Womanpower (33)

When David Cameron announced his cabinet reshuffle a short while ago and more women were appointed to Cabinet, the headlines talked about “girlpower” and, of course what the “girls” were wearing. No talk of “womanpower” because so often we women are described as “girls” as we are not supposed to become fully-grown, mature, strong WOMEN. (I might add I am wholly cynical about the promotion of women as I see it as a cynical attempt to garner women’s votes rather than a genuine dedication to women’s equality.)

If you have a look at the photos on the right, the top row is of girls, the bottom is of women. The images in the top row are a vision of us as girls, never growing into a womanly shape, shaving our pubic hair so we look like constant teenagers, torturing ourselves with ripping out that hair (and I can tell you, I had my pubic hair shaved once, when I had my tubes tied at 27, and the constant itching of it growing back made me swear NEVER to shave that hair again!) and keeping us confined in the straitjacket of thin as desirable and right.

In  the bottom row, the images are of mature women but now, in the same vein of keeping us as eternal girls, it is not considered appropriate to talk about women as “luscious”, “juicy”, “reubenesque”, “curvy”, “succulent” – because Size picturesthey all imply – shock, horror” – women who aren’t thin and possibly look like (whisper) mature, adult, powerful women.

I decided to follow up my posts on women’s liberation with one about weight issues because, looking back from the time I got involved in women’s liberation in the early 1970s until now,  I got to thinking that the focus on diets and thinness is an act of sabotage – it has been a misogynist weapon to dis-empower women and keep them focused on weight issues instead of on living up to their full potential.  A woman focused only on her weight and shape if far less powerful than one who is at home and comfortable with herself and makes her way in society as a formidable, strong individual.

The cult of “thin is good” didn’t always exist. Because I grew up in the ’50s and 60s, I have a perspective which isn’t possible for younger people, and that is, I can remember when women were weightier than accepted cultural norms now. It was accepted that as you had children and headed to your senior years, that weight gain was a normal process of life on earth.  So it seems to me that the focus on thinness (mainly for women but now affecting men too) started getting stronger around the time women’s liberation erupted and started questioning women’s status in society.  But  thin is “in”, so to speak, at least on the part of women’s magazines, the diet industry, the medical establishment, the fashion industry and so-called fashion mavens who we’re supposed to follow like headless chooks.

While we’re busy focused on diets, size, weight, fatness or thinness, we are diverted from standing strong in our own right – as juicy, strong, powerful women, at ease with ourselves regardless of our weight, getting to know our own bodies intimately so we know what weight is right for us, and leading full, adventurous lives . As this quote from Naomi Wolf puts it so succinctly:Dieting

Marilyn Monroe would  now be considered obese – which sounds ridiculous given the sex goddess she was. Yet we are repeatedly lectured  that what I see as normal women are obese/morbidly obese/likely to peg it overnight because if they’re overweight they must be harbouring god knows how many life-threatening health challenges, and so on and so on.

This of course is a godsend to the enrichment of the diet industry, Big Pharma and medicos who see what is considered a fat woman now (but wasn’t when I was young) and like Pavlov’s dogs immediately start talking about diets, losing weight, yada, yada, yada. I know when I’ve walked into so many doctor’s room, their eyes light up as they order tests for diabetes and cholesterol levels and heave out the good ol’ blood pressure apparatus. Sadly for them, and they look quite taken aback, all my health signs are, well, healthy!

And as we’re on the subject of medicos, I have to say that I personally find the term “obese” quite offensive. It’s as if doctors conjure up a word which is designed to make normal/not so fat/ and fat people seem as sub-human as possible and to cow us into submissive slaves of thin worship.  I sometimes wonder if the medical industry creates such words as “obese” or “geriatric” to elevate the power of medicos and reduce us patients to obedient, malleable, cowed, uncertain, unquestioning clients. I also despise doctors who lazily judge the health of overweight women by their size rather than their uniqueness and medical history.

I can remember having a meal out with some other women, all good-looking, fairly slim, about my age when I was in my late ‘thirties and the whole damned dinner talk was about weight, thinness and diets. I mean – what a ruddy great waste of women’s lives to spend it worrying about weight and what diet you’re on and whether you’ve gained or lost a couple of pounds from one week to the next. Being frightened of food, obsessing about calories, fat levels, carbs and all the other catchphrases of the thin mafia is absolutely ridiculous.

