The thought of removing several broad categories of foods from the picture made me expect to feel restricted to a few familiar dishes, and I’d already been feeling a bit of a lack of variety.
The opposite happened. I ended up experimenting with new recipes a lot more and eating foods I wouldn’t have tried otherwise. I learned quite a few new recipes and my culinary life is more vivid and interesting than ever. Food is more exciting to me now, and I honestly expected it would have to become a less gratifying part of my life.
My mom should’ve understood. At the Beatles’ 1966 concert in Chicago, she’d had to slap my Aunt Martha hard to get her to stop from screaming herself into a faint. From the teenyboppers to the Beliebers, teenage girls have been mocked for their crushes, but that scorn is just a shoddy mask for the anxiety these crushes inspire. Because a teenage girl with a crush is frightening. The Beatles were always on the run from shoving, hysterical girl-crowds, who wanted—what? To crush into them, to crush themselves, to crush against other girl-bodies that were all feeling the same feeling together, a chaos of feeling, a feeling that took your breath away. “A Beatle who ventures out unguarded into the streets runs the very real peril of being dismembered or crushed to death by his fans,” Life reported in January 1964. A girl with a crush is also capable of crushing.
The beauty companies, the fashion houses, the diet companies, the food conglomerates who also of course own the diet companies, the exercise and fitness industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the cosmetic surgery industry combine together, perhaps not purposefully or conspiratorially, to create a climate in which girls and women come to feel that their bodies are not ok. They do this through the promotion of celebrity culture, through advertising on every possible outlet from billboards to magazines to our electronic screens, through the funding of media outlets which can only exist because of their economic support.
Taking on any one of these industries is difficult and will pose the same kind of challenges as taking on tobacco who also portrayed themselves as health giving and benevolent. The profits of WW’s for example were up 25.3% in 2011.
We are talking big money. We are talking about a company whose product needs to fail in order for it to keep selling. If dieting worked you would only have to do it once. There would be no repeat customers.
As immoral and unethical as the activities of these companies are in and of themselves, the economics of growth as we currently conceive it depends upon their extending their markets. L’Oreal’s growth rate in China is 26%. They achieve this not by marketing their lipsticks and hair products to Chinese women per se but by marketing the western body as the body to have to Chinese women. They and the other beauty, fashion, media companies promote the western body to the new economies as a way of finding a place to belong in the maelstrom and confusion of modernity.
Alongside the disseminating of western ideals of beauty to Asia, Africa and South America, is the export of the consequences of these ideals: body hatred and body anxiety. This is the emotional fallout from the endeavours of these industries and the basis on which they make their extraordinary and obscene profits.
This is a not an easy target to attack. These industries are not small and their damage is great. They are mining bodies as though they were a commodity like coal or gold. Women’s bodies all over the world are being designated as profit centres.
As the western ideal becomes plastered over the globe we bear witness to the loss of indigenous bodies. This is a new frontier of colonialism. Mad eating is normalised. Western style bodies are revered and local bodies are swallowed up as fast as demise of local languages.
Is half of the internet really that bored that “fat Lady Gaga” is now a thing? Because, stop. Because I thought we valued our pop singers for their talent, their songwriting skills, their ability to entertain, or by the fact that they give s***-tons ofmoney to charityandraise awareness for causes you believe in, and/or the way their music makes you feel utter joy or feel like you’re not alone in this world — all of which Gaga’s pretty much the master. They’re not there for us to mock and publicly shame if they go up a few pants sizes. (THE HORROR!)
If you’re a true fan then you love Gaga at any size. If you’re a hater and bored enough with your life to obsess over Lady Gaga’s body, then maybe you should stop using the internet for evil and go outside and stare into the sun for a while and then take an extra-long nap. Maybe you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. Or maybe you’ll at least stay off the internet for a while.
How soon we forget that underneath themassive ponytailsand thetattoosand theface wreathsandthe Chanelis a living, breathing human being. Lady Gaga is a real, actual carbon-based life-form. A mammal. She has a full set of chromosomes. She sleeps, experiences brain activity, pumps blood, processes oxygen, poos, pees, and is susceptible to weight fluctuations. JUST LIKE YOU. And because she’s a regular person (albeit exponentially more talented and wealthy and with a far, far better closet than you and I will ever know), Lady Gaga needs food. Just like all of the rest of us Normies here on the Planet of Earth.
Oh. Wait… her thighs touched? HOW DARE SHE? HER MUSIC WILL NEVER GRACE MY ITUNES AGAIN! YOU WON’T CATCH ME ENJOYING HER MUSIC ANYMORE! I SIMPLY WON’T HAVE IT!
Really? Weight again? Booooooring. Our are minds really that corroded by the willful neglect of realistic body types that we fail to see the beauty of a woman like Gaga and throw stones at her like a low-rent Greek chorus if she wanted to enjoy some of Chef Art Smith’s fried chicken? Or feel the need to reduce to her (and other women) to an unrealistic body type that most women can never attain, causing some women to starve themselves, break down their once-healthy bodies or, even more tragically, die? Most real women have curves. And if they don’t, they were just born that way. Sometimes things that didn’t used to jiggle now do. Deal with it. Stop using celebrities as thinspo and go be thankful that you have a fully functioning set of organs and limbs. It’s more than many people have.
