It’s Okay to Want to be the Hot Chick

A post (it’s a meme really) has made it’s way around Facebook. It’s a viral sensation written by a woman of presumably healthy weight.

I understand that many of us aren’t at the weight we would like to be at. I further understand that at least one reader has a child with Prader Willi syndrome and that more than a few of us take steroids like Prednisone. If you’re in that category, bummer.

Here’s the reality, this fat lady on the chair you see below, she does have a pretty face. Beautiful even, what she doesn’t have is a healthy body. To say that she couldn’t have a better life and better health with some of that fat missing from her belly is to lie to everyone.

Right now we are fat. We are globally fat and our children have shorter life expectancies than we do. We are eating ourselves into a Wall E type existence.

If you’re my age (41) go look at your class pictures and find the fat kid. The ONE. There was always one fat kid, and I’m guessing when you see those pictures that fat kid is probably more typical looking today than you’d expect. Now take a look at any classroom in America and look at what we’ve done to our children.

Go look in a third grade classroom. Look at their pale skin and their doughy stomachs. Check for video games and cell phones. We want free range chickens, but gawd forbid our precious little princes should walk to school.

Ladies, I get that it’s hard to maintain a healthy weight. No one loves rich food more than I do. I know it’s hard to walk into the gym to try and become a mermaid. Let’s face it, I’m 41, my ass fell, but that doesn’t mean I get to sit on it all day.

Exercise more, eat a little less, spend more time naked and for the love of all things holy please stop pretending that fat is adorable. It’s killing you.

As much as I’m sure that Delphine Feiberg meant to tell everyone to love themselves, she’s doing you all a disservice. This model has a beautiful face, no doubt, and as wonderful as it is to open a magazine and have someone look like you, it’s deadly to pretend like we can’t do better.

Like Delphine I am not commenting on how anyone looks. This isn’t about fashion or being skinny. I’m not interested in discussions about anorexia. According to The American Anorexia and Bulimia Association 1,000 anorexics die each year. According to the surgeon general in 2003 (we’ve gotten bigger since then) more than 300,000 people died from their obesity.

In a dozen years we’ll look back on these fat affirming messages and wonder what people were thinking. These images are as life affirming as a Virginia Slims ad.

And now the meme:

 

 

October 3, 2011

A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”
The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:
“Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.
Mermaids do not exist.
But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?
Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.
At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.
We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?! ”
(The girl on the picture is French model Tara Lynn) Feel free to tag yourselves :)
Last comment: I’m not putting down thin people, being a thin woman myself (BMI of 22 maybe?) just saying that being large doesn’t equate to being unattractive.

By: Delphine Fieberg

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Comments 54

  1. I have been trying to get that picture out of my Facebook stream for days. I love people of all shapes and sizes, but that doesn’t mean I want to look at it naked, daily.

    I fight hard to teach my children to love themselves for who they are and I fight just as hard for them to love their bodies, but that doesn’t mean accepting excess fat as part of who they are.

  2. You’ve voiced what I was thinking, and eloquently. I hate stereotyping and bullying. Hate hate hate. And I’m actually so disconnected from physical appearance that I routinely forget to check if my son’s (or my own) clothes match, forget to take off my painting T-shirt before going to the store, and really never developed an opinion on “favorite” body shape/size. I just don’t care. But there is such a thing as healthy and unhealthy. I think I was inclined to hold back commentary for fear of encouraging (even implicitly) anorexia,but that’s a stunning figure — 1,000 versus 300,000. Not that the 1,000 don’t matter; far from it. We shouldn’t tell anorexia sufferers that they should look healthier. We shouldn’t tell fat people that they should look slimmer. We should embrace everyone, and that kind of leads to wanting everyone to be their healthiest.

    The slope isn’t as slippery as everyone imagines. It’s not hate on fat people or idolize them. It’s not anorexia or obesity. We’re not that stupid. There’s a pretty large middle ground. All it takes is recognizing nuance, and exercising some will power.

    (Says the woman who had cake for lunch just now. I’ll try harder for dinner.)

    1. P.S. I meant to emphasize how the problem with some anti-anorexia seems (to me) to be the continued focus on looks. Anorexics, and everyone, should certainly BE healthier. But that should be the focus, not “Gee; you don’t LOOK very healthy,” which seems (to me) to be code for “You look disgusting and freakish.” Hyperfocus on looks, period, is the problem. Some people are naturally skinny. Some people are naturally plump. All people need to learn to deal with it, while encouraging healthy lifestyles.

