Weight loss is a valid choice

Published 1.5.2017
This wound up being a bit of a rant— one that wandered a bit all into the political realm. If that offends you, stop here and read no further. As I noted earlier this week, I do resolutions because I like them. For me, they are tool for self-reflection and assessment. One of resolutions for 2017 is to lose a bit of weight. It’s the same resolution from 2016, because I wasn’t willing to do what’s needed to lose the weight. I know what’s needed, I simply didn’t do it.

Somehow this makes me culpable for the narcissist about to assume the role of leader of the free world? I don’t think so. Why do I want to lose the pounds? Because I was a bit healthier at the lower weight. Am I unhealthy now? No, this is a matter of preference, and I do not accept in anyway that choosing to try and lose a few pounds will “eradicate” me or “monopolize my time” or affect my self-esteem. What it will do is cause me to adopt a few new habits, something I routinely attempt to do— sometimes with success, sometimes not.

Weight loss can be a very positive thing for people. Or should this man simply have jumped on the medical treadmill of drugs and interventions rather than change his habits? He made a choice and is the better of it. Why is his choice not as valid as the choice not to lose weight?

There is a difference in choosing to lose a bit of weight for personal reasons and trying to lose weight in an attempt to reach some societal goal or for a job. Carrie Fisher (may she rest in peace) was irritated by the requirement to lose weight and she had every right to be— but she also wanted the job. Mark Hamill was also told to lose weight for the role, and because he wanted the role, he did what it took to lose 50 pounds. In Hamill's case, based on what I've read, it sound like he (unhappily) gave up refined carbs and started snacking vegetables. I suppose some would consider that unfair— on the other hand by complying he got to be Luke Skywalker again and she got to be Princess Leia.

Reaction to Fisher’s looks represent more than fat-shaming, they are also more evidence that women are not allowed to age naturally. Men can go grey (though that might be changing as more men choose to color their hair just as women do) but women cannot. Where are the graying female news anchors? For that matter, where are the graying female politicians? I don’t know what paint Trump uses on that stuff he claims is hair, but the sideburns seem to be white. Clinton’s expensive (and well done) dye job basically tries to pretend that the passage years has not happened. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, has a mane of white.

It’s not just Clinton though, can any reader name a female politician that has allowed her hair to go gray or white? Christine Lagarde at the International Monetary Fund is the only one that comes to mind, but I don't think she's elected by voters. Madonna recently gave a speech at an awards ceremony bemoaning the way female performers, but especially older female performers, are treated in the industry. I didn't see the speech, but I've read excerpts. She makes many good points, however, I think she's have a more powerful position if she actually allowed herself to age.

It is everyone right to age in the way they choose, of course, and Madonna has the wherewithal to afford the best procedures to keep herself looking and feeling younger than her chronological age. However, male performers age and keep performing. Mick Jagger looks like death warmed over, and still he performs. Jagger isn't even the worst— he's not even the worst looking Rolling Stone. Why can't women do that as well? I suppose the answer would be because the system doesn't allow it. How will things change if no one does anything different?

It occurs to me that Emmy Lou Harris is an example of a women performer who allowed herself to age naturally, so it can be done. However, she never had the success that Madonna had. Harris aimed for a different audience than Madonna did, and she aged along with her audience. I'm sure she has younger fans too, but I don't think she continued to try and appeal to listeners very much younger than herself. At least that's my perception.

Maybe it's a matter of trust. Men trust their audience will follow them despite their aging, and women do not. Of course, the audience doesn't always follow a given aging male performer, but he doesn't assume they won't.


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