weight distortion
May 20, 2003 11:37 PM

I'm watching "America's Sweethearts", a movie that created some controversy awhile ago among size acceptance folk. With some reason - the plot doesn't sound good: Catherine Zeta Jones and John Cusack are a famous soon-to-be-divorced couple forced to promote a movie together, Cusack falls for her sister, Julia Roberts, who has recently removed a fat suit. Many fat cracks, of course.

However. It's interesting to note several positive sidebars in the weightloss story. One - Cusack's character already has a tentative history with the fat sister, whom he claims he always found attractive. Two - the fat sister doesn't have horrid frumpy fashion sense. Three - you see that her fat-removing diet was actually starvation-ish. So, it's three good points in a slew of bad ones, but at least there's something.

What it actually brought to mind, though, was this - there's a joke about her losing 60 pounds. Billy Crystal says "Sixty pounds? That's a Backstreet Boy."

Now, that's interesting. Sixty pounds is nothing like a Backstreet Boy. They're young and slim, yes. But they're also like six feet tall and dance for a living. These boys actually probably weigh in a lot closer to 200 pounds than to 60.

Sure, this is a complete hyperbole. But. It also points to something that disturbs me. We're all so used to lying about our weight (women particularly) that few of us have a good grasp on the weight vs. size relationship anymore. We think, as most men-written novels will tell you, that a healthy-looking woman over 5'5" might reasonably weight no more than 100 pounds.

I imagine that most people who read what I write (all five of you, I adore you) probably don't make a practice of lying about or disguising their weight. But if you do, I hope you'll stop.

See, what happens when we mistakenly assume all women weight 100 pounds (some do, of course) is this: those of us who don't assume we're fucked up. We see ourselves as even further from normal. Disguising your size ultimately makes you believe your size is less and less acceptable.

And that's just silly.

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your wicked thoughts

FACT: I wear a size 8. 6 sometimes, because sometimes clothes are cut big. If the average size worn by an American female is 14, 8 is small.

FACT: I am 5'6". I don't weigh 100 pounds. I weigh 138 pounds.

The idea of "normal" is distorted to the point of ridiculousness. If 5'6", 138 is small, 5'9", 120 borders on absurd. Yet I hear those measurements quoted a lot as "normal," or at least a thinness level that would be considered "attractive."

Please. What's on the scale is just a number, but there's some kind of severe confusion about what numbers are realistic.

these are the thoughts of revolution9 on May 21, 2003 09:06 AM

This reminds me of when I was reading "The Silence of The Lambs". In the book, as in the movie, the serial killer Jamie Gumbs/Buffalo Bill kills women and uses their skins to make clothes for himself. He chooses big women so as to get enough skin to do the necessary tailoring and still have the suits fit him. There's a lot of emphasis placed on how the victims are "large", big and tall, even fat. At one point, he refers to one of his victims as a "tremendous fat thing" or something along those lines.

Which is why I was thrown off guard when I realized that the author's idea of a large woman was apparently one who was 5'9" and weighed 140lbs. As far as I'm concerned, that's not large, that's normal, slim even. I'm 5'10" and a good 15-20 pounds heavier than that, and I'm apparently in the lower half of the healthy weight range for my height. Large would be 5'9" and 140kgs maybe, but not 140lbs. (I'm hoping I'm recalling right and that it was actually pounds quoted in the book and not kilograms -- I'm pretty sure it's pounds because I recall rereading the line several times trying to wrap my head around the idea that that would be considered "fat"). I was even more surprised when someone I mentioned it to (a medical doctor, no less) seemed to think that it was perfectly valid for a woman that size to be considered "a tremendous fat thing".

In short, I agree with you about the lack of a realistic grasp on the weight vs. size relationship. And I never lie about my own weight.

these are the thoughts of titilayo on May 27, 2003 12:14 PM

Actually I am almost 5'7" and I do weight 100 pounds (102 to be exact) and I can tell you that I am not the norm. I don't know many people over 62 inches who weigh less than 110 pounds unless they have issues with food. I have an eating disorder which is pretty much under control at the moment.

But you have to accept yourself as a person regardless of weight, because I have weighed anywhere within a 60 pound range in the past 2 years and I have never been happy with my body. That is because I cannot seem to love MYSELF.

these are the thoughts of angelpaws86 on March 19, 2004 05:18 PM

I'm 5'7" and I weigh 95 pounds. Obviously, I'm anorexic.It is because of stupid movies and things that you were talking about earlier that made me want to lose weight. At my healthy weight I was 110 pounds AND I'm 23 years old. Now I realize that that's really skinny, but stick-thin celebrities and fat jokes made me feel like a whale. I'm SO glad that people are addressing these issues.

these are the thoughts of Lulubaby on February 5, 2005 06:37 PM

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