magérrimo das modelos de revista”. Em sua matéria aqui no blog você fala bastante em saúde e que ser como Lizzie não é algo a deve ser copiado porque não é saudável. Mas ser anoréxica e frustada com o próprio corpo, sofrer distúrbios alimentares ou ficar sempre no efeito sanfona já que é difícil ser como as modelos super magras de revistas, também não é nada saudável. Promover a falsa ideia de que as mulheres são perfeitas, quando na verdade não são, ou quando as perfeitas fazem parte da minoria da população, isso também não é saudável. Isso não é saúde para corpo e nem para a mente. Sim, vamos nos cuidar, vamos praticar exercícios, vamos nos alimentar bem, mas vamos fazer isso para nos sentirmos bem e não porque as revistas, a televisão, a mídia em geral diz que eu tenho que magra para ser bonita. Olhar para Lizzie nesta foto não nos remete a sermos exatamente como ela, mas a valorizar o que somos e melhorarmos porque queremos e não porque sou “anormal”, segundo o que as revistas me dizem.

  4. BlingYou Says:

    Thank you very much for your comment Claudia. Being Norwegian, my Portuguese is somewhat rusty -- so I have chosen to translate your comment with Babel-fish. Its by no means a perfect or accurate translation, but since I do not have access to anyone speaking both Portuguese and English, its the best I can do 🙂 I think that other English and non-Portuguese speakers also should be able to hear your voice in this, so here it goes:

    “Although its blog to be in English I go to write in Portuguese because my English is a little rusted. I wait that he understands.

    When I read on Lizzie Miller, I did not find that the magazine was promoting the idea of that to be fat person, limp, with estrias, either something to be considered as “model”, as standard of to be followed beauty. But what the magazine really wanted to show she is that the women who are a little more cheinhas or are of the lean standard, do not have to be felt constrangida, since the important one is to be happy of the skill that you are. To be pretty is to be happy, if to be makes happy you well, then this is to be pretty. In the photo Lizzie Miller it seems to be very happy I obtain same and is this what more “glamour” called the attention the readers of the magazine. For its 20 years of age, Lizzie is with the limp belly, but how many and how many women have for the o world that has the same age of Lizzie and also it has the limp belly? many, because many had had children, or because it has other priorities in the life. The magazine is not promoting the idea of “does not make gymnastics, eats more, is outside of form”, is not this idea, because this is not even nothing good, but is promoting the idea of “either same you, has health, but without if frustar for not following the standard magérrimo of the magazine models”. In its substance in blog you speak here sufficiently in health and that to be as Lizzie he is not something it must be copied because she is not healthful. But anoréxica and to be frustada with the proper body, to suffer alimentary riots or to be always in the effect concertina since it is difficult to be as the lean super models of magazines, also it is not nothing healthful. To promote the false idea of that the women are perfect, when in the truth is not, or when the perfect ones are part of the minority of the population, this also is not healthful. This is not health for body and nor for the mind. Yes, we go taking care of in them, we go to practise exercises, we go feeding in them well, but we go to make this stops feeling in them well and not because the magazines, the television, the media in general says that I have that lean to be pretty. To look at for Lizzie in this photo does not send in them to be accurately as it, but to value what we are and to improve because we want according to and not because I am “abnormal”, that say me to the magazines.”

    To sum up my own perspective on the topic, I do uphold my initial post -- I find it sad that unfit is the new normal. If you or anyone else has any comments, please feel free to post them 🙂

  5. JJ Says:

    I would really like to see a photo of your perfect body… I mean, I do take it you are perfection incarnated seeing you very much demand it… or maybe that just applies to women, seeing they’re so much inferior to men right?
    And oh, just for the record, some native English speakers for example do know Portuguese, so babel fish this “palhaço de merda”.

  6. BlingYou Says:

    Well JJ, looks like you got offended, right? Let me first start off with your ending statement, translating into: excrement clown. I think that this might not be the best translation, but it’s what babelfish gave me. I think perhaps “assclown” would be better?

    You may think that derogatory language underlines your point, but it does not. Actually, in my view, it reduces the validity of your former statements and puts you into the “idiot” category that everyone has, whether they are aware of it or admits it or not. We all choose who to listen to, who to look up to and who to copy -- and persons in the “idiot” category are usually not among them.

    Now, I do not have to have a perfect body to think that a slim body is a better ideal than a fat one. Perfect is widely definable, and what may be perfect in one culture is not in another. What used to be viewed as a sign of health and prosperity, like being fat, is now more a symptom of low income, low education, low health and early death. Its all in the eye of the beholder, I guess. Anyhow, obesity is today’s “black plague” and it will put many people in an early grave. My little blog on this subject was just to promote healthy body ideal rather than chubby ones. I know that most women and men today are somewhat overweight, and my point was that they should look to healthy bodies to idealize and strive for. I really do not see the harm in having healthy ideals, but you might.

    Where you got the “women are inferior to men” statement from, is beyond me -- I have never, ever stated that there is a difference in value or importance between the sexes. You don’t even know what sex I am, do you? If you got this message from what I have written here before, you have decoded it wrongly and should go back and read it again.

