Skip to main content

I have really been appalled by some of the recent controversy that Regina Benjamin's weight in any way compromises her ability to serve as a good example in the capacity of Surgeon General.  Such comments pop up on message boards across the web, many from morons and twits, but others from genuine aficiniados of exercise and/or nutrition who think they are speaking on behalf of women's health, but in reality have no idea what the fuck they are talking about; I am very glad will we have a Surgeon General who by her very presence will begin to disabuse us of these misconceptions.

The fact is, concerns about obesity are not a partisan issue; many of the most strident critics of being overweight are progressives at the forefront of medicine and nutrition, noting it as a causal factor that increases risks for a myriad of diseases, based on their extended expertise in their specific fields.

However, for those of us who view the issue of women's health through a more holistic lens that acknowledges the intertwining and interacting factors of physical health, psychological self-image, and sociological pressures, the greatest causal threat to women's health is actually not obesity at at all - in fact it is entirely the opposite; the greatest causal threat to women's health is negative body image.

Specifically, this negative body image manifests itself as perpetually seeing one's self as too fat regardless of the reality, a compulsive self-loathing fervor to lose weight that usually only backfires.  

While there are many alarming statistics about obesity, the amount of women who have suffered at one time or another from an eating disorder like bulemia or anorexia is just as staggering - but it only begins to tell the story; I can only speak for my own generation and not those that came before (I just turned thirty), but most women I have have had the fortune of getting to know in my life still have an endless loop of "I'm too fat" going in their minds every time they look at the mirror, regardless of their weight.  In fact, I would say at least three out of four women I have met in my life have some unhealthy level of this fixation, and even thought in most cases it may not rise to the level of a diagnosable eating disorder, the psychological, emotional, and spiritual toll of struggling daily against these kinds of expectations is still immeasurable, and only serves to bolster detrimental health factors like stress, depression - and yes - weight gain as well.  What's worse, these body image problems that many women face appear to be, if anything, getting even more acute with today's teenage girls and young adults.

In many ways, it is no surprise that this phenomenon targets women in particular and only seems to be getting worse; we have a multibillion dollar weight loss and cosmetics industry which has created immense social and psychological pressure on women to get to a size nonexistant, an Orwellian Two Minutes of Hate that women regularly are conditioned to inflict on themselves.  As this industry has expanded, along with its compatriots in the fashion, tabloid, and modeling industries, spreading their mantra of female self-loathing through new technologies and digital airbrushing breakthroughs, the problem has become more acute.  How many weight loss commercials, between TV and Internet ads, does a young woman see by the age of 15 nowadays?  How about compared to thirty years ago, or even ten years ago?  

My point is that if we are looking at causal factors when we talk about obesity causing poor health, we must equally concede that the biggest causal factor for obesity and weight gain among women is negative self-image, and almost always before diet and exercise even come into play; a highly negative self-image inevitably tends to provoke inconsistent attempts at diet and exercise, as opposed to the kind of steady long term regiment that truly leads to improved health.  This serves the cosmetics/weight loss industry just fine, though, as they don't make nearly as much money if people just lose weight and keep it off; their entire financial model relies on women who will keep trying to lose weight in an endless cycle and buy their products over and over again, as they richochet between modes of fierce determination and bitter resentment towards weight loss that inherently lead to an inconsistent regiment.  One can expect little more from those industries, granted, but it certainly is the duty of people in and around the health care, nutrition, and fitness industries to look past their short term bottom lines and NOT reinforce those same stigmas, as they often have in the past; to do so directly undermines their stated main objective of good health for their female clients perhaps in the most destructive way possible.  

Throughout the course of my relative short life, I have personally heard more stories than I can count about women who were incessantly bugged about being fat when they were growing up, often just for being a little chubby, and then ended up losing control of their weights when they got older as a result.  I will share just one such story in the interest of brevity:

My fiancee was a chubby as a child; however, her mother always berated her for being fat, and constantly made it the focus, to the point where a resentment towards restraint and exercise was engendered.  My fiancee continued to gain weight as she got older, despite attempts to diet, with each of her boyfriends having a very negative attitude towards her size and constantly harassing her to lose weight.  It was only until she and I were together for a couple years and she felt no such pressure about her size that she all of a sudden found herself losing weight this year - without even trying - and essentially by accident.

