But some people think that fatties are nice!
-- Melanie, "Animal Crackers"
Three experiences this week have thrown me into a bit of emotional turmoil about weight -- overweight in general and my own in particular.
First, I read an excellent book, "The Lolita Effect," by M. Gigi Durham, Ph.D. She is a media scholar, and the book is about the sexualizing of girls and the messages the media send to girls about sexuality and body image. One message is that "hotness" is Priority #1. Another is that hotness has a very narrow definition: a female built like Barbie -- long legs, big boobs and no excess fat anywhere (unless the boobs count).
Then there was that infamous blog post at Marie Claire magazine's web site. I'm not going to link to it here. If you want to read it, Google "Marie Claire." The writer was commenting on the sitcom "Mike & Molly," which is about a plus-size couple, and expressing general disgust with the idea of watching obese people make out ... or do much of anything, for that matter. She received about 2,000 comments, most of which disagreed with her but a disturbing number agreed -- overweight people are gross, unsexy, a drain on the health care system (something I blogged about at length last year).
Then I went to my weekly weigh-in. It showed a three-pound gain. I cried.
I know lots of big women, in real life (some of whom are reading this) and in the media. Camryn Manheim. Queen Latifah. Melissa McCarthy, the star of the aforementioned "Mike & Molly." They are all beautiful. But I continue to hate my size 18 body and lament the fact that I don't have a body like Madonna, Sharon Stone or Valerie Bertinelli -- who are all my age.
Much as I know intellectually that the media image of the "ideal" woman is artificial, on a gut (and I've got a large one!) level, I know that there are real women who fit that ideal, and I beat myself up for not being one of them.
I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that life is too short for this. I need to embrace the "beautiful" part of "Big Beautiful Woman" for myself. I will continue to exercise and improve my eating habits because it's good for me, but I'm not going to sacrifice pleasure (Cheese! Beer! Cheese!) to some ideal I'm unlikely to attain.
Easier said than done ... . But I'll try.