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Posts tagged ‘body image’

It’s Not Your Call, Guys

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.

I think I’m going to go have some cookies.Image

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Measuring Up

A few years ago while watching Oprah, I heard someone say there’s a rule that if woman is standing up there’s supposed to be a space between her thighs. Oprah was shocked, as was I. A space? How big? I’m sure that if someone used a microscope they’d probably find a molecule or two separating my right and left thighs, a molecule that keeps my legs from chirping like a cricket when I walk down the street. But there’s not enough space to say, shine a light through. What’s the space for anyway? So men can watch the game when we’re standing between them and the TV? Or are we supposed to store a roll of stamps – or paper towels, depending upon the size of the space – in between our thighs in case of an emergency?

Isn’t it funny (insert your choice of alternative words for “funny”: “irritating,” “annoying,” “unfair,” “justifiable homicide”) how we women have  “body rules” and men don’t? It’s no wonder we’re the ones buying control top pantyhose and body-shapers, while the guys walk around thinking they’re perfect just the way they are. That’s because their bodies aren’t cramming for a pop quiz every day.

A friend of mine, who should know better because she’s at least my age, told me there’s a “Perfect Leg Test” for women too. According to the experts (I assume these are people who don’t have jobs and therefore have too much spare time on their hands), there should be a four inch difference between the circumference of your ankle and your calf, and a seven inch difference between your calf and thigh. Says who? Really, who are these people who run around measuring women’s ankles, calves, and thighs? Perhaps they’re an offshoot of the What Not to Wear squad?  After I heard about the test, I thought about measuring my legs for about a nanosecond before I realized that (a) I don’t know where the measuring tape is and (b) I really don’t care. If worst comes to worse, I’ll just start wearing padded socks to make up the difference.

Most guys could care less about the circumference of their calves and thighs. They operate on the “Do my pants fit?” principle. If they do, fine and if not, the dryer was clearly set too hot again.

Then there’s “The Pencil Rule,” in which you put a pencil under your breast and if it stays where you put it, you need a bra. If it falls on the floor and lands where the cat coughed up a hairball, you need a new pencil. Imagine the guy who developed this test (I’m sure it was a guy). He probably thought of using a number of different objects before he came up with pencil:  “Paper clip? Always falls to the floor no matter how well-endowed the woman is. Frying pan? Too heavy. Telephone? Hasn’t been invented yet…”

Men don’t have a Pencil Rule either, even though I’ve seen a few who could use a bra (or two). When looking at their chests, men rely on the “They’re not breasts, they’re pecs, watch me flex them” policy. Ah testosterone, we women could all use a little more.

Of course, the rules don’t end with our bodies. There’s also the “Cyclops Test.” To take this test, we women are supposed to picture a third eye between our two eyes (if you already have a third eye, I’m sure there’s another test for that). If there’s not room for a third, your eyes are too close together. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do if you fail this test; I’ve heard of having your eyelids lifted but is there something that lifts and separates the eyes themselves? Or are we supposed to use eyeliner out to our ears to give the appearance of “normal” looking peepers? Me, I wear mirrored sunglasses 95% of the time anyway so no one can tell where my eyes are.

If you can possibly focus those too-closely-set eyes of yours, there’s the “Halo Test.” You’re supposed to stand in front of a mirror, turn off all the lights, and focus a flashlight down on the top of your head. If you appear to have a halo, then you have split ends! Have you ever even once heard a guy talk about his split ends? Or, for that matter, how wide his eyes are?

I hope no women, no teenagers, no young girls take this stuff seriously, but unfortunately, they do. We need to teach our sisters, our daughters, and our friends to use the guy test when it comes to our bodies:  “If it ain’t broke, it’s perfect.”