  3. I commented on your facebook post, but yes, and YES. Thank you. And on that note, I would love to go hiking with you some time– it’s a lot easier for me to be motivated when i’m working out with someone else! <33

  4. I think what we have to ask ourselves is how would we feel if our own child was this over weight. I, personally, would worry about her health and self esteem and take a good hard look at what I taught (or lack of) to her. I cant affirm beauty in the unhealthy. I have watched too many of my own extended family suffer as a result of this epidemic. Its not pretty…..in more ways than one.

  5. Thanks, Jessica.  I too saw this on FB and 1) didn’t want to see naked people of any weight on my feed and 2)don’t believe in the “healthy at any weight” concept.  

    I’m not trying to stigmatize or hurt overweight people or say they should be judged.  Anyone who struggles with their weight does NOT need that in their lives and should never experience that.  I have an overweight dad and will never allow a rude comment or joke to pass in my presence.  

    However, belly fat is shown to be the #1 predictor for heart disease and a host of other chronic health issues (diabetes, hypertension, etc).   That’s not prejudice…that’s science.  We can’t kid ourselves any longer about how people end up overweight.  If anyone’s looking for an easy-to-read, scientifically based exploration of how what we eat affects our weight, I’d really recommend Gary Taubes’ Why We Are Fat.  It’s gotten heavy criticism but no one has been able to take down or even challenge the science behind what he’s researched.  

  6. It’s easy for you to say “bummer” about people taking medications and/or having health issues that make it almost impossible to lose weight IF you aren’t one of those people. I am one of those people and while I think it’s great that you are trying to spread the message that being healthy is important I think it’s also important that we teach our children more than just how to live a healthy lifestyle. We need to teach them that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. What you see on the outside of a person isn’t what makes that person who they are. 

    When I saw this photo in my Facebook stream I just saw a normal woman. I don’t see her as obese and I certainly do not think she is so big that you can assume she is unhealthy just by her appearance. 
     

    1. You should probably read the rest of my blog first. I am one of those people.

      I still have predisone weight to lose, and it’s critical that I lose it because my rheumatoid arthritis is not helped by extra weight.

      It is exactly as I said it… bummer.

  7. There’s a balance to strike here. There are some people who struggle with weight through no fault of their own. I venture to guess that there will always be people like that no matter how healthy we eat as a nation. So we should never do anything to make them feel bad. But at the same time we shouldn’t start saying that being fat/hefty/overweight/obese is preferable or that it’s some sort of goal for people to try to attain. IF a person’s fat comes from eating/living in an unhealthy manner then their fat should not be glorified. IF it comes from a legitimate physical struggle then they should not be vilified.

  8. Arrgh.  I hate this.  These are the same people who rudely imply that I’m not a “real woman” because I’m NOT a size 14+.  (I’m actually very tiny, naturally.)  Why do people get hung up on numbers?  If you’re a size 14 (or whatever) because you’re naturally a size 14, then who cares that you wear a size 14?  You shouldn’t let anyone make you feel bad over a number.  If you’re a size 14 because you’re *fat*, you *shouldn’t* feel good about your size – not because of the number but because you’re not healthy!  (The same is true on the other end of the spectrum.  No one should feel good about a size 0 body if it’s not meant to be a size 0.  It’s not healthy.)

    God made us a variety of sizes and shapes, and we should celebrate that!  But we shouldn’t celebrate being on the road to heart disease and diabetes!

  9. i adore you, you know that. but this post, for just a moment, made me feel good about myself.  despite the extra weight.  yes, i realize my weight came on because of a thyroid issue…bummer.  but, i still have to walk around with it, my fat suit with no visible zipper.  this meme made me smile, it made many women smile.  for a few minutes, i turned my back on my inner mermaid and swam with the whales. 

  10. Blah … Be healthy people: that’s the bottom line. I’m skinny but I’m getting older and let me tell you, I’m no better looking than a larger body in bathing suit. I just want to be healthy and feel good in my dottage. 

  11.  The thing is this. The woman in that photo is objectively beautiful. She is a french model who travels around the world. If everyone in this thread we’re at a bar, the boys would be hitting on her. Furthermore, we are going to die before that girl. How do I know? Because she is a teenager, and we are middle aged. 
    Now you can starve yourself silly trying to fend off death if that’s thing. As for me, I am reading all of these comments while eating a cider donut. Kate Moss was wrong. Some things DO taste better than thin feels. I think the only reason Kate doesn’t know that is because she hasn’t eaten enough. 

    And btw – I’m fat not because I have a medical condition or because I’m on medication. I just really like to eat. Though surprisingly, I still get hit on quite a bit. But I do dress kind of slutty (at least by New England standards). 

