So now thin women think they have the skinny on thick women, while large ones think they have the fat on small ones (“Chunky but Funky,” 5/23; The Mail, 5/30, 6/6, 6/13). What has never ceased to amaze me is that people everywhere, both male and female, seem to find it perfectly acceptable to publicly rate women’s bodies (whether those of lovers, friends, or strangers), according to their own standards of female perfection, and then to behave as if women have a moral obligation to reshape themselves to fit them!

Sometimes, the woman in question actually puts herself in the position of asking for public approval of her physical attractiveness, as in the case of beauty-pageant contestants. Most times, however, the woman being put to the test is a woman walking down the street, minding her own business, and certainly not asking for a panel of judges to hold up a rating card regarding her beauty!

In some times and places, women’s bodies have been seen primarily as tools for reproduction, and chubby women were treated as the most desirable, with even the “goddess sculptures” being carved in the image of large-breasted, round-bellied, big-butted women. Nowadays, in the age of media, technology, and capitalism, women’s bodies are seen primarily as tools for marketing, in which case tall and angular “supermodel” women are treated as the most desirable, for they are usually perceived as the most photogenic.

The truth, however, is that women’s bodies are neither objects of reproduction nor objects of fashion, but the containers that house the spirits of human beings. What will never change is that the most beautiful people in the world are the ones who feel at home in the temple of their own bodies (no matter the size, color, or shape), as well as the ones who show equal respect for the sizes, colors, and shapes of the temples of their sisters and brothers.

Takoma Park, Md.