Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Great Expectations, aka My Soapbox

Women hate their bodies...almost always. I have had countless friends who would incessantly complain about how "fat" they were, when realistically, they were quite thin.
As women, and maybe just people in general, we often times don't see what is really there, but instead what we are most afraid of...what we think we will be judged for...what we think might be photoshopped away if we were ever to appear on the cover of Vogue.
This self-consciousness comes at different levels for different people. Sometimes it's just what is seen in the mirror. Sometimes it's amplified in our minds when we look at a photograph of ourselves. For the bigger variety of us, it's every time we step outside and hear a group of people laughing.
The absolute ridicule that comes with the outrageous expectation of beauty in the media, which trickles quickly into the same-think of society, is exactly the reason even some of the most beautiful women cringe at the sight of their own picture. They know that they just aren't good enough. They just aren't skinny enough. Everyone will hate them because they weigh 5 pounds more than they did last year.

In a day and age where everything must be PC, the issue of weight and body image is so largely overlooked. Sure, it gets talked about, but little is ever done. Why are models and actresses who wear a size 8 "plus sized"? I am currently on the large end of a size 8, and I am only 5 pounds over a normal BMI range. Size 8 pants aren't even sold at specialty plus sized stores, so why would a "plus sized model" be wearing not plus sized pants? Why are we promoting and celebrating the frame of an average "normal sized" model, when it is significantly underweight?
Adversely, it's offensive when people of one culture dress to emulate the harshest stereotypes of other cultures, so why is dressing someone up in a fat suit comedy for the mere sake of comedy?
I was so excited when the show Mike & Molly first came out, because it finally allowed larger people to have starring roles in something; however, it wasn't long before I stopped watching, as I was simply saddened by the constant reference to their size. Why does that need to be such an integral part of the show's premise?
It doesn't.
I was watching another show the other night where one of the supporting characters, who was supposed to be struggling with her weight (but again, probably wore a size 8), was always shown stuffing her face with fried foods and desserts. What most people don't seem to realize is that, for most of us who have/had reached a point of obesity--it didn't happen like that. It was gradual and much more subtle. Even when I was at my largest, my biggest problem was the way I put foods together, not so much that I always felt the need to be eating something, and not so much that I only ate things that skyrocketed in calories. Sure, those types of foods are definitely a leading cause in weight gain, and sure, I obviously ate more than I needed to, but the way people are portrayed in the media with these foods is just plain offensive. It's certainly more complex than that.
People spend so much time complaining about the obesity problem that is facing America right now, but instead of reaching out to help people with obesity as a culture, we're kicking them when they're down. There is nothing funny about a person for simply having weight issues, and it's ridiculous to me that we allow that stereotype. We need to stop laughing at people for struggling, and offer them help instead (which is my official statement of support for Michelle Obama's Let's Move! program...we need to be teaching people how to eat and maintain a healthy body, not just expecting it from them).
Coming from a person who spent a great deal of their life self-soothing with food (and even then, I wasn't double-fisting Twinkies as I sat crying in front of the TV), the worse people feel about themselves, the less likely they are to get up and do something about it. The less someone feels accepted, the more they withdraw. Maybe if we started treating big people with some decency, we can make a much bigger impact when they try to lose weight.

And they usually do.


  1. Wow, very well put together! It brings to mind your "vegetarian stage". You were CONVINCED by cutting out all fat and focusing just on vegetables, the fat would just fall away! When in reality, you gained again. So proud of your successes! Love you!

  2. Jamie!! First of all, I must express how delighted I am to catch up with you over the blogosphere!! Hello!
    Secondly, I enjoyed reading this post. It's very well-written, and definitely a topic that ALL WOMEN have encountered in one way or another. It's so hard for women to appreciate their body's, and love themselves just the way they were made without falling into the trap of media's standards of "beauty".
    I look forward to following your posts! And hope you'll continue to enjoy mine, heehee. Oh how I miss Korea...hope life has been swell! I'm thinking of mayhaps going back in the fall...nothing is for certain yet though!!
    And also, you are look fantastic! (I may have lurked your facebook...). But yes, you look absolutely vibrant lady!

    <3 <3

  3. Why, thank you JoAnn:)
    JD and I are actually moving back to the states this summer. Getting pretty excited, but scared all at once. Haha;)