  12. Hmm… a different perspective.

    I wrote an article about this very “meme” yesterday.  But my feelings on it were related more to the photo of a healthy size woman being called “obese” and “fat” by other women and what that does to a sisterhood that, rather than turning on each other should be supportive and unite against the overlords of the advertising industry who have deemed womanhood has no value after a size 2. This “it’s a question of HEALTH” cry is little more than a cover for “fatism” and does more to break down women than it does to encourage them on to a place of “self acceptance”.  Until we feel confident as women with BEING women, until we are supportive of each other instead of pointing out each other’s perceived “physical flaws” in an attempt to satisfy ourselves that we look better than the girl in THAT photo, we cannot begin to empower ourselves or our “sisterhood”.  

    If you get the chance, my article is at http://www.kikkiplanet.com/time-to-face-the-monster/

    It’s an entirely different perspective than the one you present here.  I’d challenge you to read it and share your comments.

    Kathleen Smith
    aka Kikki Planet.

    1. I read it and we might have to agree to disagree. 

      I’d also ask to you research MM’s height and weight and what a size 14 used to be (healthy) and what is now if you’re only 5’5″ (deadly large). 

      1. Ms. Gottlieb, I AM a size 14 and I stand 5’6″ without my heels.  I also wear a size 9 shoe.  As you could probably tell from the photos on my site, I am nowhere near “deadly large” and I can assure you I suffer from no health issues.  I’ve given birth to four healthy children and at 44 and a size 14, I’m pretty damn proud of this voluptuous body and the journey it’s accompanied me on. FYI: Not a single one of those pictures were “photoshopped” or altered in anyway.  They are me in my full on, size 14 glory. I’ve had the displeasure of watching many of my “thinner 40 something” friends” starve themselves down to where they think they look fabulous (based on what standard I have no idea) when the truth of the matter is they look like femme Skeletor.
         I take issue with your issue with the “health” of anyone over a size 6 (or whatever size you deem in your estimation to be “acceptable”.  I trust you have some extensive medical training to back up your claim).  I’m really attempting to understand what causes you to think you can judge anyone’s health based on a photograph or, for that matter, the size of their thighs.  This isn’t about “fat acceptance”.  It’s about “fat people” being the only demographic left in society that judgmental people have to pick on (aside from smokers, of course}.  Can’t pick on gays, can’t pick on “non caucasians”…. hmm.. what’s left? I know! Let’s go throw donuts and insults at the fat chick.Whatever insecurity your strong distaste for the size 14 woman is a cover for, addressing it might make YOU healthier.  Perhaps you feel threatened by the fact that a woman such as myself can accept her thighs, her hips, her breasts and take pleasure in being a woman.  After all, how DARE a fat chick like me actually like myself?Because I dare to.  That’s how.

    2. I read it and we might have to agree to disagree. 

      I’d also ask to you research MM’s height and weight and what a size 14 used to be (healthy) and what is now if you’re only 5’5″ (deadly large). 

    3. I totally resent you leaving a link to a post in the body of a comment, asking me to read it and then not publishing my comment.
      I had to pull your comment out of spam because it is poor form to leave links in the comment. I get that you don’t like my answer but I assume that a good physician has already told you that overweight can be deadly.

      1. I would’ve rec’d your comment to moderate had you made one and as you can tell from the comments on my site, I approve ALL comments. Should you wish to post your comment on my site I would welcome you to do so.  You made NO comment on my site, although accusing me of not publishing one is a fabulous way of diverting attention from the points I called you on. You then delete my original comment on YOUR site SEVERAL comments after I originally posted it. Great tactic! Judging from your awards and renown, I would’ve expected more from you, Ms. Gottlieb.  Regardless, kudos to you for attempting to “blacken my name in the online village” by accusing me of something entirely false.  I’m certain some of your readers may even “totally” fall for it.  On the other hand, they may be “totally” far more intelligent than you give them credit for.  And since you’ve accused me of being dishonest via censorship, I would request you supply this “comment” I supposedly refused to post.

  13. Eh, I think she’s gorgeous, not fat, and I like her body. I wish I looked like that. She does not look like a person who ate her way into size large with a diet of Twinkies and chips, but instead like that’s her genetic makeup. She looks healthy to me. I wouldn’t turn her down for dinner. 

