This was a search phrase that brought someone over to my personal blog this past week. I had written a diatribe against the notion Rubenesque romances were unrealistic simply because most men (and certainly all "good" ones) couldn't possibly want a fattie. For the (female) blogger who made this assertion, this included any woman over a size 6. So me being me, I proceeded to feature hot superbabes who ranged in size from an 8 (Beyonce) to a size 16 (model Crystal Renn) in order to show how beauty comes in all sorts of packages.
Trust me, when straight guys are looking at women like Sofia Vergara, Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johansson and Christina Hendricks, they couldn't care less what the number is on the label of their clothes. They're kinda too busy doing this...
In my "Groupie" Rubenesque series of romance novels, my heroine Andy Foster is a size 16. She catches the eye of a rocker on the rise who finds himself insatiable for her fuller, more luscious curves. The books come with hot, sexy scenes and I never apologize for Andy's size because she doesn't feel the need to. She is comfortable in who she is, and it's that self-confidence - along with her hourglass figure - that keeps Giovanni Carnevale coming back for more. If you have a hard time believing that a size 16 girl could have that kind of effect on a hot bad boy rocker, I present model Kaela Humphries.
Also for your consideration, model Ashley Graham:
So is it really unrealistic to think a size-16 can be a beautiful, sexy and desirable woman? Only if you swallow the bullshit we're sold as women in this culture, and I most certainly do not.
I'm a proud writer of Rubenesque fiction because I refuse to buy into this cultural mindset women only are as valuable as the size dress they wear. Femininity is a beautiful mosaic that we forfeit for some tired ol' paper doll template with very little wiggle room. (Literally.) We're inundated in the media with this physical ideal of what women are supposed to look like, which is reinforced in movies and in books to drive it home that if you want a prince charming, you have to be perfect (i.e. young, thin, beautiful.) Any woman who finds love, then, should fit into this narrow example. We see this perpetrated over and over again to the point we accept it as the ultimate "fantasy" of what our happily ever after should look like. All you have to do is dye away the drab, fix or prevent those wrinkles, stuff down those love handles, pluck, tuck and otherwise change everything about you.
If you go by this media standard, then I guess the answer to "Can a good man love a size 16 woman?" is "Are you freaking kidding me?"
By no small coincidence this mindset helps sell magazines and fuels multi-billion dollar diet, beauty and fashion industries. No matter what is wrong with you, there's a product on some shelf to help fix it. How convenient is that? We are continually (and successfully) sold this bill of goods that the only things we need to worry about are how to lose those pesky extra pounds and how to find/land/keep a man. Go stand in any grocery store checkout line anywhere and peruse all those blurbs meant to entice you into picking up and buying a woman's magazine.
What is the media telling you about yourself? It's telling you that you are one hot mess, and only their sage and all-knowing advice can save you from your biggest problem. You know... YOU.
I'll let you in on a little secret and save you about $5 on that magazine...it's all hogwash.
Men aren't nearly as obsessed about our weight as we are. They know what they like when they see it, and that runs the gamut between slender and athletic to voluptuous and "womanly". Many men like curves. Studies have even suggested they are biologically predisposed to. They salivate over buxom beauties that are closer to a double digit size than a size 0. They sing happily about Brick Houses and Big Butts, while we give more and more of our money to those who get rich off of convincing us we're fat and ugly (and that fat always equals ugly.) We fixate on that stupid scale while, honestly, they're more concerned with how confidently we carry what we got. This is why the average American woman can be an unforgivable size 12 yet still find a husband, have a family and generally enjoy life despite what the media would have her believe.
The real world application of sexual attraction is a little more complex than what you see on a magazine.
Some men even find what we consider our fatal flaws kinda sexy. It means we're not perfect. When you think about it that's a lot of pressure to put on a mate.
In fact, judging that all men can only love a certain size woman isn't giving guys a whole lot of credit. Sure they are visually stimulated creatures who have a propensity to think with their penises. But shouldn't the guy you're with be able to love all the things that make you uniquely you the same way you love all the things that make him uniquely him? I mean... isn't that what the ideal of love truly is? Being unconditionally accepted and valued for who you truly are, warts and all?
