I am a huge fan of Kate Harding's Shapely Prose (have I added it to my links list yet? Well, I'm going to), and I heartily endorse her blog for anyone struggling with loving acceptance of their bodies. I usually read it to keep up on size issues, but occasionally the comments are pure comedy gold:
From this entry on the asshat who keeps Oprah on a terrible yo-yo diet instead of allowing the poor woman to understand that with all her accomplishments, she is also a beautiful woman at any size:
spacedcowgirl, on May 5th, 2009 at 9:46 pm Said:
(But yo-yo dieting isn’t bad for you, so no problem! You just join WW over and over again until you die!)
I originally typed “yo-ho” dieting by mistake. I should write a book called The Pirate Diet.
MacNabb, on May 5th, 2009 at 10:40 pm Said:
Mmmm… salt meat and hardtack full of weevils. I’m in!
spacedcowgirl, on May 5th, 2009 at 10:46 pm Said:
Don’t forget the scurvy! It does hurt to eat when your gums are bleeding, so more than likely you’ll be able to “shed quite a few pounds” that way.
A Sarah, on May 5th, 2009 at 10:48 pm Said:
spacedcowgirl and MacNabb, be serious. Do you have any IDEA how many POINTS are in a tablespoon of WEEVILS? You can’t expect to lose weight that way. Better go for the breast of parrot cooked in pam with steamed broccoli and despair.
Steamed broccoli and despair - I've eaten that dish many times.
You know, I read Kate's blog not only because I love what she has to say, but because I still struggle with my own programming about what is beautiful and what is not, including, to my great shame, issues with fat. I struggle every day. I weigh (currently) 144 lbs (thanks, Lyrica!), I'm 5'3", I'm a size 8-10. I am, by all measurements of size except the one promoted by the media, normal. Slim, even.
Yet, when I look at my belly and hips, I see fat. How insane is that? and if I, at a size many women torture themselves to try and achieve, think I'm fat, then exactly who is being rational about fat? I'm taking a wild guess here, and saying: Not the Media. And I think too many of our opinions as a society are formed by looking at the 1% of women who are "thin enough" to be models or movie stars. The women on Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives range from size 0 to size 4. How many of you know a bunch of women who are a size four? That's ten sizes below the national average of 14.
Yes, I struggle. But I know that the way to be happy about my size and shape is to love it as it is. I'm working on it. There is nothing inherently virtuous about being thin, just as there is nothing inherently virtuous about excercising for two hours a day and eating nothing but steamed vegetables. Eat healthy and stay active by all means - I am a big fan of fruit myself, and often prefer it over chocolate, but that doesn't make chocolate "bad", no more than it makes fruit "good". However, assuming that this life shouldn't be enjoyed in all its variety is madness (and, if you're religious, a waste of an incredible gift from the deity of your choice). Life is not something to be endured, and your body is not something to be hated. One could even argue that consistent self-hatred is bad for one's health; it's certainly murder on one's social life.
Just like Kate says in her Don't You Realize Fat is Unhealthy? post, "Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle do cause health problems, in people of all sizes. This is why it’s so fucking crucial to separate the concept of “obesity” from “eating crap and not exercising.”
Don't confuse my fat acceptance with an endorsement of bad lifestyle habits - but understand that the two do not go hand in hand. Also understand, that as a person who has kept 60+ pounds off for over 10 years, that I am a freak. My eating habits were badly distorted, and I ate to self-medicate the depression I suffered from my teenage years through my mid twenties. I grew up with very fat-phobic family members, and these issues contributed to make me fat, even though genetically, I appear to be predisposed to be fairly slim. But I've been fat, and being fat put me in a much more hostile environment than being thin. ***
And stay away from the side dish of despair, no matter how many people want to push it on you.
***I know that some of you will want to post and say "but being thin is no picnic", but can we not play Oppression Olympics today, please? I know that women get shit at every size, but there's a level of privilege that comes with being thin that fat people don't have, and I'm talking about fat people issues today.
p.s. buy her book!