    Some of us, like me, are not and can never be thin no matter how little we eat or how much we exercise. Among the many diets I’ve tried were the VLCD’s with up to two hours of exercise per day. It took me four months to lose 9.5 pounds and I was miserable. Today, I eat a primarily whole foods diet of about 1200 calories. I walk or bike ride 2-3 miles per day. I’m still 40 pounds over what the weight charts say I should weigh. And I don’t look anywhere near as good as this model does. OTOH, I read a “fat acceptance” blog yesterday that made me very sad. There is a difference between being large and healthy and incredibly obese and unhealthy. No woman can be healthy at 300+ pounds and I disagreed with the author, who felt that claiming “fat” as part of her identity was both an esteem booster and a cultural lesson. 

    The cultural lesson I feel is most important is that food is nourishment. It’s not a reward — it’s not a punishment — its existence shouldn’t be cause for gluttony or resentment. It’s not an emotion or a refuge or a drug. That we’ve turned it into all of these things — that we’ve come to delight in how many ways we can pervert food with convenience, chemicals and excess is, I believe, the foundation of the obesity epidemic.

  14. As part of a recent exchange on her wall, I accused Ms. Gottlieb of claiming to have made a comment on my site she did not make.  I was horribly wrong.  In fact, after having my webmaster search high and low for her comment, we found it and it is now published on my site.  Jessica, my sincerest and HUMBLEST apologies for an unsubstantiated attack on your character.

    Ms. Gottlieb’s comment on my site was well thought out and well written.  As opposed to posting a link to my site so you can read it (as I now understand this to be in poor form – what can I say, I’m a noob), I’m pasting her post in it’s entirety into this comment.  Again, my apologies.  My bad.  I screwed up.

    Submitted on 2011/10/06 at 5:46 pmIn an age where we have at least 300,000 people a year dying from obesity I think it’s foolish to pretend that that obesity isn’t a problem. The reality is that obesity is diagnosed at 20% above your ideal body weight. It’s not a condemnation, it’s not a judgment on who you are or how pretty you may or may not be, it’s the medical standard.I am quite certain that this woman is clinically obese.As for Marilyn Monroe, your facts are quite simply wrong. She was 5’5″ and anywhere from 118 to 140 pounds. I am 5’6″ and 130 and I can tell you that she would have been a size 8, possibly a 10. She was a size 14 because vanity sizing hadn’t began yet.Our clothing manufacturers want us to feel good when we shop so they put random numbers on things. My jeans are anything from a size 28 to 30. When I was 14 years old I wore a size 27. I was 103 pounds and exactly the same height. I assure you my hips have splayed after having 2 children and more butter than a woman ought to.One of the most troubling things about this ridiculous meme was that somehow getting old and fat and doughy was a tribute to her wisdom. My friend Betsey Bailey rightly pointed out that she just lost 30 pounds from eating healthier and didn’t lose any wisdom.Our femininity need not be wrapped up in body measurements. It’s quite simply a health issue.When a smoker is around I smell them. When an obese person is around I see them. It’s quite simply a problem that the world can see.

  15. I see validity in the argument that there are unattainable ideals people struggle to achieve in the name of beauty. But I also am concerned when we call Marilyn Monroe a plus-sized woman because it’s not accurate. The fact is there are women like the woman above who take care of themselves and women who are “skinny fat” at size 0 but have BMIs that are through the roof.
    None of us were made to all
    be the same size, but the American lifestyle – processed foods, little exercise (or fresh air), and lots of stress – has to change.I’ve known some very unhealthy people who looked fabulous. I think obesity is the most visible part of the issue, and sadly, those who struggle to lose weight face a stigma that those who are a size 6 do not – even if they both suffer with the same underlying health issues due to lifestyle.

  16. While I agree, I don’t think anyone’s size should be idolized. So, if this woman’s test results all come back normal, like mine did a few days ago, she appears to be healthy on paper. So I can’t join you in saying she’s not healthy. I can say that I’m not healthy, because I think that 40 (or 50) pounds lighter is healthier, but I can’t knock her or what she stands for (or doesn’t).

    She’s an adult. She’s responsible for herself. If she was a child, then her mother should be concerned about her weight. But as an adult, she has the right to be proud of her size or to decide that she needs to do something about her weight. At the same time I agree that some people are just going to be larger. I know of several people who are obsessive about the weight, they exercise like crazy, and they eat very healthy foods – and they’re never going to be a size 12, let alone a size 4 or 6 or 2.

    In any event, my girls are on the low end of the scale. Always have been – and my youngest is on prednisone. Daily. To keep her alive.

    At the end of the day, this doesn’t offend me.

