So, what do supermodels and tulips have in common? Less and less. But...
I'm reading Michael Pollan's fantastic book The Botany of Desire (I find it really sad that this is the first thing that pops up when I Google 'botany'. Yes, it's a great book, but it's not "Botany"! And that most of what came up was about the show, which, again, I was happy to find outabout, but...), where he talks about beauty, in nature and our subconscious, correlating to health: symmetry, size, colour, etc. The healthier something (a plant, animal, human) is, the more beautiful we perceive it to be.
There are, of course, exceptions. Like the tulip. During the 17th century Dutch tulipomania (great word, that. It's reading as a typo, of course, but it's a real word), the most prized flowers were 'broken'--they had a contrasting patch of colour on each petal. People noticed that these flowers had fewer bulblets (I don't remember the actual word and don't feel like looking it up) making them even more valuable, but they had no idea why until the invention of the microscope. That's right. The beautiful pattern was caused by a virus that weakened and eventually killed the flower, so now any tulip that emerges showing the broken pattern...is killed. We don't have them anymore. Beauty doesn't always mean health, especially with people. (Another wonderful example that Pollan doesn't mention is the 19th century vogue for looking consumptive. Logically, it makes no sense: people with consumption are not healthy [or particularly beautiful] but, for a time, it was beauty).
Which, of course, brings me to our own whacky time, and the reason I made the link in my sleepy brain last night. Illixim is beautiful. Like, freaking gorgeous. And built like Henry VIII, like a good, proper, round nobleman. None of this scrawny, peasanty shit. She's round and healthy and...fertile? ...that's just creepy. Anyway. But now, of course, our ideal has shifted. "She's not healthy. She's fat."* Well, how does the exact same person, shifted across a few centuries, become a completely different state of being, a totally different ideal? If most of our current ideal people were moved back in time, and had the privilege of being noble, everyone would be trying to fatten the poor dying things up! (they also would have laughed their asses off at body builders. Muscle meant you worked.)
Can't we find a happy medium, where we can move past our biology (or worse, culture) and realize that weight and health and beauty are subjective, if they're even very interconnected? My philosophy about weight (and no, I don't always remember this when I have to go buy new pants) is this: as long as you can do what you need to and you want to in your life, then be whatever weight you are. If you find that your weight is interfering with something you want to do (or muscle, or endurance, or whatever), then change it. If not, why not? Why let an arbitrary, and obviously fluctuating ideal influence your life?
(lol, I feel kind of bad for always posting long, boring rants. Illixim's the fun one. "Here, look at sexy, naked pictures. Don't mind my wife's ranting, here, pretty pretty!" Although, c'mon, that painting of Henry the Eighth is damn sexy. I'll give you a random oddity: if you scroll down to the bottom,
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones
|Billboard Hot 100 number one single|
"I'm Henry VIII, I Am" by Herman's Hermits
August 7, 1965
"I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher
Really? It comes right between that and that?)
*Not my views