Weighing the Image of the Perfect Woman
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.
Ah, the Christmas Â holidays and all the dirty, rotten celebrants are trying out their baking skillsâ€¦on the people at work. Everywhere I go, itâ€™s fudge, chocolate, and tons of calorific Â goodies. Â Everyone Â wants to share Â 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 basisâ€”and often lunchâ€”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 Â 20 pounds Iâ€™ve kept off for a good long time. Not happy about it, but I stopped the weight gain by get- ting 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 Â apply Â them Â directly Â to Â our Â hips. Â Even Â without looking Â at Â the Â scales, Â we Â can Â tell Â when Â weâ€™ve Â gained weight (or lost it) by the fit of our clothes. And this is the hardest time of the year to â€œeat healthy.â€
As my socializing Â breaks up, one of the men I work with shakes Â his head. â€œWhy do you women Â beat your- selves up all the time about weight?â€
Good question. Different cultures view beauty differently. In less â€œcivilizedâ€ cultures, round women are signs of abundance whereas in Â the Â more Â â€œcivilizedâ€ or â€œdevelopedâ€ societies, the women are considerably thinner. In the Â US, Â in Â this century, Â damned near Â anorexic seems Â to Â be Â the Â image Â that Â media bombards Â us Â with. Young, extremely Â 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.
â€œI donâ€™t Â understand Â why Â all you Â women Â think Â you have to be so Â skinny,â€ my male colleague says. â€œJust be healthy and donâ€™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.â€
I think that, because Iâ€™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 Â thought Â that Â every Â man Â preferred Â women Â who wereâ€¦not slender Â or thinâ€¦but Â absolutely Â underweight and undernourished in a way I havenâ€™t been since my college Â days, Â and Â even Â then Â at Â 105 Â pounds Â and Â less, Â I thought I was fat. Iâ€™ve certainly been around enough men who loudly snorted their disgust at any woman who was heavier than 10 pounds underweight. I donâ€™t think, until now, that Iâ€™ve ever even consideredÂ that some men donâ€™t like skin-and-bones-thin.
I think this season, Iâ€™ll do myself a huge favor. No,
Iâ€™m donâ€™t Â mean Â forgoing Â the Â baked Â goodies, Â though Â I wonâ€™t go Â overboard. And I donâ€™t mean remembering to â€œeat healthy,â€ though thatâ€™s more of what Iâ€™m doing now. And I donâ€™t mean getting regular exercise, though Iâ€™m doing that again, too.
No, the favor Iâ€™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 donâ€™t need to beat myself up with a daily measuring stick.