Wait, I’m not done. Like, also, how do you even have the time to give a single, solitary f*** about Lady Gaga’s weight? Maybego read about the electionor other important things that have actual real-life consequences that actually do involve you. If you can’t deal with Lady Gaga’s figure, well that’s not my problem, and it’s not Lady Gaga’s either. People who like to point out flaws in others are usually just trying to cover up the flaws in themselves. As Mother Monster herself said,"Everybody needs to take a breath, and it’s going to be OK."So what if she gained weight? So what if she’s been smokin on Keisha? She’s still cashing out. LET A WOMAN LIVE.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a bag of Doritos to tend to. Yolo.
Enjoy your day and, hopefully, your lunch.
I posted this response on a forum but I’ve decided just to go ahead and post it (plus a little expansion) here too:
There are a couple of different issues going on at once here: are these girls actually ‘fat’ and if they are does it it even matter?
Britney and Christina have mostly been nowhere near ‘fat’ when they’ve been picked apart for their weight. Christina maybe got a bit closer to what I would consider actually overweight last year but still well within the kind of weight I see women striving towards in every day life. Britney’s figure during the Femme Fatale tour was regularly referred to negatively but she was actually pretty much the classic Monroe pin-up figure. I generally find Christina an unappealing mess for a million reasons fat or thin and Britney has at times looked like a slob but the weight has never been the thing really for me. Adele at the start of career was by most peoples standards a little overweight and while I don’t think it’s relevant to her music it was an accurate if needless comment. She was still nowhere near obese and not that big when you compare her to the woman on the street. Britney and xtina not even close.
I think we hold celebrities to an incredibly unrealistic standard (men too by the way - watching the reprint of Chariots of Fire recently really undersored that for me) which is one thing if they are models but if we appreciate them for other talents it really is unnecessary. I stopped reading all ‘celeb’ mags like Heat etc about 5 years ago and it was the ‘circle of shame’ that pushed me over the edge. That and a picture pointing out Donatella Versace’s cellulite in a beach photo - she was in her early 50’s and can’t have been more than a size 8 at the time.
As for Gaga - her weight has fluctuated constantly I’m guessing because (like me) she’s short and the difference of 4 or 5 pounds can seem like a lot on her. I doubt she has gone up a dress size since the start of the tour but yes, she does look heavier.
At the start of her career she was probably a similar weight to now, at points she has been very slim (Telephone, Alejandro) and for most of it somewhere in the middle. For me, aesthetically I would say her ideal weight is around how she looked for the Sydney Monster Hall or the Marry The Night video however what we don’t know is how hard it is for her to maintain that. If she’s happier and healthier at the weight she is now then that’s her true ideal weight. She’s also been quite open about the fact that she’s had an eating disorder in the past so I’d personally far rather a few extra pounds than her go down that road again.
Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a fan of rock and pop but seeing a star look like a hot mess has never troubled me. I thought those Amsterdam photos were just another hilarious ‘oh, Gaga’ moment until I realised people were actually getting their .. erm .. fishnets in a twist over them.
Finally, I’m going to be more personal about this. I’m 4ft 9” so a little shorter than Gaga but not a million miles away in body type I suspect. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty good metabolism although since I got over the other side of 25 it’s required a little more maintenance to stay the size I was before and I am certainly far less toned than I was at 18 or 20. I weigh 6 1/2 stone. I am a dress size 6 in high street clothes stores. I have an extremely healthy diet. I excerise but nowhere near as much as someone like Gaga based on the tour alone. I’m going to be brave now and post some pose-free / basic photos of how my body looks in a leotard / swimsuit:
I’m pretty happy with my figure. I know it could be more ‘perfect’ but on the whole I can wear what I want and I like the way I look. A couple of years ago I put on just under half a stone and looked a bit heavier.
(photos taken at halloween!)
I lost that, because I wanted to, by making some dietary changes and exercising more. I’m glad I did BUT there are two things that scare me bout it: One is the way I felt about putting on so little extra weight. I’ll be honest, it really bothered me. Sure it’s healthy to excersice more (which is ultimately what I needed to do) but the fact that I felt bad about myself while sitting just under 7 stone and 6-8 dress size is disgusting. Especially considering I have pretty high self esteem and have never had any body issues / eating disorders at any point in my life. Secondly is thinking about the way our celebrity girls must feel as we pick their bodies apart for similar weight gains. It must be the way I felt x a billion.
And then I think about those teeny-tiny-lollipop girls and wonder how they are still alive. I’m not talking about the naturally slim girls I mean the ones whose weight we watch plummet after they join a girl group or become A-list actresses. I think about those photos of Geri Haliwell in her Yoga Kills t-shirt and my mind boggles as to what she must have weighed considering she’s only a few inches taller than me. 5 stone? 4?
And the worst of it is they are damned if they do and dammed if they don’t:
Occasionally I still worry about my arms, my thighs, my hips but for me to change my body further would now push it from a comfortable lifestyle regime to a major time suck, mental obsession or eating disorder and at the end of the day I’m happy as I am.
I’m often referred to as skinny by other women but if I were a pop star there is no way my body would be considered acceptable. The photos I posted above would be picked apart the same way unflattering celebrity beach photos or Gaga’s meat leotard or Britney in a unitard were.
And personally that kind of freaks me out.
A couple of important points I left out: this is in no way about saying that one body type is better than the other - that slim girls can’t look hot, that bigger girls can’t look hot, that slim girls can’t look awful, that bigger girls can’t look awful. It’s all contextual and we can all ‘work what we’ve got’ if we so wish or care. It’s also just not that big of a deal to some folks believe it or not..
Oh, and yes - that is a knock off Baywatch swimsuit I’m wearing ;D