I’ve really tried to bite my tongue about an issue that has been floating around the Internet lately because it can awaken such strong feelings (both positive and negative). Namely, pictures and videos of obese women being lauded as pioneers in the beauty industry. But today, I was browsing through my Facebook newsfeed and saw a video someone had posted. It was of a young woman of considerable size wearing nothing but a black thong and matching tank top. She leaned towards the camera and said, “I hope you guys enjoy this.” Then, she turned on some music and began sexy dancing. The tagline for this particular video was “This is for all the fluffy divas out there.” I was going to post the link to the video, but I really don’t want that associated with my blog because it originated on a site called BBWRoyalty, which appears to be a fetish site (think Mama from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and you will have a good idea of the physical type of women this site consists of).
Before I really get going on this post, I should state up front that I too am overweight, WAY overweight (like I have about a hundred pounds to shed in order to get down to a healthy weight). So, please don’t take what I am about to say as jealousy or body shaming.
Why do human beings feel the need to live in such extremes? I just don’t get it. How is being 300+ pounds any healthier or laudable than being 90lbs?
Now, there are women who are naturally very slender…. I get that, and think they are lovely as long as they are living at the ideal weight for their height, are happy in their skin, and enjoy good health. I do NOT believe being 300lbs or more is a natural condition of our biology for anyone – except a VERY VERY few men who are extremely tall and muscular. If it WERE natural, we would all have that kind of body just by eating healthy, balanced diets. Right?
Some of these obese women claim to be happy and healthy. I don’t buy it. And I don’t say that in any effort to take away their happiness or self-confidence. I say that because I KNOW how it is to be overweight. I know the strain on my bones; I know the difficulty of finding a comfortable position to sleep in; I know what it’s like to have to pay way more for my clothes because they are in “goddess sizes” or only found in special stores. I also know the more intimate details of carrying too much weight. I won’t go into those because they are private and, in some instances, involve a person other than myself. To be clear, just because I am unhappy with my body does not mean I have low self-esteem either; I do not believe it’s healthy to wrap up your entire self-esteem in your body (whether big or small). To my view, these women have bought into the same beauty cult as the unnaturally skinny women – the cult of extremes.
The point is, I don’t want morbidly obese women held up to me as role models any more than I want an anorexic/bulimic (like, literally) waif held up to me as the ideal of beauty. I don’t want to strive for a physical ideal that is harmful, whether the harm comes from making myself throw up and undergo unnecessary cosmetic surgery or settle into a weight that will open me up to the possibility of diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, back and muscle pain, sleep apnea, and aggravated arthritis (I already have it at 35). How are either of those ideals “beautiful” anyway when they mean a woman cannot perform and live at her best?
Don’t get me wrong, I love romances that feature Big Beautiful Women (BBW); I admire paintings and sculptures that feature lovely, luscious ladies; I’m totally on team Mindy Lahiri. But I am not ranting about women who are curvaceous in a HEALTHY way (see Ashley Graham, Amy Lemons, Barbara Brickner, Candice Huffine, Justine Legault, Carre Otis, and Chloe Marshall, among others).
And when I think of people breaking down barriers and inspiring others to be strong, I think of women like Mindy Kaling, Gina Carano, Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Natalie Portman, Angela Bassett, Rachel Weisz, P!nk, Margaret Cho and many more.
And to close, I will hurt anyone who calls me “fluffy.” Even if they are saying it to compliment me. Yuck!