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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Biggest Loser Winner Loser Winner

Disclosure: I do not watch the Biggest Loser. I did not see the finale. I did see the outrage online and the before and after pictures.

Disclosure 2: I am guilty of everything I wish to change in this post.

Disclosure 3: I am eating dark chocolate as I write this.

You've probably heard about the incredible transformation of the winner of season 15 of the Biggest Loser. If you haven't, I suggest you read THIS or THIS. But, if I may be so bold, don't read the comments. They are filled with hate and debate, which is precisely why I feel the need to write my thoughts here.

Rachel lost a lot of weight in a really short amount of time. Some people feel the need to say she looks like she has an eating disorder or that we shouldn't celebrate her being so skinny. Well, guess what? Hate the game not the player. This is a television show whose entire goal is to have contestants lose an insane amount of weight in a minimal amount of time--winner then gets lots of money. Should the winner's doctors make sure she is at a healthy weight? I don't know. Does yours? My doctors always seem baffled when I tell them how much I work out, like it is impossible considering the way I look. I once heard my grandfather (who is a doctor) say that "doctors are educated guessers" and I take from it that they are just humans who try to help you in the best way they know how. 

Are you a doctor? Can you say if this woman is, in fact, healthy or not? Can you say if I am? Could you dare judge someone's health that you don't personally know and follow around to monitor every time they eat and exercise?

We live in such a body conscious world. Somehow it has become our right to judge what other people look like. It's not just beauty or attractiveness, it is judging bodies. Sexualized bodies, overweight bodies, malformed bodies, too small bodies, ideal bodies, fake bodies. 

I am tired of it. I am tired of reading how some celebrity lost a ton of weight after their baby. I am tired of seeing the billboards for liposuction, breast enhancement, body augmentations of all sorts as I drive the freeway to see my family. I am tired of shaming my own body because it doesn't look like hers or hers or hers or hers. Or even hers. Hey, even yours. I am tired of hearing people blame the media or magazines or advertisements for making their daughters insecure. I am tired of body shame and body blame.

I don't like when people tell me that I look thinner. It makes me uncomfortable--as though I am better somehow than the perfectly acceptable person I was before. That somehow my body is something to be commended for its changing in whatever direction is currently popular. (Looks like I'm not the only one. This article on beauty redefined is GENIUS!)

Getting smaller? Hooray! Everyone beautiful is small! Bigger boobs from nursing? Huzzah! Everyone sexy has big boobs! More muscle? Great? Everyone in sparkly bikinis has lots of muscles!

Really. Good for the sexy and skinny and muscular. Seriously, good for them. Why should their bodies affect mine at all? It shouldn't. I have NO RIGHT TO JUDGE THEIR BODIES. They are not mine. I have no control over their bodies. They have no right to judge my body. They have no control over my body.

As for teaching our daughters about bodies and wishing "society" had better role models? I don't know, maybe don't buy her fashion magazines. Don't feed into it all. Don't talk about other people's bodies. Don't body shame your own. Don't put her on diets unless she asks for help. Don't tell her that she needs to look like anybody else. Don't watch movies/television and point out who looks good and who doesn't. Don't tell her that some people look like they have eating disorders and some people look great because they have lost weight/put on weight. Don't talk about other people's bodies. 

I saw this over on Design Mom and I admit that I cried. Cried, I say!

One of the best Ted talks that actually gives a plan of action. Booyah! It's not short, but it is really great. 

I complain about skinny more than I should. I would love to stop. That is my goal for the month: STOP TALKING ABOUT BODIES. Don't praise them. Don't shame them. Talk about personality, spirit, intellect, style, friendship, humor, talents. Talk about anything (which is everything) except for bodies. At the same time, appreciate mine and be sexy in it. Love it and work it because it is mine and I can. Don't let it be everything, but feel good because I have one and it does wonderful things.

So why does everyone want to weigh in (yep, meant it) on Rachel's transformation? Are they really concerned about a woman they don't know? Or are they worried for themselves and "society"? 

Maybe "society" can only change if we STOP TALKING about other people's bodies and consider the 9 million other things about them that are important. 



6 wise comments:

Sue said...

Amen and amen.


Annie said...

Body image. Tough waters to navigate for sure. I think it's wrong to judge anyone's body (or anyone's anything for that matter). But I also think that there's something to be said for feeling truly and authentically comfortable in your own skin. Because when you get to that point, the messages society sends become irrelevant. They just become background noise. If you want to change something in order to feel more confident, change it. If you don't, don't. Dwelling on it and wishing that everyone else would change is a recipe for life long struggles. I hope my daughters grow up feeling comfortable and confident in their own skin. But I think it would be a mistake to teach them that caring about their image is wrong. It's part of life. Everyone cares. It's just one of those things that requires checks and balances. Just my two cents.

ANNAM said...

@ Annie: Thanks for your two cents, sincerely.

I don't know if you meant that I was suggesting we just be happy and live life and not try to be better. I don't think that. We always should be progressing and trying in all areas of our life. Bodies included. I love feeling sore after a good workout, running long distances, and eating really healthy meals. I think it's worth noting that I shouldn't hate my body because it does not react the same to those things as my sister's body does. Or my friend's. Or yours. Comparing bodies and feeling like we can JUDGE OTHER BODIES is damaging to everyone.

I guess my point was that we should WORRY ABOUT OUR OWN BODIES. That's it. Take care of it and love it and work it. Yes?

Annie said...

You know, honestly, I guess I don't really compare my body to other people's. I don't think about it very much, so that mentality is hard for me to relate to. And I agree with you that we should only be worried about our own bodies. But if you were only worried about your own body, why then would it be troubling to see advertisments for plastic surgery or to hear about a celebrity who had lost a bunch of baby weight? I really do feel like when you're okay with yourself and content with your own body (regardless of whether or not it's what you consider to be ideal), tuning out society's messages isn't something you have to TRY to do. You just don't care or even really notice anymore.

I recently wrote a post about this and I can't help but feel like my analysis is missing something. I'm genuinely interested in how other people feel about this topic. I honestly have no problem if you disagree with me. I don't offend easily so lay it on me girlfriend.

Annie said...

One more thing. Because my last comment wasn't quite enough of a snooze-fest. I hope you don't feel like I'm picking on you. TOTALLY not. You're just one of those people who I feel like I can ask things to and get a straight answer. You can blame your wisdom for that one: )

ANNAM said...

@ Annie:

First, my second disclosure revealed that "I am guilty of everything I wish to change in this post." So, those billboards and magazines about losing weight do disturb me. I wish they didn't. I wish I didn't look at bodies as things sometimes instead of people. It seems crazy to me that anyone can say that they don't.