Friday, 30 November 2012

Big is Beautiful

Last night I noticed a new documentary on BBC iplayer called Britain’s Biggest Beauty Queens.  Intrigued, I felt compelled to watch it. The documentary follows four of the finalists in the year leading up to the 2012 finalists, what they do to prepare for the three rounds - daywear, swimsuits, and eveningwear.  All of the contestants are plus-sized, therefore size 18 and upwards.

On the one hand, it was refreshing to see such a different approach to a beauty queen competition. Celebrating curves, encouraging normal women to have confidence in their body. The swimsuit round especially forced the women to confront their body insecurities and show off their figures to a room full of people. Given how society seems to promote a Size Zero culture, it was fantastic to see the other side of the spectrum.

One of the issues discussed was the perception of people around them as they grew up. One of the contestant talked at great length about how she had to move out of the area due to violent bullying. She even says that it became routine to be violently beaten by the bullies. This really struck a chord with me. Being a plus-size myself (I wear a size 16-18) I’ve found that I’ve been incredibly lucky to not receive this sort of treatment. I’ve always been on the larger size compared to friends, and am generally quite comfortable (people loving my rack is a great confidence boost) I’ve never received the negativity that these girls have. I think having a fantastic group of friends growing up was a huge help. I also think that how you carry yourself is also a big thing to do with it. I try to be confident, dress for my size, and make the most of my assets. A lot of women tend to cover up as soon as negative comments are thrown. Women (and men) need to realise that they are all beautiful, and need that confidence to be themselves and live their life.

However, another part of me couldn’t help but think that, to a certain extent, the whole process seemed to promote obesity. Every scene of the women eating showed them consuming junk food, drinking wine, and generally being quite unhealthy. Whilst I understand that due to some medical issues, women find it difficult to lose weight, but this seemed to promote bigger is better, but in an unhealthy way.  

Personally, I believe any size is beautiful, as long as the person is happy with their image and not putting their health at risk. Everyone is beautiful, we just all need the confidence in ourselves to believe this!