Men, Women, and Weight

leonardo dicaprioThere was a story in the New York Times, What’s the Skinny on the Heftier Stars, about the expanding waist lines of male stars like Russel Crowe, Denzel Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio. On the one hand, I was kind of glad to see that men are coming in for the same treatment that women have put up with forever. (Misery, and five extra pounds, loves company.) But here’s the thing: These men still get the (younger, thinner) girl nine times out of ten, no matter how many extra chins they are carting around. And the criticism of the men’s newfound heft had a mild, wink and nod tone.

When female celebs gain a few pounds, the media is downright wrathful. (Then again, if they get too skinny they’re also in for it.) To a large degree, this is a reflection of a mind set we’ve all internalized. In my experience, if a man gains a few pounds he thinks (brilliantly), I’ve gained a few pounds, maybe I’ll cut back on the beer…next. When a woman (and I include myself here) packs on a few, she thinks – I’m disgusting, I have no self-discipline, my day is ruined. Yes, this is an exaggeration, and yes, it may be a huge generalization. But there’s more than a little bit of (sad) truth in it, too. What do you think the differences are when it comes to men, women and weight? And, while we’re on the topic, what about the media treatment?

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3 responses to “Men, Women, and Weight

  1. It seems women cannot win for losing… no pun intended!
    Females are targeted at a very young age to focus on their physical appearance especially their weight. It is a mega billion dollar industry for the weight-loss programs, magazines publishers,diet food manufacturers,herbal @ pharmaceutical companies to name a few. We can put a stop this form of patriarchal manipulation only, when we truly understand it is a form of control creating for some a life long battle to look a certain way! and low self-esteem for a vast majority of women, while business’s that prey on them get filthy rich! if only we ourselves were not brainwashed we could stop it before it steals another generation of young girls yet again! Maybe one day women will finally believe and teach their girls the truth, and we will no longer measure our self esteem by the numbers on a scale! Why do we continue to believe it?
    Why do we let them control us in this manner?

  2. It was Naomi Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth” that clued me in to the no-win situation women live with regarding our physical appearance. I find myself repeating that lesson to myself (and others) over and over, and here it is, 18 years later. I don’t see us making any progress. The ideal is a moving target, and as long as we are busy chasing that target, we don’t have time for revolution.

  3. I think the whole media treatment of it and the fact that men know they can get the thinner girl has turned me into a calorie counting psycho. Being a single girl in your late 30s is no fun these days.

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