Before you get all riled up reading this, please refer to this. And note: I have a lot of crap running through my brain right now and this could get jumbled.
Okay. As you all know, I myself am a woman who struggles with my self image and weight. I absolutely believe that the media promotes an unhealthy body image for women – to a certain degree. But as someone who also has a handle on reality, I understand why so many skinny women are used in advertising, particularly for men’s products. Come on, how would Axe sell its nauseating line of “manly” body fragrance if the spots showed a dude being chased down by a herd of plus-sized, jiggly women? I don’t think many people would jump at the chance to buy that, no matter what reality is…they are selling a FANTASY. Period.
Along the same lines, it pisses me off to hear people bitch about how thin runway models are. Please note: there is a HUGE difference between high fashion and ready to wear. For high fashion, the women are simply over-glamorized clothes hangers. They are not SUPPOSED to be curvy – they are selling an ideal, the actual piece that hangs off of them. They are not selling themselves in it. On the other hand, I fully believe that larger models absolutely should be used to model and showcase ready to wear fashion as these items need to show how they look on a body. That is their purpose – to be worn by actual humans. Therefore, it makes sense to show how these clothes look on a variety of sizes – INCLUDING small sizes. If we’re going to embrace diversity, that means you can’t begin to alienate the skinny.
That said, I have very strong feelings on perpetuating the idea that being larger AND unhealthy is okay. It absolutely IS.NOT. Show me a curvy model with cellulite who believes in eating well and exercising regularly and I fully support her having a successful, long career. Show me a slightly overweight, totally out of shape model and I resolutely object. At the same time, I equally object to interviewing skinny-fat models who talk about how they never work out and eat anything they want. Guess what, lady? You’re just as likely to drop dead of heart failure as a visibly overweight person is.
Bottom line – we all need to work on being HEALTHY. Who gives a flying fuck what size you are if you are taking care of yourself? I know that I will never be a two, or a four, or even a six. I’ll be LUCKY if I can ever squeeze these wasted-on-me childbearing hips into a size eight. But you know what? I’m okay with being a 10 or a 12 because I know I’m doing everything I can to be my healthy best.
To the models who bitch about the standards they are held to – shut the fuck up. You CHOSE this career knowing full well what was expected of you. Same with actresses. It is your job to be pretty and thin. You get paid to work out every day and hire personal chefs. There’s nothing wrong with gaining a few pounds if you are still being healthy, so I do wish the media would back off on that crap, but if you can’t handle the pressure of being in the public eye, you shouldn’t have chosen this path in life.
And one more thing…at some point, we as a society need to begin explaining what Photoshop is to young girls so they don’t feel the need to hold themselves to a completely unattainable standard of beauty. Advertising sells. It sells the ideal we all pursue. That’s why these images are so common. You’ll never get away from that, but it’s important to educate young girls on this process so they understand (and tell the boys about it, too, so their expecations are a little more realistic). And again, I do think there are a lot of products that can sell just as well by featuring a diverse range of people…but just as stupid things like homophobia, sexism and racism will always exist on some level, so will prejudice against those who are overweight.
And I’m not done yet. It’s not okay to pick on someone because of their size. It’s okay to be big and beautiful…but only to an extent. If you choose to overeat and not exercise, you are deciding to put your health at risk. It’s sickening to see how quickly the percentage of overweight children continues to grow. Don’t let your bad decisions negatively impact your children’s lives. Kids these days are fucking ruthless. Even when I was a kid, I remember being called ”Thunder Thighs” when I was heavier and then “Jolly Green Giant” and “Tree” when I hit a growth spurt and got tall and lanky. That hurt a lot.
It’s not okay that the “normal” kids make fun of the fat kids, but I seriously believe that there should be some sort of child neglect charge that can be brought against parents who let their children become obese. It is NOT FAIR to them. They learn from you and if you teach them to comfort themselves with food and not exercise, you are perpetuating a dangerous and unnecessary cycle. It is not easy to stay healthy, and it’s okay to not eat perfectly all the time, but come on. Parents have GOT to be held accountable for the actions they pass on to their kids. Parents can be charged with leaving their kids home alone, or in a car alone, or buying alcohol for minors, but not for overfeeding their kids. All are irresponsible, but only one is overlooked.
Which brings me to my next point. When we were on vacay, Mr. T said something about not believing in food addiction, that saying you are addicted to food is just an excuse. I got heated and yelled a little because I truly believe all overweight people have some level of food addiction that gets them and keeps them heavy. How can you say alcoholism is a disease, but not food addiction? You don’t need to drink liquor to survive, but you absolutely, 100% need to eat to live. How is it so hard to understand that food is addictive if people are expected to consume it every single day? And don’t even get me started on the fucking food industry and the chemicals they put in foods to make them addicitive. You can’t quit eating. You will fucking die. Even when you overcome your dependency on food, it will forever be in front of you, tempting you. You can throw out all the alcohol or keep drugs out of the house, but there is no way you can avoid interacting with food.
I’m running out of steam here. I know I’ve made some huge generalizations that won’t apply to 100% of cases, but I’m just so sick of some of these debates that I read about. Whether it’s Dove’s campaign for real beauty being bashed because Dove is owned by the same people who own Axe or Glamour running articles on big and beautiful models (size 8 is so not big, by the way), I feel like some of the most important points are being completely overlooked. There are circumstances that dictate the need for super skinny women, but there is also a lack of focus on being truly healthy. It starts with parenting and continues through the media and social pressures. Women need to know HOW to love themselves, whether they are big, small or normal – whatever the fuck that is.