**click illustration to enlarge**
(watercolor illustration on paper, 18X24, 2013)
"At the art show"
I feel conflicted as to how I feel about people with a lot of extra-weight.
On one hand, I was programmed since childhood that women need to be thin. I grew up in a country where every woman is constantly on a diet, as in dieting being a way of life. The worst part is that as a Ukrainian woman on a diet you can't be too much of a bitch either. Good men are scarce. Good, attractive and single are almost impossible to find. Women are in a constant state of alert, because your pudgy-bellied husband with a receding hairline can be gone in a second, snatched by somebody younger and skinnier. Under the circumstances, Ukrainian women, (quite understandably), are always trying to look their best. To their credit, most of them are succeeding in being highly attractive. Even Joe Biden mentioned that Ukrainian chicks are hot! Consequently, the next day my website got an unprecedented number of hits, but I digress.
On the other hand… I remember how shocked I was when I came to the U.S. for the first time. Until then, I've never seen anyone truly obese. There was a family in my apartment building that we thought was overweight, but in comparison to some (unfortunately rather to a lot of) Americans they were like a family of fit Olympic athletes. Until I landed in JFK I didn't even know that people could be so fat that their weight impacts their health and severely endangers their life. That being said, I'm totally against the seemingly anomalous stick figure with big boobs shape being considered an ideal body type for women. Women don't naturally have 0% fat and the ones that almost do usually don't sport huge buzungas. On top of that, even when women are thin most of them still have some cellulite and some jiggling body parts. It's a fact!
Now, you see my dilemma, right? On one hand, I think being overweight is nothing to write home about, on the other, I think the standards of beauty should be more realistic. I guess, it all comes down to how a person feels about themselves, right? Do I wish I had the self-confidence of certain obese women in leopard-print skin-tight leggings, who think they are God's gifts to mankind? I do! Do I want to take an hour to climb two stories panting and sweating, even if I do have the self-confidence of a beauty queen? Nope….
"I’m in good shape. That shape is round."
"Aside from the fact that they say it's unhealthy, my fat ain't never been no trouble. Mens always have loved me. My kids ain't never complained. Plus they's fat."
"I'm 190 pounds of rock hard muscle, underneath 40 pounds of sturdy protective fat."