Friday, December 5, 2008

Meat and Bones

I saw an episode of the television series Mad Men. The plot seemed thin, the driving theme appeared to be a rejoicing in the time when women's liberation had not yet taken hold, but when sexual mores had begun to loosen. The beatnik rather than the hippie era. I don't have all the backstories, but a number of the characters drew my interest, while others were fairly shallow and unappealing. Many of my friends love it.

What I did like was how people looked! The Authoress (n.b.: my wife) and I were in a diner the other day, before our appointed hour to visit some lovely friends from our church who were recently blessed with a baby. The diner had a 1940's/50's theme to it, and showed a picture of Miss America contestants from about 1953. The Authoress mentioned how the idea of beauty changes with each generation, and how those women would all be considered overweight today.

Too bad.

This is bad for women who starve themselves to look tiny. It's bad for men who seem to want women to look like girls, perhaps thereby recalling their own youth? It's bad for men, too, who need to be too slender as well -- what if I really do need to live for awhile without sufficient food -- I'll be glad for the extra I'm carrying around then!

So I was delighted to see people a bit soft around the edges. Normal, to my eyes. Maybe the plague of obesity our culture has today is a reaction to the ideal of beauty being so far from what is possible for most to obtain.

The woman who reviews television shows at the New York Sun has this to say:

Meat is important, too on them. The "Mad Men" women have some meat on their bones, an extra 10 pounds they'd be working like crazy to get rid of today. A little roundness made their skin look young and their legs look nice. In the show, at least, everyone also always seems to be eating meat steaks sizzling with fat or home-cooked roast beef, and no one is talking about cholesterol. Not even the doctors. Of course, they're weren't talking about the rampant alcoholism, either. But still. It would be nice to eat more steak.

But I digress. I guess I've lost the point, too. Certainly the Bible hails inner beauty, but does not reject the idea of men or women having physical beauty. It rejoices in beauty. I'm guessing if the resurrection does mean our bodies are transformed but recognizably us, the result will be closer to Mad Men type of bodies than those we idealise today.

Your view? In this stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas, are we better off with a few more pounds? In the photos, do Don & Betty have more wisdom about bodies than the folks of today?


Clifford Swartz said...

To the dedicated blog subscribers, I swapped the photo: the 90210 photos seemed a little too risque for our G rating.

SeaPea said...

ha ha! i didn't realize there was an 90210 pix first!

anyway, it's hard to be not size 2 or at least size 4 in nyc, but you know what? it's really up to individuals. i don't really mind myself - i'm going to be try to be a bit more healthier (so no ice cream sundaes for dinners or a whole bar of chocolate for b'fast, etc.). i do feel bad for little girls though - it's all they see and they try so hard to be thin. i had a 7 year old piano student who was obsessed with her yoga class which was offered at a very prestigious private school in nyc. can you imagine? she had a very toned arms, i'll give you that, but what the heck? she was a scrawny kid! very disturbing.

Clifford Swartz said...

My girls, about the age of your piano student, came back from school using the word "fat" as way to put someone else down. We had to deal with both that action (of using words to cut down rather than build up) as well as the particular concern (that this notion would be used against slender girls in the first place). It is a sickness, a very destructive one that plagues girls, but not only girls, in our country and particularly our city.