Recently I have been taking stock of my 35 year old, “not size 0” body. I stand in front of the mirror, suck in the tummy and peruse the yardage. My boobs are still amazing looking, my ass is alright – and hell – the guys seem to like it so I won’t complain, and I have a little tummy that seems to shrink and expand according to the whim of the gods. But, all in all I think I look aright. And that is a pretty big deal. It sucks that it is a big deal, but that is the way the low fat cookie crumbles these days.
Like most women, I have not always been happy with my figure. I have struggled with my weight and I developed some “issues” along the way. I attempted to become anorexic, but realized that I liked eating to much and decided to go with Bulimia instead. For me, puking was a WAY better option than skipping meals. I learned the ins and outs of eating disorders by watching made for TV movies like “Kate’s Secret”, “When Friendship Kills” – which my friends and I just call “Lexi Anorexi”, and “For The Love of Nancy” – starring Tracey Gold who was really anorexic, so it gave the movie authenticity. At any rate, I picked up some good tricks on how to hide food, vomit quietly and pretend that water with lemon is a Big Mac. I also learned that Meredith Baxter Birney is absolutely frightening when she is binge eating. If creepy wind chimes start playing when you open a bag of cookies – you are in trouble. (Watch this clip. Get to about 5 minutes and WATCH OUT! It is AMAZING. It makes you wonder if all bulimics lose their table manners, or if is a gradual thing that comes with hunger.)I also learned that smoking will suppress your appetite. What they don’t tell you is that while smoking helps you curb that demon hunger – it will also make you look like Hume Cronyn by the time you are 40.
By the time High School was over, I had finished my eating disorder phase. I was pretty skinny and pretty happy. Now, flash forward to 2000 and say hello to the whale formerly known as Alicia. I know, I hate when skinny girls say they are fat too – but I was. I am 4’11 and I weighed 150 pounds. That ain’t little. That’s fat. Put it this way – I was told that I looked like a walrus had eaten me and just left my head. F-A-T fat. But no one called me fat. My boyfriend never said a word. And I wish someone had said something.
There has been a slow and steady “pro Fat” movement going on in the states, and I for one do not like it. Now, I know some of you are going to get your knickers in a bunch here, but hear me out.
Being overweight is unhealthy and just plain unseemly. I’m not talking about a little pooch or ten extra pounds. I am talking about being fat. I am talking about the kind of fat where you look like a sausage in your sweat pants. This is a bad thing. I think these “Fat Acceptance” groups, and “Big is Beautiful” web pages are hurting more than helping. When I was fat, I wish someone had said to me, “Hey Alicia. Um, you might wanna lay off the tacos and cheeseburgers for a while because you are really big. Why don’t you just grow a mullet and swear off men forever.”
I think the “body acceptance” pendulum has swung a little to far the other way now. I mean sure, not everyone can be a size 0. I have accepted that I will never be as thin as Sarah Michelle Gellar, and I am now alright with that. I get to have big boobs and an ass instead. But do we need to say it’s alright to be fat? Have we women become so insecure that we can’t take a little criticism?
Men seem to have found a nice balance – well, most men. I think men worry about their appearance as much as we do, but the difference is – they don’t let it rule their lives. Men don’t fixate on that the way we do. And you can blame the media all you want, but you rarely hear a guy complaining how he doesn’t look like Brad Pitt and start to cry. Men don’t stage protest in front of magazines because the magazine had the audacity to put a model on the cover who is in good shape. Guys who are overweight just seem to shrug it off, or get that beer belly to the gym. They don’t seem to have a shit load of psychological issues about it.
And I think that is where we need to be ladies. Sure it’s great that magazines are putting models in their glossy pages that have a belly, but I don’t think that it is the answer. We need to be able to be honest with ourselves and the world around us.
So next time someone says, “Hey, you’re fat!” Just say thanks. It’s nice that someone loves you enough to be honest.