Wow, i know, two blogs in one day, but when I read this I had to say something.
I am not a Jessica Simpson fan, personally. She gets on my nerves and I don’t think she sings well. I blame her for Tony Romo starting to suck as a quaterback. The list goes on and on. And don’t even get me started on her dad. Or her sister. (Mowgli? Really? WTF?) But I am not blind to the fact that she is a stunningly, beautiful woman. She is very pretty made up or made down. She has a “rockin’ body” as my husband says and I think most women (myself included) would love to look like her even if just for a day.
So when I read this article and the accompanying photographs I was infuriated. It is absolutely ridiculous to insinuate that this woman is fat. I realize that the nice writer at US Weekly is trying to gloss it over by calling them “new curves”. When did curvy and fat become synonimous? Have we all lost our freaking minds? (I had actually seen a picture of her from the same event already on People.com. You can tell that US Weekly intentionally used photos that were unflattering.) As if the story isn’t bad enough I noticed there were like 500 comments. I scrolled down expecting to see commentary from people just as outraged as I was by this. There were some, but to my shock and utter dismay there were far more echoing the sentiment that she is overweight. Some of the comments are downright cruel.
The irony of all of this is that while reading the article and typing this blog I am watching (listening) to Oprah. The whole show is about the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country. There are teenagers on this show that weigh as much as 400 pounds. There is no glossing over the fact that these teens are fat. Overweight. Obese. Whatever. They are broken, hurting, wounded and suffering. Imagine how helpless they would feel to know that Jessica Simpson, at 5’3″ and probably about 125-130 pounds is considered a fat ass by US Weekly. And at certain times, so is Kate Winslet.
My heart is broken. And I am furious. I am frustrated because I feel helpless to do anything to change this disgusting spirit that is so pervasive in our culture today. I battled a hybrid of anorexia and bulimia throughout my teens and early twenties. I survived by drinking Diet Dr. Pepper and eating nothing or very little. Most days I had a bowl of soup or spaghetti oh’s and then ran about 4 miles. I ate nothing else all day. Once out of college I started abusing laxatives and enemas.
The breaking point for me came when I met Michael and he became aware of my very secret struggle. He forced me to either get help or we could not get married. I am blessed that in one night of prayer and travail God mercifully and sovereignly delivered me. That is not to say that I have not struggled some since then. Often when things feel out of control for me I feel tempted. This was especially true right after I had Ephraim. I really did not know how much the weight I gained during pregnancy would affect me after. I thought the miracle of breastfeeding would cause the pounds to fly off quickly. It did the first few days and weeks, and then nothing. I plateaued and felt completely helpless. I really think I might have relapsed had it not been for breastfeeding. I knew I had to eat and eat enough to keep my milk supply up. I started weight watchers and lost a few pounds right away. I was encouraged. Then we went on two vacations and I began battling some old health issues and it kept me out of the gym. I soon realized that I really did not know how to lose weight in a healthy, successful manner. I had always worked out to maintain my current weight, not drop pounds. The truth is I have never really had to lose more than like 5 pounds before. Now I needed to lose about 30. I was terrified.
Thankfully at the beginning of the year I bought a Shape Magazine special issue that had a specific workout and meal plan for 21 days. I have been following it and it is working. I weaned Ephraim and lost a few lbs. from that. My goal weight is now getting close to being in reach and I am proud of how I hard I have been working to get there. I am pround that I am doing something to benefit my body, not harm it.
So when I read something like this I am incensed. I am mad at the magazine, but mostly I am furious at women in our culture (myself included) for doing this to ourselves. Because trust me ladies, it is us, not men, that dislike our “curves”. I showed Michael the pictures of her without saying anything. He said she looked hot. He didn’t like the outfit, but he loved the curves. It is amazing the way men and women see things differently. If I had my way anytime we have sex the lights would be off and I would be invisible. Not Michael. He finds the parts of my body that I find most unappealing to be the most attractive. I think he is crazy. He thinks I am.
