Although we may make the world go ’round, I am tired of being fat. I’ve kind of known this for awhile. A tip-off may have been during our camping trip when it was time to go swimming. I hadn’t worn my bathing suit for some time. Two years to be exact, and for background purposes, it is of the "tankini" variety. When I finally managed to squeeze myself into it, not only was the top too small, but it was so small that it actually rolled up. The worst part was I clearly remembered buying that suit, and that I had felt like a blue whale when I was shopping for it – I looked at the tag. Size 12. I just described myself in a photo from 2000 as "pretty cute and thin". I estimate my size at that time to be an 11 or 12. It blows my mind, that I could feel so inferior 5 years ago, even though I was at least 4 sizes smaller than I am now. I would be pretty happy if I was a 12 right now. Perception.
It doesn’t seem to matter what size we are. Fat or thin, women will always feel the need to be smaller. We are convinced of this every hour of every day – it’s impossible not to be affected by the images of the standards we’re supposed to live up to. Apparently, the modern movie set does not stock women’s wardrobe in sizes over 8. The size 8 clothing is reserved for the "fat best friend character". Sadly, the fastest growing rate of anorexia and bulimia is among women in their 30s and 40s.
It doesn’t help when someone like Seth Stevenson of Slate, misses the entire point of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, and describes the models as "ample" and "husky". Just for the record, the largest model in the bunch is a size 12. Also for the record, the average real woman is a size 14. Obviously Dove is pitching products like any other beauty conglomerate, I don’t think any of us are naive enough to think Dove is just looking out for us big girls, but there really is merit in this campaign. Women are diverse and it’s okay to look like a woman! A friend of mine, who lost a significant amount of weight a couple years ago – and who looks completely stunning – told me she recently found herself comparing her body to that of another woman walking in the distance ahead of her. When she got closer she realized that the woman was a crack addict. I think that goes a long way toward saying how messed up we are as a society about our weight.
In 1983 when Karen Carpenter died of heart failure resulting from her eating disorder, she was 5’4" and weighed 108 pounds. I find it difficult to believe that the Lindsay Lohans or Nicole Richeys of today weigh much more. Does one of them have to drop dead in the street before something twigs in our collective consciousness that something isn’t quite right here? I went for a walk on my lunch hour today and wondered if I saw Marilyn Monroe on the street, would I think she was hot or would I think she should take it easy on the birthday cake?
Despite all this, I know I need to do something about my weight. Right now I know I am too big. Some things you can’t make up. I have another picture of myself, from my high school Commencement. I had been going to the gym every single day for about 10 months. I looked horrifying. I have dark circles under my eyes and I am much too skinny. But never did I stop thinking I was fat. I’d love to be a strong, toned, healthy kind of girl. I hope that when I get there I can recognize it. I hope I can see the happy medium.
Tomorrow, the gym.