Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What "CURVY" Means to Us

In recent years, there has been much discussion surrounding the use of the word “CURVY”, especially when it comes to plus size women. I have read numerous articles on the controversial subject, some degrading and offensive, and others amusing and somewhat intriguing.  

For instance, recently I came across an article in my hometown newspaper, The Detroit Free Press. It is titled: “Does 'curvy' label do large women a favor?” The author outlines some of the advancements that have been made in the fashion industry to include plus size women. She says: “It would be tempting to say we, as a society, have evolved. It would be tempting to say we’re no longer bound by prejudices about body size. It would be tempting to say we’re finally seeing and believing that women with large bodies are worthy of our respect.” I found her sentiments intriguing. In my opinion, the society that I live in is still very much bound by prejudices toward body size. The author goes on to say: “Society still loathes large women, it just doesn’t call women large any more. These days, large women are “curvy.” Even if they have no definable waist or hips, the very definition of curvy.”

Aha! Herein lies the basis of today’s post: 
What is the definition of “CURVY”? Can it be subjective or objective? 

I asked fellow #psbloggers from one end of the globe to the other to weigh in with me on the following questions:

How do you define the word curvy?
In the past, when I thought of a curvy woman, I pictured someone who had a smaller, defined waist, and shapely hips. I never believed that being curvy had anything to do with the size of a woman. For example: a woman that wears a size 4 can have curves, just as a woman who wears a size 14 can have curves. A woman who wears a size 6 might not have curves, just as a woman who wears a size 16 might not be the representation of curvy.

Do you consider yourself to be curvy?
Why yes, I certainly do!

Has your perception of the word curvy changed since joining the online plus size community?
My perception of the use of the word curvy has changed. I’ve come to realize that curves take on all forms, and shapes. It is not up to me to tell another woman whether she is or is not curvy. If a woman chooses to describe her body as curvy, it is not my taste to challenge the validity of what she asserts. At the end of the day, every woman is beautiful in a unique way.

How do you feel about the public’s perception of the word curvy, and its use in the plus size community?
I do not feel that being plus size is automatically synonymous with having curves, or being curvy. However, I don’t believe that the public should attack plus size women for using the word curvy to describe their bodies. At the heart of it all, most plus size women do not want their bodies to be described in terms that have a history of being offensive, degrading, and hateful. The descriptive word "CURVY" has a different connotation, one that generally engenders positive thoughts. The word CURVY does and will always have a place among plus size women!

The article that I referenced earlier asserts: “What makes most sense is to stop putting women into categories.” Well, that would be nice, but in my opinion, categories do serve a purpose. For instance, when searching for fashion inspiration on Pinterest/Instagram, without categories, how would we specify the images that we’d like to see? Just a thought…

Check out what “CURVY” means to my fellow #psbloggers:

Ashley @
Delilah @
JoJo @
Lauren @
Nina @
Olivia @

Until next time lovelies!


  1. And that is the source right there: categorisation. Not a bad thing at first hand. But becomes discutavle when categories/labels are there to define you as a human being. Curvy or not.

    1. It certainly can become a monster in it's own right!

  2. Excellent write up Joi! I see we share some of the same ideas. Thanks for including me on this collaborative post:)

    1. Thanks Lauren, I enjoyed your post and was so happy to have you on board! We have something in common =)

  3. Love your thoughts Joi! You and I definitely share a lot of the same points. I appreciate how you stated who are you to tell a woman she is not curvy. I never thought about that, although I would never do such a thing; however, that is a strong statement and very valid. Love it! Thank you for including me in this collaboration. I'm loving everyone's thoughts!

    1. Thanks Ashley! We definitely share some of the same thoughts on the topic ;)

  4. First off - how did I not know you're from Detroit? I'm from Ypsi originally!


    I like that you tackled this subject because I've been hearing a lot of controversy surrounding this, too. There's been a lot of conversation about labeling women's bodies, or reclaiming the word "fat" without the negative connotation, or deciding on which word is most neutral to describe the plus size body, if it's necessary to describe it at all.

    I think you're spot on in saying that using "curvy" to describe plus bodies is all about the connotation. Most other descriptors have a negative connotation and so women don't want to use those words (let alone have others use those words) to describe their bodies. "Curvy" seems neutral, but like you said, it doesn't necessarily denote a plus-size body.

    I also agree with your point about categories often being helpful. Personally, I don't find the term "plus size" offensive. When I talk in terms of plus size women vs. non plus size women, I use the terms plus vs. straight. Both seem neutral to me. I'm simply trying to describe and distinguish without adding any additional baggage. But I know others don't like those terms. It's certainly something to think about and a conversation I think we're going to continue to have. Thanks for sharing your insights with us. :-)

    <3 Liz

    1. Yes! I am a fellow Michigander!!! I agree with you, I don't find the term"plus-size" offensive, but there are other commonly used terms that I am not as comfortable with. This is a topic that stirs many feelings for women, thoughts around it will continue to brew :)
      Thanks for your sharing your opinions!

  5. I consider myself to be a full figured woman with curves and not necessarily curvy. My bottom has no curves it's just big and my waist is almost non existent. But, I Love myself enormously with all the imperfections & wear and tear a woman my age has conquered. Being full figured or Curvy does not mean that we are not healthy, I still try to eat and live clean and know that I will never be a size 8 again. I am living my life with no regrets and love to see my BlogSistas do the same. In my culture if you are "too skinny" they say you're living a bad life. . .I'm just saying! #lovemyself ; #enjoyyourlife. ---- PS I wrote this in a message to you in error!

    1. Loving yourself is so KEY Neti! Rather than focusing on a "number" on a clothing label, health and living life in a way so as to have no regrets are so much more important. Love your attitude Neti!!!

  6. GREAT POST Joi and I appreciate all the responses of all of your fellow #psbloggers! THANKS A BUNCH.

  7. First off thanks for asking me to be part of the collaboration Joi! I totally agree with everything you said and I think the way you described the public's perception, it's what I wanted to say but I think you wrote it better then I did. I also like how you said who are we to tell someone they aren't curvy, that's such a great statement. Thanks again for asking me to participate, I'm loving reading how each person feels.


    1. I loved reading your thoughts Nina! Even though we may have differing views, we have proved that we can stand united as women!

  8. Thanks for asking me to be a part of this collaboration as well. I believe we share similar views.