This is really just a basic rule of humanity; after a certain point of pushing someone to do anything too hard, it will inevitably backfire, because it is interpreted as a disparagement of the very will power needed to overcome the problem.  Although motivation can be very helpful in many situations throughout life, there gets to be a point where people just need a little breathing room to feel something other than bad about themselves if they are ever to feel any better.

This highlights a rule of weight loss, and really, of most any substantive changes we attempt to make to our lives: it is vital to feel at least somewhat IN CONTROL to be successful.  Once a person feels like things are completely out of their control, things do not go well, and the primary message that women get from society when it comes to weight loss is that - no matter their size - they ARE out of control, that they MUST always be somewhere else than where they are now, and that they've therefore ALWAYS fallen short and have ALWAYS been out of control (and always will be).

I will pose one last example from my personal experience, as it relates specifically to that issue of feeling in control.  A number of years ago, one of my friends had put on some weight during a depressing period in her life following the death of a parent; when I saw her in 2001 for the first time in over a year, she was caught up in a negative view of her body that went beyond anything I had remembered.  As the time went on and we began to hang out again, though, a funny thing started to happen; she started to joke about her weight in a positive, almost cathartic sense, not in a self-depreciating tone as much as one defiant towards conventional expectations.  It became so common that it was a running joke she had going among our group of friends; she would make cracks about how her weight shook the floor or how she could squish people she didn't like with her weight, interpeting it as something empowering instead of a liability.  It may sound silly, but she was able to look at the idea of being fat through a positive lens; what she had once perceived as a woman's ultimate weakness, through endless social conditioning, she now perceived as a manifestation of "goddess power", as she liked to put it - the weapon that so long had been used against her was in reality only hers to wield as she pleased.  In the months following her regaining a sense of control over her size, she lost all the extra weight with minimal effort and is now in the best physical shape of her life - not by beating herself up or trying too hard, but by simply cutting herself a break.  It's amazing what a positive self-image of one's body can do.

Now, some may read this diary and think that I am trying to argue against or minimize the health consequences of obesity.  Let me be clear, I am doing no such thing - the health risks of obesity are well-established and foolish to dispute.  However, anyone that thinks that an increase in overweight and obese women stems from women not worrying about their weight enough is OUT OF THEIR FUCKING MINDS.

Originally posted to ShadowSD on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 07:40 AM PDT.

Poll

To the extent that women are overweight in America

27%18 votes
72%47 votes

| 65 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 1-)

    Regina Benjamin is not only a fantastic, tremendously qualified, and inspiring candidate, but her serving as Surgeon General implicity sends the message that health relies on much more than the superficial and self-loathing frames provided to women by the weight loss and cosmetic industries.

    I'm certain that a handful of individuals - many of them because they have found success and happiness with strict regiments of fitness and nutrition in their own lives - will continue to make comments, and not as much about Benjamin as a role model, but more about women in general needing to focus on losing weight because they don't take it seriously enough.  These individuals all see themselves as the helpful drill sergeant, and believe that the answer to every situation is that people just need to hit rock bottom to get better; it is analogous to the  intractable stubbornness and shortsightedness of those who vastly increased the amount of terrorists in the name of policies that were supposed to defeat terrorism.

    Berating women about their weight is counterproductive, and only makes obesity more of a likelihood.  If you really care so much about their health, try shutting the fuck up.

    (Yes, I know I've posted this before, but after the last iteration of this diary led to feedback from a few kossacks who thought appropriate replies centered around the words "fatties" and "Walmart", and now that Fox News has chimed in with agreement, it is clear that there are people on both sides who continue to need education, empathy, and common sense when it comes to the way women and their weight issues are treated in our society.)

    Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

    by ShadowSD on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 07:37:32 AM PDT

    •  umm, I think it is not right (0+ / 0-)

      to spam the site with essentially the same diary twice.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Your first posting of this diary two days ago got 141 comments, largely positive.  "Some commenters disagreed with my main thesis" is not a valid reason for reposting, IMHO.  You post here, and people can and do disagree.

      All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

      by fizziks on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:03:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nice of you to point out that people can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW

        agree on the site while you issue a troll rating to an opinion you disagree with.

        Fox News and ABC have now covered this issue on television, which has been brought up in a number of diaries over the last day or so, so the issue is more a topic of discussion than it was previously.

        Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

        by ShadowSD on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:02:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, I issued a troll rating because (0+ / 0-)

          you spammed, not because I disagree with your opinion.

          Unlike most people, I understand the proper use of HRs.

          All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

          by fizziks on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:11:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thet don't want to come out and be blatant (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShadowSD

      about their prejudice towards her because she is another smart woman of color, so they go after her size.

      Our country has become so overtly bigoted since we elected President Obama. What is so sad and pathetic, is that the prejudice and hatred has always been here in our country. Just look how they treated Judge Sonja Sotamayor.

      The irony to all of this, is these hateful people that yell and scream that Obama is a fascist and Marxist, are the same idiots that shave their heads and wear swastikas and idolize Hitler's beliefs and yet they say they love their country.

      Sorry about the rant but it makes me sick.

  •  If I'm Regina Benjamin, I meet this issue (2+ / 0-)

    squarely head-on and do something creative with it.

    First, I announce in public that yes, like millions of Americans (women AND men) I'm overweight, and look forward to the opportunity to educate my fellow citizens about what I've learned about the obesity disease in my professional capacity.

    Then, I announce my personal pledge to lose 50 pounds through a healthy program of eating and exercise over the next two years.  I will talk about my plans and progress openly on my website and invite others to join the program with me and share their thoughts and progress.  

    Because I'm a healthcare professional, I know how vital community support is when embarking on this kind of program.   This will be OUR project.  As I get in shape, I want you to get in shape with me.
    After an announcement like that, Dr. Benjamin could probably get elected President on a voice vote!      

    I always think reform is just around the corner -- until I overhear the people standing next to me on the streetcar. (Ray Stannard Baker, 1905).

    by dotalbon on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 07:50:34 AM PDT

    •  How do you do this with a straight face (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dotalbon

      assuming you have to appear before a congressional committee which will be made up of "avuncular" males?

      As an aside I see a SC mother is in hot water because her 14 year old son weighs 555 lbs.  Weight problems do not occur overnight and their genesis is frequently difficult to notice until they hit a crisis point  

    •  That's really up to her (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitsap River

      I would say the best role model she can be is simply by being who she is, and showing women that there's a lot more to health that just one factor, as opposed to contributing to the culture of obsession with it.  Plenty of women who are fat have gland issues, or more commonly, just skip plenty of meals but stay fat because they make up for it at other moments - if they just distributed their meals evenly in small portions throughout the day, they could eat the same amount of food and even the same quality of food, and lose a lot of weight.  However, they are instead driven by cultural pressures to go overboard and skip meals, only to splurge at other times when they can't take it anymore; perhaps just having a female Surgeon General who is not a twig will get women to ease up on themselves enough to make healthier, more balanced choices.

      Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

      by ShadowSD on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:43:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  say all you want (0+ / 0-)

        there's a lot more about weight than "gland issues" or "stay fat" because they (women) skip meals.

        If only we all did as you say we should.

        •  A lot more (0+ / 0-)

          I didn't mean to gloss over all the myriad factors, I was just trying to explain that Dr. Benjamin can be a good role model without having to make a weight loss pledge, that's all; sorry if I made that point inartfully.

          Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

          by ShadowSD on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:56:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ok (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ShadowSD, JesseCW

            I really do understand this issue. You're right. Dr. Benjamin should not have to make a weight loss pledge. Why we even have to have this "discussion" about weight vs. healthy is beyond me.