  7. Lefty Says:

    I agree with the poster, its a shame that we are dying from over eating while people in other countries die of malnutrition. I would rather that people, not just women, took care of them self and stayed slim.

  8. Taylor Says:

    Ok, I completely agree that overweight shouldn’t be the norm, but I also don’t think it is. There is so much societal pressure to be thin, but I’ve never encountered any to be bigger (for women, that is). Also, I don’t agree that Lizzie Miller is overweight. She is a little larger in her lower half, but all women have their “problem areas.” Honestly, I would trade my body for hers any day.
    The thing that I took issue with the most is that you portrayed overweight people as lazy, or as if they had a choice. What many people don’t understand, however, is that eating disorders go both ways. Everyone knows about Anorexia and Bulimia, but no one seems to care about Compulsive Eating or Binge Eating Disorders. They are diseases too, and many doctors believe them to be hereditary. In fact, Compulsive and Binge eaters have more difficulty getting over their addiction than drug and alcohol addicts because we cannot live without food. Drug and alcohol addicts can go cold turkey and give up their substances, but compulsive and binge eaters can’t because we can’t live without food. Just imagine having a disease where you’re addicted to water and constantly drank so much of it that it made you unhealthy. It is a very similar situation.
    I completely agree that we should have healthy role models, but I believe Lizzie Miller is one of them. Additionally, this country (and the world) needs to stop treating overweight people like they did something wrong. We need to understand that it is a legitimate disease and support them through recovery.

  9. BlingYou Says:

    Thanks for your comment Taylor -- sorry for not accepting it sooner.

    As with anything, some people will overdo whatever they do, be it drinking, having sex, sleeping, eating -- anything. Still, most of us are equipped with a free will that we can control, and even if we have urges -- we have the choice to control them. I am not saying that there are no mental disorders that make people overeat or whatever they do excessively -- but for most its a choice we make. We choose to eat more than we need to uphold normal functionality of our bodies, we choose to not move as much as we should compared to the amount of energy we put in our bodies etc.

    My initial point of this little blog was to point out the slippery slope that we are on. Once we idolize the ones that are like we are now, we allow ourselves to be slightly less perfect -- resulting in us all thinking that semi-fat is the way to go. I, myself, could easily loose a few pounds compared to my ideal weight -- and I blame no one for me being like this. Whenever I look in the mirror, I see someone that is a bit lazy, does like food and sweets a little too much and have a tendency to choose to drive rather than walk. That said, I try to eat as healthy as I have the willpower to, and any loss or gain of weight is my own choice.

    The model discussed here is not obese or even very overweight, but she looks unhealthy with her somewhat flabby mid-section. I would rather that our role models were healthy, not skinny or model-unhealthy-and-not-very-attractive-thin, but rather fit, toned and in shape. Models today are thin-fat. I see the paradox in my description of them, but they are skinny, but “loose skinned” and unfit, and that is absolutely not something we should strive for!

    We all have a choice in this world, some choose to eat too much -- for whatever reason -- but its not like you suddenly wake up one morning being 300 pounds overweight. You can see it in families with fat parents (sorry for the non-pc description, but its the best one I’ve got :)) where the children are fat too. This is not necessarily and actually very rarely, the result of “bad genes” -- its malnutrition. Bad habits are hard to break, bad habits implanted in you from childhood can be very difficult to break. Parents overfeeding their children, forcing them to become obese adults is borderline child-abuse in my book, as the kids are forced into a lifestyle chosen for them by their parents. A life with bad health and early death -- not always -- but often.

    Looking at things as if they are a disease is a way to take away the responsibility for your condition. If you choose to drink so much over time that you become an alcoholic, its as much a choice as it is an illness. If you choose to eat so much and over time that you become obese, its as much as choice as it is an illness. I am not debating the fact that obesity and alcoholism makes you sick, both physically and mentally, but its a chicken/egg-situation. Did you become ill because you are obese or did you become obese because you are ill?

    I don’t know, but we should strive to be as much as we can -- and having chubby role models is not doing just that.

  10. Awakening Says:

    Let me enlighten the ignorance here,
    This young woman is not overweight. Are you familiar with biology? You know, cells, the …human tissue, etc. Well believe it or not, kids, when the skin has been stretched to a certain point, its elasticity stretches and stays. It’s clear by this woman’s stomach that the skin has surpassed the “bounce back” stage.
    No matter how much exercise this woman does, her stomach will never be tight and taught naturally.
    Fitness models and the “healthy” people you see in health magazines posess traits that are just as uncommon and unattainable as fashion models.
    Sure, it would do all us media gluttons good to see healthier, more active looking people representing ourselves, but come on people-showing average bodies like Lizzie Miller’s is nothing but a positive thing-girls and women alike see that it’s NORMAL to not have a perfect body-whether it be boney or buff. Because sometimes, you can’t get rid of those muffintops-no matter how hard you try. It’s about time we are beginning to see IMPERFECTION as a beautiful…about damn time.

