Holding nothing back…

Archive for March 2008

WHY this hype about size-16 Chloe Marshall entering Miss UK?

Her size is just as unhealthy as a size 0.

She’s overweight, not curvy, and shouldn’t be happy with that at such a young age.

C. H.
West Hampstead, NW London

 (Edited to remove full name, as requested by C.H.)

 First, I’ve just gotta say it:  EVERYONE has a right to be happy with themselves and their body, no matter WHAT size they are!  EVERYONE, no matter our age, race, orientation, weight, jeans size, bra size, or waist measurement!

Rather than harp on the follies of the BMI, for once I’m actually going to use it as a voice of reason!  Mark this day on your calendars folks, because I doubt that it will happen again anytime soon.  According to her profile on Models Plus, Ms. Marshall is a rather tall young lady at 5’10”.  That alone “allows” her to carry a lot more weight than most women without being anywhere NEAR overweight.  According to this article, Ms. Marshall weighs 176 pounds (a “stone” is equal to 14 pounds).  Plug those numbers into any BMI calculator and it will tell you that her BMI is 25.3.  While that BMI *does* fall into the “overweight” category, it’s only by four-tenths of a point.  If she loses just 3 pounds, her BMI falls below that magic number (24.9) that designates the “normal weight” category.  THREE POUNDS!  I seriously doubt that those three little pounds are “unhealthy.”  Apparently Ms. H thinks that Chloe can ONLY be happy with her body AFTER losing those three magical little pounds.  ::::eyeroll::::

And people wonder why we have so many young women with eating disorders and distorted body images.  Why are little girls as young as 6-years-old unhappy with their bodies?  Because of attitudes like Ms. H’s and their prevalence.



I understand this feeling all too well, and still I find it sad.  Sad for the lady that sent it in to PostSecret, and sad for myself that I’ve spent so much of my life worrying about a number on a tiny little strip of fabric that really doesn’t mean anything except to the manufacturer of the clothing.  I wear anywhere from a size 14 to a size 20, depending on the designer, the style, the cut, and the material the article is made of.  Half of my clothing ends up being brought home and immediately put on my dressmaker’s dummy to be altered.  I’ve actually gotten to the point that I prefer to make my own clothes, not because there is no tag in homemade clothing, but because it’s the only way I can be assured of the fit.

I’m not a big fan of the theory of “vanity sizing.”  I do see that sizes are much bigger today than they were 50 years ago (seriously, have you LOOKED at dress patterns from the 1950’s??), but how much of that is because women today don’t wear the ridiculously tight girdles that our grandmothers wore?  How much of it is because designers looked at the actual sizes of REAL women and adjusted their sizing accordingly (and appropriately)?  What I see more than so-called vanity sizing is a lack of standardization in sizing.  One can’t count on a size 14 always having a 36″ waist (just pulling numbers out of my head here), and I’m not so sure one *should*!  There are almost as many different body types as there are women, after all. 

Just because I am 5’4″ with a 42″ chest, 36″ waist, and 40″ hips doesn’t mean that every other woman out there my height and weight has the same measurements.  I would like to see clothing tags have the actual measurements they are meant to fit on them!  What a concept!  If a dress is made to fit a woman whose measurements are 42-36-40, then that’s what the tag says!  If it’s made to fit a woman wose measurements are the mythical 36-24-36, then that’s what the tag should say.  It would certainly make shopping for clothing easier!  If you know your measurements anyway… 

Of course, bras are supposedly sized according to measurement and I find a lot of variance in them.  If the bra is a Cacique, I’ll need a 38 D.  If it’s Playtex, I’ll need more like a 40 C.  If it’s from Vickie’s I’ll need a 40DD (which Vickie’s doesn’t make ::::eyeroll:::: ). 

*sigh*  Even in the one area  where women’s clothing is *supposed* to be standardized, there’s no standardization.  Want to know what size bra you wear?  Pick ONE brand, ONE style within that brand, and never ever deviate.  Same with jeans.  Pick ONE style from ONE designer, and don’t ever buy another brand or style, and whatever you do, don’t let your weight fluctuate by more than a pound or two!

First, I must be up front.  The article I will be quoting is from August 27, 1991 and I have no clue if Penn State has since reviewed it’s policy on majorettes and weight. 

Although band administration justifies twice-weekly weigh-ins for the majorettes as a need for uniformity, such a policy has brought to light questions of sexual discrimination. (emphasis mine)

 Twice-weekly weigh-ins????  Excuse me?  Ok, EVERYBODY’s weight fluctuates, even those who maintain a thin frame without any effort.  Weighing the majorettes twice a week isn’t going to catch true weight gain better than once weekly or twice-a-month weigh-ins.  Sad thing is, I know this crap happens because my sister was a majorette at Arkansas State University, who actually got kicked off the squad for refusing to lose 5 pounds because her doctor told her it would be unhealthy for her to do so (she and I both have always been able to weigh 20 lbs more than most others our height who wear the same size clothes as we do).  Sis even took a note from her doctor to the band director, who refused to waive the weight requirement.  My father (who hasn’t always been the nicest person about even a *little* extra weight, he once told me that nobody over a size 9 should be allowed to wear jeans in public…  I wore a size 12 at the time) had to be talked OUT of suing the University for discrimination. 

