Christina Hendricks, who's on the cover of New York's new spring fashion issue, says several times in the interview that she's tired of talking about her body. New York (and a substantial chunk of her fan base) clearly isn't.
In an interview with New York's Amy Larocca, Hendricks says,
"It kind of hurt my feelings at first," she says. "Anytime someone talks about your figure constantly, you get nervous, you get really self-conscious. I was working my butt off on the show, and then all anyone was talking about was my body!"
Hendricks may not want to be the poster girl for the hourglass — or only known for her voluptuousness — but this is, after all, Hollywood. And this is fashion. Both are visual forms not known for prizing one's other attributes, at least not those of most women.
Hendricks' body is seen in the context of a fresh round of conversations about body image. Says Larocca,
But too often the size discussion becomes almost grotesque, as if the only alternative to being as lean as a skinless Perdue chicken breast is to veer wildly (and unhealthily) in the opposite direction (Gabourey Sidibe, Beth Ditto). One can't help wonder if the fashion world's obsession with those two women, both of whom deserve prominent coverage for their talent first and foremost, isn't in some sense overcompensation, an attempt to atone for the terribly thin models who still hold sway everywhere.
Either way, it becomes a game of extremes.
There is a spectacular other path.
That path, Larocca says, is Hendricks, who has the body of an old-time Hollywood starlet. Ironically, if Christina Hendricks deserves "prominent coverage for [her] talent first and foremost," this doesn't seem to be the forum for it — the brief article is primarily concerned with her body (and how much everyone else is obsessed with it. And Hendricks is photographed in lingerie, not the usual fashion issue editorial. She may not be Beth Ditto or Gabourey Sidibe, but as Jenna put it not long ago, when fashion includes women with a little more meat on their bones, it often strips them first:
Eroticizing a plus-size model is a pretty easy, and in some ways predictable, choice. Do the images rely on the old trope of the voluptuous woman as sexually salacious? Is it just that the stylist couldn't (or couldn't be bothered) to pull clothes in the right sizes? Are we sick of seeing plus-size shoots with lots of sexy, kittenish posing? (On that last score, well, yes - a little.)
Don't get me wrong — Hendricks is stunning, and it's lovely to see her body celebrated alongside the more angular varieties. But it's more than a little ironic to see it done so alongside copy like this:
As for the body question, she'll answer it when asked, but mostly it bores her."It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth," she says. "Back when I was modeling, if someone said ‘I'm fasting,' I would say, ‘Can't we talk about something else?' "
Woman Of The Hourglass [NYM]