Weight. Diet. Beauty. and Shame.
That’s all I have to say, and the conversation is ON, isn’t it? And that conversation, if you are in a group of women, is one that happens over, and over, and over again. It’s predictable. Get a group of women together, bring in food, wine, or whatever, and they will ALWAYS talk about weight. One or more of them are dieting. Some have gained weight and feel awful, some have lost and need to go on about how they lost it. Then the conversation turns to core issues about diet, and weight, and beauty, and all that goes with it. It never fails. It does not matter how aware or unaware those women are, it happens every – single – time.
And that to me, just points out the insidious nature of this culture of diet and beauty we are in. It also points out that we as women (and I do count myself as GUILTY on this topic), really waste a LOT of time, effort and conversation on a topic that fails to serve us in any way.
The part that really gets me, and quite frankly is a wee bit of a pet peeve (and has been for some time) – is that you can’t get together with women and EAT withOUT guilt. Someone is ALWAYS going to mention how whatever indulgence is going on is BAD for us, and that we shouldn’t do it but do it anyway. So not only do we get into conversations about weight, we SHAME ourselves over the food we are eating WHILE we converse. On a personal level I find myself apologizing for eating what I’m eating or drinking what I’m drinking. I rationalize why I am doing it and blame my own diet issues. For me, it strips all joy out of the gathering of women, because I know, that this topic will continue to happen, and that the shaming will always come with it.
I was with one of my best friends, who is male, the other night. He brought over red wine and fine chocolate and we talked for hours. It was glorious. Not once did diet enter the conversation. Nor did shame. And I did not feel badly for eating chocolate, drinking wine and enjoying his company. It was awesome. And, quite frankly, why I enjoy the company of men sometimes, more than the company of women. I can be far more myself, because they quite often just don’t care about that whole diet, weight, what do I look like when I’m naked THING, that women (again, including myself), engage in.
I have an opinion forming that women continually harm themselves over this obsession about beauty and weight, harm themselves by dieting, and self shaming, but also because that very guilt and shame and obsession, may be the VERY Thing that keeps those pounds ON. And, if we manage to lose weight, that shame and guilt goes to eat us from the inside, via disease of the heart, cancer, stress related ailments. It does us no good to obsess, talk endlessly and search for core issues. All it does is serve to keep the cycle going, forever, and ever, until we drop dead from eating our souls alive with it – which, is ironic considering we allow ourselves no other indulgence.
And, what would happen, if, we as women, as a collective, just stopped GIVING A SHIT about what we looked like all the time? What if we stopped obsessing, preening, shaving, waxing, dyeing, dieting, comparing, judgeing, working out endlessly, counting calories, reading self help diet books, following diet gurus, spending money on trainers, therapists, pills and fads, and stopped SHAMING. If we DID stop all that – how MUCH energy, and time, and WILL would we have to ACTUALLY do something of great meaning in our lives? Fulfill those dreams? Be on par with men (finally?). How much dis-service do we do to ourselves in the end by wasting such precious personal resources by doing what equates to chasing our tails?
Yes, I know, we have wounds that need to heal. We have issues with food. We have issues that lead to weight gain and we want to be healthy. But does that mean we have to be obsessed, or that every thought and conversation must turn to diet?
I have a group of beautiful women, and I DO mean BEAUTIFUL women – lush, voluptuous, intelligent amazing humans – coming my way in a couple weeks. We shall gather. Do I want to talk about food? NO. Do I want to make a beautiful cheese dip, serve fine wine, fruits, snacks and engage in enthralling amazing conversation and connection, while indulging in great food with women I love? YES, absolutely. And personally, that’s what women together should be about. We deal with so much shit in the world and in our lives, trying to balance ourselves and our issues, that when we come together as women, should it not be to embrace, support, empower , indulge and HAVE FUN?
It does not have to be this way, at least, I HOPE it doesn’t. There is so much to the world, to ourselves, to our power, and giving it over to this one, inane, never-ending topic is beneath us, isn’t it? I want to loosen the noose around my neck. You can argue, *I* can argue, how it got there and by whom, but I still want it gone. I don’t want to give in to the power of “should I eat this?” or “what will I look like if?” anymore. I want health AND I want my sweet indulgences also. I want health AND I want to gather with my friends and talk about things of real meaning, not waste another breath or second on chasing our tails about beauty.
We ARE beautiful, as we are, already. Truly. Let us just revel in that, in each other, and the moments of connection. Let us drink wine, eat chocolate, eat CHEESE and BREAD, laugh, be ridiculous, be controversial, be AMAZING together.
And let us stop harming each other and ourselves over what we eat, and what we look like. Let us light that topic on fire, burn it to the ground, bury it, stomp on it, and drink a toast to it’s demise. Ding dong the DIET witch is fucking DEAD. Turn off Oprah, stop reading Cosmo, stop engaging in thought after thought about how we would be better IF…. And let us love ourselves as we are, just for once, just for ONCE – and dance in the beauty that we can create together.