Lets talk about body image. Most of us don't have a good one, and whether you blame it on the media, or marketing, or the time, or the country/culture you live in, or anything else, it is what it is--most people have things about their bodies they don't like. And I'm not just talking about the women here, men are just as bad, though they tend to keep it to themselves more than the women.
How does this relate to writing/reading? Well, lately I've seen, as you probably have as well, a push for more 'figure friendly' romance novels, that feature woman with 'curves' or 'fuller figures'. As a concept I see the point. Most women are not the tiny waifs that the majority women in romantic books tend to be, painting the picture that in order to get to happily ever after you can't be larger than a size 6. After having my kids I became a fuller girl myself, and as such, I get it; I really do.
But I also don't agree.
And here's why. Romance novels are fantasy--they are not supposed to be 100% realistic. It's okay to imagine yourself as the heroine in all her tiny-wasted glory, that is one of the things that is great about reading. Would your hot love scene be as steamy with descriptions of stretchmarks and cellulite? Umm... no. But why not? That's realistic, isn't it? Oh, wait so you want a heavier girl who is bigger but still lovely and perfectly proportioned? Not with lumps and bumps and thin hair and the beginnings of wrinkles? But why not? Don't those women deserve love? Don't they deserve to ride off with their prince?
Of course they do, but it's not the fantasy and escapism that we all look for in books like that--and that is okay. It doesn't make you a hypocrite, or shallow, or a bad person.
And to those of you telling me that these books only add to the body image problems out there, particularly for young people, I say... pft! Self esteem is self esteem, you have it or you don't. And believe it or not, these kinds of books can actually help those with body issues just as often as it hurts them. Like I said, it's escapism, which is something a lot of women--both the young and old--need.
I know there are those of you that will disagree with me and that is okay. But if we are going to fight for realism in romance then it has to be across the board--no double standards. That means heroes with who are balding, have love-handles, and only make 40-60k a year. Doesn't sound so great? No, it doesn't. Would Edward Cullen have been as popular as a skinny kid with acne and greasy hair? I don't know. Would women still fantasize about Christian Grey if he had a beer gut and a hairy back? Probably not.
Just something to think about.