Friday, January 11, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Yes, I realize that I am late, and it is now, in fact, January 10. I made my standard list (in my head, of course) of things that I resolve to do this year, and naturally, like most women out there, "lose weight" was towards the top. I've been thinking more about this list, and I've decided "lose weight" is not going to make the cut. It's not that I'm lazy (well, I am, but that's beside the point). I am sick of feeling abnormal in my own skin, feeling that larger is worse. I refuse to compare myself to a model or an actress. In my opinion they could all stand to eat a cheeseburger. Daily.

And then I see ads like this. This Brazilian print ad for fat-free yogurt shows a voluptous woman in a bed of roses, a la Mena Suvari in American Beauty. The tagline reads: "Forget about it. Men's preference will never change. Fit and Light Yogurt." This makes me want to slap someone and spit nails. If you are, by chance, reading this, tell me, what is it that is so unattractive? I find it absolutely beautiful! Sure, she is certainly a larger woman than Mena Suvari, but so is the average American woman. I think she is far more attractive than Mena Suvari, actually, but call me crazy. In my opinion, rounded curves are sexier than straight lines and sharp edges any day.

I am just sick and fucking tired of people looking at plus-sized women and making assumptions based on their appearance. She must be lazy, she must eat a lot, she must be unhealthy, she must not exercise. Fat people are the last acceptable target in our PC world. Though we don't accept bias or prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation or physical abilities (as it should be), fat people are still fair game.

I have never understood what is so very wrong with being plus-sized. Granted, I am a smaller plus-sized woman, but everywhere I go, I am reminded that my body is not the norm. I will never understand why manufacturers think that clothing for a plus-sized woman is made by just adding more fabric. We are of a different shape, not just a different size. I think clothing manufacturers have it all wrong as it is, but the glaring problem lies in plus-sized clothing. I am about a size 16 on top and a 14 below with the typical curvy body type: large breasts, large hips, large thighs, slightly smaller waist. My breasts are not freakishly large, but shopping for clothing as a woman in a large DD tells me the opposite. I can't seem to find a shirt that doesn't pull up above my midriff because of my breasts taking up the fabric, or one that doesn't make me appear as if there are two large canteloupes in there struggling to break free. For a woman with ample hips, shopping for pants is a nightmare. I suppose the prototype for most women's pants has 30 inch hips, and anyone with wider hips tends to look like an upside down ice cream cone, even in bootcuts or flares. My bra size is not carried at Victoria's Secret or anywhere but plus-sized clothing stores, and department stores, where the choice is between white or nude, full coverage. The quintessential old lady bra. I am 22 years old and from my bra selection you would think I am about 70. Apparently according to clothing manufacturers, the only women who have large breasts are old and not sexy in the slightest.

We all know that people are made in different shapes and sizes. And yet, the experts still can't figure out that overweight is not synonymous with unhealthy. There are a great many people in the world who eat well, exercise, and stay the same size. Does this mean they are doing something wrong? No! They are just larger than what Hollywood and the media deems attractive and acceptable. I spent 3 months after I stopped nursing my daughter eating 1400 calories a day and exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, in an effort to lose the baby weight. I didn't lose an ounce. I did everything right (if there is such a thing as "right"). I didn't go the low carb route, but I replaced coffee creamer with skim milk (much to my dismay), drank only water and the occasional iced tea, ate oatmeal for breakfast and a salad for lunch, and filled half my dinner plate with veggies, accompanied by 4 oz of lean protein and the occasional small serving of starch. And when the scale didn't waver, I decided, that's it! I am not going to spend my time slaving on the exercise machine and counting every morsel that enters my mouth. This is me, and I'm done judging myself and allowing arbitrary guidelines from the "experts" (like the bullshit BMI) determine how healthy I am. Healthy is being satisfied by food and eating what you enjoy - in moderation. Healthy is exercising for pleasure, not pain. Healthy is learning how to turn fruits and vegetables from a necessity into a desire. I have done all of that, and my body stays the same. Naturally thin people don't have to spend their entire lives obsessing over food in order to "maintain" their weight, and neither will I. They are blessed with a thin body. Mine happens to be larger, and curvier, and that's the way the cookie crumbles.

So I am protesting. I am refusing to accept that there is anything wrong with my body the way it is. I have a fiancee who loves it, it created and sustained a beautiful child, and I am no longer going to allow the media to make me feel bad about my body and tell me that the only way to be sexy is to have a perfect, and for me, unattainable body. Sexiness is being confident in your own skin - whether that skin covers a body that weighs 100 or 300 pounds.

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