This should be simply a lovely photo of a lovely young woman in kick ass heels and an awesome jacket. It IS a lovely photo of a lovely young woman in kick ass heels and an awesome jacket. However, it is also the center of controversy this week as bloggers and commenters debate the issue of body type.
This photo appeared on The Sartorialist Monday morning. Don’t get me wrong–Scott is a spectacular photographer, and he has a singular eye for fashion photography. His taste doesn’t always echo mine, but that’s what I appreciate about him and it’s why I read his blog–it’s something a little different from all of the other cookie-cutter style blogs where everyone is wearing the same trends or showing pictures from the same collections. But tempers flared when he referred to this woman (an Italian with her own blog) as “curvy.”
All negative connotations aside, I think calling someone “curvy” is fine. I consider my own body type curvy, and I understand that this doesn’t mean I’m fat or overweight. I believe that this is what Scott himself meant when he used that word to describe his subject. However, when commenters expressed concern, Scott updated the post to say, in part, “I get emails all the time from self-professed curvy girls who want to see representations of their size on the site. What sucks is that when I try to put a photograph up to talk about these issues, the post is hijacked over the political correctness of the words.” While he has a point, I wonder why the woman’s body needs to be described at all. The Sartorialist, after all, is a blog about fashion and personal style. Of course, the way you wear clothing is affected by your body type, but this is nowhere near the most important or central issue–the focus should be on the overall effect, how the person carries themselves and expresses themselves through what they’re wearing.
What do you all think of this mini-controversy? Should body type figure at all into discussions about fashion and style, or should we finally be ready to accept that everyone has different bodies, and that the types of bodies normally portrayed in media and fashion are nowhere near what you see on the street every day?