This post is amazing. AMAZING. There are Criminal Minds spoilers, so for the link-lazy or if you don’t want the spoilers, the gist is this: the Hollywood Ideal of physical “perfection” touted in magazines and media is damaging to both sexes, and the poster is told she’s weird for finding skinny men a turn-off. She likes David Hewlett over Joe Flanigan, to give one of her examples. And I am SO WITH HER ON ALL POINTS.
I was a naturally skinny kid, right up until I hit eight and a half, started a new school year, and the entire class (my whole grade, for a non-UK translation) sided with the new boy when he said I had germs and should be avoided. The only friend I managed to keep made fun of me in public, but was nice to me in private, and all in all I figured people will turn on you if you let them in, so it’s best to put barriers between yourself and other people so they won’t want to get close, and they can’t hurt you if they aren’t close to you.
So I started comfort eating. I put on weight and put on weight and withdrew inside a physical fortress, and it worked. Nobody at school wanted to be friends with the fat kid, social outcast or not. I was safe. I didn’t let people get close after that (except one, who was totally awesome) and I didn’t get hurt. It was the perfect plan!
…except that I ended up dangerously obese, had some warning signs, and decided it was time to start eating healthily again. I chose taking better care of myself over having a barrier; ten years on, I was ready to maybe open up a little and let people in again. So I stopped comfort eating, and dropped five stone (70 lbs) in a year and a half, and I was getting closer to people again…
…and then Mum died. And I shut down, switched to auto-pilot, and watched myself go through life, doing things and saying things and being someone who was a bad-quality photocopy of myself. The weight loss stalled, because I needed that barrier again, but it didn’t increase. Just stayed the same. I lost a total of 10 lbs in the ensuing four years, which is how long it took to make the bad-quality photocopy slowly a better-quality photocopy, and then a painting, and then a photograph of myself, and some time near the end of last year I took the driver’s seat again. Last spring I made myself mentally healthy; after that, I dealt fully with the rest of the grief and let it go. And since then, I have wanted to lose the rest of the extra weight, because I don’t want or need that barrier there any more, but especially because I’m still overweight, still carrying around that extra mass, and when I get back to a healthy weight, a) having less to carry around will give me more energy, and b) if one thing about my body is healthy, it will give me more ammunition to throw at the CFS. My only problem now is that I can’t lose weight; I’m not exercising, and while I’m slowly improving my diet I still can’t eat a proper healthy one, because my body can’t digest everything a healthy diet needs. I take supplements and drink litres and litres of water every day and I’m not putting on any weight, my diet while poor and not varied is at least balanced to include protein, carbohydrates and vegetables, so I mean. There’s nothing really I can do until I have the energy to at least do some yoga. But it’s okay; first I’m concentrating on surviving this year and moving house twice, after that I’ll start building up my weaponry. Being a healthy weight will be a huge boon for my arsenal.
And I have to say that I don’t understand wanting to lose weight to be part of an ideal. My reasons for losing weight are always, always about health. I just don’t get it — and that doesn’t just go for weight loss. I don’t understand looking at a magazine and comparing yourself to the people in it and feeling bad because you’re not them. I … I don’t get that. Why would you want to be them? I’ve just never got what’s so great about people in magazines, why they’re (according to the popular view) so enviable. I mean, sure, they might be nice and they might have lots of friends. But what does that have to do with your life? I just don’t understand comparing yourself and finding a lack; if you’re unhappy with things in your life, work to change them, and if you can’t change them, work to find things that make it bearable, because life is far too short not to. All of which has nothing to do with the models in the magazines, who have their own lives and their own crap to deal with (no one’s life is an ideal; money and/or looks don’t get you happiness, being content in yourself does), and … well, yeah, I don’t get what one has to do with the other.
I’ve never found that “ideal” all that attractive either. If I’m attracted to someone who fits that ideal it’s because they’re an adorable and sweet and goofy person. (See: Kim Smith. Who is too skinny for my personal tastes, but omg she has such a pretty smile and is so darling and precious and sweet and can I keep her
and feed her chocolate cake yet? *pine*) My type is flaily geeks, but I guess I’m most attracted to chubby girls who smile a lot. I love chubby girls who smile a lot, oh my gosh, they are my favourites. My boyfriend is not thin, and I like that ♥ (Neither is our girlfriend, and I like that a lot ♥!) And I have so many friends who are beautiful and sweet and lovely and did I mention beautiful who think they are too fat and/or generally unattractive, and sometimes I want to MAKE THEM STAND IN FRONT OF A MIRROR until they see what I see. Which is a beautiful, amazing woman. I just wish it wasn’t a fight to make them believe that.
In conclusion: the Hollywood Ideal can go screw itself. I like my nerds soft and curvy and Renaissance-ish.