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Body Image: Model with 20 Inch Waist?

June 4, 2012

Human Hour Glass


Body image and self-esteem issues have been playing a huge (no pun intended) role in my own life recently, and (not coincidentally) I have also been hyper-aware of articles/news stories dealing with such issues. Summer is just that time where I’m hyper-aware of my body and all its many flaws–everyone is wearing so little clothes, it’s so hot and muggy that I feel like I’m just a walking sweat puddle…Le sigh.

One of the news items that was brought to my attention recently (and I realize this broke a while ago, but I didn’t have internet in my apartment these past few months! I’m behind the times!) is this Romanian model with an apparently “natural” 20 inch waist (see photo above): “THE GIRL WITH THE 20 INCH WAIST: Ioana eats loads…but can’t get above 6stone.” Wow. Let’s learn a little about her, shall we?

She is 5ft 6ins and weighs just six stone — and while her hips are 32ins, her waist is only five inches bigger than a CD.

Yet Romanian Ioana, 30, insisted: “No one seems to believe it, but every day I eat three big meals and I snack on chocolate and crisps all the time. I just have a small stomach. It’s a bit like having a natural gastric band — if I eat too much, I feel sick.”

“When I was 13 my waist was around 15 inches. Someone could put their hands around it, their fingers would touch and they would still have extra room. In Romania it is better to be overweight, because that means you are from a wealthy family. So while my friends were going out and dating, I was sitting at home with Mars bars wishing I could fatten up.

Jan [her husband] was the first person who saw me as beautiful and encouraged me to celebrate my body. He asked me to pose in some photos for him. He was so impressed he put them online and the response was amazing. I would still like to gain weight so I don’t look so shocking — and now that I live in Germany I can’t get enough pizza or kebabs. But I’m finally comfortable in my own skin.”

Huh. So, this is obviously a complicated issue. On the one hand, this is honestly a disturbing image in terms of how the media is full of women with clearly unattainable bodies that are then presented as “models” for public consumption. It’s also hard to believe that a body like that could be natural. But, in this case, I’m not sure that this is being presented as something that anyone is supposed to covet or aspire to. In fact, it seems like such an abnormality that even this woman herself has body image issues and is being treated in the media like a circus freak.

Ok, I am not saying that the Young Turks are the authority on anything (and I’m particularly disgusted how in this clip they are judging her situation based on who would/would not want to have sex with her…yuck ugh ew) but it is somewhat interesting how this woman is being treated by the media in much the same way that overweight people are dealt with. On a completely related note, look at the article that is “related”/linked on the Sun website to this one: “I WAS SO BIG MY KIDS HAD TO HELP ME USE THE TOILET: Confessions of a 25stone (350 pounds) mum of three.” Basically, this woman is a food addict who experienced degradation and emotional/physical pain due to her obesity and became inspired to lose weight. And here we go with our fascination of the extremes that the media is consistently shoving in our faces. I’m not sure why it’s popular to parade peoples health in public ways, but both of these women are clearly suffering, albeit in very different ways.


(Image courtesy of my forever favorite Dlisted)

(Brief programming note: I’ve made an executive decision [between me and me] that I’m going to return to posting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday…Monday and Wednesday will be serious posts, and every Friday will be humor-related. Keep your eyes peeled!)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. sexy curmudgeon permalink
    June 6, 2012 1:03 am

    What a great parallel to draw -can we draw other conclusions from these examples? Perhaps that we have a fascination with those who are radically different from us? We love to draw comparisons with those who are deemed particularly ugly or abnormal by sporty in order to improve our own self-image?

  2. June 6, 2012 7:53 pm

    I, for one, would like to see an x-ray of her chest and abdomen. I have big doubts about the claims that this look is natural.


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