My brother in law, Kevin, is famous for his love of curvy ladies. He went through a Sophia Loren phase a few years back. He saw one of her old movies and was immediately smitten. We all find his desire for the hour-glass babes to be quite funny considering he is married to a bean pole. A very beautiful bean pole. Kev often tells Alexis that he would love it if her body could stay looking just like it does right after she has a baby. Big ole boobs and a little extra to hold onto around the hips. She thinks he is insane. He loves her and the way she looks.
So here is what I am proposing girls. Lets decide to be different. Somehow, in some way we have got to right what has been wronged in this culture. If you are the mother of a daughter this is especially true. We cannot allow our sweet, impressionable baby girls grow up believing a LIE, really a spirit that is trying to kill us all. The bible tells us that the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. It doesn’t have to mean literal death. He is just fine to kill our spirit, steal our joy and destroy our self image. He wants us to forget the promise of Psalm 139 that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
I am preaching to myself here. I struggle daily with poor self image and negative thoughts directed at myself. Self-loathing would be an accurate discription. I grew up with an unhealthy environment in our home in many ways, one of which was to constantly compare and be compared to others. Siblings, friends, you name it. I have two excrutiatingly beautiful sisters. They are tall and quite thin. I am petite and definitely have the most curves in the bunch. They got the heigth, I got the D cup. I have always felt inadequate in their precense. I have to work to overcome that lie. It is bad enough to compare myself to those two, who eat right and exercise, etc. It is an attainable body image in other words. But when I look at pictures of celebrities and see how skinny they are and read articles where they claim to eat like a horse, not work out and barely fit into a size 0 because it is too big, it makes me heart-sick.
A few years ago the Lord actually made me fast these magazines (People, Us Weekly, etc.) He said that for me it was like a man looking at porn. It is unrealistic and sickens the soul. I didn’t touch a magazine like that for a really long time. I still don’t. But I do go to their websites and look at pictures. A spiritual loophole I guess, huh? I think that habit has just met an abrupt end.
Shortly after Ephraim was born, I read an article on msnbc.com about a recent survey of new mothers and how images and stories about celebrities that had just given birth and lost the baby weight uber quickly affected them. Overwhelmingly the women surveyed said it had a severe negative impact on them. The article went on to spill Hollywood’s dirty little secrets about how many celebs lost weight and the lengths they would go to. Some are exercising within hours of giving birth. Women, like J Lo, forgoe breastfeeding to immediately begin training for a triatholon. The article stated that most of the celeb trainers interviewed said they restrict caloric intake to about 1000 calories and work out for as much as five hours a day. I guess they have a damn good nanny if the kid is being breastfed and they are away for that long. I’m just saying ….When I read the story it made me feel better at first. I was not alone in my misery. But I still held that up as my standard. Completely unrealistic and unattainable. What was that doing to my spirit? Bruising it, crushing it even.
Another time recently, when Michael and I were trying to devise a budget and learn to live within our means, the Lord questioned me about the clothing I covet. He reminded me that for a celebrity who is a milliionaire to buy $200 jeans is like me buying $20 jeans. It is within their means to do so. It is not in mine. I am not saying that it is sinful of me to own expensive clothes. It is wrong for me to buy them if I cannot afford them. It is wrong to covet.
I don’t know how, but I am going to change the way I think. I am not just going to change what I say like we all do when sitting around chatting about things such as this with our girlfriends. You know what I am talking about. We have that “girl power” Sisterhood of the size____(fill in the blank) pants moment. We all say this is what real women look like and we are proud of it yada yada yada, blah blah blah … If we are ever going to take back what has been stolen from us and from our children we have to change our minds, our thoughts and our actions first. I am starting today.
And no, this does not mean I am a Jessica Simpson fan now. Every time I see that clip of her shaking her boobs in that ridiculous pink Cowboy’s jersey and mouthing “ROMO” I want to punch her in the face!