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I can’t believe it’s already November! Crazy, right? Also – it seems like there has been a body image-related story in the news almost every day! So let’s get caught up …
FIRST OF ALL: Unless you’re just not totally obsessed with lady blogs, there’s no way you haven’t heard about the disaster that went down at Marie Claire last week. Writer Maura Kelly wrote a blog post about “watching fat people on TV” that basically sounded like some of the most superficial, hateful remarks from a junior high slambook. The post itself wracked up almost 1,000 comments, some of which were from Maura herself trying to defend herself. But she soon posted a lame-ass “apology,” saying that she thinks maybe her discomfort with overweight people stems from her own anorexia. (Uh, yeah, ya think?) Then, as if overnight, everyone had an opinion on the situation… I personally loved Dodai’s post at Jezebel, which called fat-phobics out as a bigoted idiots. Some of the comments actually made me tear up. For instance:
“I come to Jezebel nearly every day because it’s one of the only places I know of where I can honestly talk about body image with other people who (for the most part) get it. I’ve been able to talk about my struggles with showing my arms in sleeveless dresses, the hurt I’ve felt from my own parents sometimes, the judgement I feel when I eat in public – you name it. And yes, I’ve done all of this while trying (and succeeding, for the most part) to lose weight. Having a place to actually talk about it where I don’t get shitty platitudes like I do at Weight Watchers (“nothing tastes as good as thin feels”)has been a good thing. Hell, it’s been a great thing. I know it’s not here as a support group, but it certainly makes me feel like there are lots of other fabulous women who struggle too. And the fact that there is one little piece of the world that doesn’t judge me and condemn me for struggling all my life with obesity is glorious, indeed.” –erinfabu
Some thanked Dodai for her shoutout to women with PCOS, while others explain how much they used to hate their bodies when they were overweight, but they were still unhappy even after shedding a few pounds! It was once they learned to not equate their self-worth with the scale that they found themselves happier and healthier.
Reading these comments, I felt like I was surrounded (mostly) by other women who are all in the same boat: At various shapes and sizes, we’re all doing our best to be healthy. But sadly, a few self-hating skinnies with big, really loud media-backed megaphones don’t seem to have any clue what that looks like.
The fact that we’re often faced with their blog posts, advertisements, essays, feature articles, commercials, cover lines, books, etc. doesn’t help, when we’re already struggling with self-acceptance and body love. Hello, MORE news for ya: 40% of us are unhappy with our bodies, says a new survey by Glamour. And 71% of us “feel fat,“ even though only 46% are technically overweight.
Given the vitriol that one lone women’s pub (Marie Claire) seems to think is acceptable to spew about anyone who doesn’t fit into its fashionista definition of beautiful and healthy … is it any wonder that so many of us are paranoid and delusional about our own appearances? I mean, this isn’t exactly news to you, right?
Just look at Demi Lovato … The gorgeous young Disney star went to rehab this week for eating disorders and cutting, triggered by body image issues. This may be an extreme case, but it’s proof that the problem is out of control…
It seems to me every woman could stand to learn something from plus-size model Crystal Renn, who recently said, “I think that, you know, I will never be thin enough or big enough for anybody. So I think through this whole thing I had to just really be happy being who I am, and that’s when I found health.”
It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But I feel like, at least for me, it’s well worth the every pair of jeans, every glimpse of cellulite, every day struggle.
How ’bout you?
I bought June’s issue of Marie Claire for some light airplane reading. Must admit I was lured in by SJP and promises of inside dish on Sex & the City 2. (So excited for May 27!) I was satisfied withafter 16 years of being hopelessly devoted to women’s magazines, I guess I should be comfortable with the patronizing tones that proliferate the glossy lines. Nonetheless, I’m usually caught off guard by one article that makes me do a double-take and mutter outloud, “What the hell?!”
Case in point: this issue’s story entitled, “Freeze Your Fat Away.” Sounds like a bad “advertorial” section, right? No, no, it’s actually a first person piece written by a woman on a mission to eradicate her “secret fat: a stubborn slab across my lower abdomen that no amount of running would remedy.” I assume she means that area just above her pubic hair and under her belly button. An area of fat that can become more cumbersome after pregnancy (the writer notes she has two kids), but that also serves a purpose—to surround and protect the female reproductive organs. Most women, (unless you’re Jackie Warner) have what the writer calls her “band of blubber” and “roll of shame.”
The writer truly felt this that it affected her self-esteem to sport a belly pooch months after her last pregnancy. She says that it became emotionally draining to accept this one, stubborn annoyance on her otherwise fit physique. (Boo hoo.) She wonders if she’s being vain or insecure to go running to a dermatologist’s office for a noninvasive, in-office procedure to do away with it. In the end, she has an epiphany: “Who cares?”
I’m all about experimenting with various types of cardio, weight training, yoga, pilates, whatever to be fitter and more satisfied with your appearance. But a getting zapped by a “fat freezing” machine that runs $1,000 per session for two or more treatments? Really? Yea, yea, MC and the like often feature handbags, stilettos, models and apparently cosmetic procedures that are “aspirational.” But for most women in America, expensive, in-office cryolipolysis (which supposedly works by “extracting heat and cooling the skin so the fat in cells crystallizes, then is slowly eliminated over two months”) is hardly an affordable or practical option.
Tell me: What happened to just doing some good, old fashioned spot-targeting crunches? According to the Mayo Clinic, with enough exercise and proper nutrition, you can reduce the appearance of fat on your lower stomach. Well, the writer asserts that she’s an avid runner and had done her homework at the gym, but was still cringing at her vacation photos. Still, is running off to get her fat frozen her only option? Furthermore, I want to know how the average 18-35 year-old MC reader will benefit from this “skinny J Brand jeans”-wearing writer’s tale? I highly doubt she will benefit whatsoever. She’ll probably just sigh, grab her lower abdominal “bagel” and think to herself, “Wow, I wish I had $1,500 to spend on freezing my fat.” Ugh. That makes me really sad.
What do you think… Do stories like these actually intrigue, inspire or help you in any way? Or do they make you say, “What the hell”?
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