Great, lucid post from Joshua David at Jezebel:
Being thin is a priority for some people. This is a fine and perfectly valid thing. But your priority is yours and yours alone, and the ease with which one can make this a priority is irrelevant. It’s obvious if you make the same arguments about any other lifestyle choice that it’s absurd on its face. You know what’s easy? Being really knowledgeable about film and film theory. It’s something that I make a priority in my life. I don’t go to the gym; I go home and watch French New Wave films. But people aren’t crashing the comment section of reviews for Michael Bay movies to tell fans how easy it is to hang out and watch François Truffaut films and how much better you’ll feel, if you just make it a priority.
If you place a great deal of importance on being thin and athletic and in amazing cardiovascular shape, I think that’s just swell. You made something a priority in your life and you are doing things you enjoy. That’s great and I encourage you. But you’re no better than the person who doesn’t place a priority on those. Your choices aren’t better than the person who is fat and in great shape (I ran a half-marathon at 275 pounds, I know from being fat and in shape), or who is thin and in terrible shape, or even the person that’s fat and out of shape. Those people have different priorities than you, and to suggest that their priorities are inherently and obviously lesser, whether with outright nastiness or couched in pseudoscientific – hell, even solid scientific – concern trolling, is high-minded arrogance.
As someone trying to slim down — preferably by early September when I start teaching two college classes a week, (i.e. being more publicly visible than working alone) — this hit home.
I admit it. I’d easily shed 30 pounds in a few months if I immediately stopped consuming: alcohol, cheese, any sweets, bread/pasta/rice — and made time to exercise vigorously for an hour every single day.
I’d rather weigh a larger size and enjoy my life.
I lost some serious weight a few years ago by going on a super-strict diet, the kind where you measure everything you consume, eat no fruit and in which my only allowed “snacks” were a tiny handful of almonds or sour, wet, cold, unflavored o% fat yogurt.
Neighbors were asking my husband: “Is she OK?” Meaning — the weight loss was so quick and noticeable (and I enjoyed it, believe me), they assumed serious illness.
But it wasn’t sustainable.
Women’s bodies are used every day in our toxic culture to shame us into silence and submission, as though wearing a smaller size of clothing somehow makes one of us more valuable in the world than another.
Which is bullshit.
Some of the nastiest women I’ve ever met were petite and chic, and some of the kindest are pillowy and zaftig.
And some women simply have no time or no money to focus all their energy on the size of their ass. And/or they work multiple jobs and/or face underlying health issues and/or are helping needy family members — all of which make getting and staying skinny a much lower priority than mere economic and emotional survival.
Here’s a lovely and inspiring post about taking a photo of herself — while overweight — by a professional photographer, L.A.-based Stephanie Simpson. As I did for the AT cover shoot, she had the services of a make-up and hair artist and a pro shooter to do it.
When the AT team of five (!) — makeup/hair, photographer, art director, stylist and assistant — came to my one-bedroom apartment, flying in from Chicago and Atlanta to NY just for me — I was excited and happy. I could have been terrified but I really enjoyed it.
I think my confidence both surprised the team and made the day, and the photos, much better than we probably expected.
I’ve modeled twice now at this size, both times for pro photographers, one time (yes, really) in a bathing suit, albeit with most of me underwater demonstrating water aerobics. It was a lot of fun.
Yes, I would like to be thinner. But until I am, I do not measure my sole value in the world — whether to friends, family, work — by the size of my ass.
The size of our hearts — as evidenced by our acts of compassion and generosity — and our brains’ ability to create art and science and music and dance and solve difficult problems — matters most.