I just saw an interview online by a reporter in Sydney, Australia who asked Christina Hendricks about being an inspiration as a “full-figured” woman. The phrase “full-figured” was accompanied by the reporter’s hands motioning the curves of a woman’s body. The beautiful redhead was obviously uncomfortable with the question. She squirmed, looked away, and sighed audibly. Her avoidance of answering the question spoke volumes about her unease with the interviewer’s query. After a few moments of awkward silence, the reporter trudged ahead with her interrogation. She repeated the question! She repeated the gestures! She repeated her obvious faux pas! That’s when the Mad Men actress lost her studied composure. “You just said it again!” she declared , clearly offended.
I don’t know if the tiny reporter was trying to be tenacious or if she was just terribly, terribly rude. At any rate, she looked like a clueless boor. Why is it that the dimensions of some women’s bodies are considered open for comment?
I identified with the television star. No, I am not endowed with Miss Hendricks’s famous bust-line or her striking beauty. But I am blessed with unusual height. I am 5’11”. No, I am not a circus freak, but I am obviously taller than most women I encounter. I have been asked if I play basketball since I was in the eighth grade. I have been pointed out and questioned about the supposed thinness of the air up where my head is. I have been asked by men I don’t even know who thought themselves to be incredibly clever, whether or not my “legs go all the way up.” My tallness has been considered an acceptable topic of conversation by perfect strangers ever since I went through a growth-spurt the summer between fifth and sixth grade.
I admit, being pointed out for being tall is not being insulted in the way the actress was, essentially being called fat. But I have been there. During the critical years of high school and most of college, I was overweight. I lost 50 pounds during my early twenties and have kept it off, but that’s neither here nor there. I am a normal weight now. So is Christina Hendricks. No, she is not a size 2. She is a normal woman. She just happens to be famous. She lives in a world where more and more Hollywood starlets appear to be suffering from starvation. Their extreme thinness has become the normal. But it is not. I am not a denier of the obesity epidemic in this country, but I also am not one who subscribes to the idea that boniness is equated with sexiness.
Confidence is sexy. Good posture is sexy. Graceful behavior is sexy. Miss Hendricks was correct in not answering the Australian reporter’s question. She was very indulgent with her patience toward the rude woman who insulted her twice in the space of less than two minutes. She stood up for herself. She gracefully continued with the interview once the subject went back to the topic for which she was being was being interviewed. She was a model for all of us whose bodies and their measurements have been discussed openly in our presence.
Bravo, Christina Hendricks! Thank you for not speaking – for all of us.