On skin and bones, and Mars. vs. Venus

It’s a slow news day, so I thought I’d take a little time out for some much-needed social commentary on a few personal interest issues that affect us all.

Skin and bones

I was surfing the net earlier to see if I could find any sites already selling fall and winter dresses (yes, I like to start early) and while scrolling through the EDressMe website, I came across a dress model who I find appallingly thin. I don’t even like that dress, but what drew me to look at it was the thinness of the woman wearing it. Here’s a “back view” picture:

That is scary. What’s even scarier is the fact that some people actually find that look sexy and attractive. It’s not. I shudder to think about what some women models and young Hollywood starlets like Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, and Kate Bosworth do to themselves in order to get that thin. They get that way, of course, because of the pressure Hollywood – and society in general – puts on women to be thin and stay that way, only the too-thin stars take it to extremes. And considering that the camera actually adds weight to people, the thin women you see in photographs are in actuality skinnier in person.

Not only is it not attractive, but more importantly, it’s extremely unhealthy. So unhealthy it can kill you. Think Karen Carpenter (gone, but certainly not forgotten).

The popularity of curvier women like Beyonce has given me hope that our society views women with meat on their bones as sexy. As you can see below, Beyonce is not stick thin:

The woman has curves, and thankfully society hasn’t shunned her for it. In fact, to my surprise, her ‘full figure’ is one of her ‘selling points’ (as is J. Lo’s), so maybe there’s hope for our society yet.

But what’s more important than what ‘society’ thinks (if even what they think is important at all) is how you feel about yourself. If you feel like you have a weight issue (too heavy or too thin) please see a doctor about it. They can tell you what your weight should be for your height and body type and recommend diet and fitness plans for you. If you are with a man who is constantly complaining about how ‘fat’ you are, you need to run, not walk, out the door and never come back. These losers are not worth the time of day, and are likely projecting their own self-esteem issues onto you.

So many women have experienced issues with their weight – yours truly included, and have been affected by how people treat them as a result of it. It’s how we respond to that treatment that is important.

I remember when I was 19 years old, and I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone – a friend who was rather blunt, I should note – and he was telling me about a mutual acquaintance of ours (who we’ll call “John”) from high school who he had recently seen and talked to. Somehow the subject of me came up between the two of them, and John told my friend that he had always thought I was ‘cute’ in high school, but didn’t want to hang around me much in school because I was ‘too fat’ and he didn’t want to give off the impression that he was ‘interested.’ For the record, I fluctuated between sizes 10-14 in high school. Hardly ‘fat’ but apparently not skinny enough for John’s taste. Also for the record, I had not been ‘interested’ in John at all in high school – I just talked to him a few times like I would a female friend, in the spirit of being friendly.

Several years went by after my friend told me about that comment, and I just so happened to bump into John at a local mall one day while shopping. At that point I had gotten down to around a size 7/8, and he was definitely showing signs of interest – and also lying through his teeth about how much he had ‘missed’ me from our high school days. It felt so good to say “no thanks, I’m not interested” when he asked me for my phone number. It would have felt even better to tell him that I had heard about what he said, and then tell him that I was the same person then as I was when we bumped into each other at the mall – just smaller, but I took the high road.

I had a similar situation happen to me with a guy who used to tease me about my looks and weight on the bus when we were both in junior high school. The teasing was so cruel that if there were ever one person I wanted to slug hard right in the face during my K-12 days, it would have been him. Time passed by, and I was in my early 20s when he and I crossed paths again, this time at a gas station. There was a van at the first pump but the pump behind it was open so I pulled my car in behind the van and got out to pump gas. He had already been pumping gas and his back was to me, but once I got out of the car and started filling up my car, he turned around and started sizing me up. I recognized him immediately (you don’t ever forget the faces of your tormentors!) but it was clear he didn’t recognize me, apparently because I had changed so much from when we had been in school together (I was slimmer, no longer had braces, my hair was longer). I was feeling pretty good about myself at the time, but he looked like hell and I smiled inside because, with confidence – not arrogance, I knew he was missing out on something good. He proved to me that he hadn’t changed at all on how to talk to people, because he hit on me like some dude at a club who had had too much to drink: very cocky and overly sure of himself. I made sure to look bored the whole time he was talking to me, yawning once, and never saying a word. It felt good to treat the loser as though he didn’t exist.

