The "you're fat and ugly" issue has been my pet peeve for quite some time now. From the medical point of view I completey accept and comprehend the fact that being overweight deteriorates one's health. And the "medical reason" (for me) is the only reason good enough to embark on the yourney of weight loss.
A recent article by J.K. Rowling sparked my enthusiasm for the topic again and I decided to write a post about it. Around that time I also went to Neisha's concert. I noticed imediately as she got on stage that she lost quite some weight and I wondered whether that was a rational decision she made prior to this major concert. About a week later, when my best friend came over for a drink, she explained this mystery by saying that she watched Neisha appear in a Sunday evening TV show (prior to the concert) where she said she was working out because she wanted to look good for the concert. It was just what I thought it was.
But it remains a mystery to me why a woman like her with substantial talent, a good singing voice and a firm educational background in music would go there. I understand that looks is very important for big-(fake)-boobed blondes without any sort of talent for music. Their looks is their ticket to success, but why would a woman who's already succeded because of her talent (even when she was overweight) want to lose weight? To attract more fans? (But would she really?) To look better? And, anyway, what does it mean to look better? Boyfriend and I have completely different tastes in clothing, shoes and what looks good on women. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What is beautiful for me isn't beautiful for someone else. But generally speaking, 0ur society doesn't treat overweight people as beautiful. So did she lose the weight to be more socially acceptable, to come closer to beiny beautiful?
It's absurd. You have to be abnormally thin, you have to look like a model, have perfect hair and make-up and matching clothing and only then you're considered beautiful. Like J.K. Rowling says, it doesn't matter if you're a benevolent person, if you're happy, energetic, witty, intelligent, broad-minded or independent, it only matters whether you're thin or not. I believe it's also got to do with weak self-esteem. People who have a good opinion of themselves will never submit to the advertisments like "Lose as much as 30 kg with our new pills". And let's face it - the dieting industry is blooming as wildly as it can. Not a week passes in which I haven't seen several big advertisments for "revolutional" new products that just melt away the fat. People who buy such crap and such lies are naive and god help them if they haven't yet learned that you can only lose weight in one way: consume less than you expand. The dieting industry sends a very powerful message that sinks its claws deep in this low self-esteem world and the message is that you're not good as you are, but that you could be happier, more attractive, richer, more powerful, more influential, more loveable, more popular if only you were thinner. (Interestingly, the same industry also likes to remind you that while using their dieting pills your can eat as heartily as you wish - thus in reality gaining more kilos and thus even more desperatelly buying their products, which means more money for them.)
Many (young) women buy this without reflecting on it - they just accept the visual truth of the matter - no fat actress was ever proclaimed beautiful, famous, loved and adored (or so it seems). People seem to love skinny people, our culture values extreme thinness, but hardly ever taking into account that many actresses/singers/spoilt, rich brats have unfulfilling personal lives, marred by depression, constant fear of losing popularity, addiction, divorce or inability to form fullfiling and lasting relationships. The biggest achievement of the skinny girls is that they're just that: thin. Thankyouverymuch, but when I'm 95 and on my death bed, I'd prefer to have some other achievements to remember and I'd like to have people around me who shared their lives with me, in whom I could confide, with whom I could share the joys of my life. Being thin matters very little in the grand scope of things and yet our society makes such a big thing out of it. Why? Is fat really so unattractive? Is a rounder face so disgusting? Is a fuller behind a sin?
What I think is a sin is not taking care of yourself. I do not mean obsessive four-hour daily sessions at a local beauty salon. My point is to recognize your body's true needs: the need for good, healthy, nourishing and diverse foods, the need for pure water, the need for fresh air and the need for exercise which increases endurance (medium activity endurance exercise, such as running, cycling or swimming). If you run 3 to 4 times a week, eat diverse and nutritious foods and still are overweight: deal with it. There is nothing so wholly terrible (not even being fat) as the fact that you're not able to embrace yourself for who you are (and how you look). Again, a fuller body is not a sin. If you're embitered, full of hatred, have a propensity to be mean to others, are revengeful, disinterested, uneducated because of your own laziness and hate yourself, that's a far bigger sin than just the fact that you're fat.
In order to be more healthy, overweight people should aspire to lower their weight, but not because then they'll look better, but because they'll have much lower risk for suffering an infarction and other cardiovascular complications, which are the number one cause of mortality among Slovenians. Sadly, most people diet because they want to look better. They might lose weight, but their negative attitude towards themselves won't change, it will stay with them and perpetuate the negativity directed against themselves.
It hardly comes as a surprize that only 2% of Slovenian women, accorting to a Dove research, consider themselves beautiful. It shocks me. There are more than 2% of thin women in Slovenia, so thinness is not something that makes you feel beautiful or special. The women on Dove billboards, who are 89 years old, have lots of freckles over face and body, are overweight, have a crooked nose respectively... aren't ugly. They're beautiful, but not by the standards of bleached-blondes with artificial boobs, a Twiggy-like-feather-light body, a rhinoplasty and collagen implants in their lips. Have you ever paused to think how very ALIKE all these women look? In the words of dear Rowling, their function in the world is nothing else but supporting both: the manufacturing of crocodile-skin handbags and the breeding of rat-sized dogs.
I have often bragged here how well I look, but this has got nothing to do with how I really look. It has to do with being proud of myself, my achievements and the abilities of my body, my perseverance, independence and sense. If I posted my photos, you might not find me beautiful (or you would), but that would not waver my self-esteem or even get me thinking that there might be a grain of truth in your words. Frankly, I don't even care if I'm beautiful. Even though (mostly men) have often complimented me on my looks, I always winced at such moments. I didn't have so much to do with not being able to accept a compliment than it had to do with the fact that I wanted people to notice me, myself, the person behind the facade, who's intelligent, opinionated, daring, curious, decisive and independent. I knew beauty's of short duration (our society does not consider people over forty as beautiful) and thus I'd rather be something other than beautiful.
Labels: random ramblings