            I've been on both sides of the scale - literally. Too heavy & had to lose weight for health reasons. Became a widow too young and became extremely thin and had to GAIN weight for health reasons.

            It is all about being healthy and not about perceptions. Thanks for your diary.

    •  I'm too sexy for this debate (0+ / 0-)

      If you want my body and you think I'm sexy. Come on sugar let me know. If you really need me just reach out and touch me. Come on honey tell me so

      Republicans are walking the socio Path.

      by 88kathy on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:48:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If she were a man, the question would never arise (17+ / 0-)

    Of course, a man is "burly."  A woman is just fat.

  •  Weight .... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bushondrugs

    is obviously a very complicated health issue. For one thing we need to separate real health issues from social issues.

    In many ways when we diet - we are going against the body that has been built in a certain way over a long period of evolution - during which problem of hunger was overwhelmingly a bigger concern than weight.

    May be after getting confirmed Regina can go on a very public balanced healthy diet and exercise routine and lose excess weight and set an example.

    •  Or maybe... (13+ / 0-)

      she can just be superb Surgeon General and her weight is none of the public's fucking business.

      Is all I'm saying.

      "Gambling is a principle inherent in nature" Edmund Burke

      by Morus on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:00:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  asking her to lose weight (12+ / 0-)

      Presupposes she hasn't tried already.

      The very reality of weight and women is that our bodies hold weight, especially once we turn 35 or older, especially if we have had children.

      The "just lose weight" crowd has never had to deal with how hard it is to lose weight, I suspect.  A few know - but not most.  Most are male, and have simply never understood what the natural state of woman's bodies is to preserve "nutrition" in the form of weight.

      As someone else said, we are the result of millions of years of evolution designed to keep a child in utero when we ourselves are starving.  That makes it easier to put weight on, and harder to take it off.

    •  I'd rather that she not go on a (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sngmama, Kitsap River, Treg, ShadowSD, JesseCW

      very public diet.

      There are plenty of people who have already set an example like this, and then have fallen backwards because of stress and overscheduling.  (Stress and overscheduling are rarely discussed as health issues until after the damage is done.)

      I would rather not look at health like it's an achievement test that's scored by how many pounds one loses! (Another commenter suggested that Benjamin publicly pledge to lose 50 pounds...ugh.)

      Surely we can improve health in a more holistic way!

      A Wall Street "bonus" should not be more than what my house is currently worth.

      by bushondrugs on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:25:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why does she have to lose weight if she (6+ / 0-)

      is healthy as she is?  Do you really believe the weight tables should be applied to everyone even though it is wellnigh impossible for some people to be as thin as the weight tables tell us we should be?  Some bodies are not made to fall within these guidelines.  Healthy eating and reasonable exercise should be the watchwords here not some numbers that purportedly define everyone.  It is agreed that being overweight is not particularly healthy (or comfortable), but it is still up for grabs what "overweight" means.  I also think the diarist here has a great point -- what else makes sense when Americans are more obsessed with being thin than they ever have been and yet are getting fatter?  I have several friends who are perpetually dieting and are perpetually quite plump.  In the interest of avoiding all fat, they eat foods that are laced with chemicals and taste bad.  Eat naturally, eat comfortably, don't use food as an emotional crutch, get reasonable exercise, and what you weigh should be what you should weigh, even though it may be considered "overweight" by today's unreasonable standards.  

    •  It's very presumptuous (7+ / 0-)

      to assume she is not eating a balanced healthy diet and exercising regularly. That said, if she were a white male Republican physician, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Therefore, the whole "issue" is merely another off-topic right wing Republican attack against another outstanding Obama nominee.

  •  Other poll option... (5+ / 0-)

    [Some] Americans are overweight because we have ridiculous schedules and a consumerist culture that makes it difficult to find time to eat healthy and take care of ourselves.