It also felt good at that time to admit that I had lost the weight on my own terms, that I didn’t do it because of societal pressure, but simply because I got tired of being tired and wanted to do something about it. Not only that, but I was honest enough to admit to myself that I’d look better in some of the cute fashions of the time if only I had slimmed down some. Just as you have too-thin women in denial about how they look, there are clearly overweight women who are as well. I wasn’t one of them, and I realize that all cases aren’t as easily solveable as mine was.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t let society dictate to you how you should look. The important thing is that you have to learn to love yourself and be able to accept that you’re not ever going to be perfect. I know this is easier said than done. If you have issues with how your body looks, talk to your doctor about it. Chances are, if you are overweight or too thin, your doctor is going to tell you – and it’s much easier to hear it from a doctor than it is from some jerk who doesn’t deserve you, because the doctor is going to talk to you about weight issues for the #1 reason: your health.


Mars vs. Venus (shamelessly stolen from the popular John Gray book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus)

As a woman, I often find myself thinking about the ‘feminist movement’ – a movement I have written about extensively here – and how damaging the more militant variety of feminism has been to the relationships between men and women over the course of the last 40 or so years. I hate that there are men out there who have been influenced negatively by militant feminism to the point that they are no longer sure whether or not they should open a door and perform other courteous gestures for a woman, and are fearful of merely giving one a harmless compliment out of worry that they’ll be treated as though they are lecherous beasts. A note to those men: There are still plenty of us out there who love having the door held for us and receiving compliments, so don’t stop being gentlemanly just because some women out there have forgotten what it’s like to actually be a regular, everyday woman with hopes and desires that don’t include erasing men off the face of the earth.

The typical feminist complaint is that men are out to get you, they are only interested in one thing, will do whatever it takes to get it, don’t care about you if you don’t look like Cindy Crawford, etc etc etc. As I’m about to explain (and in fact, have already covered some of that earlier), I’ve been through all of that in my life, yet here I am, a woman who loves men and their many quirks – even though some of ’em can sure enough try my patience ;)

When I was 16, my first real boyfriend and I (who I had been friends with for about a year prior to our becoming a couple) had been out on a date one weekend, and as per the norm, we cruised around for a while after we’d had dinner. On that particular weekend, my bf decided to park in a secluded area, which I thought was kinda cool because it sounded so ‘grown up’ – particularly from him, as he was a sophisticated senior (or so I thought at the time) whereas I was a lowly sophomore. I naively didn’t have any idea that we would go from talking about the trivial inanities teenagers often do to a near-date rape situation. It took about ten tries at saying “no” and “stop” before he ceased his aggression and situated himself back into the driver’s seat. As bizarre as it sounds, after two weeks of being really upset and refusing to speak to him, I started seeing him again (again, I was young at the time what I was willing to tolerate then I would in no way tolerate now), and he continued his efforts at trying to ‘educate’ me on the ‘facts of life.’ After a couple more months, I smartened up and took the upper hand in the relationship, but that upperhand didn’t erase the emotional scars I had from the relationship.

That, along with some relationships I had in about a 7 year timeframe after all of which went sour – sort of jaded me on men altogether for a while to the point I tried to make myself immune to them on a short term basis in an attempt at self-preservation. Though I became a conservative back in the early-to-mid-90s, it took longer to completely move past my negative impressions about men, impressions that I’d gotten through both the experiences I’d had as well as the general hostility towards men that I had learned through other feminists. I was about 30 years old when I found myself able to leap over that attitude and move forward. I realized that instead of looking forward to what the future held, I was being held hostage by the past, and I didn’t like it. I also thought back to all the positive experiences I had had in my life with men, and came to the surprising conclusion that I had had more positive experiences than negative ones. At the same time, I realized that I was being a hypocrite, because there I was complaining about how all conservatives were unfairly and routinely condemned for the actions and words of a few, yet I was holding all men accountable for the actions and words of a few. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of male jerks out there – there are (and there are plenty of female jerks, too!) – but the good ones far outnumber the bad apples.

Ironically, the militant feminists who hold just that very view – that all men are evil – are some of the very same liberal women who claim that we must be accepting of ‘all people.’ It would appear that their supposedly all-encompassing proclamation does not include men. They are blinded by the very hate they preach against. Perhaps if the women who felt this way about men would do a thoughtful analysis of their own life experiences with men just as I did, and talk to others about their experiences, they’d have a change of heart, too. But that would require revisiting Accepted Truths, and as I wrote yesterday, challenging Accepted Truths today isn’t as popular with the left as it was ‘back in the day.’ Shame.

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