Everyone is talking about weight this week.
Most surprising, it’s on J.K. Rowling’s mind. The original article may be on her website, but we didn’t have the patience to find it amongst all the Flash gimmicks.
I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny, a thousand things, before ‘thin’.”
We have to wonder if Rowling will back up her laudable assertions by being a little kinder to her fat characters, most noticeably Dudley Dursley. Still, it’s always good to have this kind of fat-positive commentary.
Next, and far less surprising, Ampersand, who is fast on his way to becoming a national treasure, provides the definitive (honestly; bookmark it and never have the argument again without it at your fingertips) case against weight-loss dieting. This piece is a superb combination of documented science and deep human compassion. Read every word, but just in case you’re busy, here’s the summing up:
1) No weight-loss diet has every been scientifically shown to produce substantial long-term weight loss in any but a tiny minority of dieters.
2) Whether or not a weight-loss diet “works,” people who go on weight-loss diets are likely to die sooner than those who maintain a steady weight or who slowly gain weight.
3) For fat people (or anyone else) concerned with their health, the best option is probably moderate exercise and eating fruits and veggies, without concern for waistlines. In other words, Health At Every Size (HAES).
4) The model on which most weight-loss diets are based – in which fat people eat like fat people and must learn to eat like non-fat people – is probably a myth.
Finally, the Health At Every Size Community has been instrumental in producing an exhibit both Laurie and I would travel to Colorado to see if we possibly could. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any pictures.
New Vista High School students from the Boulder Youth Body Alliance and the Naropa Community Art Studio will be displaying its Yay Scale Project, a celebration of a body positive life, at the Art and Soul Gallery The art opening is on April 7, 2006 at 7:00 pm, and the scales will be on display from April 7 – April 30, 2006. The project is also sponsored by the Youth Opportunities Advisory Board (YOAB).
Through the facilitation of Merryl Rothaus, MA, ATR and Carmen Cool, MA, LPC, using the language of art and a variety of art media, several Boulder youth will transform traditional bathroom scales into individual pieces of art, and work with their body image in the process. The “YAY scales” were invented by the irrepressible Marilyn Wann and register a positive adjective instead of a number. Both Marilyn and Connie Sobczak from The Body Positive advised the facilitators on the project.
This is as positive an action as we can imagine: art, tangibility, the pleasure of destroying a symbol of oppression, and positive body reinforcement throughout. Plus, the artists are doing what Laurie and I feel is so important in our own work: incorporating text throughout. Here are a few selections from artist comments on their pieces. Peggy Elam at On the Whole blogged the whole press release and a much longer list of student comments.
“In this rich country, we have a poverty of self-love. We lack the luxury of wholly believing in our intrinsic beauty. We lack love of our flesh, bones, hair and skin. How do we teach ourselves to hold our heads high? We must open our chests to sprout wings from our hearts. Wings that allow us to soar into love of our bodies and faces with reckless abandon. (If your heart was Ã¢â‚¬Å“heavyÃ¢â‚¬Â with this kind of love, would you put it on a diet?)”
“What an epiphany, to accept yourself and to love your own unique body for the work of art it is.”
“Transforming a scale, an object I have over time learned to Fear, into something I want to be Near, demonstrates the power of art as Alchemist. The result is a tangible piece of art; a YAY scale, that reminds me to celebrate my myriad of vivid colors and delicious textures, embodied wildness, and quiet Gratitude for my place within this world.”
” I hope that when a woman stands on this scale she feels empowered. I hope that she really feels “beautiful” or “captivating” or “divine”, no matter what size or shape her body is. I want this scale to be a message of independence, freedom and empowerment.”
“In the end, when I look back, the things in my life I will be proud of will have nothing to do with the size or shape of my body. These three women, my mother and two grandmothers always wanted the best for me and valued me for everything not just my body. They are my body inspiration.”
“When I saw the metal guts spill out of my scale, I wanted to throw it across the room. Instead, I poured my heart and guts into the thing I hated most and finally realized that we could be friends.”
“Our perfect generation is breaking free from the typical and from the binding structures society builds for our youth, women, people, minds, bodies and spirits. That is all I ask of our generation and our society–to try. Break free, live free, laugh, eat, sing, become the perfect generation.”
“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want some genetically modified girl in my place. No thanks. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather just be plain old extraordinary me. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m allowed to be beautiful and strong and stunning and outrageous and unique and confident and original. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m allowed to be me.”