The real-world answer of "Can a good man love a size 16 woman" is a resounding yes. Thankfully for all the people who don't fit in the paint-by-numbers boxes of mainstream media (which is the majority of us) love isn't a formula. Good men can love a size 12, a size 2, a size 24 and a size 10. It's not about the *size* - it's about the woman inside. It's a novel idea, really... that someone can be loved for the sum of their parts and not something likely in a constant state of flux like one's dress size.
Many people will tell you that what they thought they wanted and where their hearts eventually landed were completely different. Love is funny like that. If you create within you a woman worth loving, which has nothing to do with the size dress you wear, a man is going to find himself falling in love with you. The trick is to be the kind of woman he never knew he wanted/needed, which is kinda what happened with my darling hubby, Steven. I'm sure 14 years ago if you would have asked him to conjure the woman of his dreams, it wouldn't have been me. Instead he got more, in almost every sense of the word.
In my not-so-humble opinion this is the very quality that makes them "good men." If you've been dumped on your ample fanny because some guy couldn't handle your extra padding, the problem isn't really yours. It's his for being a superficial jerk. Wipe that dirt off your shoulder and move on. One day you'll be so thankful he dumped you so that a truly good man could find you and give you all the love that other guy didn't think you deserved.
But let me also propose this: if a "good" man dumps a size 16 woman, it probably has nothing to do with her size. More than likely it has everything to do with how she views herself because of that size.
See, this is really the crux of the whole problem. I can bet you the woman who asked that question had just been dissed by the guy she fancied and it probably wasn't the first time. This is a pattern that has repeated, so she ended up in that spot where she wondered, "What's wrong with ME?" since clearly she is the common denominator.
If you're being continually dumped by otherwise good men, it may indeed be something you're doing wrong. But that has dick to do with the size you wear. Despite what our culture will tell you, being overweight is not a personality flaw or inherent failure. It's simply a physical condition. Carrying a few extra pounds isn't really even a "bad" condition, despite being "aesthetically displeasing" to many. Some detractors will jump on the "health" bandwagon of fat-shaming but the simple truth is you can't determine someone's health by the weight they carry, and that's usually just a straw man argument anyway. The teenage boy mooing at you at the grocery store couldn't give a rat's ass if you are in more danger of developing heart disease or diabetes anymore than that guy at the bar sizing up the hot chick with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other cares much about her liver or her lungs.
It's not about health, it's about fat. And here's the great thing about fat... you can lose it. No, really. You can. If you think your weight is holding you back most of the time there are steps you can take to change your current physical condition. The problem isn't with the weight. It's with your attitude. If you don't love yourself you're not going to do the things you need to do to take care of yourself. Period. So whether you plan to stay a size 16 or not, eventually you're going to have to give up hating your own body.
A remarkable thing happens the minute you do. The people around you then begin to treat you with the same respect you show yourself. The person most guilty of not being able to love the size 16 woman is the size 16 woman. Societal distaste aside, odds are the one beating you up most for being a size 16 is you. You've bought into the fantasy the media sold you. If you were a size 4 and a guy didn't love you, you wouldn't blame your size. So that means you accept inferiority based on nothing more than a dress size, which kinda makes you the superficial douchenozzle and not the guy at all.
Worse...if you think no one can love you because of your size then that sadly becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. You're never going to believe that a man could love you despite your size because you clearly don't. Even if you do luck out and find "a good man," he begins the fruitless endeavor to fill the holes you keep gouging in your own self-esteem. Anyone trying fill that bottomless pit of validation will inevitably tire from the strain.
Even some of those "good" men.
Can a good man love a size 16 woman? I argue that only the best men can. So do your part to hang onto them... love yourself as unconditionally as you wish to be loved and give these poor guys a break. If you have a good man who wants to love you, he already thinks you are the body beautiful. Own it, diva!