Despite mandatory weigh-ins for majorettes, Feature Twirler John Mitchell was never given a recommended weight goal and is not weighed on a regular basis.

“When I twirl, people look at my baton. When a girl twirls, you look at everything — legs, kicks, pointed toes and grace,” said Mitchell (junior-administrative justice).

Mitchell agreed the whole idea of majorettes is sexist and noted that the uniformity for majorettes is thinness.

First, I have just GOT to say it:  I absolutely ADORE the idea of a male Feature Twirler!  Second, maybe it’s because my mom and sister were majorettes and I grew up watching them practice and perform, but when I watch a twirler of either sex I’m looking at the skill.  I don’t give a crap if you have a thin waist or fat thighs or “cankles,” or whatever.  I want to see a skilled, graceful (and fat does NOT keep you from being or looking graceful) twirler that enjoys what they are doing and lets it show.  One of the best twirlers I’ve ever seen was most definitely NOT thin.  She was overweight (by today’s BMI standards, I’d bet she might even qualify for “obese”), but she was gorgeous, talented, and *graceful*.  She had won several national titles in twirling, and we were lucky enough to have her as our Feature Twirler my junior and senior years of high school.  She would never have made the Penn State or ASU lines because of her weight, and it most definitely was their loss!  This girl could TWIRL!

Oh, and once again we’re back to the same old double-standard.  The girls are weighed-in twice weekly.  The male FEATURE TWIRLER (the one the entire crowd is expected to be watching) isn’t weighed, and doesn’t have a “weight goal.”  One is left to presume that it would be just fine if he were to gain 10 lbs, or 20, or, or, or…

“You agree to the uniform. You want to go out in front of the crowd and look good. You make fun of people who look bad in the uniform,” Kike (senior-elementary education) added.

“You make fun of people who look bad in the uniform…”  O M F G.  It doesn’t matter how skilled a twirler you are, it’s all about looking good in the uniform.  I am so glad this woman will never be teaching MY daughters!  “Screw learning, it’s all about your looks girls!”  Sheesh. 

To be totally honest, I heard other majorettes making fun of Holly (the high school twirler I mentioned above) when we would go to band marching contests, but they shut up FAST when she started twirling!  She could do tricks they could only dream about.  Her skill always won over the crowd and the other (thinner) majorettes.  After our show, Holly could often be seen surrounded by twirlers from other schools begging her to teach them how to do some of her tricks.

Damn!  Now I wish I had one of my pictures of Sis in her majorette uniform!  Y’all would never believe she was told to lose weight! 

The lovely Kate Harding, of Shapely Prose, introduced me to baby-flavored doughnuts, and ever since I find doughnut references EVERYWHERE!  “c) 

The video below is a little over a minute long promo for Mo’Nique’s F.A.T. Chance with Mo and the girls singing about doughnuts.  LOL  Too much fun!

Another video from Mo’Nique, this one on F.A.T. cheerleaders:  “…whatever you want to do, you can.  You want to cheer?  Thrown on your little skirt and your pom-poms and cheer to the top of your voice!”

Damn! but I love that woman!

 you make the rockin’ world go ’round!

Love this video!! 

Fox’s The Moment of Truth is a new gameshow where contestants can win up to $500,000 “just” by answering 21 questions.  The catch is, you are hooked up to a lie detector and asked 50 questions.  Contestants don’t know which of those 50 questions will be asked, nor are they told the results of the lie detector before they are on tv.

My gut reaction to this is WHY?  Why would anyone go on this show and put themselves and their loved ones through hearing the answers to some of those questions?  Some of the questions that have been asked:

  • Lisette, a model, was asked if she would be happy to look like her mother when she is her mother’s age (she answered “no”) and if she had ever slept with someone to further her career (she answered “no” but the lie detector said that she was lying).
  • Michael was asked if he was sexually attracted to any of his wife’s 4 sisters (he answered “yes”).
  • Ellen was asked if she had any secrets that she believed could end her marriage (she answered “yes”).
  • Lauren, in the most controversial episode, was asked several difficult questions, but the two that I honestly think should not have been asked were:  Do you believe your ex-boyfriend is the man you *should* be married to? (she answered “yes”) and if she had cheated on her husband (she answered “yes”). 
  • Ray was asked if he resented his mother for the way she had treated his wife, and if he resented his mother for wearing black to his wedding (he answered “yes” to both).
  • Brandon was asked if he used lack of money as an excuse for not proposing to his girlfriend (he answered “yes”).
  • Christie was asked if she blamed her father for tearing her family apart (she answered “yes”).
  • George was asked if his best friend could trust him with his life savings (he answered “no”).