  17. I would like to say that there are, I believe a lot of emotional and psychological issues that go along with  obesity and weight issues.  I gained weight when I quit smoking.  My boobs go bigger, my thighs, etc.  And while I was actually healthier than I had been in years, I felt depressed and unmotivated because of my weight.  And while I usually hate these mass post things on FB because they are usually stupid and annoying and I did find the fish part kind of offensive, the overall message that I took away from it was that it’s okay to love yourself the way you are RIGHT NOW. (Like when they say on yoga videos that you are perfect the way you are today.)  And I do think that after years of being mind fu@!ed by my mother, the media, etc.  about my weight, about not being good enough, about having to change my overall self to fit the needs of others, I say that I don’t care if you think I don’t exercise enough.  Since I am pregnant and my due date is tomorrow, I think I am going to lay around today watching tv and worry about my weight later.  :0)

  18. I am 30.  I am a size 12.  I am self conscious about my weight.  I always have been. 

    I work out 6 days a week for at least 60 minutes.  Three days a week, I also lift weights.  I do this after working a 10 to 12 hour day.

    I eat 1200 net calories a day.  Mostly, it’s a banana and coffee for breakfast, a brown rice bowl (fresh) for lunch, and a bowl of low calorie soup for dinner.  I eat organic, spending more money than necessary on food.

    I drink, at most, one day per week.

    I consume between 6 and 8 glasses of water a day.  Sometimes, I’ll switch it up and have a diet soda. 

    I get eight hours of sleep per night. 

    I don’t take any medication that causes me to retain weight.  

    I watch, maybe, an hour and a half of TV a day, while I’m eating dinner, after getting home at 9:00 p.m.

    I don’t think fat is adorable.  It kills me that I’m not a size two. I roll my eyes at “bigger is beautiful” or “embrace your curviness.” 

    However, I am healthy – for the most part.  Yes, every once in awhile, I slip and have candy or something high in fat.  By and large?  I probably lead a healthier lifestyle than most of the very thin girls I know.  My physician says I am in perfect health.

    Your post genuinely saddened me by its implications into what you think my size says about me and preconceived notions about my health.  I am not hot; I am not thin.  This does not mean that I am not healthy, and it doesn’t mean I should hate myself because I am not the ideal.  However, posts like these do a disservice to people like me who genuinely make an effort to lead a healthy lifestyle, only to be told that, because of how we look, it’s not enough.

    I have tried, for most of my life, to love what I see in the mirror and to be okay with how I look because I am a healthy person.  However, commentary like this is, by and large, part of the reason why I can’t love what I see because I know that I am constantly judged by the fact I carry a little more weight.

    Thank you for affirming that I am just another fat girl who can’t do better for herself.

    1. There’s no way a human can get fat or stay fat on that little intake. You probably are eating more than you think you are. You say you “sometimes” eat candy or something high in fat. How often is that “sometimes”?

      I wish I could have people follow me around, do what I do, eat what I eat, and see that they won’t stay fat.

      I actually do have a thyroid disorder and most of the time have to take meds. But I still don’t get fat, because I eat less than I burn. It’s the laws of thermogenics.

      That’s not Jessica’s fault and I’m glad she said what she did. The “fat acceptance” movement is pretty damaging in my opinion.

  19. I wish I could have articulated this as well as you because I would have written the very same thing! I often challenge myself to find people who aren’t fat or obese while standing in line at the store. It’s harder and harder. I’m currently overweight by about 20-25 pounds and I could make a lot of excuses, but really it’s up to me to take care of myself. To eat a little less and exercise way more. I think many Americans like to make excuses. What makes me the most sad is seeing so many kids paying the price! 

  20. There absolutely is an obesity epidemic, not only in this country but in the entire developed world. The quick, easy food is the stuff that’s terrible for you. Homeless people are more likely to be obese than not because fast food is what they can afford.

    That said, this post is seriously wrong-headed about a few things.

    First, being thin does not mean you’re healthy. Have you ever had a stomach flu for 3 days and then been told “Gosh, you look fabulous! How’d you lose the weight?” and wanted to respond “By vomiting and not eating! Works every time!”? Because I sure have. Many thin people have high cholesterol, or completely lack muscle, or any other host of health problems.

    Second, BMI is a terrible indicator of health. It doesn’t take body type, bone density, muscle, etc. into consideration. All it does is count your height and weight. Older people tend to have lower BMIs than they should because of bone density. People under 18 tend to go the other way. People with muscles have higher BMIs than people of the same size without muscles. Congratulations on achieving the “ideal” 22, but that’s not the right number for a lot of people.

