It’s easy to lie to yourself about all kinds of things in life but honesty is rarely interested in flirting with fantasy. I know that feeling and I know the security that that choice brings. I have clung to that comfort like a life jacket in the middle of the sea with no shoreline in view and chances are I’ll find myself in the sea again. Joan Didion wrote “we tell ourselves stories in order to live. The princess is caged in the consulate. The man with the candy will lead the children into the sea. The naked woman on the ledge outside the window on the sixteenth floor is a victim of accidie.” We all have to tell ourselves lies or half truths in order to to sleep at night. But come morning the mirror in the bathroom will be based firmly in reality. Mirrors don’t lie. Nor do scales. I know what it’s like to avoid looking at myself in the mirror. I’ve lived in many shadows of myself throughout my lifetime. But this isn’t about me. It’s about women. And more importantly it’s about lying to women.
Being overweight to the point of obesity is not about beauty and body acceptance. It’s about health and well-being. The danger of being obese isn’t about how you look in a bikini or a little black dress. It’s about your mortality rate. It seems such an easy and obvious dichotomy to make so why aren’t we talking about weight in terms of health and not aesthetics? We wouldn’t lie to women about the dangers of smoking and yet we are encouraging baleful aesthetics about their health. Being obese is just as damaging and destructive as being anorexic or smoking. Facts don’t lie. To deny the overwhelming evidence that obesity leads to premature death is the equivalent of denying evolution or climate change. So why do we do it? Why do we lie to women about their weight? Phrased differently why do we lie to women about their health? That’s easy. We associate a woman’s weight with her beauty but a woman’s beauty has nothing to do with her dress size and quite a bit to do with her health. To pretend otherwise is downright dangerous and deceptive.
Honest yet respectful discussions about weight don’t make for great evening reading much less small talk with friends over dinner. ‘Oh yes John caloric intake of saturated fat is killing so many Americans… now can you pass me the homemake aioli’. Most of the time discussions about weight boil down to aesthetics and not science and when the weight of the person in question is a woman constructive rhetoric would rather keep company with Lucifer for the night. Weight along with beauty without doubt have long been used as measurements of a woman’s worth and value. But there can be no denying that the discourse is thankfully changing. So why is the weight discussion moving into the realm of quasi-science?
Case in point Harriet Brown author of the new book Body of Truth claims that overall they’re really no good evidence scientifically speaking to claim that being on the thinner side of life is any healthier than being on the fun fat side. In fact according to her groundbreaking research all this talk about “fat” and “obesity” is just another scam for doctors and the pharmaceutical companies they work for to make money. Ms. Brown should write a book spotlighting all the misleading information pertaining to the purported damage cigarette smoking causes. After all my 95 year old uncle who started smoking at age 15 is still alive. I would love to see her bring to light the fact that there are gaps in the fossil record ergo raising seriously doubts about any claims scientists make regarding evolution. Take that science. Science can just go fuck itself. It’s so misleading.
I’m calling your shit Ms. Brown and hopefully I won’t be the last. Women Ms. Brown have worked too hard and continue to sacrificed for the betterment of others (not themselves) and deserve integrity in all regards whether it be their health or shoe choices instead of your quasi-science. When we talk about weight and women aesthetics need not apply. Only health should be the focus of a woman’s weight. Shame which for many of us became a childhood companion should never enter the room when these discussions take place. Humor in my opinion anyway always plays a key role in any worth-while road trip. Love like red lip-stick has to be along for the journey as well. I for one refuse to lie to women about their health. I can’t stand around and watch women lie to themselves. Nor will I allow for other’s to judge them for not “working hard enough” to get those extra baby pounds off. Instead I will stand will these women and perhaps together we can help each other and hopefully others. That’s my idea of healing. Something all women need a lot more of. Send in the clowns.