A subject dear to my heart, my lardarse and my gravity challenged bazoombas, FAT.
First from the A-Z of Consumer Pleasures, 1994.
"For women, beauty carries a moral overtone. The current ideal for women is that they should be thin, while the ideal for men is that they should be tall. Being tall is seen as a happy circumstance over which one has relatively little control, but being overweight is deemed entirely of one's own making. This has the effect of making women far more responsible for their physical appearance than men. A short man is considered unlucky, but an overweight woman is blamed for her size and becomes a target of derision. It is assumed she is irresponsible, self-indulgent and weak, a person of flawed character who cannot resist the temptation of food. Being fat or, for that matter, beautiful or wrinkled or dowdy, has become a statement of character."
Fast forward to April, 2007 to another book, "Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet" by Neris Thomas and India Knight (Penguin Figtree). The two woman also have a blog and a forum to help other women lose weight http://www.pig2twig.co.uk and the women using the forum and following the diet have lost 905 lbs.
But the women have critics, other women. Zoe Williams wrote an article called "You're Vain and Stupid", saying that weight was a funny old thing for an intelligent woman to be concerned with. "The real mystery is how people get away with fixating on themselves like this without relinquishing their right to be taken seriously."
I don't understand this view by feminists and I've come across it before. Why is it considered frivolous to want to lose weight, apart from health reasons, to please yourself by regaining some self esteem that judgemental people like to strip away, see first paragraph. The 1994 attitude to fat women (men too) has become more malevolent in 2007. Of course, we'd all like it if our appearance and self-esteem wasn't tied to body type but it is and women who criticise other women can be the biggest enemy.
I really don't care one way or the other about weight since I make my own clothes and whip up a piece of jewellery to match but health wise I've got to drop it. I'm doing it for me and I wouldn't like any feminist fellow traveller to tell me I'm vain and self-obsessed for doing it any more than I'd like someone to tell me how good I look when I've lost the flab.