    Third, a healthy weight is different for everyone. Weight isn’t the only indicator of health. Can’t we focus on having a healthy BODY (and mind and heart and all that jazz) rather than just healthy weight?

    I honestly want to believe that your heart is in a good place with this post. I just wish you could have discussed the obesity epidemic without calling the gorgeous plus-size model “fat”. I wish you could talk about eating healthily without fat-shaming or weight-shaming others. And I wish you had understood that the meme is about knowing that there is more to life than being thin; that it’s better to have fun with your friends and your mate and have great sex and live life to the fullest rather than spending all your time worrying about what your stomach looks like.

    1. I talk about the fat that I see not because I want people to feel shame but because that’s the visible symptom.
      If she has yellow skin I say she had jaundice because she has yellow skin. When I see an extra 20% of weight I see obesity.
      I don’t care that bmi is imperfect. Are you trying to tell me she’s a bodybuilder?

      1. Bodybuilder? Eyeroll. Not at all. She’s a model. But she is 5’9″ and seems to have a large bone structure. She has broad shoulders and hips. Maybe even a bigger rib cage than some people. If she were a size 6 she would look emaciated and skeletal.

        Again, the fallacy you’re perpetrating is that you seeing fat is a symptom of an unhealthy person. Not everyone looks at other people and sees FAT!! before seeing anything else, or thinks pretty girl but FAT!! and can’t get past it. And having a roll of fat or two (ps, the pose in that particular picture isn’t doing her stomach any favors- thin women without a six-pack might have the same pouch in that pose) does NOT mean that she isn’t healthy. And she’s absolutely not obese. Maybe overweight on the BMI scale, but in no universe is she obese.

        1. Okay.

          So I’m going to have to pretend I’m blind, no one will have hurt feelings but it won’t matter because they’ll die quite young from heart disease.
          Ignore the outer edges of the bell curve for a moment and really think about what you’re saying.
          The developed world is fat. There’s a problem and the problem isn’t our feelings.

          1. You’re clearly not getting what I’m saying. I have REALLY thought about it. And I completely AGREE with your point about the developed world being fat. In fact, I already said that. And I meant it. I still do.

            There is a problem. The problem is that the food people afford and buy is terrible for them. The problem is that there are huge food deserts where people can’t find a fresh vegetable. The problem is that school lunches feed kids terrible food instead of healthy food. The problem is that parents don’t say no when their kids whine about not going to McDonald’s. The problem is that we’re all on the go so often that we don’t make time to eat well. The problem is that society has changed from one where most people do manual labor to one where everybody sits at a desk for 40+ hours a week. The problem is that we drive everywhere instead of walking or biking. The problem is that schools are cutting gym class and sports programs for lack of funding or because they don’t help get NCLB points. The problem is that nobody pays attention to how terrible the food they eat is for them. The problem is that serving sizes have grown and dinner plates have grown and portions at restaurants have grown and nobody’s stopping it. The problem is that even the smallest “kids” meals at restaurants have 600-1000 calories. There are a hundred thousand different problems that go into the obesity epidemic, and equally many ways to attempt to solve them.

            One of the problems is NOT that curvy women want to focus on more than merely their size as the source of their self-esteem. The meme isn’t about weight. It’s about looking beyond your physical appearance to realize that your life is rather fantastic.

  21. My naturally thin sister obsessed her whole life about weight.  Got to lose 5 pounds, 7 pounds, 2 pounds.  When you thought of her you thought of her incredible hair (in a visor of course!), her long beautiful nails and dieting.

    When my 49 year old sister lay wasting away and dying from cancer, she told her two younger sisters to STOP worrying about weight.  “All my life I’ve worried about losing weight, staying an “acceptable” weight.  Now?  I would give anything to gain weight.  Please don’t wish your life away over weight.  It’s stupid and it doesn’t matter.”

  22. What this comes down to is lifestyle. It’s not dieting. It’s not infrequent bouts of exercise. It’s not starving yourself. It’s changing the way you live, the way you eat, the way you exercise, and the way you treat yourself in moderation. We’re all busy. It’s hard to do one more thing, especially because exercise is hard work. But I’m here to tell you that if you commit to exercising an hour a day, four days a week, and stop eating junk food or fast food at every meal, you’ll maintain a healthy weight for your body type.

    I understand people want to see women who aren’t rail thin (and like Amie says below – being thin isn’t always healthy). I prefer to see women who are strong and athletic, which doesn’t always mean they’re rail thin. They’re healthy.

  23. Thank God someone said it!
    I was getting really sick of seeing this for the exact same reason.

    Yes, I get it. We need to be accepting of everyone and not presume we know what caused someone to look the way they do.

