I am going to lose it completely.
Some of you read Kristen Lamb, who writes a blog about writing. It’s extremely popular and usually very helpful. But her latest post was a digression — an extended piece about being a size 10/12 and why she feels fat:
I am healthy, have beautiful skin and hair. I have enough energy to power a small city and am never sick, but I am still a size 10-12 and 170 pounds.
Why is it no one looks like me?
When we look on TV, we are confronted with extremes–super skinny or clinically obese. We are calling anorexics “beautiful” and calling dangerously obese women “curvy.” We are an a country that is dying because of euphemisms. I hear parents call morbidly obese children “husky,” “big-boned” or “muscular.” We have retailers calling anorexics “curvy.”
I get it. I’ve written about this as well.
But, seriously — it is time for women to move on.
Every time a healthy woman feels compelled to discuss the size of her ass or thighs or hips I want to throw a piece of furniture. Yes, being fat is annoying and unhealthy and no one makes pretty clothes for fatties.
I’m overweight, and have been since 2003 when I packed on 23 pounds in one year — the year I wrote my first book, traveling alone around the U.S., interviewing victims of horrific gun violence and crime, and dealing, alone, with my mother’s 3-inch-wide brain tumor and surgery in Vancouver. I was too damn distracted to even notice.
I’ve gained even more since then. Ugh. I’m not thrilled, believe me, to need to lose 40+ pounds. But we need to stop talking about this, and this is why I feel so strongly.
The larger issue here — pun intended — is this:
Whining about weight is the biggest fucking distraction that women indulge in! We have much bigger fish to fry!
Whining about weight is a huge time-suck.
Whining about weight teaches the girls in our lives, who look to us their role models, that this is just what women do, that focusing miserably and endlessly on our individual body size and shape is our most pressing issue as women — instead of political and economic issues that affect us all, size 00s to 24s, like paid maternity leave or better domestic violence protection or access to birth control and abortion.
Whining about weight ignores and demeans the many incredible gifts we enjoy every single day. We are not living in Syria with government/rebel bombs exploding all around us, for example.
Whining about weight is the ultimate shiny object that women continue to focus their attention on, instead of:
— fighting for social justice, at home and abroad
— running for political office and kicking ass when we win
— creating astonishing works of art
— waking up every single day grateful for their health and strength, the not-so-simple ability to walk and stand and reach for things without pain
— knowing that women all over the world are dying of starvation, malnutrition and in childbirth at 14 or 16 because their young bodies are too weakened to do so healthily
— ditching the people in their lives who shame them by focusing on the size of their ass instead of what matters most, the size of our hearts and brains
— exploring the world, no matter our size, with excitement and anticipation
— thinking, long and hard, about our legacies in this world
There is something ironic to me that Kristen’s blog post includes a photo of herself holding — of all things! — a very large gun. Having written a book about American women and guns, I know this decision isn’t one she made lightly, and showing her readers that she owns a gun takes serious guts. Shooting well also requires tremendous mental and physical control.
So, frankly, I don’t get it. You’re powerful and self-determining, or you’re not. A woman who knows how to handle a gun safely and shoot well is someone I respect; I’ve done a lot of shooting and know the power it conveys.
Labels are also something we generally choose to ignore after leaving the schoolyard, so why are women of all ages so eager to keep self-flagellating about how fat we are (or are not?)
At this point, I’m technically “plus size.”
Why don’t the curvy chicks start calling size 6’s and 00’s minus-size?
Give it up, ladies! This obsession is wasting our talent, energy, excitement and drive.
Give it up today.