When my article “Dating After Divorce in a City of Sluts” exploded all over the internet I was strangely picked up by the humor website fark.com. I have no idea who really reads fark.com but most of the comments seemed written with a 14-year-old male perspective. I did have some supporters, but the majority of comments were along the lines of “Women aren’t funny” and “This chick is fat“. Someone had re-posted photos from my website. The glaring evidence of my reckless obesity was this photo.
My article had nothing to do with my physical appearance So I am not sure why it was the main topic of discussion. And when I look at this photo I think I look great, as do the women behind me. I guess for some because my body is not up to the extreme standards of a photoshopped maxium model or the cartoonish proportions of a porn star I am basically huge. Physical attractiveness and weight are subjective, but at 5’7″ and a BMI of 21 I am not by any reasonable standards fat or overweight. A modeling agent would call me large, but they would also tell me the industry standard is a minimum of 5’10” and the highest paid models are extremely young – many in their teens.
When I shared my fark.com story with the women backstage at a burlesque show it unleashed an avalanche of similar tales. It seemed every woman in the room, regardless of shape or size, had been hit with some completely non-related beauty related insult or remark. The very thin women complained of getting snide remarks such as,
- Eat a sandwich
- You’re anorexic
- You look sick
Women with plastic surgery have heard,
- Your body is fake
- You have a botox frozen face – even if they haven’t had botox
- Your boobs are plastic
And for some any woman over the age of 35 is simply too old to even appear in public. Tabloids and the media just feed into this. I am always floored when I see a photograph in a magazine of an actress in her mid-forties with an arrow pointed to a slight bulge in her lower abdomen with the question
- Baby bump?
She is far less likely pregnant, then simply going through the physical changes of a typical 45-year-old woman. And can we just accept that slightly dimpled skin is simply part of being female, especially when it doesn’t seem to correlate to a person’s weight, fitness level or even age. Why does any sign of cellulite warrant panic, fear and terror when about 90% of women have some amount of it.
But regardless of any of this, when was the last time a man speaking to another man decided to unleash the nuclear option in an argument and blurt out a
- You’re fat
- You’re ugly
- You’re old
I can’t think of a single time in my life I have seen that happen. I have never seen a woman say anything like it to a man, unless the argument was somehow about his weight or age. Some feel the lowest nastiest thing they could say to a woman is basically – you are not sexually attractive. As if any of us will just crumble to a pile of low self-esteem dust when someone makes such a judgment call.
I have reached a point in my life where I just flat-out don’t care anymore. I don’t give a flying f*ck if someone thinks I am fat, unattractive, if my ass is too big, and my breasts are too small. I don’t care if they think I am too old, my skin is starting to sag on my face, or that I have wrinkles around my eyes when I smile.
I know I am not 25. No one needs to point out to me the year of my birth. Being older is not a weakness. What my age has given me is the wisdom and knowledge to understand there will always be another younger more beautiful and attractive woman just around the corner. Physical appearance is fleeting, and real perfection is impossible to obtain. Our real value comes from our hearts and minds, which will live on long after we are at our physical sexual peak. We either get old or we die, there is no way around it. So I accept my age, and I don’t try to run or hide from it.
My favorite comeback was once uttered to a wardrobe coordinator on the set of a now cancelled television show. When she kept making remarks about my weight I hit back with.
“Listen, I can see my ribs through my skin. I don’t think I’m fat.”
Insults like these are just another way to try to disarm us and to dilute the real point. We are women with opinions, sexual pride and we are more than the sum of our physical parts. How dare a woman who is not a size 0 get onstage and take her clothes off in a burlesque show! How dare a woman without perfect facial symmetry or glowing skin pick up a microphone and speak her mind! How dare a woman in her late fifties write an article criticizing the status quo! Shouldn’t we all be trapped in our homes existing on salads and lean proteins while working out three hours a day in the hopes that we will be the youngest, prettiest, thinnest woman in any room? F*CK THAT! The next time a man calls me fat, unattractive, or old I will simply turn to him and say.
Thank you sir may I have another! What does that have to do with anything!
- The Burnout On Fighting Fatphobia (elizabethahawksworth.com)
- What’s Up With The “Real Beauty” Backlash? (w5insight.com)
- Too Fat To Cheer? CBS Houston Polls Readers On Cheerleader’s Weight (blogher.com)
- Dove’s real beauty sketches video leads to controversy (mnn.com)
- On being a ‘chubster’ – meditations on beauty and bodies (inherfootstepsblog.wordpress.com)
- Is FAT Worse than being SHALLOW? (wonderfullywisewomen.me)