“The average American woman, according to articles I’ve read, weighs 25 percent more than the models who are showing the clothes they are being sold,” Leonard Nimoy has told N.Y. Times writer Abby Ellin for a profile of him and his photographs of obese women. “So, most women will not be able to look like those models. But they’re being presented with clothes, cosmetics, surgery, diet pills, diet programs, therapy, with the idea that they can aspire to look like those people.
“It’s a big, big industry,” Nimoy goes on. “Billions of dollars. And the cruelest part of it is that these women are being told, ‘You don’t look right.’ ”
We all know that high-fashion garments are specifically designed to be worn by women with almost laughably boney frames. And most of us agree that women with skeletal bods are not all that attractive, for the most part. Most guys like a little heft, a little womanliness to hold onto.
But I’d like to stand with Nimoy inside a Walmart in Emporia, Kansas, or stroll with him through a midwestern airport, and I’d like him to point to all those Jabba-sized women who would collapse from exhaustion if they had to walk a mile through the woods and explain to me how they look “right.” Morbid obesity has never been and never will be an exuder of natural God-like radiance. It’s an affliction and a life- shortener and a metaphor for decline-of-the-American-empire sloth. Let’s hear it for family-size buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken around the dinner table and bowls of Ben and Jerry’s cookie-dough ice cream on the coffee table while watching Desperate Housewives (which I, in my New York dementia, actually watched last night).
Nimoy is an elegant chubby chaser using his upscale Dr. Spock/Man Ray credentials to achieve certain goals.