    But that is no excuse to ignore your own body. If you know you aren’t caring for it properly, you can’t just be “fat and proud” –
    that goes for women with fast metabolisms that also treat their bodies like crap. Just because society cant tell you’re neglecting your body, doesn’t give you a free pass to be unhealthy.

  24. Totally late to the party on this post here, but I kept coming back and trying to think of a great way to phrase what I had to say but it’s never going to happen. I think {doesn’t mean I’m right} that the idea behind this picture and little (poem?) was to get the whole “peace, love, don’t judge those by their looks” thing across. Problem is some, you for instance, took it as it’s a-OK to be fat. Yeah well it’s not. It’s not OK to have an eating problem whether it’s in abundance or of very little. My key to life is moderation. But really, truthfully, I WAS fat. 5 months ago I walked into my doc’s and came out with a list of what was wrong and a possible lump in my breast. After tests, follow up tests and more tests — truth be told I was overweight and it was wreaking havoc on my body. Sodium was killing me. Food was killing me. Now I’m down close to 30lbs and  6 pant sizes and I feel alive. My “female” problems are gone. My stage 1 hypertension is slipping away into the past and I can’t wait to keep going. Yeah the medicine problem sucks, totally. I am the opposite, I take medicine that removes my appetite. Just as bad though because your body will go into starvation and your metabolism will shut down. But from my choices, I’ve passed it onto my children. Not the fear of being fat or skinny. Not about every single thing we ingest. But about being aware of our health and our bodies. We only get one.

    None of us are perfect and we should all accept that. Some things really just aren’t our business. But personally, I’ll make my own choices for my family and my self and everyone else can suck it. 

  25. People just like you Jessica who judge others and point out their flaws are truly unhappy people and not happy in their own skin. I hope you can change your outlook not just for you but for your daughter too…shame on you. The girl in this picture is beautiful, she is most likely in better health than you just more meat on her bones :)

  26. FWIW, I think that image is photoshopped.  I can’t get a high quality capture…I haven’t been able to track down the original image, either.  *But* just by zooming in a little I can see the differences in the pixels…the color specifically in her back – looks as if she might naturally have that plump shape, but it is pulled out to exaggerate things. 

    And really, you have no idea how healthy/unhealthy this girl is.  My mother is 5’7″, 140 pounds…in her mid 50s.  My grandfather at 6’4″ is about 225 pounds in his mid 80s.  Both of them served in very physical jobs all their lives.  My mother was a strict vegetarian for years (before “vegan” was cool she ate no animal products whatsoever).  Yet both of them have an LDL over 200.  I am very fat, not very active, and don’t eat particularly well on a regular basis.  My LDL is about 110.  I probably don’t eat a lot of cholesterol heavy foods in particular…  I cook with plant oils instead of animal fats…I eat a lot of brown rice & beans.  I drink way too much coke.  But my mother & grandfather have always had high LDL.  They can’t explain it…and neither can their doctors.  My mother had a nutritionist that was convinced she was lying about her diet.  “You can’t have numbers this high if you eat the way you say.”  It happens. 

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  28. This is just a really good, honest post (and so I linked to it today).  She’s a big lady, probably could be healthier.  We’re a fat country and need to get our heads out of the sand.  Love the statistics about anorexia versus obesity.

  29. I’m over this. I honestly didn’t take the time to read everyone’s comments, but read enough here and on other threads where this is posted. Blah blah blah, she’s beautiful, blah blah blah we shouldn’t judge, blah blah blah. The sad fact is too many people are in denial. I don’t doubt she might be a beautiful person, but she is clinically obese and too many people accept that as okay. If you spend enough time looking at overweight people, sure you can start to say this is the normal woman, but I’m sorry, it’s NOT. It is unhealthy and unattractive to the masses, and I’m not going to be told that I’m shallow for thinking that. I have my own extra 20 or 25lbs. of extra weight and know I attract many less women in this shape than when i’m fit, but I don’t cry about it and say love me for me. I’m over people being politically correct and trying to soften reality. The fact is, sure, there are many men that have no problem with a woman like this, but it is not the majority. The biggest bit of denial is the term BBW. They know they grossly obese so they label themselves Big Beautiful Women. At what point does anyone get to label themselves beautiful and get away with it? When all others have to be politically correct, bite their tongues and agree: “oh yes, you are beautiful, yep, yes you are!” We just feed the machine (no pun intended). I don’t doubt this is a wonderful and lovely woman and I’m sure somebody loves her just that way. Good for them. I’m in no way judging her as a person or human, I’m making a point that we should not be forced into believing her size is Okay. Our country is one lazy-ass, McDonalds consuming, TV watching country and it’s time to get out of the house and put the damn fork down.

