|Down with the tyranny of thin|
|Written by Rosemary McLeod|
Too fat for what? Thatís what I want to know.
For looking good in lycra shorts? For exposing navel piercings in public? But Iím getting ahead of myself.
The body monitors have spoken up again this week, with the usual bad news Ė that weíre too fat, and getting fatter. More than half of us, indeed, have been damned as obese. As in really, really fat.
Otago Universityís professor of human nutrition and medicine, Jim Mann, says the rate of obesity has zoomed ahead in the last decade. Itís scary, he says: creeping lard is our equivalent of the AIDS epidemic in Africa, Maori are fatter than anybody, and the upshot of it all is blindness, kidney failure, and general death.
Oh, pass the scones. More butter, thanks.
I feel sure that Professor Mann is a thin person; a wiry person, even, who bicycles to work every morning with his slender thighs going like pistons, using up those sinful calories. I expect he takes his own lunch to work, something in the celery and cottage cheese line, and that he thinks itís just yummy.
And when Professor Mann walks past shop windows, I expect he smiles the smug smile of the person who from every possible angle personifies wraithlike loveliness.
I feel sure that young, admiring female students enroll in his courses in their hundreds, to learn new ways of dealing with grated cucumber and raw fish, and when their fat volumes are measured, I bet they squeal with pleasure.
I think I dislike these people. I am exhausted by the tyranny of the thin.
I am tired of shops full of interesting clothes in sizes suitable for pre-pubescent girls with no breasts, and only droopy vile things for women with moderate bulges upward.
I am tired of the pretence that only thin people can look attractive when the world is full of interesting people of every conceivable shape and style. I am bored with the idea that only thin people are sexually appealing when all around me, people of every conceivable girth are leading sex-filled lives that give them great pleasure.
I am tired, for that matter, of going to the movies in order to watch pretty starvelings emoting and clothes-horsing their way across the screen when in real life, I know nobody who looks remotely like them.
Is this what Professor Mann has in mind for us? I have just seen that silly film, Chocolat, which manages to be about a fattening substance mysteriously made by women who are catwalk thin and must never even taste the stuff.
I am tired of looking at women like that, impossible models of skinny self-control just waiting for dippy skinny men like Johnny Depp to come along and woo them in tents on the river.
(Tents on boats on rivers? Oh, yes. About as likely as chocolate makers who are twig-thin Ė but who are we to argue? It was up for lots of Oscars.)
Professor Mann has his work cut out, asking us to buy into all that. Have you noticed how skinny all actors are these days?
Do you ever wonder how grown women can really be a size eight? Do you ever think about what happens to the skin of those people who diet compulsively when they lose the lard? Does it hang around them like loose garlands, or does it compress into quivery sort of flubber? And where does the fat go?
Have you ever wondered why ultra-thin people are supposed to be so sexy when they look so knobbly, as if getting into bed with them would be like grappling a piece of thinly-padded agricultural machinery? I have.
It was not ever thus. A new exhibition at the British Museum shows Cleopatra as she really was, a report said this week.
The woman who seduced a willing Julius Caesar and Mark Antony was actually plain, short, and plump. She was, in other words, a kind of Teletubby of antiquity.
Ah, the Teletubbies. Dr. Mannís mates have got to even them. Stung by criticism of their shape, the Teletubbies are about to do an exercise tape for pre-schoolers: that, too, was announced this week.
Oh, God help children who grow up thinking fat and happy is good. Fat and guilty is what we have to be. Dieting and miserable; itís a better look.
Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.
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