Having been overweight (real or imagined) just about all of my life, I’ve pretty much come to terms with being the ‘funny’ one or the ‘smart’ one and not the ‘so-adorably-tiny-let-me-keep-you-in-my-pocket’ one or the ‘so-thin-and-fit-that-the-perfection-is-almost-painful’ one.
And you know what? I’m good with it. It has taken a few (will not admit how many) decades, but I’m finally in a place where I accept myself as I am and figure that I’m not so bad. I accept my cellulite, my jiggly bits, my non-supermodel hair and skin, my freckles (all eleventy billion of them), my deviated septum (accepted but still getting that shit straightened out – accepting it is all fine and dandy but not being able to breathe, well, that pushes the limits of my tolerance). I’ve finally accepted that my body in whatever shape it is in, at any given moment in time, is just fine. Now, I’m not a fat activist and I don’t pretend to be one. I’m merely one woman, who is a daughter, wife, and mother that has struggled and dealt with weight issues all my life. I’ve seen the fat cloud from both sides now.
And all that said, it turns out that being “fat”, in and of itself does not bother me. But these three things irritate the holy ever-loving double chocolate cheesecake out of me.
1. That I have never been able to find a pair of knee-high boots to fit my legs. I see other women, both my size and larger (by a lot!) wearing this style of boot ALL THE TIME. I see chicas tipping the scales at 300 pounds wearing sexy or jaunty knee-high leather boots. And it pisses me right off. I think that I use anger to avoid dealing with my deep-seated feeling of jealousy. I do not believe that being fat is the problem (after all, they are fat as well). Rather, I’ve convinced myself that I have an innate leg disadvantage that no amount of dieting or exercise will overcome. The rest of the first world population has skinny, boot-zipper-overable calves, and I just do not. But I’m not horribly disfigured either. They look perfectly normal, not tree-trunkish or stump-like at all. It is patently unfair. And before you tell me that if I lost weight, I would be a knee-high boot wearing diva in no time, I assure you, that I would not. Those boots would not zip up when I was 110 pounds, which was me being at least 15 pounds UNDER weight. It just doesn’t matter where my weight sits, my legs may look normal, but they harbor a sick vendetta against me. But, the upside is that they do support and carry me around, everywhere I want to go, no matter what scales tells me every morning.
2. That the clothing industry is a well-oiled, corrupt, vacuous pit of darkness designed to extract money and inject sadness into women really gets my XL tunic in a twist. If they are able to extract enough money, they inject a false sense of happiness into said previously mentioned women. Not enough money to extract? Well, you get to feel like shit about yourself and wear ill-fitting and unflattering clothes until you either come up with the money or lose weight. Ha! Gotcha. There needs to be standardized sizing across the board. At my current height and weight, there is no way that I should even glance at a size 10, but if I’m willing to spend enough money, there are designers out there who would have me believe that I am a size 10, rather than the 12,14,16, whatever size I actually am. And, please tell me – how can any woman be a size ZERO? Zero equals NOTHING. How can a living, breathing, walking around, shopping woman have a body the size of, well, nothing? I can wrap my head around a size one or two, but a zero? No, that’s just absurd and such blatant manipulation that it is beyond insulting to suggest that intelligent, grown, healthy women want to be or aspire to become a zero. Does men’s clothing come similarly sized? No. Of course, it does not. Why? Because the industry would not get away with suggesting that a man was a zero anything. Men would NOT tolerate being condescended to in such a manner, while, for whatever multitude of reasons, women are taught to not only tolerate it, but to seek it out. Fuckers.
This list is complete and utter bullshit. It’s insulting, degrading and condescending. I find it enraging, to be honest. Found on Pinterest.
3. That I reduce myself entirely and base the sum total of my worth as a woman, a person, a partner and a mother, in part, on the preceding two points. And even worse than that, I live in fear that I will somehow inadvertently burden my daughter with these ridiculous and senseless insecurities and self-esteem issues. Or that she will be so inundated by bullshit media images and messages that her self-confidence and self-esteem will diminish until her innate sparkle is lost. My daughter is not overweight (she’s five) but maybe one day she will be and should that happen, will I find her any less clever, smart, sweet or beautiful? Not a chance. But may others see her and treat her differently? Absolutely, they will. Because no matter how much jumping up and down people do about ‘fat shaming’ and ‘you do you’ and ‘ love your body’ the truth remains that our society still idealizes tiny waists, slim legs, big boobs and flawless skin. None of these attributes are synonymous with being fat, overweight or larger than a size six and there are no current buzzwords or hashtags that actually do anything to change the way people think, the way media portrays what is a desirable or worthwhile woman, or the way we’re raising our sons and daughters who internalize these messages and perpetuate exactly that which needs to change.
More bullshit. Why are these okay messages to put out there? And then people wonder why there are so many food-related mental health issues? Image found on Pinterest – I certainly don’t want credit for it.
Finally, just a few quick points to round this all out and make the final point of how broken the whole issue is. Over 1/3 of American adults are classified as obese. Some or many of the other 2/3 may be overweight or believe themselves to be. As a result of this obsession with weight and the fatness of people, last year in the US, consumers spent between 50 and 60 BILLION dollars on weight loss products and programs. In addition to this, they also spent more than 12 BILLION dollars on cosmetic procedures. The number one cosmetic procedure? Wait for it. LIPOSUCTION was the number one procedure for both women and men last year. And Liposuction procedures have increased 94% since 1997. In the US, 9.6 million women and 1 million men had at least one cosmetic procedure in 2014.
And people are still fat and getting fatter, despite spending between 62 and 72 BILLION dollars to get thin and fit. Factor in the fashion and beauty industries and it’s not hard to see that it is really NOT in the best interest of big business for consumers to actually ever attain these highly touted ideals of thinness and fitness, good health, or less fatness. Fat and insecure = revenue. BIG revenue. These industries are making it rain and they have all of the fat people to thank.
And, at the end of the day, I still can’t find boots that will fit over my calves, or reliably know my dress or pant size so that I can shop with any kind of confidence of an article of clothing fitting properly. And I still try to cover up as much of myself as possible, not only to hide from the sun but to hide what I’ve been conditioned to think of something shameful. My soft, fluffy center and jiggly bits. Hmmmm. That sounds a whole lot cuter when I use words like soft and fluffy, instead of squishy and fat, doesn’t it? As long as I’m healthy and able to keep up with my kids, I, for one, will contribute one more dollar to those many billions of dollars going into the diet industry’s pockets. No ma’am, they’re not getting anymore of my family’s money.
Better. Short, non-judgemental, non-preachy, leaves ‘good’ open to interpretation. Just better. Again, found on Pinterest.
Imma spend my money this weekend to buy myself a delicious baked panzerotti from Pizzaville (Sutton location, if you please), eat fresh home-made and locally grown food the rest of the time, and I’ll be just fine. Fluff and all.
Finally. A message acknowledging that fitness and fatness are not the only determiners of happiness or that their pursuit or race to abolish are the only worthwhile ways to spend our time. Happily found on Pinterest.
P.S. Another ‘draft’ post dealt with. Yay, me! I may reform my procrastinating ways yet.
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