This morning, I was with a group of men and women (2 men, 3 other women) talking about a female comedian who in her act mentions having lost a lot of weight in the past year. One of the guys insisted that she should have added, “…but I have more to lose” afterward.
Well, needless to say, all four of us womenfolk jumped on him. (Yes, it was great fun. No, he was not permanently injured). Not only has this woman done an amazing thing by losing all that weight, she is NOT fat at this point in her journey. What she is pear-shaped and she carries more weight than apparently acceptable to some men. I myself am more starfruit shaped, which makes it tough finding undergarments.
The appropriate responses when someone says she’s lost over 100 lbs are one of the following: (1) You look fantastic; (2) You look hot; (3) I like you at any weight; (4) You deserve some chocolate; or (5) Well, you’ve got some amazing willpower; could you possibly run for Congress and show those guys how to get things done? The least appropriate response is: So how much more do you plan to use so you’ll be attractive to me?
As a woman who has never been either overweight or built like a model (I personally feel that a size 0 woman is dabbling in imaginary numbers and could accidentally disappear), I have never had to suffer the slings and arrows of insensitivity about weight. But it peeves me mightily (great name for a band, Peeves Me Mightily) when random men believe it is somehow their prerogative, or even duty, to comment on a woman’s size.
Here, for those of you who need it, is a list of the men whose opinions about a woman’s weight matters:
(1) her doctor, but only if weight is a health issue;
(2) a man that woman is married to or dating, but only if weight concerns him from a health standpoint or stands in the way of their intimacy.
I know it is hard for some men (not all; there are many, many sensitive caring menfolk out there in the universe) to accept that women don’t have a duty to look good for you. When we get dressed in the morning or decide whether to eat another slice of pizza, we’re not thinking to ourselves, “I wonder if all men everywhere will find me attractive today.” We’ve got enough jobs already without having to worry whether we’re living up to every man’s standards–besides, what with the foot fetishists, the body art lovers, the furries, the guys obsessed with camel toe, the men who prefer no hair on any body part, the guys into grannies, those with red rooms of pain…ad nauseum, we couldn’t please you all if we tried.