Wait, WTF Is A Normcore Body?

Does a "normcore body" help promote positive body image? Or is it perpetuating the same ol' crap? | Photo Source: American Apparel</small?

Does a “normcore body” help promote positive body image? Or is it perpetuating the same ol’ crap? | Photo Source: American Apparel

Okay, I already regret what I’m about to say and I haven’t even said it yet but here it goes: Sometimes I really enjoy dressing a little…normcore. You know, that random trend in which people wear ordinary, vaguely retro, somewhat unflattering clothing that resembles the noxious mix of a mom and a tourist from 1994 (a mom tourist?). Yes, I am 100 percent here for the mom jeans and windbreaker look, okay?

So when Gurl editor, Jess, brought the normcore body to my attention, I immediately perked up and was ready to snark away. But after reading about it, I’m a little torn.

Style.com’s Maya Singer wrote a piece titled “Are We Ready For The Normcore Body?” In it she describes Sandra Bullock’s bikini body in the 1995 movie, The Net.

“Slender, for sure, but soft, and even a little fleshy here and there. In a word, she looked normal. And in an era where virtually every female celeb is expected to be able to bounce a quarter off any body part, ‘normal’ looked novel. It had real allure…A world of unvaried ultra-tonedness is boring…The moment has come, purely from the standpoint of aesthetics, for sensuality and softness, for bodies that don’t look over-exercised, but fully lived.”

This is what Singer described as the normcore body: no ridiculous toning, no weird juice cleanses, no butts or boobs that were developed in a factory – just a body with soft, fleshy bits that aren’t smothered with self-tanner. As a woman who isn’t skinny, and whose love handles and tummy are only partially concealed by my tall height, I’m not going to lie and act as if the idea skinny bodies no longer ruling as the most desired body type doesn’t appeal to me. I mean, we’re living in a culture that drives girls (and guys) to serious mental and eating disorders in the quest to look a certain way and gain acceptance. We’re living in a culture that demonizes larger bodies as walking health hazards in need of a gym membership and a kale salad. We’re living in a culture that tells people that your desirability largely relies on your dress size.

So yeah, the idea of my fleshy, fatty bits being socially acceptable without the need of Spanx is pretty damn appealing. But before I got too excited, I got a little more critical. Throughout the article, Singer emphasizes slimness. Sandra Bullock was slim but had a softness about her, Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore were slim but didn’t look like they tried too hard to look like that, Gwyneth Paltrow was “skinny-flabby” and so on. Okay, so wait, instead of seeing slim, toned bodies as the ideal, we should hope to see slim, untoned bodies as the ideal? Is this only desirable if you don’t have an unacceptable amount of muffin top? What about fat girls who definitely aren’t toned either? How normcore are their bodies? If your tummy passes the point of elegantly rounded and your thighs aren’t just a little jiggly but straight up massive where do you fit in this spectrum?

While I absolutely empathize with a desire to allow different body types to be seen as beautiful, the “normcore body” still seems like a way of celebrating a slender form; just one that is effortlessly slim.

I understand that the concept of normcore is partially tongue in cheek, but the more sincere element of it focuses on making the ordinary look cool. The idea of us collectively looking at bodies that don’t fit society’s ideal and seeing them as an awesome source of pride is a pretty powerful idea that I’d love to get behind. Unfortunately, Singer’s idea of the a normcore body mostly perpetuates our appreciation of the same body types we’ve been appreciating for generations now, just without a butt made of steel.

Body types shouldn’t be trends in the first place, but if we want to promote positivity and self-love of not-so-skinny body types, we need to get a little more radical with it. Loving the fact that Jennifer Aniston had a tiny bit of arm fat in the ’90s isn’t all that inspirational.

What do you think of the idea of a “normcore body” trend? Are you still trying to figure out what normcore even means? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

 

Fitspo Makes Me Feel Negative About My Body

Follow Gurl!
FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram


Posted in: Body Image
Tags: , ,
  • Wolcott

    An interesting article. I think my biggest issue with a “normcore body” is the fact that the name presents the idea that any body type is “normal”, inevitably leading to the conclusion that any other body type is abnormal or wrong. I think normcore style is rad, but a normcore body is just another celebration of slim bodies under the guise of body positivity.

  • Anastasia

    “Okay, so wait, instead of seeing slim, toned bodies as the ideal, we should hope to see slim, untoned bodies as the ideal? Is this only desirable if you don’t have an unacceptable amount of muffin top? What about fat girls who definitely aren’t toned either? How normcore are their bodies? If your tummy passes the point of elegantly rounded and your thighs aren’t just a little jiggly but straight up massive where do you fit in this spectrum?”

    okay so I need to be perfectly honest here and hope it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. No matter how open minded and radical we want to be we can’t totally overlook obesity as a dangerous condition. The same way we say that too skinny bodies are not healthy bodies we absolutely have to mantion how all this extra weight and fat can damage your body. It IS in fact a need to advertise a healthy kind of living but keep it simple and effortless. The problem in the past few years is that skinny has been getting too much attention and everybody feels the pressure to be skinny. What the editor suggested was a healthy, but not crazy stressful role model. Role models are here to inspire us to be better. All that has to be done is choosing the right, healthy role model. Let’s not mess with our health and bodies. Obesity is as much of a problem as anorexia.

    • Toongrrl

      Hey Anastasia (ugggh love that name soooo much, okay Toony focus) Obesity is definitely not the ideal state for the human body, but what she means is that obese/overweight/just big people shouldn’t be shamed for their body frames and sizes. No one, I mean, no one should be shamed for how they look.
      Though to be frank with you, I am sick and tired of bodies having to be toned just to be considered “ideal”, I think there was a time when it was mostly atheletes that were excepted to be so toned. End of this rant.
      Again love the name