  11. BlingYou Says:

    I think we define ignorance differently, I would rather say that you have another opinion than me -- not that I am necessarily right or wrong.

    And on the whole biology bit, how did it stretch in the first place? You are not born big skinned and grow into it over the years, one must actively stretch it -- and when you decide not to be as big anymore, you may experience excessive skin. It’s better to not become fat before you become slender, no? Not being big in the first place will reduce or eradicate the problems of too much skin.

    Should imperfection be the goal? Will we not fall short if we set our aims too low? I am not perfect in any way, but I would like to be. If my idols body wise are chubby, will I not be content when that is achieved? I think so, and my point was only that what we idolize should be healthy and well proportioned -- not extra size and unfit, like most of us already are.

    Ms Miller has become the postergirl for this discussion, but it really goes much wider. I find it problematic when a large percentage of children are downright fat, are lacking motor skills and will become diabetes 2 patients in the future. That is a societal problem that we need to fix, if we are to have any chance of sustaining human life on this planet. BTW, speaking of planets; have you seen Wall-E? The future of the human race is bleak.. 😉

    Many people like imperfect people, be them short, tall, fat, skinny or otherwise different from the norm -- its the beauty of humans, there is someone out there for most of us. I am not advocating beauty and perfection, I am promoting healthy idols. That is a totally different thing than promoting the stride for perfection.

  12. Bee Says:

    I feel like you contradicted yourself in the above response.
    “Should imperfection be the goal? Will we not fall short if we set our aims too low?”
    And also in the above responses you mentioned that you do not promote a perfect body type, but then later you say “we allow ourselves to be less perfect”.

    If we aim for this construct of perfect, we will absolutely fall short. As imperfect humans, if we try to reach any point of perfection we will absolutely fall short. You mentioned that above, but then contradicted yourself later.

    Yes, we have an epidemic of obesity. However, why would someone even want to try to lose weight (besides health reasons) if they were striving to look like most of the models in magazines. If there is a perfection as you stated, most see it as being like a swimsuit model. Most “normal” women will never get there. So, instead of being satisfied when they get to Lizzie’s size, some might say what is the point and don’t lose any weight whatsoever. I do realize that every situation is different, some people lose weight when they reach a certain high number, when they have a health issue, or because they just want to be healthier.. Whether the model in question is 180 pounds or 100, the message is never to have a healthy diet and exercise routine. It is absolutely about image and how clothes fit.

    I agree that an image should be a healthy one. However who am I, and who are you, to say that this woman is unhealthy. Because she looks a certain way? That’s ridiculous. Healthy does not always mean that every muscle is tight and there is no flab. And you and I don’t know what this woman eats on a daily basis or what kind of exercise she does.

    Also, to be specific. She is sitting down and leaning forward in the first photo. I would be willing to bet that most fit celebrities that are in magazines have a little bit of pudge there, it is just airbrushed out. Or, they would just never sit in that position at all in a magazine because it is an unflattering pose. I feel like the magazine wanted to showcase the fact that she had a little flab in the belly and put her in that position. Because, as you pointed out, she looks “somewhat better” in the second picture.

    You are welcome to your opinions. I mean, that is why you have a blog. And there is nothing wrong with that. However, in general, we as people have to be careful not to put our own opinions out there as the absolute right one. To me, it reads that you have taken your opinions on your own body and health and applied it to this woman and anyone who has commented after. That is all fine as long as you know that others’ opinions and bodies are different and they might have different standards than you have.

    Personally, I think this woman is beautiful. And I cannot say if she is fit or not. She does have some flab, but I do not know one woman who does not have a little flab on her belly…and I know women of all ages, weights, and fitness types. I have also come to realize that almost every woman wishes they could change something about the way they look, and almost every woman is completely different in shape and weight distribution. So I cannot say who is more healthy than the other just by looking at them. A vision of health needs to be the role model, however I think we are a bit idealistic to believe that it is going to come from a fashion magazine.

  13. Seline Says:

    Actually, poster, there are different ways to have excess skin, other than becoming fat. What about pregnancy? That causes excess skin because the skin is being stretched out. These women are not chubby-don’t you know how hard it is to lose weight? Women over 40 have to go to a gym for an hour a day to maintain their current weight. Not everyone has the time or patience for that. Going to the gym for an hour a day and not shedding a pound? No way. Also, some people are just born like that. You know that disease where everything a person eats gets turned into fat? How are those people supposed to feel when they see all these skinny models walking around, knowing that they could never be like that? Imperfection is beautiful, and it’s about damn time that it was.

  14. chelsea Says:

    you do know that women look chubbier when they are SITTING DOWN. I run six miles five days a week and weight train, im fit, and I look like this! I was offended because I eat healthy and work hard, and she probably does to

  15. chelsea Says:

    her waste measurements are in the normal BMI range

  16. Some nuts and bolts and stuff | BlingYou Says:

    […] statistics, a lot of people have been searching for the same thing -- and my number one is Lizzie Miller from way back in 2009. She was the model that was somewhat “controversial” because of […]

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