Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Keep Your Thin Off My Body

Lovely article in the ol' NY Times this morning. I like my news like I like my coffee--early in the morning with no milk or sugar thank you very much. And though the NYT can lean towards self-righteous masturbation sometimes, I still find it preferable to the local news source, which is 3/4 police reports and 1/4 bubblegum. Anyways, the article...

A month or so ago I read an article in the Utne Reader about obesity. It did not, however, make me want to run to the gym or eat celery for dinner as most articles on obesity tend to do even though I am not on any scale overweight. The article was about how we, as a society, have turned obesity into a sort of plague. We healthy individuals who have managed to resist this dread disease must quarantine those who have succumbed so that we, too, do not fall victim. But then, I find it is always beneficial to look at the other side of the coin just to make sure that you haven't become a complete bastard. The argument in this Utne article was a one-up for the self-esteem of overweight or "obese" individuals everywhere.

As I said, I am not obese, overweight, or even slightly on the chunky side. However, I have suffered much at the words of weight-watching nazis and so can understand the frustration that goes along with feeling out of place in my own skin. I cannot, however, imagine the bullshit that heavier individuals must combat every day. Everywhere I look I see superthin models (they probably couldn't whisk egg whites without pulling a muscle, but that's okay because we like our women frail and incompetent), magazine articles proclaiming that you can LOSE TEN POUNDS IN THREE DAYS followed by other magazine articles on how to bake the most decadent quadruple-layer chocolate temptation sin orgasm brownies. I see ads for lipo, breast enhancement, botox, skin creme that has gold dust in it or something absurd like that, and this isn't even touching the tip of the iceberg. I'm still standing on land looking at the iceberg through a pair of binoculars.

The point, the belabored point, is that if you live in this country you probably have a fucked up body image whether or not you are obese. I've been there. I'm better than I used to be, but I still have days when I believe that the girl staring back at me from the front of that Cosmo magazine has not been airbrushed and that she was born with those boobs. One article in Utne Reader isn't going to change the mindset of this nation, but now that it's hit the NYT I'm feeling pretty good about the idea of body-image anarchy. I think we all forget, time to time, that life is not a contest, and that living is the point of being alive. Humans, thin, average, heavy, obese, are still humans, and you, yes you skinny minnie, probably have something in common with that obese girl you gave the evil eye to on the bus this morning.

It is my firm belief that we have more to worry about than obesity in this country. Take, for example, the scolding the American ambassador to Canada gave the Canadian government for publishing a document on torture with our name on it(it listed the countries who use torture...including the US, Guantanamo--which is another word for the US in my opinion--, and Israel). After the scolding Canada promptly erased all three of the aforementioned countries. Now, Canada, when will you learn that the truth doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things? Not to get off topic, but when we have problems like this are we really still wasting our time scolding obese people? People who may have little control over their weight (in spite of the American idea that if you just work hard enough you can achieve the American Dream) in the first place?

Enough. Click on all three links above (2 articles and one news broadcast) and get busy thinking.

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