Your Body

@GlamourMagazine: I Do Think It’s Wrong To Gain 20 Pounds Right After Marriage

By January 9, 2016 1
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I’ll start of by saying I was nervous to write this article.

I’m too young to write this article, I’m too skinny to write this article, I will land myself in Nicole Arbour “Dear Fat People”-backlash-hell if I dare offer a rebuttal to a woman lamenting her fat. You DO NOT comment on a woman’s body ever. Least of all when they are overweight. 

My editor-in-chief even warned me “we don’t want to insult Glamour Magazine”.

She used to work there, I used to intern there, and we both have so much respect for that organization as a whole that on an almost subliminal level, we felt we were committing a sin by even privately disagreeing with any of their content.

But hell, I’m writing this one anyway.

You recently wrote a piece entitled “I Gained 20 Pounds—Why Do I Feel Like I’ve Broken Some Imaginary Marriage Law”.  In it you bravely recount your experience as a married woman for a period of “a couple years”, now having found yourself 20 pounds heavier. In your own words, you describe yourself as a “body-positive feminist, who just so happens to struggle with body shame” and ask, “Where did I get this idea that I’m duty-bound to look 25 forever? Oh wait—from everywhere. I refuse to carry all the blame on this one”.

You go, girl.

You then boldly detail your nerve-wrecking conversation with your husband about whether or not your weight is affecting your marriage, to which he tells that it’s your level of confidence that’s changed, perhaps even more upsettingly than your actual body.

Sweet ending. Kind message. So why didn’t any of this sit right with me?

Well, for starters I felt there was something missing.  Maybe it was the “I had a baby, my body is different now” declaration, which is something I can totally get behind. I mean, the idea that our bodies are supposed to magically bounce back is a categorically misguided concept, too often perpetuated by the god forsaken media culprit.

But no, you haven’t had any children.

What I was then holding on for was a bomb drop of sorts. The “I got sick with [insert illness here] and the required steroids to fight the disease has completely altered my body” admission, followed by a fulfilling “my husband loves me anyway” conclusion—because he very well should under any such scenario.

But nope, that revelation never came either.

To the contrary, you described your life and your husband as “dreamy”: one filled with girlfriends, an amazing career—and yet in just a couple of years, you had gained 20 pounds.

Ah. Okay now I know why this didn’t sit right with me.

It was the fact that you felt it necessary to bring up feminism, body shame, and ageism to discuss your personal struggle—and I’m being generous with the word “struggle”— as this is the exact issue that I have with the generation that we live in today.

You are not allowed to index activism, meaning you don’t get the right to jump behind a million different movements all at once to provide a gentle soothing to your own faults. And so I feel like you may need a re-education in the following

Body shame is, simply put, making people feel badly about their bodies, their natural bodies, because they don’t fit into some cookie cutter definition of what is an acceptable body to have. Mentioning this in your piece was largely ironic, as you continually referenced and in many ways shamed, 25-year-old bodies—the age that which you feel, was your own body’s glory days.

Feminism is just the simple belief that women and men should have equal rights. Your article was not our platform and did little more than weaken our movement by tying two completely unrelated points together, (I gained weight + I’m a feminist) further perpetuating the commonly held misbelief that feminism is little more than a bunch of women whining about anything and everything, which it most certainly is not.

Ageism is the prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age. It’s what you alluded to when you asked questions like “where did I get this idea that I’m supposed to look 25-years-old forever?”. Was it nine or ten times that you mentioned the age twenty-five in your piece? Well we surely appreciate the handful of  prejudice you gave out when you painted a picture of us all as these bouncy, healthy, physically fit human beings because we don’t have real lives just yet—right? Because we’ve got time to slave at the gym. *Editor’s note: you might stand to benefit from researching the plenty of above 30, 40, 50, and yes, even s60-plus year olds, whose bodies peaked way later in life.  

By the end of your article, all I felt was that I was made privy to a private discussion between you, your husband, and perhaps your physician. Sure, your decision to share it was brave because weight gain is something that is experienced by many people the world over, but your destitute attempt to mask it as anything more than that—a woman gaining weight in a short amount of time—disrespects all of the movements you shamelessly used to substantiate your predicament.

This is what I refer to as an “activist slippery-slope”. Do I now get to go gain 20 pounds and then write a beautiful piece about how us Africans, historically, were larger during our times as kings and queens, and how if my husband really loved me, he would realize that and then we can go back to having mind-blowing sex?

Is that how it works?

At the core of the matter is this: Gaining 20 pounds in a short amount of time is not healthy. It’s not healthy for your physical, it’s not healthy for your mental, and it’s least of all healthy for your marriage. I don’t care if your starting weight was 120 or 240 pounds (we’ve all got different normals)—but we are talking about the simple matter of health. Having a “gut” (your words not mine) isn’t something that you should aspire to glorify at the behest of your husband’s unfaltering commitment to you.

You gained weight, that’s your reality. A largely personal reality, but one you opened the world up to for discussion when you decided to write an article about it. Which is why I don’t feel I’m entering too-personal territory when I ask, just how exactly do you expect your husband to feel about your body completely changing in a relatively short amount of time, for no reason other than the fact that you are enjoying life? How would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot? I would feel as though as I had been a bit scammed. Because to go from “part-time model” to being “a little heavy everywhere” sounds to me as though you presented a version of yourself, as a bait, and then once you had him, you gave up. I don’t think anyone should get so comfortable in their relationship. The vows are in sickness and in health, not “in blatant disregard for myself”.

Your husband’s response to you, that he believed you could go back to the smoking hot version of yourself anytime that you wanted, is the kindest way imaginable of him saying, “yes honey, it does bother me a bit. I love you. But this does bother me”. He loves you. He’s not going to say more than that. Don’t make him have to.

What you’ve condoned in your very well-written article is the ability to ” hide behind”. It’s the ability to actualize excuses—to never have to take credit for anything you do ever because there’s a movement somewhere that says you don’t have to.

Your article then, while it seeks to market itself as an uplifting, and inspiring piece about true love and the acceptance of our imperfections—is really just (and I don’t think it takes a detective to unveil) a desperate personal attempt to use the power of words to further persuade yourself that you are not entirely at fault for your own plight. It may also be a slight attempt to move your husband (I’m sure he read it) with your godly portrayal of him, because once he realizes how appreciated he is—reset back to swoon, am I right?

By the way is any of this sounding harsh? I genuinely don’t mean for it to be. I’m just choosing not to mince words so that the this age of feminists (us, damned 25 year olds), don’t get distracted by your otherwise very touching and honest portrayal of well—life.

Because that’s all it is; not a movement, not a picket sign, not a sit-in, just the sometimes-shit-happens inevitable consequence of life. We are human, we all fall off the tracks. But let’s agree to just admit we’ve fallen off and do our best to get back on them.

Absent politics, please.

 

Comments

  • Jeremiah R.

    Day-um, you nailed it. Well done.