Bikini Body.

Kim Cattrall recently made news by saying she’s been on a diet since 1974.  Websites, blogs and tabloids have been heralding that quote with lots of exclamation points and smiley faces, as if being obsessed with your food intake for cosmetic reasons for 39 years is a huge accomplishment.  That does not impress me – in fact, it makes me sad.  Just think of all of the food she has wanted to eat, but decided she was too fat for.  That this fat shaming happened in her life is upsetting.  That this fat shaming is lauded as some marvelous achievement is disgusting, especially considering that the daily battle with food is fought by women everywhere.

The other day, a friend at work went to lunch and brought back a huge bowl of cookies.  I was stuffing peanut butter cookie number two into my face when she saw me and said, “I bet you love me and hate me right now.”

I’m usually pretty good at reading social cues, but I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. She repeated her sentence again, and after I stared at her dumbfounded for the second time, she spelled it out for me.  “You must hate me,” she said, “because I brought the cookies.”

This, friends, is a cultural phenomenon that confounds me.  In Los Angeles specifically, and the whole of America more generally, we are confronted again and again with the universal understanding that women need to be ashamed of wanting to eat food.

It’s so terrible to eat cookies (or ice cream or hamburger buns or, God forbid, white rice) that you can’t even admit that you like them – in fact, you have to hate the person who put them in front of you, because you just can’t help yourself, you sugary, carb-y, disgusting glutton.

To this, I say: hell no.  Cookies are effing delicious.  Baguettes are the stuff of life.  If I want mashed potatoes, I’m going to eat some goddamn mashed potatoes.  You can save the pureed cauliflower mashed potato substitute for when I run out of potatoes and cookies and bread (i.e. never).

I do, on occasion, eat green leafy vegetables and vitamin-rich fruits.  It’s not always a carbohydrate free-for-all over here.  However, I despise this bizarre cultural preoccupation with restricted eating and ritual self-shaming over food.  All food, in moderation, is delicious.

The only times in my entire life I have been unhappy with the shape of my body is when I have been contemplating putting it on display for other people, like in a bathing suit in the summer or in a fancy dress for my wedding.  There has never been a time when my husband has looked at me and mentioned that maybe I should stop eating so many dinner rolls.  In fact, he thinks I’m really super attractive, because he loves me (and is contractually obligated).  (He may also be a pathological liar, though, because he thinks I look my best when I wake up with eyeliner all over my face and hair matted to the back of my head.)

I learned long ago, when my skin was out of control and I felt like an alien in my own body, that the people who love you don’t care what you look like.  The people who are going to love you don’t care what you look like.  And the people who care what you look like don’t deserve your love.  Full stop.

This is not just a genius quote I should slap on a sunset photo and pin to Pinterest.  It is a functional life philosophy.  I’ve found that keeping your personal health and wellness as the focus of your relationships helps you weed out the assholes faster.  And this world has a lot of assholes, so we need all the help we can get.

eatme

298 thoughts on “Bikini Body.

  1. I really agree with you, I recently went on a volunteering trip in Costa Rica with a total group of strangers and can honestly say they saw me at my worst and I saw them at their worst too. But I can honestly say I’ve never been so close and had so much love for a group, I think letting people see the imperfect side is what truly let’s you get close. As for the food, I think people need to get over it, food isn’t either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, as long as you feel happy and healthy (whether that means going to the gym five times a week or never) that should be what matters, not all the other external pressures!

    Anyway I’m rambling, but thank you for the post it was (obviously) really thought provoking and well written! :)

  2. THAT WAS A REALLY GOOD POST, CONGRATULATIONS ON BEING FRESHLY PRESSED AND ALL!
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  3. we all have our own options in life and how we live them we cant eat the same stuff we cant be the same at all so our choices in life is simple you are what you eat you eat what you love you love what you desire you desire who we are.

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  6. I love this. It’s important to stay healthy, to keep in shape, and to take care of yourself; it’s also important to love yourself and not live a life of deprivation and shame. I have always been a touch overweight and have always been vigilant about keeping it under control; while I’m just barely above average, I have quite a few little problem areas I’d love to take care of.

    Except sometimes I want to drink a bunch of wine and eat pizza. I get through it by wearing clothes that flatter me (including swimsuits!), doing my best to stay healthy but trying not to obsess over it. I try and fail sometimes but I won’t let my body issues ruin my life.

    I don’t know about you, but I grew up with a very thin and attractive mother who constantly was down on herself – and she vocalized it. She’d look at some very obese woman and say, “is that what my butt looks like in jeans?” or something, when she was clearly 100 lbs less than this woman. I used to think she was fishing for compliments, but it’s clear to me now that she suffers from body dysmorphia. It’s sad, but I’ve vowed never to vocalize my insecurities to my potential children because I don’t want them to focus on it.

  7. Ahhhhh finally someone who understands my philosophy of life! Do you know what I also hate? How it’s so totally cool to be a really slim girl who is “never on a diet, ahh I love food too much!” but when you utter the same words as a woman who fits in the middle of the normal distribution curve of the population – where your body is proof of your calorie intake – suddenly you are met with concerned eyes. It may just be me, but I am in no mood to live a miserable existence in order to achieve and maintain a shape which is just so fragile. Fragile as in you can diet your face off but the moment you have a cookie you will end up back where you started. I love food…forever.

  8. I was at a restaurant recently and had ordered mashed potatoes with gravy because at this particular restaurant these potatoes were like GOLD. Amazing. As I was eating them I looked up and saw a woman across the room with a salad in front of her actually glaring at me. At first I was ashamed because I was caught with mashed potatoes but then I thought “no way, I bet I’m way happier about my meal than she is with hers”.
    The way we’re taught to fear and hate food is unhealthy! Loved reading this :)

  9. I LOOOVE THIS ENTRY! Well said. It’s really sad how there are so many rules and restrictions set on us women that we can’t even enjoy the simplest and most basic things such as eating for fear of ridicule and whatnot. It shouldn’t be this way. As long as it isn’t endangering your health, go eat it if you want to.

    Though, I have to admit I always want to look sexy and not fat etc however, every time I see food, I’m like, “Okay, I’ll just move my diet plans to tomorrow.” But it never happens! :D Food is just too tempting to resist, especially sweets and white rice (yep, I’m definitely a big fan of white rice. Can’t live without it, I think).

  10. Good post! Anything in moderation is fine (unless you are allergic lol. Like I am to cheese). There is too much focus on women’s bodies and we are partly to blame as alot of women have become millionaires due to how they look, so we ‘can’t have our cake and eat it too’. Life is about being healthy and happy. So do what you want. We must all remember how fortunate we are to be debating this topic. I bet women is Sudan wished they had an abundance of food at their disposal and had the ‘potential problem’ of getting fat. Food is just food. We need to stop having such an intense relationship with it. doubleaad.wordpress.com

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