Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Me lose weight? How about you lose some steam?!

I really meant to get down tonight to writing a book review. But instead I'm just gonna be doing a review of our times and culture today. An article on women and their weight obsession, so appropriately titled 'The Big Issue' by Shane Watson, got my attention and concentration in a focussed manner from the flying rages of frustration and resentment it has been infesting in my head for so long now.

Since about 6 years now, I've been constantly nagged by my parents and relatives to, "GO LOSE SOME WEIGHT!". The way they put it, you would think it was a pound of apples that I could just drop down somewhere. Relatives have an infamous reputation for poking their noses in place where its really none of their business. They've always had one bone or the other to pick with me and luckily enough for them, this bone became their livelihood.

No, I'm not such a repressed person to only find the space in a blog to vent and diss my relatives but especially after reading the linked article, a lot of dots started connecting.

"There is a lot of confusion about this weight fascism. We blame fashion. We blame models. We blame ageism and advertising and celebrity. But who stands to gain from ostracising women because they are too curvaceous or too thin? Other women, that’s who: women who mistrust their own sex and who lack confidence in themselves".
The women in my family - lovely as they are, charming as they can be - are not really the most progressive of their times. Mind you, they are made of steel but only so rigidly moulded in a socio-economically backward society's stereotypical roles and expectations. I, the darkest sheep in this herd, turned out different - in some advantaged ways that are glorified and many other ill fitting ways that are collectively abhorred. You guessed the latter! 

It sounds condescending but I realized that for all the times I felt judged and so cruelly evaluated, they were balancing off the remarks I get of being 'smart' and 'ambitious'. For everytime that I'm a hard working girl focussed with her goals, I'm a fat 'no looker' who's going to have a tough time pleasing (or even getting) a husband 'coz I wouldn't cook for him. Because they're dolled up as Barbie now but will not be after two kids and hence, must find their Ken (or someone who comes even an inch closer) 'coz they couldn't rely on their own worn out potential for enough of life's luxuries. This is exactly how women are pitted against each other. While they think I have excess meat oozing out of my buttons, I think all their meat went to their heads!

Nigella is right! Men don't pull these on you (save the "Your Momma So Fat" jokes), although I know a few who do exceptionally care a little bit more. But I also know a lot of smart, intelligent (and as beautiful) women for whom its not the defining identity. My rant also connects well with Nigella when she says,

"Perhaps this is all about how we define ourselves as women. Should we be at home, baking cakes? Should we be binding our pregnancy bumps in the boardroom? If we can turn all our anxieties about how we should be living our lives into a fight about our size, then maybe that is our way of coping".

I believe I've come from a place of inherent feminism but don't swarm a world where it is a natural disposition. So I pride myself over having fought against a lot of odds yet this is still something I need to overcome as a woman. To synthesize my feelings with what I believe i.e. to not beat up myself over not being a certain size I'm told I should be. 

"In the fat camp are those who represent the forces of goodness and womanliness, or indulgence and ill discipline, depending on where you stand on the scales; in the skinny camp are the savvy, fit, modern girls, or the life-deniers – if you’re not so thin yourself. The size you are is a statement of your entire life philosophy, and the gulf between the two camps is filled with fear and misunderstanding. It is war, ladies, and it is our war. We are making enemies of each other on the basis of body shape".

Ladies, lets grow up from these 'girly' battles of skinny bitches vs. fat cow!

What's beautiful is beautiful, whether or not perfect. 


  1. nice one makepeace, iv always thought its been a very over-rated issue, not just among family, but friends and peers as well.
    and the media can be partly blamed for projecting such an image of "a woman" who has to look perfect besides doing everything else, and being judged on that! and partly its the people, they buy just about everything thats handed down to them, without thinking or processing what it means!
    and whats worse is , and i quote here-" women who mistrust their own sex and who lack confidence in themselves" which is self explanatory in itself !!!

  2. Hey Sehej.

    Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I think the linked article very well evaluates the roots of this self flagellation i.e. women themselves and media is just a perpetuating source although very key in this dialogue.
    Thats where digital activism steps in as a segregate yet connected 3rd estate that isn't motivated by "only what people want to hear"