A Weighty Issue (Again)

I just saw in the tabloids that Kirstie Alley, former spokesperson and celebrity “loser” for Jenny Craig, has gained her weight back and then some. She’s not trying to hide it: she posed for pictures for People magazine and appeared on “Oprah” to come clean about her weight gain. She claims to be on a new diet, one she is devising herself, which she will go public with after she loses her weight again. (So far she has lost 20 pounds in four weeks.)

As soon as I saw her story on the cover of People magazine, I flipped to it: I wanted to see what she looked like now that she’s fat again. I admit it. As a fatty myself, I have an obsession with looking at other people who are heavy, to compare how I look in comparison. Sometimes it makes me feel better, sometimes worse. But what hit me when I saw Kirstie was that she looks good! Her hair was long, blonde and styled and looks great on her. I liked the way she was dressed, her makeup, everything. I saw her weight of course–she can’t gain 75 pounds and expect to hide it–but it didn’t seem to matter. And then it hit me: why should it being fat disqualify a person from being considered attractive?

I’m not talking about morbid obesity–although there’s no reason why even that should mean that a person is ugly. But that’s the point: we do see fat as ugly. We recoil from it, especially on our own bodies.We spend untold amounts of money attempting to erase it: training gyms, diet plans, liposuction, creams (which don’t work). But the problem is, we can hardly stand to look at ourselves while we’re still fat, no matter what we’re doing to lighten up.

And that’s my point: we need to let up on ourselves. We have to stop hiding, in our houses, in “fat” clothes (which only make us look fatter), even in our personalities (which can range from being withdrawn to being the clown). One thing feminism has not addressed adequately is the issue of how we look, especially when we don’t fit into society’s ideal of what is attractive.

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