Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Weighing In

Kate Moss vs. Kate Winslet: Who would you rather date?

I'd pick the woman who takes a stand against the overwhelming perfectly thin trend.

The issue of how much a woman weighs is a tricky one. And until a little over a year ago, it wasn't an issue that really concerned me. Of course I felt angry at the multitude of stick thin models in stilletto heels and the way that no Hollywood actress is allowed to actually eat, and generally pissed that Nicole Ritchie keeps declaring she's a "normal, healthy weight."

But the whole issue was something of an intellectual jaunt for me then, because, well, I was thin. I was a size 2/4. I weighed a glorious 118 lbs. And I ate whatever I felt like eating, and I went to the gym and did cardio and strength training, and practiced yoga, etc.

And then, in February 2006, I went through a terrible, terrible time, when I had a bit of a breakdown, and my doctor perscribed me some pills. And the pills made me feel better, but had the distinctly depressing side effect of causing me to gain 25 lbs. in about six weeks. It is terribly demoralizing to find you can't button your new jeans only three weeks after you've bought them.

I've since gone off the pills (and I will mention that no one told me about withdrawl before they put me on them), and yet, over a year later, I'm still struggling to pull my weight back down to where my favorite clothes fit. I mourn my vintage 1940's navy silk suit from Paris, which is still ten pounds away.

But I want to also mention why this is on my mind. I read Bridget Jones's Diary when it first came out, and I remember thinking (as Bridget did) that 127 lbs. was "fat." I understood why she wanted to lose weight. I picked up good old Bridget this week in an effort to break my streak of serious and depressing reading material with a good laugh. And yes I'm laughing, but I'm also glancing at each page: 127, 124, 126 lbs.... I would love to be that weight again. I look down at the 120's from my 140 lb. vantage point, and it makes me want to cry.

And I'm not fat! I'm actually just where a person my height (5'6") should be! I look good, I feel good, and yet... I can't shake this idea that everything would be better if I suddenly dropped 20 lbs. It makes me upset to know that not even an educated feminist like myself is immune to the cultural stereotyping of teensy-weensy women being the standard of beauty.

2 responses:

Unknown said...

I don't think I've ever even weighed as little as 140 pounds! Not even when I was born!!

Seriously though... I SO relate to this post. I gained a LOT of weight during my last few years in the States (and then we wonder why he broke up with me!). So when I returned to SA, I was fat and miserable. I received absolutely NO male attention. (South African men are shallow bastards. Well, most of them are anyway.) Funnily enough, as soon as I started shaking the weight? Attention. Bastards. This is why I'm going to spend my life with dogs instead.

mice said...

no contest.

one can act, the other is a model who has been busted for substance abuse.

one has a little meat on her, the other is usually zombie-like in her demeanor and appearance.

yeah i know zombies are cool... but...

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