Well, I got a bunch of presents wrapped in super-annoying paper (it tears easily and won't fold properly), Bob's stocking is filled (though part of it is suspiciously box shaped, because some of the contents didn't fit), drivers have shipped their brains by Fed-Ex somewhere nice but their bodies are still driving, I hurt so bad I stayed home today, and I'm in a snarling holiday mood. Perfect, I think, for a vent on the whole Diet Industry "You can't enjoy holiday parties because you'll get fat, no one will love you and YOU'LL DIE ALONE OMG!!!!!!" scare machine that goes into overdrive right about now (just in time for eggnog). Their ads are almost as pervasive as the perfume ads on TV.
(By the way, what is it with all the perfume ads? Do people really want a gift pack of Britney's perfume, or is this a ploy to trick the guy who's desperate for a gift that is nice, but not too personal? And J.Lo's perfume? Is it selling as well as her last album? And what is the "Armarni Code" - I can only assume it's a secret word that gets you into penthouse parties where everyone gets naked? I do miss the old Stetson ads, though - and I find myself wanting a bottle of "Blue Grass" perfume, which I wore constantly (but lightly!) as a teenager.)
(Speaking of work, where I usually post, I'm taking the week between Christmas and New Year's off, so I may not be posting much. If I do, act all delighted - it makes me feel special. You don't have to be delighted, just act it. It's the pretense that counts.)
I blame Wallis Simpson.
(The Duchess of Windsor. Look it up.)
She was the "skinny bitch" who opined "You can never be too rich or too thin". Thanks to her, generations of women have hated themselves.
(This may also be why women buy new purses constantly - maybe they hope the alchemy of the exact right purse and shoes combination will suddenly make them super rich.)
[this paragraph redacted for internalized misogyny.]
But back to Mrs. Simpson; I hear her words quoted regularly, and the question that always comes to my mind is: Why are we giving credence to the words of a known Nazi sympathizer who thought that the total eradication of all Jewish people was an excellent idea?
(Like I said, look it up. And be glad that Edward VIII abdicated; he thought Hitler was a swell guy too.)
There nothing wrong with wanting to resemble society's standards of beauty - studies show that pretty people do get nicer things, better job offers, and bigger bunches of roses (mostly from the geeky lab guys running the studies). Unfair as this is, and no matter how much it should not be the case, it's still perfectly natural to want a piece of the action.
(I myself, have seen the difference in treatment I get from random shallow assholes who wouldn't have given me a second glance when I was fat. They're still assholes, though, so oops! Too bad, so sad. I'd rather be with someone who likes women for their attributes, not their assets, if you get me. Everything else, though, has pretty much remained the same, so I'm guessing that the lab guys were making most of those job offers themselves.)
What isn't good is assuming that anyone who doesn't conform is less worthy by comparison. We all do this - and before anyone gets on my case about how they're not like that, hear me out. It isn't just the pretty that reject non-pretty people - some of the guys that turned me down were pretty unattractive by societal standards, but somehow felt that I wasnt good enough for them because I didn't fit those same standards. I've seen women give other women and men a hard time for being less attractive, and I've seen frankly ugly women snark on someone else's beauty deficiencies. We all do it, even me, and I'm a paragon of tolerance *cough*irony*cough*. I see this all the time. It's part of being human - we naturally create hierarchies. we can break free of this, but it takes effort, and it's hard to leave the herd. Awareness of the tendency is the first step to curbing the habit.
(If you never, ever, cross your heart, make any mean comment about someone else's appearance, I applaud you. I'm not entirely sure I believe you, but I applaud you.)
We are all brainwashed women. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. WE ARE ALL BRAINWASHED. Instead of embracing feminist ideals and saying "to hell with beauty standards!", society has started seriously infecting men with the same ideas. Or, should I say, commercial greed has started preying on another lucrative demographic, and we're encouraging it. It is no better to ogle a man and make suggestive comments about his looks (and conversely, rejecting him for same) than it is for a man to do it to a woman. We do not fix inequality by paying it forward.
And it isn't enough that we occasionally judge others negatively based on appearance; we do it to ourselves, and when we do it to ourselves, we do it constantly. No respite. We heap an amazing amount of hatred on our poor bodies, and current societal standards encourage the hate (as do all beauty and diet related companies).
I dye my hair; I worked hard to lose weight and stay thin. I seriously contemplate going under anaesthesia to have considerable parts of my belly fat surgically excised from my body to achieve an ideal that I know is completely unneccessary to my success. Most days, I can value my talents, my sense of humour, and my brain over my looks. On bad days, all I see is my poochy belly, my huge thighs, and my complete lack of attractiveness. On those days, I think my beautiful body is the ugliest thing on earth.
We are brainwashed. We have created impossible beauty ideals and made ugly the supreme beauty idols of previous ages. Elizabeth Hurley has said that she would kill herself before she got as fat as Marilyn Monroe, the ne plus ultra of beauty in the 1940s and '50s. MM was so beautiful, she seduced an entire nation and its President. Today, we look at her lush soft beauty and think "fat!".
MM has actually become a rallying symbol for the fat acceptance movement.
Yes, she was a size fourteen - in 1940s sizes. Her waist measurement was roughly 26". She was slightly thinner than me. I am a size 16 in 1940s clothing, which translates to a size 8 in modern sizes; this makes her a size 6. Who's a fat cow? I'm bigger than her (though we have the same boob size). Those disgusting rolls of fat that simply hung off her body were 6 sizes smaller than the national average size today (12, and nothing wrong with that).
You could take this information and become utterly depressed, and I wouldn't blame you. But why give in to the manipulations of the
Madison Avenue, come here this instant! Bad dog! Stop spilling anti-wrinkle cream on the carpet and telling us we're ugly crones if we don't use it! *smack*
Instead, take heart in the fact that Marilyn is still considered one of the most beautiful women who ever lived. The current crop of little girls trying their best to take on the characteristics of stick insects in response to the film and television industry's demand that they look thinner and thinner should be pitied, not emulated. No-one will remember them like they remember Monroe.
Damn that Duchess. Years of hating the very substance of our bodies, thinking that thin is the only beautiful, and all on the say-so of a woman who supported eugenics and the sterilization/lobotomization of genetically "imperfect" people (i.e., Jews, gays, blacks, and the mentally/physically disabled).
[redacted for ableist language.]
I am beautiful. You are beautiful. All of us, men and women, are beautiful. We are so much more than the sum of our measurements, no matter what the media, "diet" doctors, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (who hate eggnog and all it stands for), and that asshole guy wearing too much cologne who said our thighs were "cottage cheesy" think. Hate is the most truly unhealthy thing we can do to our bodies. If we are to see the truth of real beauty, then we have no reason to hate anyone, least of all ourselves.
(We could probably hate Asshole Cologne Guy, who was wearing really tacky gold chains and had really bad breath. But why bother? He's suffering without our help.)
In fact, in a world where Marilyn Monroe is too fat, and Callie on Grey's Anatomy is a "plus size" (she's maybe a size 12, more likely a 10), it's not us who's insane. The lunatics are running the asylum, and we must do the only truly honourable thing and lobotomize the lot of them and start over.
In the mean time, have a pastry. Have two, why not. And don't hate yourself in the morning.
[2/25/2010: This entry has been edited for abelist and misogynistic language.]