  30. This is a very complex problem. The issue of disordered eating is not to be overlooked, whether the disorder is overeating or undereating. Wording messages carefully is essential in preventing people from going to extremes. There is, after all, a middle ground, though very few seem to recognize that. Arguing for weight loss does not mean one is arguing for anorexia. But arguing for whales — however cute that may be, is not helpful, either.To understand the complexities of these issues, we need to get away from euphemism and metaphor: what is a healthy weight? We cannot know what that is with all the messages in the media suggesting that thin is normal because this is also not the case, and neither can we do this by normalizing being dangerously heavy. But what exactly is healthy? Here is where I come face to face with the one thing I hate most in these conversations: the confounded Body Mass Index, which fails to account for a lot of body types and ethnic backgrounds. People wield it like some kind of absolute standard when it is not. I don’t even think it’s a very good diagnostic tool. But there it is. Until we get a better understanding of what we’re talking about, we’re not going to be able to craft the right message. Without this message, we will continue to bombard our kids and ourselves with contradictions: fat is beautiful! But! All the beautiful people on the TV and magazines are thin!

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  32. I’d buy that you were actually concerned about the health of this model and size 12s everywhere (no response for @fotrixy’s excellent & very personal comment below?) if your post title did not frame it all as just about being HOT. So it really is all about HOT, not health, not being a good person and putting your HEALTH first or feeding your family as healthily as you afford and exercising with your kids. No, it is about it all being OK to be HAWWWWWWWT.  Other bloggers in the comments below who are also anti-fat acceptance (nad for the record I find the movement ridiculous) seem much more knowledgeable about and concerned with the actual physical (and mental) issues, impediments and challenges – not about being hot.  Look, make peace with the fact that it makes you sick to see anyone 10lbs over their weight range, put up the “no fatties allowed” sign and continue to rock your own fabulous bod. But don’t pretend it’s really about health. 

  33. She’s beautiful.
    No, not just her face.. No, not if she lost 20 pounds. No, not if she “ate less”, She is beautiful, her body is beautiful.
    She doesn’t even look that bad. 
    And it’s extremely creepy that you search “NAKED PLUS SIZED MODEL” Bwahaha.
    But srsly.
    When I see people saying “Love who you are.” it’s better than hearing someone like you saying “You’re a fat piece of shit and you’re ruining the WOOOORLLD
    -blasts vegetables everywhere as if a fat person has never seen one-“

  34. I rowed in college.  When I was 20 years old I weighed 175 pounds, almost six feet tall, and I could bench press 170 pounds.  My BMI said I was “overweight.”  I have wide hips, broad shoulders, and dense bones.

    I’m 45.  I work out nearly every day.  I run, I ride horses, I do yoga.  I eat somewhat sparingly on a regular basis and not at all sparingly on a sparse basis.  I am not thin.  I am not fat.  I am not “hot” and at age 45 I could care less about being “hot.”

    Sometimes you can’t tell by looking at a picture what that person is doing to stay healthy.  Is she eating healthy foods, going to the gym, getting regular exercise? Look at the definition of muscle in her calf.  Not the sign of a person who gets no exercise.

    Being obese is certainly not a goal anyone should seek, and I encourage anyone to be as active as their health will allow.  I encourage everyone to eat good food, not too much and not too little.  But I will not judge any woman by her physical appearance.   We are all where we are in life for different reasons and I will not presume to assume why someone is heavy OR thin, nor will I label them.

  35. That model though has she been diagnosed as fat/obese at a unhealthy point? Obesity is a serious issue but so is trying to look perfect according to society standards.

  36. Jess, it is truly amazing how our society has programmed people to stuff their faces constantly for no reason. The amount of food we actually need is really quite small, but I think it’s the habit of eating until stuffed, several times a day, with snacks in between, that is getting people.

    As you know, I’m an accomplished athlete and as such it’s possible for me to be a little looser with my diet much of the time. However, I don’t get to eat nonstop unless I’m moving nonstop!

    Portion sizes these days are utterly ridiculous. Eating that much in one sitting is unnecessary and harmful, and people who sit on their behinds all day at work and then in front of the TV all evening simply cannot afford to eat like that. One paltry 60 minute workout (if that – most people count “at the gym” time as “workout time” and that’s not accurate) just will not offset that kind of caloric intake.

    I agree with you completely that it’s a serious form of denial and it saddens me.

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