The *real* problem . . .


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Posted by HSG on April 19, 2005 at 01:15:11:


It would be nice if the size-celebration movement could adhere to a "big-tent" philosophy. But can it actually do so?

This cause attracts the input of individuals with a wide range of opinions and beliefs, some mutually contradictory. However, since the enemies of this cause are so vocal (not necessarily plentiful--simply vocal, and well-connected), one would like to embrace every philosophy and opinion that is not overtly anti-plus.

However, one also has to consider whether some approaches do more harm than good--or, at the very least, stymie whatever progress has already been made.

Here is a case in point. A news story concerning a "size" issue recently made the rounds of North American newspapers, and whichever wire service picked up the article must have given it a real push, because it was utterly ubiquitous in the press for days on end.

The story itself--concerning attitudes of store clerks towards full-figured women--is very downbeat, and not worth repeating. But one statement in the article deserves to be highlighted, because it identifies how deeply ingrained size-negative attitudes can be, even among those who are purportedly on the pro-plus side of the debate.

The statement is attributed to "a psychology professor at the University of Kansas who has tracked attitudes toward the overw*** for the last 20 years"--so you would think that he would have something helpful to offer.

His statement reads as follows:

"To reduce anti-f** prejudice, we have to tell people how much the problem is due to genetics and physiology and how it has less to do with willpower," he said. "But that flies against the American way of thinking about things."

Good lord.

Let's leave aside the question of why this individual would use a negative term such as f** in the first place, or whether there really is any all-encompassing "American way of thinking."

Instead, let's ask ourselves a more pertinent question:

What "problem" could he be referring to?

In the context of his statement, it would seem that this professor regards simply being curvaceous as some sort of "problem," in and of itself.

(And remember--he is supposed to be one of the allies. "With friends like these," as the old saying goes . . .)

Well, this new image of Barbara Brickner should demonstrate quite conclusively that the only "problem" associated with being full-figured is the problem of how a goddess will handle all of the rabid male attention that she will attract, whenever she shows off her curves to the world.

Indeed, many a curvaceous vixen has been known to gaze at her own reflection in a mirror and confess, "My problem is . . . I'm just . . . too . . . beautiful" (an opinion that is immediately corroborated by audible sighs of longing from any men in her vicinity).

So much for our initial interpretation of the professor's comments.

But now, let's revisit his statement, and see if we can identify any real problem therein:

"To reduce anti-f** prejudice, we have to tell people how much the problem is due to genetics and physiology and how it has less to do with willpower," he said. "But that flies against the American way of thinking about things."

And there it is.

The only real problem in this case is the "anti-f** prejudice" itself. And the only people who possess this problem are the ones who adopt such a prejudice, and express it.

But that renders the professor's advice on how to deal with this problem unintentionally humourous. If one were to follow his instructions, then the next time some imbecile makes a size-negative remark, one would have to tell them,

"I feel sorry for you, because you are so prejudiced. But I understand that your prejudice is due to your genetics and physiology, and not to your lack of willpower. Consequently, you couldn't help making such an offensive remark."

And although a comment of this nature would undoubtedly elicit a rewarding reaction, as a long-term body-love strategy, it is not especially helpful.

Therefore, the prime obstacle standing in the way of size celebration was, and still is, the fact that so many individuals (including, it would seem, psychology professors) are visually brainwashed into viewing unnatural thinness as "normal," and any deviation from that clone-like standard as "problematic."

This obstacle is kept in place predominantly by a bombardment of selective imagery on the part of the mass media--selective in what it shows (glamourized images of emaciation), and in what it does not show (glamourized images of timeless beauty).

As soon as the images change, perceptions will change as well.

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