25 August 2009

The High Cost of Comfort in One's Skin

Caution: There is a naked woman on this page and I don't consider it porn. It is, however, somewhat annoying.

Don't get excited. The naked woman in question is a reasonably modestly posed 20 year old "plus size" model named Lizzi Miller, who posed for the photo which graces the pages of Glamour Magazine. The article attached to it is about body image and "feeling comfortable in your skin.
Online fans have been buzzing about it since it went up late last week.
"I am gasping with delight...I love the woman on p 194!"
That was offered by one commenter, and apparently almost every statement that followed.
Am I glad to see it? Yes and no. Yes, I'm glad for any woman, any person really, to feel comfortable in their skin.
Am I comfortable with this particular woman? No. And here's why.
That little pooch, as the magazine lovingly refers to it, isn't really healthy for a 20 year old woman. It just isn't. If that were a 40 year old woman, she'd have earned it righteously. Maybe a few kids and a few days (or years) of "too busy to take care of me" meat on her bones. But on a 20 year old? Oh, please no.
And while I'm glad not to see one more stick-thin anorexia-infected model, I wonder about articles such as this one and another one in the New York Times suggesting, no, saying outright that it's "hip to be round."
Uh, no it's not. It's actually unhealthy. In fact, it could be downright deadly in a few years.
We all know that Americans have a health problem and it's right around our middle. We're gaining weight at an alarming rate. And to suggest that it's now become stylish to be overweight is outright insanity.
I don't want to call anyone out for their weight issues. I'm not even suggesting Lizzi Miller has a weight issue, but the fact is that the average American puts on 10 pounds per decade after age 20 and that is unhealthy.
Certainly, I have my own weight issues. But to suggest to the younger set, the group coming up, that carrying extra weight around one's middle is stylish is simply cultural suicide.
We're suffering from an epidemic of obesity and overweight in this country. And it's bringing with it something even worse. Right next to our weight issues are the attached health issues. Diabetes will be THE health issue of this 21st century. It is already striking in shocking numbers.
And oh, by the way, if you think the current health care program proposed by President Barack Obama will cost a lot now, you give it ten years, at our current rate of weight gain, and then check back, my friends. We won't have the current administration to blame then. If we continue to gain weight at our current rates, death panels won't be necessary. We'll be dying in record numbers, as we sit in wheelchairs with diabetes-induced blindness and minus our fingers and feet.
Personally, I don't want to pass the later years of my life suffering from numb, or even worse, amputated fingers, toes or full limbs. I have no intention of going blind in my later years, if I can avoid it at any cost. And if that cost means I don't eat the current average of 22 teaspoons of sugar in my daily diet, so be it. That article just linked, by the way, contains your daily bit of news from this blog.
It's NOT hip to be round. It's sad. It's indicative of a culture that has surrendered to its desires and shows no impulse control. If a candy bar a day is going to make you blind in your 60's and possibly kill you, is there really no way to avoid it?
There is. Stop now. Rethink your diet and exercise. It's not just society that will suffer. It's you. Take it personally before it becomes personal. Yes, please feel good about your body, but work at making it something to be proud of.
I have to cut this short. (You know I could go on about this for a lot longer, right?) But it's time for the gym.
Besides, there's nothing ironic, funny or hip about being round.


Dirtius Wifius said...

Grrr. I hate it that the model shown is considered fat, because really she's not. Weirdly, that little pooch doesn't look real. maybe because it's totally some saggy skin, that looks like it came from a pregnancy or from super obesity. A normal pooch on someone her size wouldn't hang like that. And I should know, dang it. :)

Yes, we should feel comfortable about our bodies, and we should also (as you said) really try to make them something to be proud of.

We should be less obsessed with our bodies, but we should also be a lot less obsessed with food. Our very lives depends on it.

Marti said...

She might not be "fat," but she is overweight. I would estimate by at least 10, but more likely 15 pounds.

And while that isn't necessarily causing major health issues for her at age 20, (I really have no idea on her particular life) it's a harbinger of what's ahead in her life.

If she follows the typical routine, she'll gain another 10-15 pounds with every decade. And since the national trend is to gain even more, she's likely to be obese by age 35.

But let's not confuse being "skinny enough to look good" with health. She does look good, but if she's overweight, what that really means is she's over the HEALTHY weight for her age and size.

And that's a shame.