Thursday, December 5, 2013
In this corner we have Fit Mom, who has (I will say it) an enviable figure, and who apparently had 3 children in as many years. (I will not be snarky and say that some of them may have been borrowed for the picture). She asks what YOUR excuse is... And in the other corner, we have Chrystal Bourgon of Curvy Girl Lingerie, who encourages women of all sizes (I guess, though it's mostly plus-sized who have been stepping up) to post pictures of themselves in lingerie. Her shop specializes in plus-size lingerie. She promotes body diversity and acceptance. Fit Mom, Maria Kang, says that society, in normalizing and even applauding the acceptance of plus-sized women, even those who can be termed obese, is, put bluntly, killing itself. Chrystal Bourgon says it's okay to be larger. Large. Very large. Also, that size is not a reliable predictor of health. Also, there's the meme making the rounds on Facebook that says that (and I am paraphrasing) that protruding bones in animals is seen as a sign of neglect and abuse, whereas in women it's seen as a sign of beauty. And all this in December, when you can hardly save yourself from Christmas cookies, candy canes and buffets. So where are we in the discourse? I don't think it's a discourse any more, even if it ever was, which I feel doubtful about. It's a secondary national shouting match, following health care, gun control and the conviction that Obama is trying to turn us into a socialist state. Where we're all fat, except Michelle doesn't want that. I myself am living proof that a person can be fat and healthy, because I was. I am also living proof that it can impact your health, because my numbers (which I actually believe in) are worse than they used to be. Now....would they be there if I were thinner? That, is, of course, the question. Interestingly, a small change, really just a bit more mindfulness, in my diet, lowered my blood sugar number, so that's interesting right there. My blood pressure seems to be well-controlled with medication and I'm also not sure that has much to do with my weight, because my father had high blood pressure at a very well-accepted 165 lbs. So some of this may be genetics and I should have chosen my parents better. Or, it's me...and I should choose my food more carefully. But then we get to the whole sexy thing. Are plus-sized women supposed to feel, be perceived as, and be sexy? Is that a thing, as the kids like to say? Well...I am plus-sized and yes, I am perceived as sexy, and I feel sexy, and I enjoy sex. Not all the time, of course, or by all people, but enough to suit me. Is that bad? Of course, this brings us to the national dichotomy, of all women should look young and sexy but not engage in sex other than when a man wants her to...sometimes. Sex is such a trap! Sexuality is such a trap! I guess the real question here is, should fat women be permitted to be sexual? Should they permit themselves to be sexual? Or are women only supposed to indulge one bodily appetite, and they should choose which one, and stick to that? There's another meme that says (again I paraphrase) that the way to make a section of society tractable is to make them focus on their appearance and what they eat. Something like that. Also, and I'll throw this in, if you keep half of society borderline hungry all the time, they're not going to be thinking about all that much else. It's like needing to pee. It fills all the available space in your mind. Big is seen as powerful. Big men, big countries, big trucks...all seen as powerful. The bigger the better. (Also breasts, unless they're attached to a big woman). But big women? Oh, hell no. A woman who unapologetically takes up space? Um, not good. Big women scare society, or Society. But at the same time, being fat is seen as being lazy, out of control, self-indulgent. That every plus-sized woman spends her days on the couch watching Lifetime movies (because there are almost no more soap operas) and eating bon-bons. Or, going through the drive-through at McDonald's in her 15-year-old minivan with the sprung suspension, and buying the family sack of Big Macs and eating it herself. But there are, in fact, fat women who eat sensibly. And exercise regularly. Could they get thinner? Oh, probably. But would the degree of deprivation be worth it? I just don't know. Back to health. As I've said before, my husband's family sort of specializes in plus-sized women. (It's those good Mediterranean genes). They do NOT have blood pressure problems, because the other thing they got, other than asses, is low blood pressure. Also no diabetes...doesn't run in the family. So, yes, seen in that light, they're healthy. There are also heart issues in that family, but it hits the average-sized men. They die young. The comfortably padded women live into their 80's and 90's. Now, to get back to where I started, I think that some people, and Fit Mom is probably among them, are offended by the sight of fat. Wobbly, jiggly fat. Uncovered, unapologetic fat. And, to be honest, jiggles and rolls sort of bother me, too. I have no problem with being big, I've been big, or at least biggish, all my life. Being wobbly, jiggly, whatever, bothers me. I mind that I don't have a waist. But I don't EVER have a waist! Does it make me bad? It makes me dislike myself sometimes, when there's not an especially good reason to. But back to society and beauty--that tells us that we should not have jiggles. Soft spots. Cushions. You can call them all sorts of things, you can put a good or bad slant on it. Even though I do it too (and I try not to, but I do do it) I think that what it comes down to is that we are all too quick to judge. We judge by what we see, not by what is below the surface--literally and figuratively. Our actual physical health lurks below the surface, as does the quality of our characters and our souls.