Losing Battle: Losing Weight

23 Jun

Recently, I tried to educate readers of a weight loss blog how women’s self esteem is tied to patriarchy, which is driven by capitalism. As expected, my comments were not well-received–by at least one person.  Edit–received mixed reviews.  The cool blog-owner herself was open to my stance and asked for some feminist blogs-yay!  It’s really cool to think about the personal being political, and how all of our actions tie in to the bigger picture.  Anyway–here is a more eloquent version of what I tried to say in my comment on the weight-loss blog post:

Evidence:

It is clearly in the best interest of a capitalistic society to make money.  Look how the recession is hurting everyone.  North America plain has to have money to operate.  We must have our businesses profit in order for our government to operate.  We depend on the jobs, the products, and the taxes.  And what better way to make money than to convince people they NEED certain products?  For example, tell people body hair is unacceptable.  Wait, don’t just TELL them.  Inundate them with images of hairless people.  Make product commercials showing how HAPPY people are when they remove their body hair, and show them frequently.  Go a step further and really deride hairy people.  Make them the UGLY villain in a lot of television shows and movies.  Show how disgusting hair is, and how people with it are sad and lonely.  Maybe even make hairy people disappear entirely to prove how unacceptable it is to have hair.   Certainly show that it is natural to be hair-free.  Really press the issue that hair is unsanitary, a nuisance, and people have been trying to remove it sense Eve had to wax in preparation of donning her leaf.  And eventuallythe public will come running.  They will buy razors, shaving cream, pay for expensive wax treatments, get electrolysis.  The moral is the same with weight loss:  Make women feel uncomfortable in her own skin–and you’ve got a gold mine.  You can squeeze so much money out of her in her quest to become beautiful that your company will reach the top of the stocks.

Other evidence:

It is just undeniable that the media conveys an ideal of females that is unattainable.  Media is the tool that ties capitalistic goals with patriarchal motivation.  Women are unconcerned whether corporations such as Wal-Mart make money or go broke.  But they are very concerned with men finding them attractive.  All our society has to do is show females through the media that men like you when you are thin.  Then she will pay for a weight set, Pilates video, and diet pills to get that way.  See?  The patriarchal ideals represented by the media just made some lady send money, that she wouldn’t have spent otherwise.  It’s big business!  The actresses are mostly thin, models-obviously underweight.  Magazine ads feature skinny gals.  Everywhere you look are thin ladies with unblemished skin.  This is no accident.  Being blasted with images of perfection slowly erodes a women’s confidence, which in turn, encourages her to spend money so she can “fix” herself.

The big evedence.

Different cultures do not act this way.  There are female-positive cultures that value women for their brains rather than objectify them for their beauty.  Some society’s think bigger is beautiful, because it means you are well fed translation-wealthy.  Also, this is not the natural and unchangeable way of things because in different eras, thinness was not equated to beauty as it is now.  Those Victorians were chubby-trons!  They liked pale skin and chunk bodies, because it meant they did not have to sweat in the fields.  The pale and chubby were also the ones who had more money.  See a trend here?

I saw a documentary that profiled some island without television or media influences.  They were VERY traditional on the island.  They also liked a lot of chub, because it meant you had a lot of food to eat (more on this later).  Anorexia and bulimia were unheard of.  Girls and women WANTED to gain weight on that island.  Everyone saw the ideal women as a fatty-britches.  Then, (American) television was introduced.  A mere six months later, there were eating disorders on the island.  Women began precipitously dropping weight.  Their standard of beauty was entirely changed within 6 months of TV viewing!  Imagine how ingrained we are in North America after decades of media programming???

Tell me, what is the result of patriarchy?  (White) men are in power.  Business executives, politicians, pretty much everyone who makes rules–is male.  Sure there are exceptions, but they are notable, because they aren’t the norm.  By keeping women focused on their bodies, and competitive with each other, men are successfully keeping ALL the power.  If a female is hungry, she’s not thinking about how she can change the world.  If a women is bitching about another gal, she isn’t noticing that she’s making 70 cents to every man’s dollar in the workforce.  Not only do women play-in to the patriarchal ideals fed to them instead of carbs, when they indulge in diet culture, they are supporting the notions financially as well.  All while ardently defending the (false) idea that wanting to be beautiful, thin, and ideal to men is THEIR choice, and the natural way for women to be.

Sometimes I wish people watched more documentaries so they would know these facts for themselves.  If everyone just watched the evidence in “America:  The beautiful” they would know how the vicious beauty industry worked to keep patriarchy intact to encourage product sales.  Instead of railing against me when I tell you to be mindful of your motivations to lose weight, you should be railing against a harsh system that made you feel less than worthy in the first place.

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