You’ve probably already heard it but if you haven’t, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) was overheard on the phone saying that Michelle Obama “Lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.”
I’ll admit that my first thought was “seriously – he used the word posterior?” But that doesn’t seem as important in the situation so I soon moved on. This is exactly why we do not conflate weight and health. You can’t tell what Michelle Obama eats, or how much of it, by the size of her…posterior, or the size of her at all. That goes for everyone, of all ages, including children if you catch my drift. This is why I think it’s so important to be for giving people healthy options and access, and against judging their choices or their bodies. Let’s stop all the body shaming, and instead we can focus our attention on giving people information, options and access, then butt out (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
It’s not the first time this has happened. In February, Rush Limbaugh said:
The problem is, and dare I say this, it doesn’t look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice…I’m trying to say that our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you.
How can I put this delicately… no woman’s health can be measured by whether or not Alex Rodriguez wants to fuck her. Ok, that wasn’t delicate at all, let’s try again. I would like to see us stop measuring the beauty and value of women’s bodies by whether men want to ogle us on the cover of a magazine, or want to take us back to their hotel when their team comes through town.
A Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model is one type of body. It is not inherently better or worse than any other type of body. The only thing we know about that body from looking at it, is that it’s the type of body that is currently put in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. We don’t know anything about how those women eat or how healthy or physically fit they are.
Model Josie Maran was a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. It soon became apparent that strength was not her strong suit (I am on fire with the bad puns today). Her partner put her into a dip from which she was unable to stand back up. As he perplexedly said “…use your legs…” they cut to her saying “being a model you only need to look good, you don’t have to train the strength”. Then they they cut to her partner saying ““(she is) deceptively unfit”.
She is only “deceptively unfit” if you assume that because she is the cultural stereotype of beauty she is also strong/physically fit. The problem isn’t Josie’s – she doesn’t need to be strong to do her job and she’s under no obligation to meet anyone’s definition of fitness.
The problem, that we see repeated over and over again, is that we try to get information about someone’s health and physical fitness by looking at them fully clothed. That does not work. It has never worked. It will never work. Health and body size are two completely separate things. Let’s grok that and move on.
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