Madame Me

  • I finally got up the courage to ask a man in my Cultural Anthropology class a question that has been dogging me since he brought it up. He is probably in his mid-to-late twenties, grew up in Niger, speaks many languages fluently, has lived in many countries thus far, owns a record label(?), and is retired... and in talking about Western Culture was absolutely astonished by how crazy our ideas of 'beauty' are. He explained that in his culture, they do not put the same emphasis on being thin that we do. In his culture, bigger women are called 'Madames', and that it is crazy to be immersed in a culture where we only see thin as beautiful.

    Yeah, rock on!

    So this led to my questioning... would I be a madame? I mean, obviously, if 'madame' equates to 'big woman', I am it... but I wanted to hear it. Until today I couldn't grab him at the right moment. I tried, but other people were there, talking about the record label, or asking him about speaking in Pidgin on his cellphone.

    So today while we were both having a ciggie, I grabbed him (euphemistically) and said I needed to ask him a question, he hopped to attention and lowered himself to be able to hear me better. Ha!

    Me: A while ago you said that in your culture, bigger woman are called Madames...
    Him: Yes!
    Me: Would I be called a madame?
    Him: Oh yes!
    Me: How big do you have to be to be a madame?
    Him: That girl there, she would not be a madame...
    [he points to a 17-18 year old girl, 5'9", 135 lbs. ex-model (for real)]
    Me: and it's a good thing, right?
    Him: Oh yeah, people will do everything for you. If you need something, you say to any man "Hey, grab me that." and he'll get it for you. For real. Talk about bling!

    Yes... in the midst of finals week, whenever I feel stressed, I am going to think about my fine self, and just how much bling it entails.
  • Haha, that's great. It's so bizarre how US ideas are so skewed in comparison to many other countries...
  • I love that!
  • I saw a documentary several years ago about an african country where fat had always been considered beautiful. In the bigger cities they were starting to be influenced by western standards of beauty, and were aware of health risks of obesity, but most still wanted to be fatter, especially before marriage and on their wedding day.

    Just as in our country there are charlatans trying to capitalize on the women's desire to be beautiful, and instead of crazy quick weight loss schemes, the women are shelling out obscene amounts of money for dubious and even dangerous quick weight gain products (some containing dangerous ingredients like animal steroids).

    It really shows how health often takes a back seat to beauty.
  • the idea of beauty is so skewed...even from generation to generation. ****, in the 17th-18th centuries, being a big woman was a status symbol. the term 'rubenesque' stems from the painter, peter paul rubens, and his affinity for plump, cherub-esque women. even as recently as the 1950's...being curvy, albeit a smaller version, was in tremendous fashion.<br><Br>what is considered beautiful and what is healthy rarely coincide with one another, at least in the eyes of popular culture. i would be nice if one day, they would..
  • Hey! Ever Seen Phat Girls with Mo'Nique?!! That's exactly the scenerio. Madame. Mo goes to Florida on Va-kay with her thick friend and cute as a button, fit, personal trainer cousin. They meet hotties from Nigeria- the hotties like the thick girls and the skinny cousin is constantly being asked if she's sick! LOL. It's a great movie. Fun to watch, and also deals with how you view your self. Watch it. And it's with Mo- so it's amusing.
  • Mo'Nique broke my heart, last I checked her clothing line didn't go past a size 20 or 22 My soull!!!
  • That is so cool!! I don't know why we are so obsessed with thinness the way we are. I mean, honestly, a lot of SKINNY girls look anorexic and gross. And I have a hard time accepting my own body because I think my husband *must* be wishing I was thin. Waah.
  • also - other countries are not as obsessed by breasts - that is a very western ideal - but booty baby! and thighs I beleve
  • Oh! Didn't even know Mo had a clothing line! Wow! You'd think she'd be a little more braod with the sizes.
  • When a celebrity "has" her own clothing line, she doesn't always get as much control as you would assume. Given HER size, I would bet she would like to put out the extended sizes, but manufacturers always seem to claim that the costs in producing the biggest sizez doesn't pay. She may have been talked out of it, or not given a choice.
  • Maybe I should move there, it'd be nice to be seen in a positive light instead of constantly feeling like I have to "measure up". Or....measure down....?
  • I guess Monique's clothing design operation Mo'Nique's Big Beautiful and Loving It has since closed... but it was definitely geared towards fat women. Margaret Cho's line, High Class Cho looks to have since closed as well, and she said she created it "because nothing fits. High-end clothing is prohibitively expensive. We wanted something compassionate and realistic for sizes 10 to 22," -- but that's pretty exclusive.
  • I had a friend (Nora) who studied abroad in Ghana for a semester, and she stayed with a homestay family. One day, Nora's host sister came into her room..and asked Nora, "Am I fat?", and Nora said "No, you're crazy, you're so skinny!". Her host sister looked upset and said "What?! I don't want to be skinny! My mom said I've been looking bigger!". The definition of beauty is so different across other cultures and countries.