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Renaissance Faire Body Image

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Walking around the Renaissance Faire (spelling intentional) today, I couldn't help but notice that beneath many a leather lace up corset and layered flowing skirt-deal, lay a body of rounded, curvaceous, fleshier-than-fleshy proportions. I'll forgive ye for thine confusion, yet allow me my observation; nay, my fascination with this issue.

During times of regular fairs, (spelling intentional) it has been my observation that young women like to look as slim as possible and that, as they are loyal partakers of modern media, their styles and strivings reflect these corporate agendas.

I have never in my life seen as many full-bodied women, so full of confidence, as I saw today. Why, I wondered, did the subculture of youth interested in Renaissance Faire role playing and fantasy imagery not seem as twisted about body image as their more modern-leaning counterparts? I wondered as I wandered, my little boys paying five dollars for their fortunes to be told by a psychic with a white beard and then running off to root for Ivanhoe in the joust (he helps Robin Hood, of course he should win).

The ladies, some 18, some 5, were puffed up and peeking, no, virtually spilling out from atop their leather corsets. Of course some of them were slender and some average - but many, and I don't think I'm wrong - were ample, and proud to show it off.

It was as if I'd walked into a time period when a woman was supposed to eat a lot of good food and grow round. And it's funny to think of that statement as being shocking because, in our current climate, women eating a lot of good food and getting round is aesthetically a hotbed of emotional, social and psychological turmoil.

But today, in the 1300s, all was well with the world. The men rode horses, had unwashed hair and spoke loudly and with good cheer to the young lads. The women grew their hair down to their lower backs and pushed their ample bosoms up, out and over their fitted garments, laughing with one another and tending their duties with apple-cheeked merriment.

Was it because the ladies in the Renaissance hobby didn't watch television?

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EmpowHER Guest

Card carrying member of the "wenches guild" at faire here..and I can tell you that being curvey and appreciated for having those curves is wonderful. Raising a daughter in this atmosphere is liberating--she grew up wanting and excited for her growth spurts rather than being angry and upset that the boob fairy found her. (My daughter had visions of the boob fairy complete with a bicycle pump going from house to house!) She feels comfortable in her own skin--as compared to her friends that are upset that they are getting hips...Great environment on self image

May 23, 2010 - 5:57am
EmpowHER Guest

Fascinating point - I've never been a big fan of Rennaisance Fairs (perhaps a holdover from a boring high school history teacher?) but I do recall being impressed that women who today are marginalized in fashion, stuck with elastic waisted pajama like pants (when is the last time you saw a decent pair of jeans for a woman who wore a size 20 or larger?), were wearing beautiful, body skimming dresses.

Interestingly, I also remember seeing very few thin women (or even those of average size) - the majority of those participating were heavier - so perhaps when not compared with their skinnier sisters, larger women feel more comfortable showcasing their bodies?

You can find me at Life: Forward (http://LifeForward.onsugar.com) talking about women, the wage gender gap, and body image.

May 11, 2010 - 9:29am
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