Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How do WE fit into society? Part II

We’ve invested weight with so many meanings 
that numbers on the scale have become a shorthand for self-worth

We’re told that:

“slenderness is not just beautiful - 
it proclaims that you’re feminine, self-disciplined, well-adjusted and sexy”

“fat, on the other hand, 
reveals that you’re sloppy and self-indulgent, out of control 
and out of the running as a sexual being”

It’s a disastrous combination.  Our ideal of thinness is unrealistic for most of the populations, yet we all buy the idea that there’s something seriously wrong with us if we deviate from it.

There is however, another value that we attach in overweight that may be even more powerful than a sense of sin.  We see fat as “low-class”.  Our culture equates slenderness with sexiness which in turn equates slenderness with being intelligent.   This is a frightening illusion but one that has been literally absorbed into the psyche of today’s society.   And in so doing we have all, to some extent, become discriminatory - the one thing that we abhor.

And who, in the main, keeps this body myth alive?  Women, yes, women.  There seems to be a clear connection between the gains women have made in the outside world - bringing confusing and conflicting choices about roles - and our growing hysteria about our own bodies.  It’s as if keeping the body on a  tight rein, or not letting our lapses show, is a way of reassuring ourselves and the world that our desires aren’t voracious, that our needs aren’t bottomless, that despite our own uncertainly, we are in control.

However, it’s not enough to understand this obsession intellectually.  The battle for self-acceptance involves unlearning a lot of entrenched ideas.  It also involves a lot of pain.

If you’re spent most of your life starving yourself without success, it hurts to recognise that all that deprivation was a waste.

That’s why a lot of women cling to the promise that thin equals happy.  In many cases they want dieting to be a magical way of becoming another person.

It takes great courage to accept yourself in a world that values thinness above all else.  The miracle is, that some people manage it.

You can too.  If that’s really what you want to do.

... Rose Davida, ‘Winston Hall’, Kent, UK

1 comment:

  1. Yep women are there own worse enemy at times. Reprogramming after 40 + years of being fed false and damaging messages is a most difficult process.