I received this question as a comment to my “You’re so Vain” post. I have been mulling it over and had what I thought was a good response that I wanted to elaborate upon. Why do I personally feel that one CAN’T be as obsessed with weight and looks as the media tells us (particularly women) we should be and still remain as actively engaged in other discussions as we might be otherwise? Or, to put it more succinctly, can’t you be concerned about your weight and looks and politics all at the same time??
I must say that if you personally want to be “concerned” with your weight and looks, along with considering politics, then go ahead. I’m not stopping you. This is still, for the most part, a world full of free thinkers (like yourself I would hope to imagine) who have the happy choice to follow the crowds blindly or question the norm and ask about other points of view. So far be it from me to dictate how you live your own life. (However, foisting those fears and worries about weight and looks onto OTHERS and thinking you can judge a person’s health or habits by their appearances is NOT your own life. Don’t confuse the two.)
If you’re actually curious about my own point of view (and bear in mind that is what this is; a point of view); I think that being so concerned with one’s weight and/or looks works to our detriment when we consider other topics. How can you really discuss politics when you’re more concerned with Hillary’s hip size or make-up, rather than the issues at hand? How can we really discuss discrimination of economic classes if you’re more worried about how “fat” those poor people get? How do we intelligently debate the war in Iraq when we’re more worried about OBESITY KILLS than about those who have given their lives in a futile battle? How do we really discuss the concerns about the environment when the Obesity Scapegoat is getting all the flak? THIS is where I am coming from; from the idea that letting the media and those who listen without thinking for themselves guide where our attention is focused is what is REALLY causing more harm to our nation and our health.
I am NOT coming from a position of anti-fashion or anti-self awareness. If being a fashion savvy shopper is your happiness button; go for it. If you NEED to know your weight every morning to get through the day (not my cup of tea, but hey whatever) then by all means; hop on that bad boy scale. When either of those take over in your life, however, I think your ability to focus on other issues seriously diminishes. When you have become so distracted by your WEIGHT (and the illogical assumption that it pertains to your current HEALTH) and your or others’ LOOKS to the exclusion of everything else then I really DON’T think you can, or would, be as concerned about politics or other topics. Unless that concerned was couched in terms of weight and looks.
I worry that all of our concentration on weight (as health) and looks has lead to or at least contributed to focusing our political debate on whether or not a black or female candidate has the right “stuff” rather than concentrating on their policies. I feel it has had an impact on how folks perceive social injustices as deserved because they are thinking only of the mental visual of the emblematic poor fatty stuffing McDonald’s down their innocent children’s throats.
This is my train of thought on the matter. You are free to disagree and I’d love to hear some dissenting opinions. However if all you have to say boils down to “Whatever fatty” then clearly you have no actual interest in the topic at hand and your comment will be deleted. And I will do another little victory cheer.