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“you’re the reason i never get to go to the beauty shop”

August 21, 2008

I wasn’t going to post this, because it seemed hardly newsworthy: studies show being in shape is good for you. Fancy that. The “twist” is that it is true even if you’re fat (the article: Better to Be Fat and Fit Than Skinny and Unfit). I guess the part that is supposed to surprise me is that you can be in shape while being overweight. So, that seemed too obvious to bother posting. Until i saw the google ads in the sidebar: 3 ads for 3 different diets. So…fuck a lot of that. I’m not blaming google, that’s a computer program that’s trying to make money, and the article has a lot of “obese” and “overweight” in it. The part that’s sick is that those two words equal “diet” according to our society

That was going to be that, just a little rant, but then i decided to do a little research. Such as, wtf is a BMI anyway? I mean, sure, Body Mass Index, that doesn’t tell me much. Fortunately, there is Wikipedia. Which tells me lots of obscure history of the BMI, as well as how to calculate it, or, if you’re feeling approximate, a graph. Which tells me that i am (approximately) nearly overweight. Which, personally, i think is silly, but, generally, makes me mad. That is, personally, weight isn’t where my insecurities lie. In fact, one of my insecurities lies in falling out of shape, which, for me, would/does mean losing weight (given my metabolism, the way i eat, stuff i do, etc. being out of shape means losing muscle less than gaining fat). End result? Probably skinnier, less healthy me. Helluva trade. Not to mention, since we’re talking body image, that i think i’d be unattractive if i were much skinnier (i could maybe spare some of my belly, but after that i’d either lose my ass or you’d be able to count my ribs…is that the “normal” we’re aiming for?)

I feel weird talking all about my weight and body and such (cultural programming, anyone?) here, but it’s the only way i have to associate these semi-random numbers to reality. And my point is that this is fucked up two-fold. One, i may not, but most girls (and a number of boys too) do have weight-related body image issues, and if i am on the cusp of “overweight” then this system is seriously promoting all sorts of eating (etc.) issues. Two, it’s just straight-up bad science. The fact that the BMI has become a all-encompassing measure of health (not it’s original purpose at all) shows a disgusting lack of reality in the medical community (and society in general) on two counts. One is diversity – no matter how good a joke it makes, it is true that some people are big-boned. Bone structure, metabolism, etc. means that “normal” weight is going to be different for different people (and there are ranges in the BMI scale, but i’m not sure if it encompasses that). The second is the idea that there is such a thing as a healthy weight. Depending on other factors, any weight can be unhealthy. It is true that people with a “normal” BMI are more likely to be healthy overall, but that is not at all the same as it being an inherently healthy size to be.

Lady Brett
“You’re the Reason Out Kids Are Ugly” – Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2008 5:29 pm

    *Great* title!

  2. August 22, 2008 7:59 am

    “any weight can be unhealthy”

    I know this too well — my gf was very, very skinny in high school, partly because of absolutely no muscle, and partly because of not eating enough. It was amazing how strong and healthy I looked next to her, though I was a little pudgy.

    I was in a belly-dancing class once where the instructor had a healthy layer of fat over an obviously very (VERY) strong (and hot) body. During a break, one girl asked how she could have that fat on her since she was obviously in really good shape.

    I could only stare at her but a woman from Ghana said “You people in this country are so messed up. At home we know that a woman should have a big, beautiful, strong, healthy body. That’s sexy.” Interestingly, the Ghanaian woman was really thin and lanky.

    I really value her comment, and the example of my teacher, because I also hover at the border of “overweight” on the BMI scale. I am strong and fit, and have a layer of fat over my muscles. Muscle weighs more than fat, and I’ve been stronger than this with less fat but not weighed less than I do now.

    So I try just to love my body and not worry about stupid things like how much I weigh. In fact we don’t have a scale at our house. But it’s a challenge to love myself when confronted with the idea that I’m sub-human if I’m fat, and that I’m fat if I’m bigger than a size six.

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