The XX Factor

Fat Sexy Women

I remember being taught in art history that the Venus of Willendorf, the Paleolithic sculputure of a gloriously zaftig female, was probably carved by a man as a shamanistic fertility figure. Now the New York Times has an article about a stunning discovery of one of the oldest figurative sculptures ever found, another “Venus,” this one dating from 35,000 years ago. She has pendulous breasts, a capacious stomach, and, as the Times puts it (have they ever used this phrase before?) “a greatly enlarged vulva.” She was meant to be worn around the neck. Isn’t it likely, however, that these sculptures were carved by women as fertility figures for themselves? And that once upon a time women thought the ideal female body required exuberant flesh.