american iconography, body image, cholesterol count, communities, doggedness, family, fearlessness, friends, Goddess, health, healthy-living, Inanna, mental-health, peg streep, persistence, responsibility, stubbornness, sumerian goddess, weight loss
It wasn’t always a crime against nature for women to be fat. In many societies, it still isn’t. In America, it is.
Never mind that more than 35% of American women are considered obese. Men have caught up, by the way; more than 35% of men are considered clinically obese as well. If you examine the statistics more deeply, you’ll see that rates of obesity are higher in lower income groups, and higher among non-whites. Very few members of the 1% are obese. For the most part, it’s not a #RichPeopleProblem.
Is it possible to be fat, and be healthy? Yes, it is.
I’m fat. I swim laps four times a week. My IQ is higher than my cholesterol count. I can walk four or five miles before I feel any discomfort. My blood pressure is normal. I do not have diabetes. I cook from scratch almost every day, using organic meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, olive oil, real butter, and no salt. We don’t drink soda in our house; we drink black coffee with breakfast, wine with dinner, and water the rest of the time. We avoid fast food and almost all processed foods. We eat real cheese, and drink skim milk. Where we go off the reservation is in portion control, but we’re working on that. We’ve both lost a significant amount of weight since I started swimming and walking in January.
When you see someone who is fat, what is your first thought?
The modern American iconography of fat is this:
Fat represents abundance, riches, sumptuousness, plenty in ancient cultures. The goddesses of pre-Christian times were portrayed as being ample of hip and thigh, buxom, callipygian.
The goddess illustration I posted above was one I did for Peg Streep’s book Altars Made Easy. Her name is Inanna, and she is the Sumerian Goddess of fertility, sexual love, and warfare.
She is said to have indulged in many behaviors that, in our culture, are now reserved primarily to skinny supermodel reality show housewives who have had extensive plastic surgery to enhance what God gave them.
Inanna came by her attributes naturally, though. She also took down a MOUNTAIN that offended her. Really, you have to be careful about what you say about certain fat goddesses.
I’m writing and posting this as a reminder that, as there are trends in fashion and music, there are also trends in thought. It’s trendy now to cite obesity as one of the things that is really wrong with America. If you want to know more about the truth behind this trend, read Fat Politics or The Obesity Myth.
If you want to see the kind of things that fat prejudice leads to, watch the video of Karen Kline being bullied by her charges on the school bus. She’s now almost $700,000 richer, thanks to the Indiegogo fundraiser that Max Sidorov started on her behalf. The bullies have been suspended from school for a year.
Just to be clear, I am not saying that being fat makes me better than any skinny woman with the same talents and experience as me. I am saying that it’s another one of my characteristics (middle-aged, white, half-Croatian, half-Greek, lapsed Catholic, aspiring Christian, liberal Democrat, artist/writer, creative type, stubborn, persistent, intelligent, no-nonsense, hard-working, pragmatic, idealistic are some others).
I am not my fat.
I AM MY SELF.
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