08 February 2010

On Food, Life, and Being Gorgeously Full-figured

I was imperially pissed off by a little word-bite I read in the Rushes column of the Sunday Inquirer:

Phoemela Barranda - masibang kumain [Phoemela Barranda - glutton]

For those of you who don't know or have never been exposed to the Philippine fashion scene, Phoemela Barranda was - and still is - one of the country's more popular model-celebs. When she first hit the scene over a decade ago, she was as slender as most models in the biz. In recent years, however, she has certainly gained some magnificent curves that have made her more beautiful.

So it seriously irks me to hear these ridiculous canards make fun of her eating habits.

What's wrong about women enjoying their food? That's the problem with this media-addled world: unhealthy stereotypes have been keeping us from becoming who we want to be, from becoming who we really are.

There ought to be more women like Phoemela who love to eat. Women like us have a certain joie de vivre; we do not shy away from new tastes and textures. Ergo, we do not shy away from experiencing new things.

There ought to be more women like Nigella Lawson (shown above, enjoying a hot cuppa tea) who look fabulous thanks to a healthy combination of a good appetite and a perky disposition. Women like us can look at the darker side of life and take it with a grain of salt (or a couple ounces of very good chocolate).

There ought to be more women like the late Julia Child who teach people to slow down and enjoy life. Child's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is not the easiest cookbook to work through. (Ask Julie Powell of Julie and Julia fame!) But it teaches one to do things a step at a time and that it's okay to make mistakes.

There ought to be more women like Maya Angelou who show people that you can recover from even the most devastating tragedies. I would recommend her cookbook-memoir Halleluijah! It shows you the sort of hurt she went through when she was younger and how food and verse took her from humble beginnings and turned her into someone special.

We ought to be telling younger girls that it's okay to be curvaceous, that you should be happy with the body you were born with, the body you're growing into. We ought to be telling younger girls not to listen to those hypocrites who tell them that women can only be pretty if they're Kate Moss-scrawny. That's not beauty; that's a mocking caricature of beauty, a useless, sickly stick figure with no real purpose except for clothes to hang onto.

It's only now that I'm in my thirties that I have begun to take pride in my Rubenesque, Baroque figure. I am proud to be a 38C with a trim waistline and generous hips - and I never went to some idiot with a scalpel to get this figure. I have good skin and hair. I have a good smile. I may not be the sunniest-tempered person, but I do my darndest best to cheer people up.

I love to eat. I'm darned voluptuous.

And I am beginning to learn to appreciate my life.

I am beautiful.

And no anorexic fashion hag is going to tell me otherwise.

Besides, Italian director Fedrico Fellini said it best:

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed.

Think about that, boys...

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