America’s Next Bill Clinton!


Women willing to go to jail to lose weight

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2008-01-06-diet-confessions_N.htm

Because one of the classes I am taking this semester is “Women’s Ways of Knowing” (A class on feminist epistemology and women’s experiences), I am focusing a lot of the notes on body image issues – at least for the next few days anyway.

I ran into this story just reading the news last night, and realized that weight issues and body image is another one of my male privileges – and what’s a male privilege is also a check for women’s plight. The summary of the article is below.

Nearly a quarter (23%) would spend a week in jail; 23% would shave their head; 22% would wear a bikini on TV; and 21% would trade 10 years of life, according to the survey of 1,000 women 18 and older. Most (85%) would rather have an extra toe than 50 extra pounds.

How is it that women have gone through such great lengths just to look the way they’re “supposed” to? Health issues aside – this has nothing to do with health, but rather, the media representation of what a woman is supposed to look like, and it bothers me.

Rather than focusing on healthy lifestyles, women are made out to be Wonder People who are supposed to be everything that’s of the male fantasy. Companies are selling diet pills, gym memberships, and alternative foods just so women could lose weight – and are these women’s health ever taken into account? – of course not. Their goal is to firstly make money off these women, and secondly, setting unrealistic standards for women – standards that few will ever meet. Both the corporations and the media are responsible for this.

What bothers me even more about this article is the fact that one of the survey questions finds that women would rather be the “friendly chubby girl” than the “pretty witch.”

What the hell does that even mean? Why was the question even asked? As if women have to fall into one or the other category. I tell you what it does – it divides women. It divides them into “thin little bitches”, and “fat housewives.” That bothers me, too, because it pits women against one another and the solidarity of the feminist movement and puts it at a stall.

The fact is I know plenty of women – both thin and heavy, whose significant others love them, and who are my dearest friends. The worth of a woman is not based on her weight.

Of course, we ask how the women surveyed could ever got to the point that they’d be willing to lose these things to lose weight …the answer? The patriarchy. One you’ve been socialized that your body is all you’re worth, it kind of feels that way after a while.

It gets to the point where it’s sickening – that no matter how a woman looks, she suffers from it. Ever since they are little girls, pretty women have been sexualized and in some cases, assaulted. “Ugly” women, though, are seen as the outcasts of the world and are forced to go through diets and bizarre ways of losing weight.

In short, they’re fucked either way. If you’re pretty, you get treated/viewed as a slut and piece of meat, and if you’re not, you’re treated like you’re not worth anything …

I once dated a girl who said for a period of time in her life, she gained a lot of weight because she didn’t want to risk being sexually assaulted – but then she was known as the fat bitch.

That’s not a fair trade. Being human and loving one’s body shouldn’t be a trade.