Friday, December 31, 2010

You Can Be Sexy at Any Size or Age!

"You Can Be Sexy at Any Size or Age!" by Nancy Hayssen with Jacquelyn Quinonez.

Nancy Hayssen is a plus-size model and pilot.  She has a website, looksexynow.com.  The back cover of the book says she's "now inspiring women worldwide to defy the media standards of beauty and is redefining sexiness for the everyday woman."

I can't decide whether this book should be "thrown with great force" in the words of the immortal Dorothy Parker, or just shrugged off as the "insane ramblings of a crazy woman" in the words of Kristina Hebner Akbar (not yet immortal, but she's working on it).

I guess if feminism hadn't gotten to me early and brainwashed me into thinking that I don't need a man to find fulfillment in life, and that finding a man is not my life's goal, I would find this book palatable.  I wasn't really offended by the book's conflicted premise, because I viewed it as being symptomatic of a schism in the author's psyche induced by her years modeling and representing a certain version of "femininity" or femaleness to the public at large.  As such, she puts forward that view in her book.

Whereas there are some positive statements made in this book, the author mitigates them by her other statements.  You're perfect just the way you are, she says, but she also recommends shaving every day, getting bikini waxes and Brazilian waxes, going down on your boyfriend to keep him happy, wearing false eyelashes, high heels and wearing thongs and dyeing your hair.  So be yourself, you're perfect as you are, so long as you sacrifice your comfort, pride, and natural beauty.

If you're a grown woman and you're doing these things because, well, you've thought about it and that's what you decided you want to do, that's fine, but from the cartoon picture on the cover and the presentation of the book, it's marketing is designed to cater to young women, and I just think it sends the wrong message.  It kind of reminds me of an ex-friend who was trying to sell me on the idea that porn was empowering and respectful of women.  I'm sure there's erotica out there that is empowering and respectful towards women, but I'm also pretty sure it's rare, and not what my friend had in mind.

I think women deserve better.  I think it's possible to be "sexy at any size or age" without selling yourself short or giving away your power or right to be comfortable.  And I will continue my search until I unearth such fashion advice!

This book will be given away.  It is not a keeper.