    A Wall Street "bonus" should not be more than what my house is currently worth.

    by bushondrugs on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 07:58:57 AM PDT

    •  We forget that we used to keep our weight (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CParis, bushondrugs

      down by doing physical labor 12-14 hours per day, six and one half days a week, if not plowing a field or harvesting a crop or tending livestock, then chopping wood and preparing carcasses for the kitchen etc.

      In those days, burning off 2000 calories per day was not too difficult and the diets were composed of very little processed sugar or processed anything.

      What a change in diet and occupational expectations a few decades have wrought. Also people tended to wear out around 50 so you really did not have a lot of spare time to acquire a spare tire

  •  Amen (3+ / 0-)

    This is really just a basic rule of humanity; after a certain point of pushing someone to do anything too hard, it will inevitably backfire, because it is interpreted as a disparagement of the very will power needed to overcome the problem.  Although motivation can be very helpful in many situations throughout life, there gets to be a point where people just need a little breathing room to feel something other than bad about themselves if they are ever to feel any better.

  •  Excellent, thoughtful essay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShadowSD, bushondrugs

    My wife has been anorexic since before we even met.  And, though recovering for the most part, has had some severe flair-ups during the marriage.  So I can verify what you're saying with all too personal an experience.  

    However, you made this assertion a couple of times, and I need to push you on it:

    . . .we must equally concede that the biggest causal factor for obesity and weight gain among women is negative self-image. . .

    Were that to be true, the obesity rate among women would have to be MUCH higher than among men (or there would have to be a separate, equally powerful causal mechanism that affects men but not women).  Is this true?  

    Lou Dobbs makes me puke tears of blood (and not the good kind).

    by cardinal on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:04:29 AM PDT

    •  Plenty of men have negative body images (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Treg, CParis, alethea, CherryTheTart

      It just ain't something we tend to talk about.

      Crush the Horror.

      by JesseCW on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:08:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It seems at least in the commercial world (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kitsap River, ShadowSD, CherryTheTart

        that imperfections are more tolerated in males than females which may be partially due to the traditional difference in gender roles. As a quick example, the "trophy wife" comes to mind while I have yet to see a reference to a "trophy husband"

        •  Seen a few myself (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CherryTheTart

          although they are far less common.

          Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa afflict one man for every five women.  If they're purely products of media messages about women, why do any men or boys suffer from them?

          More often, though, men with negative body image issues related to being overwieght "give up" and just stop trying to control their weight.  It doesn't mean they're happy about it, or don't care about it.

          Increasingly, those with issues related to a perception that they aren't suffeciently muscular shoot black market 'roids.

          Crush the Horror.

          by JesseCW on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:26:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  and we have all known some of those (0+ / 0-)

            A local plastic surgeon had a thriving side business in the reduction of "manboobs" among the hardcore abusers. My most vivid memory of the rhoid controversy was the documentary detailing one body builder's "blowout"    

    •  The rate IS higher among women (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW

      http://www.aeron.com/...

      Women tend to have a higher incidence of obesity than men, with nearly half of all women in America overweight. One reason that women are more likely to be overweight than men may be that they are more prone to fluctuating hormone levels. For example, calorie and nutrient intake and energy expenditure are all affected by hormonal fluctuations.

      When hormone levels are balanced, your body functions well. When they are out of balance, or in decline, physical symptoms and discomforts can be the result. Weight gain can be one of those symptoms.

      Feeling miserable about one's weight does not exactly lend itself to hormonal stability.

      Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

      by ShadowSD on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:33:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's also a result of other factors (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CParis, ShadowSD, CherryTheTart

        In a lot of this country, women still aren't encouraged to be physically active.  They're considered "wierd" if they join the company softball team, or work out at a gym.

        Additionaly, men carry more muscle mass (yes, I'm speaking in broad terms about population groups, not about individuals) even when living an equivelantly sedentary lifestyle.

        Muscle burns fat.

        However, portion sizes are the same for a six foot six man and a 5'2 woman, despite their wildly different nutritional needs.

