By Hala Furst
I was wondering when we were going to talk about this.
This is a huge issue for me, no pun intended. I resent the implication that women of above average, or even literally average size, are lacking sex appeal or are inherently unattractive. As a size 18 who has been told on more than one occasion that “for a big girl, you don’t really act like one”, this is like my personal crusade. I know you all don’t know me, but I’m gorgeous. If I wasn’t so short or so, let us say, zaftig, I could be a forties movie heroine. I know, you’re not supposed to say that about yourself, it isn’t humble, but I really could give a crap. It’s taken me a long time to accept that I am beautiful, and I’m not going to apologize for it. I’m beautiful, and in part, it is because of my larger than usual butt, boobs, what have you. I’ve dieted, I’ve exercised, I’ve cried and I’ve tried to love myself in spite of my weight, but none of it works. You have to just love yourself, and be healthy, which I am, thank God. So what really irritates the hell out of me is when someone, boys, girls, media, parents, whoever, either implies or states outright that I should be unhappy, that I should apologize for my weight. That I have no right being confident and sexy and happy and pretty because I have to shop at Lane Bryant for pants. That there is no room in this culture for a woman who looks like me. What irritates me further is the men I have dated who seem surprised to be attracted to me, as though there are limits to attraction, and I am some horrible perversion of that attraction. Needless to say, I don’t date them for much longer. I don’t want to be loved in spite of my looks. I want to be loved for them, at least in part. Of course, I also want to love them too, to love even my belly rolls and thigh dimples, but that is going to take some time, and possibly more pilates, because damn, does that make you feel strong.
So, Best Week Ever is a stupid, funny show, that I happen to watch and enjoy. And when they call girls like Jennifer Hudson girls with a “great personality” or “a pretty face” or any other euphemism for overweight, I say that’s fine. They are overweight, and so are, what, like 60% of Americans? Why don’t we deal with the underlying causes of those weight issues: cheap, overprocessed food; lack of healthy, readily available and affordable meals for underpriviledged families and individuals; body image issues; sedentary lifestyles made worse by computer and car dependence; lack of public transport; an emphasis on the physical over the mental; a sense that the ends always justify the means when it comes to weight loss; the need to conform with traditional and ridiculous standards of beauty; the fact that we keep priviledging models who are skinnier and skinnier while our collective asses grow fatter and fatter? I would much rather discuss any of that then whether or not America Ferrera and Jennifer Hudson can be attractive. They are attractive, why do we need to justify it, to give that attractiveness permission? Just stop it. Pretty is pretty, no matter what size it wears.