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Rebellion against Slimness

Posted June. 11, 2005 06:46,   


We are living in a society where almost everyone seems to be obsessed with the desire for a well-shaped body and diet. The cry by “Chulsandra (character of a comedian)” is refreshing and pleasant. Her cry is a rebellion against the current trend that worships a slim body.

Besides “Chulsandra,” There Are Many “Fat” Comic Characters-

“X-file-research on thin people,” a popular segment of “Pokso Club” of KBS 2TV, makes fun of slender people by showing an imaginary world of the year 2222 where thin people go extinct and fat people make up the majority. You Min-sang, a comedian, plays the role of a fat doctor. He asks questions, “Why do people in the 21st century put only a spoonful of cooked rice in a bowl” pointing to “haetban (cooked rice).”

Conventional wisdom has it that fat people are the usual subjects of mockery and ill treatment. On the contrary, nowadays, thin people or those with well-shaped bodies are becoming the laughing stock.

Sometimes being “fat” is associated with “competency.” A case in point is “Big Mama,” a four- woman musical group. The group recently released its second album and succeeded in its marketing strategy that their competitiveness lies not in appearance but in musical talent.

The rebellion against slimness is establishing itself as a cultural code beyond mass media.

Last April, a “Big Women Fashion Show” was held at a textile center event hall in Samseong-dong, Seoul. Women who wear clothes of size “88” or more took part in the show. On TV shopping channels, larger professional models are increasingly popular.

Artists took a step further. With the catchphrase, “Love our body the way it is,” they showed a variety of works using bodies as canvas.

An exhibition titled “Asia-Women-Sexuality” that shows a variety of artwork using the human body will be held at the Sungkok Art Museum, Shinmun-ro, Jongno-gu beginning July 3.

Lee Myung-ok, a curator of the Sabina Art Museum said, “In the past, body performance was a resistance against the commercialism of art. In contrast, a flood of artwork using the body sends us a strong message.”

Kim Hye-young (25) from a research company said, “A ‘plump’ body symbolizes ‘abundance’ and ‘fecundity.’ Chunsandra stresses the importance of ‘natural childbirth’ and ‘breast feeding.’ Her message sounds like a warning against the obsession with slimness and a call for healthy maternity.

Is the Defiance against Slimness in the Cultural Sector going Mainstream?-

Kim Jong-yeop, a professor of sociology at Hanshin University said, “The mainstream argument never raises its voice. The fact that fat people make fools of thin people testifies that slimness has already gone mainstream. The desire for a slender body will be strengthened in parallel with a ‘rebellion against slimness.’”