        Crush the Horror.

        by JesseCW on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:41:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right - and you can very easily run into a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          very skinny tall guy who actually weighs significantly less than a woman is 5'2 and thick, but by no means obese; I've seen it on numerous occasions.  Men and women really are different when it comes to the way weight is distributed.

          Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

          by ShadowSD on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:48:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Should a man be well hung? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart

    What do these people have
    on
    their mind?

    Republicans are walking the socio Path.

    by 88kathy on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:16:41 AM PDT

  •  The Swim Suit Confirmation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart

    men will appear in Speedo's
    women in thongs

    Republicans are walking the socio Path.

    by 88kathy on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:23:11 AM PDT

  •  Thank you! (5+ / 0-)

    I am quite a bit older than you, and from my perspective the demand on women to be thin has gotten a lot worse than it was when I was young. It was bad enough in the old days, though.

    My experience was better than that of several of my friends: I was naturally thin-normal, not too thin, not overweight, if I watched what I ate and denied myself "goodies". Over time, though, I developed a raging appetite for those goodies that was totally unrelated to being hungry; it was related to long-term suppression of the appetite. I and my appetite have gained a lot of weight in the last few years; it makes me feel unhealthy, so I am trying, again, to get some of it off. It is easier lately, because my appetite is satisfied and not on the prod.

    imo the demand on women to be thin is really a veiled demand on women to be and remain sexually attractive so when men look at us they can get excited. Women don't have to yield to that demand but if we don't, we have to expect to pay a price; after all, just by being overweight, a woman is inherently disrespecting mens' "needs". Here in the US we still live in a patriarcy where for women, our sexual attractiveness is our primary purpose of existence to many men. Realistically, the price of not being thin may be a solitary personal life and slow or no advancement at work.

    •  First of all, why is being very thin considered (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitsap River, martydd, annominous

      sexually attractive?  Those who model clothing have the bodies of early adolescence.  What kind of man finds this sexy except a man who feels powerless?  As for dieting, in the longrun, it is more destructive than constructive, as it lowers one's metabolism, which means one needs to eat less and less food to keep one's weight down.  Can't we just be reasonable and push a healthy, natural diet with a reasonable exercise regime?  This might result in some people still weighing more than the weight tables say they should weigh, but who cares?  There are all sorts of body types and all sorts of ways of looking good.

      •  Depending on which sort of Clothing models (0+ / 0-)

        you're talking about...I know very few men who find Kate Moss attractive.

        I certainly don't.

        The average Playboy model weighs nearly 15 pounds more than the average model in the pages of Cosmo.  I think that says a lot about the gap between what men find attractive and what mass media tells women they should look like.

        I'm not saying that Playboy presents some kind of realistic image of women, btw, but rather that very few men (and no lesbians I've ever known) find severly underweight women attractive.

        Crush the Horror.

        by JesseCW on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:22:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  she's overweight is rethug speak for (9+ / 0-)

    she's black.

    Pure and simple. They can't attack her on qualifications and they can't come right out and say she's black, so they say it's cuz she's overweight.

    They did the same thing to Judge Sotomayor. They couldn't go after her the basis of her qualifications, so they went after her for  "wise Latina." They even tried to make an issue of her diabetes.

    President Obama isn't American. He can't prove he was born here.

    All these false arguments are cover for one basic issue with these racists: they are "other." They are not one of us.

    That's it in a nutshell folks.

    "Don't bet against us." President Barack Obama

    by marabout40 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:37:33 AM PDT

  •  Your poll is completely wrong (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Kitsap River, fizziks, martydd

    Obesity is not about worrying - so I will add a choice at the risk of a pun:  "pie."
    The Surgeon General's office pitches carb good / fat bad diet, and saturated fats as dangerous - contrary to virtually all evidence. Still pumping elevated blood cholesterol as being a primary cause of heart disease and cardiac morbidity and mortality - with no science to back it up. Obesity is looked upon as a moral condition - i.e. obese people don't have the willpower to starve themselves on ineffective diets.
    High fructose corn syrup should be removed from American's diet - too bad it is a multibillion $ industry. Statin drugs, another multibillion dollar industry, have virtually no effect on lifespan - take it for 30 years to get a 3 month benefit.
    I don't think we will hear anything of any importance out of the SG office.

