Friday, August 04, 2006

OH, for the love of PETE, people!!!

Why? Why do I read the news and thus just piss myself off?

And this isn't even about Bush, believe it or not.

Item #1: This ridiculous controversy over Baby Talk magazine's "nursing baby" cover. My usual response to lactivists can be summed up in two words: "Shut" and "up" but in this case they are so right. WTF is wrong with people, being grossed out about the sight of a nursing baby? I can imagine being taken aback, and I don't believe it necessarily belongs on the cover, but you can see that much breast on the cover of Cosmo, for the love of God.

I don't think it's inherently neccessary to divorce breasts from their sexual allure (if that's the case I have several dresses and tops rendered useless--about the only thing attractive about me at all anymore is The Rack). However, breasts are there for for the feeding of children, whatever other roles they may play in a woman's life. If a mother chooses not to use them for such, fine. But like it or not, that's why we have them. They don't exist to keep Victoria's Secret in business or nicely fill out a tight top. Are breasts sexy? Yeah! I am a straight woman and find them really kinda nice, and my usband ery much appreciates my post-nursing fabulousness. And I liked that in my younger days I could get the attention of a bartender pretty damn quickly by just thrusting my chest over the bar and making eye contact. But allure aside, all breasts exist for one function. The other stuff is just window dressing.

Some of the reactions I read just really exasperated me. People called it gross and disgusting and yuck. The hell? Romanticizing of breastfeeding makes me crazy and I never got comfortable with breastfeeding in public although I support other people's right to do it. That said, though, IT IS A NATURAL THING. THAT IS WHY BREASTS EXIST.

To say that's it's gross is to strike at the heart of a very deep misogynism in our culture, I think. Unless breasts are being used for the sexual and visual pleasure of men, there's something wrong with them and we'd better keep them under wraps. The same could be said for our very womanness. The very thing which externally marks us as female, our breasts, is somehow controversial when showed for the purpose God intended, but the Victoria's Secret annual fashion show runs in prime time, and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is proudly displayed on newsstands. The idealized female body is one that looks as if it's never borne children -- smooth skin, narrow hips, flat tummy and a tiny waist topped by enormous breasts. Once you become a mom by whatever means (birthing or adoption or stepparenting), you'd better look and dress as if you've never had children --attaining MILF status -- or you're invisible or worse, laughable.

Which ties right into my next rant.

study that finds most obese people claim to eat healthfully.

And here's what the doctor who ran the study has to say about that:

"There is, perhaps, some denial going on. Or there is a lack of understanding of what does it mean to be eating healthy, and what is vigorous exercise," said Dr. David Schutt of Thomson Medstat, the Michigan-based health-care research firm that conducted the survey.

Ummmm. Bite me, Doctor Schutt.

Yes, most of the people I know who are, like, seriously fat don't eat well. But really? do you have to tell us that not only are we fat, we're stupid too? People who live on fast food and cookies do s fo a variety of reasons; I'd be willing to bet both my cats that they don;t for a second consider it a healthhy diet. It irritates the CRAP out of me that all that medical science can offer people who have tried everything to keep weight off is: drugs that don't work all that well and give you, and I quote, "oily anal discharge", radical, risky surgery or the same old tired advice to eat less and move more.

Yes, eating less and moving more would cause me to lose weight. I've been following a sensible eating plan focusing on a lot of fruits and veggies for the last couple weeks, and I noticed this morning that the outfit I am wearing looks a heck of a lot better than it did last time I wore it (I refuse to weigh myself because I know damn well the spiral of self-loathing and self-sabotage that would cause). I feel better too. I know I need more exercise than chasing Maggie around. But I have been the weight those stupid charts say I should be exactly once in my life, and even then I was at the high end.

For whatever reason, that weight's been out of reach for the past five years. I have done Weight Watchers, worked out for 40 minutes five days a week (checking heartrate all the time so I know I was at target), done South Beach, etc and you know the ONLY thing that's caused me to lose a significant amount of weight in the last several years? Pregnancy and breastfeeding. Is it even POSSIBLE, Doctor Schutt-The-Hell-Up, that overweight could have a hormonal component? That there could be anything other than a fondness for Big Macs and a lack of will that is keeping people fat? Because here's the thing; many of the people I know who are effortlessly skinny eat like crap. No vegetables, little fruit, just meat and cheese and processed crap. I may be twice their size but I know I am healthier. Who's telling them that there may be some denial at play about "skinny" meaning "healthy"?

This "blame the victim" mentality about obesity just makes me nuts. There's no other condition I know of where everything is blamed on the patient's lifestyle and nothing, absolutley nothing, is being done to find out what is causing the problem. Nobody stopped looking for treatments for lung cancer once they found out it's frequently caused by cigarette smoking, and said "Oh, those smokers, they brought it on themselves, they should just quit and it's their own damn fault if they get cancer."

My husband and I eat pretty much the same things, as I am the cook in the family. For meals we don't eat together, such as lunch on weekdays, I eat much better, usually a salad with a little dressing, while he eats fast food or pizza most of the time. I snack on veggies, fruit or fat-free pretzels, he snacks on animal crackers. Neither of us get enough exercise. But his weight has hovered around the same, give or take a few pounds, while mine has skyrocketed since stopping breastfeeding. He's put on four pounds, I have put on 20. Anyone who looked at our diets side by side without knowing whose was whose would exepct him to be the fat one in the relationship. Instead, it's me. I don't know why, and I hate it and feel gross and ugly and huge much of the time.

But I have given up dieting. I like fruits and veggies and there's certainly enough of them around at this time of year. I need to move more, and am trying to find a way to fit that in too. I am eating healthfully and enjoying every morsel I put in my mouth, and if I want ice cream, I let myself have it without undue guilt. I don't know if I'll ever like myself at this weight. But I doubt I'll go to my grave wishing I hadn't had dessert. I do know what healthy eating is, Doctor, and I intend to do it every day of my life.


tripmom827 said...

Amen and Amen! You tell it, sister :)

Theresa said...

Thought you might enjoy Stephen Colbert's response to the Baby Talk controvery.