The Prodigal Feminist – January Pressures

The Prodigal Feminist Returns from her sabbatical. I’m sorry for disappearing from this for so long – to find out why, check my other blog!

But I’m back for 2014, Yay!

What happens every January is Resolution Time. I used to jump at the chance to do a resolution – lose weight! Exercise more! Write more! Read everything!

January 2014 Issue of Redbook

This year – and really the last year or so – I’ve done away with resolutions. Yes, I’ve set goals, things like “Find a full time job” and “Read 40 books,” but nothing that I’m going to hold myself to, to the point where I feel disappointed in myself if I don’t follow through with the Resolution.

Working at a bookstore, however, I know that this isn’t the case for everyone. For January, the first thing we do is replace our display for the best selling books with a display for a “Healthy New Year” or something along those lines. But it’s not just Barnes & Noble doing this – every gym possible is indicating their latest discount, their free 30-day trials, everything you can do to lose lose lose that weight!

weight-loss-funnies-07Now, I’m obviously a feminist, but this isn’t just the feminist in me talking. This is the woman who feels bad for having a lot of pounds on me – who has been made to feel bad by these very mediums. Yes, getting healthy is important, but being skinny? Not so much.

I weigh a lot more than I want to, but I also know that I do eat pretty well (mostly). I need to exercise more – this is the truth.

But why must I feel bad for not looking like the Media’s version of the Ideal Woman? In fact, it wasn’t took long ago that gaining and not losing was the fashionable thing to do: Travel Back to a Time When Gaining Weight was in Fashion (The Mary Sue)

While I find it funny and pretty ironic that this was the thing to do back in the day, all it really does is indicate to me that it doesn’t really matter what women look like – the world is always going to be pretty dissatisfied with how we look, and thus make us feel like terrible shit for not being or looking like (so-and-so).

I’m tired of being told that I have to lose weight and that the only way it can be addressed is on a comedy. The subject of weight loss and women has been broached by numerous television shows and movies (Girls, The Mindy Project, Pitch Perfect, etc.), but it’s almost always played for laughs.

Can the insecurity that comes with feeling Lena Dunhamlike I have to lose weight not be a joke all the time? This isn’t to say that it can’t be played this way. Comedy is a great way to bring serious subjects to light. But sometimes I want it to be a subject that is broached, not as a joke or as the “serious subject of the day,” the way it’s usually found in old 90s programming like Saved by the Bell, but as a normal everyday occurrence.

Because that’s what it is in the society. Especially when you’re a woman and especially when it’s prime “lose weight!” season.


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