All the research which gets pumped out about what makes you live longer,what causes cancer, how to avoid heart attacks, etc., simply doesn’t take into account that people are individual, have their own genetic heritage and shape, and need to consider what their heart and soul tells them about what is good for them, not scientists and health gurus who change their minds a few years down the track or even from year to year and, dare I say it, month to month, week to week.

And having gone through some literature on this subject, I have found out – and this will no doubt amaze you –  Waking up - bodiesthat if you carry more weight than that which is supposed to be healthy these days and you are fit, you are far more likely to live longer than a socially acceptable thin, unfit woman.  Also, wasting your life on a yo-yo of dieting, losing weight, then gaining weight again and often extra weight than before you dieted, is putting your health far more at risk than a woman who looks at herself, smiles, smacks her booty gleefully and tells herself she’s a yummy individual with far more to do with her life than waste it on worrying about what is a current societal obsession about thinness.

Plus we need to get a perspective on the health hysteria which prevails at the moment – new food fads, super-foods, how to live longer, anti-ageing tucker – and so on. You can be the healthiest, fittest person around and then drop dead of a heart attack or get a life-threatening illness for no apparent reason. And everyone says it’s unfair because someone who doesn’t exercise or is fat doesn’t die at an early age. But it’s LIFE, outrageous, unpredictable, unfair, fair, dropping surprise health bombs into our lives  – our time of death is unpredictable so get the most out of each day and you’ll have a wonderful life – exciting, adventurous, questing, humorous, fun, loving, fully adult, powerful and, above all, SATISFYING.

I can pretty much guarantee that when the truth comes out about – as it will – that the current BMI holy bible is a heap of old cobblers with no scientific foundation, and thinness is recognised as a trumped-up cultural creation to control and disempower women – the pendulum will swing towards an acceptance of women as they are meant to be – short, tall, medium, thin, fat, stocky, lean, weighty, or whatever is their natural, womanly shape. And if they’re pink with purple spots, or orange with red stripes, or green with turquoise hair  – so be it!

 

 

 

 

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17 responses

  1. Great post! Truthfully, I had not really thought of the obsession with thinness as a means of subjugation, a tool for distraction. But wow. It is so very effective. I find that the ones most unkind to women regarding weight are other women, actually. At least in the US. Again… great post!

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    1. Thanks very much, I think it’s dawned on me quite slowly how thinness really does control and disempower so many women and, very sadly, young women so much when they should be enjoying their youth and glory.

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      1. You inspired my own post. Thank you so much for speaking up!

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  2. Reblogged this on sliceofheaveninsweden and commented:
    Food for thought

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    1. Thanks very much for the reblog!

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      1. you are welcome. How did you see that i reblogged your last post?
        Honey

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      2. you are welcome
        Honey

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  3. Yes I’m always surprised that “plus size” models look like normal human beings to me!

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    1. Yes, same here. I look at plus-size models and think, well, at least what they’re wearing would fit me and they models look great. Weird world out there.

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      1. Doesn’t matter what size or age you are. Wear what you want when you want. I take some ribbing sometimes for what I wear but it doesn’t bother me. I think they are jealous of my funky style : )

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      2. Yes, I’m the same – I used to wear long, flowing clothes in Australia but here in North Cyprus I’m starting to change styles, wearing shorter gear but still not following “fashion”. I like to wear what suits me not what someone else tells me will suit be because it’s the “fashion”!

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  4. Yes, Honey, I left a comment to say thank you for the reblog, but I think I answered the wrong comment from a reader!

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  5. […] I was reading a fantastic post this morning by The Crazy Crone on weight and feminism that made me pause and think. Read her take here. […]

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    1. Thanks for commenting on my weight – I guess medicos and patients have a different take on things. I do have to add that I have had some wonderful doctors, not least the last one I had in Australia who ensured I got free dental care as well as health support. BUT the best doctors I’ve encountered have been women – patient, sympathetic and empathetic. I always remember the female doctor when I was admitted to Ipswich Hospital with a broken leg and ankle, she was stroking my arm, speaking very quietly and really calmed me down.

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    2. Thanks for the re-blog, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I always get a bit nervous when I post something like this and it’s so good to get positive feedback. Take care.

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  6. Amen! So clear, clean and true.

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