The order is from the most recent show to the first show.  As you can see, they’ve gotten braver and more personal with their questions.  It’s a tough show to watch, and I can’t imagine WHY anyone would go on it, yet it’s kind of like a car wreck:  You don’t WANT to look, but you feel almost compelled to.  We often answer the questions ourselves sitting here in the living room. 

Watching Lisette being asked if she would be happy to look like her mother at her mother’s age, my 16-year-old daughter asked me point blank “Would it hurt your feelings if I answered ‘no’ to that question?” 

I thought my husband was going to come unglued!  “Why wouldn’t you want to look like your mother?  She’s beautiful!”  Made me feel good, but let’s be honest…  The man is a bit biased.  “c)

Honestly though, while on some level it *would* hurt my feelings, I want my daughters to learn from my mistakes.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes that have affected how I look today.  I’ve smoked since I was 18.  We all know that smoking causes wrinkles around the mouth, discolors your teeth, and can make you look older than you are (not to mention all it’s OTHER health effects, but for the purposes of this discussion we are just talking about what my bad habits have done to my APPEARANCE).  I’ve yo-yo dieted since  I was ten.  Not good for my health, my skin, my hair, my nails, my teeth, etc.  I’ve spent every summer since I was 2-years-old in the sun, and my parents weren’t exactly the most diligent about keeping me from getting sunburns (not that I was cooperative with the efforts they *did* make, it’s as much my fault as it is theirs!), and we all know what kind of damage that can do to the skin.  I’ve not always made the healthiest choices when it comes to food (big surprise from a yo-yo dieter, huh?), and poor food choices effects your skins ability to heal and repair itself. 

While I’m content with the way I look today, I know that if I hadn’t made some poor choices through the years it is possible that I could look better.  And I want my daughters to learn from my mistakes, and I hope that if they do they will look better at my age than I do.  I don’t think that it is necessarily a bad thing for my 16-year-old to want to look better at 38 than I do!  I just want to make sure that her whole identity and sense of self-worth isn’t wrapped up in how she looks.

Ok, so I’m watching some reruns of Gene Simmons Family Jewels ‘cuz there was nothing else on, and Hey!  Gene and his crew are actually really funny! 

In this one episode, Shannon goes shopping and gets Gene a bunch of new shirts and stuff, and when she gets home and has Gene try them on, they are all too small.  So she decides that he needs to lose a little weight.  I won’t even get into the argument that the man is getting older and his metabolism is GOING to change, and he’s worked his butt off his entire life to make sure that he can afford the lifestyle he wants and why the heck CAN’T he relax and eat what he wants and what’s wrong with a few extra pounds at his age and, and, and, and…  I guess I can kinda see the train of thought:  Shannon is a former model (LOTS of issues with being/staying thin in that industry), Gene is a former rock star (some would argue that he’s still a rock star, whatev), they are still very much in the public eye, papparazzi, gossip rags, yada, yada, yada.  I’ll give her that it’s probably in their best interests to maintain at least a SEMI Hollywood ready physique…

So.  She decides to take Gene to this spa (I shan’t name it) slash weight-loss resort type place.  They weigh him in, do an actual body fat percentage (you know, with the calipers), and at this point I’m thinking “Cool!  This place actually GETS IT and is going to have him doing this sensibly!”  Oh, how WRONG I was.

Gene and Shannon go for their first meal, and Gene has next to NOTHING on his plate!  I mean NOTHING!  You know that commercial where they talk about this restaraunt (“You have to know somebody to get in…”) and when the food comes the guy comments that “It looks like elf food…”???  That’s what Gene’s plate looked like.  The food was almost nonexistant!  So Gene goes to talk to the chef and finds out that on the weight loss plan they have him on, he only gets 900 calories A DAY!  That’s IT! 

According to this caloric intake calculator, a 50-year-old male (Mr. Simmons was born in 1949, so he was actually closer to 58 when this particular episode was filmed) who is 6 feet tall (guesstimate, I don’t know his actual height), weighs 220 (the weight they showed for him on the show), and gets little or no exercise at all should be eating a BARE MINIMUM of 1760 calories a day!  Folks, that’s for EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS at the lowest activity level, and that means that the “spa” had him on an 860 calorie per day deficit!  For sensible weight loss at the lowest activity level (no exercise and a desk job), he needs 1822 calories per day which translates to the spa having him at almost a 1000 calorie a day deficit.  The diet the spa had him on was barely life-sustaining at a LOW activity level, and they had him exercising several times a day, so his caloric need was actually closer to 2619 per day for weight loss and 1964 for EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS.  No fucking wonder the man bribed someone to bring him a hamburger!

Now, I freely admit to being a fat chick and having a prejudice AGAINST diets after spending a lifetime on one diet or another, but *THIS* is just ridiculous!  Do skinny people actually EAT like this?  Do they actually expect the whole WORLD to eat like this?  Sorry.  Not this fat chick.