Update: Zuzu wrote way more interesting stuff about the Ream article than I did. Go read that.
Please check out this excellent piece by Anne Ream in the Chicago Tribune about what happened when “overwork, Third World travel and Problems with a Man” caused her to drop enough weight to become a size 0.
Hint: nobody remarked that she looked sick.
She uses that experience as a jumping off point for talking about women’s fear of taking up space, literally and figuratively.
What is going on here? It’s bad enough that our dress sizes are shrinking to 0, but so too is our common sense and our understanding of health, wellness and lasting beauty. Most distressingly, our ambitions are shrinking as well.
Ream mentions successful starlets who say they secretly want to give it all up to look after their husbands, T-shirts that say “Property of My Boyfriend,” and this:
When Hillary Clinton publicly jokes about her problems losing weight, she appears to be speaking in focus-group code: Don’t hate me because I’m smart and ambitious. I want to be skinny too.
Right fuckin’ on, Anne. Sadly.
The fact that Hillary Clinton even feels the need to comment publicly on her weight infuriates me. (Uh, you think?) And the fact that she would berate herself for it just makes me want to cry. I understand that all candidates are subject to weight scrutiny, but I honestly don’t see how Clinton could conceivably be considered “overweight,” unless we expect our presidential candidates to look like 17-year-old supermodels. She’s almost 60 years old. She’s had a baby. She looks healthy and radiant and… really pretty small. Who the fuck thinks she’s fat?
Well, she does, apparently. Or at least, she’s savvy enough to know that claiming she does will make it easier for women voters to relate to her, as Ream points out. Either way… GAAAAAAAH.
You know what? I don’t want a president who puts in the time and effort required to be stick thin. I want a president who is healthy enough to do her job, and who takes her job seriously enough that she thinks spending two hours in the gym every day would be an unconscionable waste of time.
And I want a president who is ambitious, thank you very much. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when we’re talking about a candidate for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, how the fuck can “too ambitious” be seen as a serious criticism?
Oh, right, it’s a woman. A woman who wants to be president is, by definition, “too ambitious.” Because the president doesn’t have time to cook and clean and spend all her remaining time trying to look like a teenager. The president can’t be a “real woman.” And we can’t have that.
Kudos to Ream for highlighting the connection between tiny ambitions and the unrealistic pursuit of tiny bodies. In a culture where men are told to “think big” and women are told to “think thin,” it’s something that can’t be said enough.