Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beauty Redefined

Singapore is having its first Plus-Size Beauty Pageant opened to contestants above 80kg! Larger size people are finally getting a chance to show off their beauty! Beauty doesn't mean skinny anymore. It also depends highly on the 'big' personality and confidence that comes out in a person - and this pageant can redefine plus-size women as beautiful too.

I think that bigger-size women are gradually recognized. Whitney Thompson became the first plus-size model to win America's Next Top Model. And though it is encouraging, plus-sized people are still not really accepted in society. Jessica Simpson has been the butt of a fat joke not long long ago, where Burger King had tastelessly mocked her weight during Fox pregame, saying she "blew up bigger than Flozell Adams".

However, there is no universal definition of beauty, rather it is defined by a particular culture. In the Western countries, many young ladies are struggling with anorexia. Women, especially in the fashion industry feels extreme pressure to be ultra thin.

In Uganda however, the perception of beauty is not thinness. A full figure is considered beautiful. A plump wife is a status symbol and a source of pride for men. And clothing is no exception. In Singapore, we like to wear skinny jeans. But in Uganda, they wear flowing dress that adds to their frame. 

In Uganda tradition, women prepare for marriage by entering the 'fattening hut'. The bride is required to drink several jugs of milk a day. Since a women's body or weight is considered a symbol of status, they feel the pressure to maintain their weight gain (just like other women who feel the pressure to stay thin).