    "America - The land where no one is allowed to mind his own business." William S Burroughs

    by shmuelman on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:43:12 AM PDT

    •  Excellent comments, shmuelman. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShadowSD

      Barbara Ehrenreich made an interesting comment a while back about the food police.  She said that we had very little moral compass left in this country and we've placed our "morality" into our cereal bowls.  Meanwhile, what the medical profession doesn't know about nutrition could fill a set of encyclopedias.  We all know how to eat if we listen to our bodies.  And we'll all be different sizes even if we eat healthily.  The more attention this issue gets, the worse the results.  

  •  It isn't just women being targeted. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martydd, JesseCW

    It may be that women are more sensitive to it, I don't know. But I'm a guy who used to weigh 440 pounds, and it really seems as if the obese are the go-to-group for convenient, one-stop hate shopping. I mean, if you're a compulsive hater, or simply need someone to feel better than, a lot of the groups society as a whole used to feel free to dump on without social consequences have become more or less taboo. Can't have a high old time at the expense of various ethnic groups, gay people, religious groups, even alcoholics.

    All we've got left are smokers and fat people, because "it's their choice".

    Of course, when the issue of one's weight coincides with an ideological difference, all the motives become even more intense. Remember how there was a period of about a year and a half, maybe two years, when you couldn't pick up a conservative rag without seeing a cartoon showing how screamingly funny Michael Moore's butt cleavage (preferably breaking wind) was?

  •  WTF (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mariachi mama, JesseCW

    Here is the proposed SG:

    Benjamin

    Here are two other previous Surgeon Generals:

    One SG

    Another SG

    I don't think that any are particularly fat or particularly thin.  This is one of those stupid GOP talking points.

    Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

    by Sychotic1 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:17:24 AM PDT

    •  At the risk of being considered a horribly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, mariachi mama

      sexist asshole....

      She's not really very heavy...she has huge breasts.

      Really busty women who don't wear snug clothing (and no, I'm not saying she should, she dresses entirely appropriately for her proffesion) often look heavier than they really are.

      Again, not that it's at all relevant to her obvious qualifications for the job.

      Crush the Horror.

      by JesseCW on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:27:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Im a woman and I was thinking that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sychotic1, mariachi mama, susanala

        too because sometimes huge boobs will make women appear heavier than they are, especially when you look at them from the waist up. I haven't really seen a lot of photos of her but I dont understand what all the fuss is about with her weight. She may not even be unhealthy at all. People have different body types.

        "I believe God created me in one day" Yeah, looks like He rushed it." -Bill Hicks-

        by mistakeonthelake on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:36:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes you are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sychotic1, mariachi mama

        a horribly sexist asshole. Not.

        Yeah, I got the boobage goin' on. And it's hard to find the tops that go with the bottoms. More often the bottoms are way too large to go with the tops, making one appear much phatter.

        You're right... it has nothing to do with her qualifications but everything to do with perception. Just what the goopers are all about - creating their own perception of reality.

      •  I totally agree with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sychotic1

        I don't think that was a sexist observation at all.

  •  Its clear that bashing the surgeon general pick (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mariachi mama, ShadowSD, JesseCW, coffejoe

    is just another way to stab at Obama, his judgment, and the demographic he represents. Dr. Benjamin's impeccable qualifications, liberal penchant for selflessly helping poor patients and the fact that she's black is making freeper heads explode.

    On what grounds will the GOP try to oppose her? They are furiously digging for something right at this moment. LOL! I am really enjoying this! If they find nothing, will they just have to go with: "We think she's just too fat"?

    "I believe God created me in one day" Yeah, looks like He rushed it." -Bill Hicks-

    by mistakeonthelake on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:32:15 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site