Weighing the Image of the Perfect Woman
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.
Ah, the Christmas holidays and all the dirty, rotten celebrants are trying out their baking skills…on the people at work. Everywhere I go, it’s fudge, chocolate, and tons of calorific goodies. Everyone wants to share the abundance, including the abundance of excess weight that crops up between Thanksgiving and the first of January. And all I can think is, damn those scales!
I did the Stupid Thing a couple of months ago while I was so busy at the office and skipped breakfast on a regular basis—and often lunch—so I could get the job done, and then slacked off on my powerwalks. All very bad for my metabolism and I hiked back up about 7 or 8 pounds from the 20 pounds I’ve kept off for a good long time. Not happy about it, but I stopped the weight gain by getting back to a regular eating schedule.
So I sit and commiserate with a couple of female colleagues. We all love the holiday goodies but fear we might as well apply them directly to our hips. Even without looking at the scales, we can tell when we’ve gained weight (or lost it) by the fit of our clothes. And this is the hardest time of the year to “eat healthy.”
As my socializing breaks up, one of the men I work with shakes his head. “Why do you women beat yourselves up all the time about weight?”
Good question. Different cultures view beauty differently. In less “civilized” cultures, round women are signs of abundance whereas in the more “civilized” or “developed” societies, the women are considerably thinner. In the US, in this century, damned near anorexic seems to be the image that media bombards us with. Young, extremely thin, a starving version of the Maiden image with a tolerance for the Mother image and fluctuating disdain and progressive neglect of the Crone image.
“I don’t understand why all you women think you have to be so skinny,” my male colleague says. “Just be healthy and don’t worry about a few extra pounds. Some of us guys happen to really like women with a few curves. You know, the ones who are soft and not a bag of bones to lie on.”
I think that, because I’ve always been around either people who thought of Depression-era skinny as healthy or people who thought a Hollywood size zero was sexy, I always thought that every man preferred women who were…not slender or thin…but absolutely underweight and undernourished in a way I haven’t been since my college days, and even then at 105 pounds and less, I thought I was fat. I’ve certainly been around enough men who loudly snorted their disgust at any woman who was heavier than 10 pounds underweight. I don’t think, until now, that I’ve ever even considered that some men don’t like skin-and-bones-thin.
I think this season, I’ll do myself a huge favor. No,
I’m don’t mean forgoing the baked goodies, though I won’t go overboard. And I don’t mean remembering to “eat healthy,” though that’s more of what I’m doing now. And I don’t mean getting regular exercise, though I’m doing that again, too.
No, the favor I’ll do myself is to take the bathroom scales and put them away indefinitely. I can tell by the fit of my clothes and how I feel if my weight is right. I don’t need to beat myself up with a daily measuring stick.