I agree with Kim Jong-un. It’s not something I thought I was typing. And I want to categorically state that I disagree with him on 99.99999999pc of his ideas and actions. But, incredibly, I found very little common ground, one topic we can agree on: Weight loss talks are bullshit and need to be stopped.
K, I’m not sure that’s exactly how Kim would phrase it, but that’s what I mean. It was recently reported that Korean authorities are banning the leader’s weight loss gossip. And I can’t believe I’m saying this but… listen, listen, Kim!
Now the motivation behind the gossip the ban in North Korea is somewhat different from my own desire for such a ban – the leader’s weight loss has sparked speculation he could be ill and with the unclear succession plan his death could seed the disarray in the power structure of the nuclear weapon country. My plea for ditching the tiresome weight loss chat is a little less geo-relevant.political situation but still important.
When emerging from the pandemic, will any of us ever feel safe saying so? – a, I think we can all agree, has been tasked on several levels. Being among people again is a deeply strange feeling and raised an issue that I had completely forgotten: the phenomenon of “body commenting presented as a compliment”.
“You’ve lost weight! »Three little words that say a lot – everything? – on the values of our society, our socially prescribed objective as women, our great deeply rooted phobia. “You are very beautiful! Congratulations! You are smaller. You are acceptable. Well done. Never fluctuate, never take up more space, never miss this impossible. again standard or this praise will be withdrawn, this approval will become disgust!
I am not innocent in this. When I was growing up, women’s bodies were the main grain for the gossip mill. “Who has gained weight? Was literally the most debated topic on the table, followed quickly by “who lost weight and how did they do it?” So annoying and so damaging.
The idea that ‘you’ve lost weight’ isn’t a compliment of course isn’t new, but I feel like the exit from the pandemic has brought many of us back to our old instinctive ways. to compliment each other based on their appearance. Were to be thrown once more in the way of the judgment of others.
In March 2020, I was almost nine months pregnant (another scenario in which people feel totally free to say whatever they want about women’s bodies). So yes, for most of the people I see for the first time since before the pandemic, I am shorter than the last time they saw me. The person who was in me is now walking beside me. Still, I wish they didn’t say it. In fact, I need them to stop saying it. It’s hard work to lead a life of socializing to believe that one of my main functions as a woman is to be attractive and that the most reliable path to that attraction is to be thin.
Me, like most women, I imagine, really finding that I have to make a conscious decision every day not to worry about my appearance. You see, compassion can quickly turn into obsession, a parasite hanging on my brain. I went through many periods in my life where I systematically withheld food and cataloged everything I ate. I actually feel dishonest using the past tense here because, to be frank, I go in and out of a messy diet with such frequency that some sort of manic deprivation is more my baseline than any sort of. healthy attitude towards food.
At 36, I would like to say that I have matured in the quest to be smaller. Like I said, I go through times when I really try to be normal about food. I do things, I read the books and I listen to my body. But what do I hear when I listen to my body? I hear him panic because he feels out of control. How safe do I feel when I limit my eating? And how fucked up that I will be complimented for it?
The Pandemic has experienced over a year and a half of sustained stress. A time when many of our bodies have changed. And when that body got smaller, the assumption is that it’s something positive, forgetting that weight loss can be a byproduct of negative things – illness, grief, stress, eating disorders. We never know what’s behind the changes in someone’s body, so really, just to be on the safe side, and on the sound side, don’t say anything.