Celebrity, Women

Tess Munster is NOT Promoting Obesity. Shut up.

When I first heard the news that 29-year-old Tess Munster, a plus size social media queen who started the #effyourbeautystandards campaign, landed a major modeling contract, I was psyched. At 5’5″ and 260 lbs, she’s the first legit plus size model. (yeah, Calvin Klein, hate to break it to you, but size 10 is not plus sized. You can find size 10 at any store that’s not 5.7.9.)  Munster is gorgeous, and it’s refreshing to see someone closer to my body type as a mainstream model.

 

However, there are a lot of backwards minded people that take to the comments section to express outrage that Munster is “promoting obesity.” This is so frustrating on so many levels. As a woman who has spent most of her life plus sized, let me tell you–it ain’t easy. It isn’t easy for anyone, but for some reason, if you’re above a certain size, you get shit on quite a bit, even when people are trying to sing your praises. Check out this awesome comment from Sean Stephane Marin on HuffPo Canada’s piece on Munster (yeah, smart move using Facebook to comment, by the way:)

 

“So we’ve gone from the way to skinny to the Frighteningly Beyond Voluptuous.

Sorry. I’m sure she’s a perfectly nice person. But being a model is about the superficial only, and if this passes for beauty now, I weep for this society. Someone should get this woman to a gym pronto.” 

 

That’s not even the worst, check out Brea O’Keefe’s comment:

 

So glad to hear this!

Right now, only 2 out of 3 Americans are obese. We can do better. Let’s shoot for 3 out of 3 by promoting obesity even more than we do. Let’s tell everyone, “Obesity is beautiful!”.

After all, those of us who watch our weight don’t mind at all that our health insurance premiums will go up to pay for all the medical problems (diabetes, heart disease, knee and hip replacements, etc) you’ll have. ; )

 

I’m outraged. These people are ignorant and I’m so sick of the fat=instant diabetes argument. ANYONE can get type 2 diabetes, even–gasp–thin people! She is not promoting obesity. She is representing a body type that does exist. And several outlets have pointed out that she works out with a trainer. And this is promoting obesity how…?

 

The thing that really pisses me off is people think that plus sized people don’t know that they’re plus sized, and thus, have to be reminded at every  turn. I’m on the smaller end of plus size and I still get shit–I once had a customer tell me that because of my size, I was going to get type II diabetes. I raged on him and let him know that he did not have the right to talk to me like that, my health was none of his business, all while he was babbling that he was trying to help, it’s how he got type II diabetes, he was sorry. I kept my mouth shut and didn’t tell him that he was likely going to get cancer eating the heavily processed chocolate syrup he was purchasing, so why not go to the produce department and get an apple instead?

 

I think a lot of these commenters don’t realize that they’re not on Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity council and what they say is not only hurtful, but toxic. It’s annoying and it gets internalized. It’s easy to laugh off, but there’s this little voice that pops up, there must something wrong with me if people keep talking. Why am I so big? Do men only date me out of desperation? I think the people who are shitting on Tess Munster are verbalizing their own self hatred: “how dare this larger woman be prettier than me!! That’s not what society told me!! I’m ashamed that find her sexually attractive!! I’m taking my shit out on her because she’s an easy target!!” 

 

This just needs to stop. For any size, really–I’ve had friends be whispered about for having an non-existent eating disorder simply because they were thin. I once snapped at a friend trying to help me on a bad day that, because she gets stopped on the street and complimented on her beauty that she knew nothing about the difficulties of dating. Her response: “It may be easier for me to meet [guys,] but it winds up being the same in the end–they either want nothing to do with me, or to just to sleep with me.” Nobody wins. So why can’t we take Munster’s modeling contract as a victory for women of a certain size instead of a forum for obesity and health? Doesn’t it get tiring to shit on people after a while?

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Health, Sex

BREAKING: Men have body image issues!

Nice try, Cosmopolitan.com. Perhaps author Anna Breslaw was trying to be funny, but the list of “10 Reasons Sleeping With a Husky Guy Is The Best” really isn’t. I stumbled upon it on Facebook last night, and clicked, thinking it would be nice. Instead, it was rife with awful jokes and tired stereotypes (guhuhuh, you can eat in front of him and he won’t care!) The line that stands out to me the most is “his largeness makes you feel like a gossamer porcelain ballerina!”

Where do I begin with the wrongness of this? Firstly, if Men’s Health or Maxim made a list of “10 Reasons Sleeping With a Plus Size Gal Is The Best” and included lines like, “you get three extra pillows with a pussy!” or “you’ll feel like Joe Manganiello next to her largeness!” there would be an angry response on Cosmo about ten minutes after it came out.  Second, as I mentioned earlier, it’s tired jokes and stereotypes. If Breslaw had wanted it to be funny, she could’ve come up with better reasons that didn’t involve food or comparing figures.

Third, men do have body image issues. Think about it–the praise that Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill got after losing great amounts of weight–they went from “schlubby” to “sexy and funny!” And not gonna lie, I don’t think someone like Billy Gardell is going to be on the cover of People‘s Sexiest Bachelors issue. And I’m pretty sure most guys weren’t feeling too hot after Magic Mike came out in 2012. I think the reason a lot of people don’t see that this kind of shit has a negative effect on men too. I think the reason that there aren’t a lot of “Love your body!” type campaigns for men is because they don’t really talk about it. You have larger men in movies and in positions of power, so why complain? That doesn’t mean that men don’t have the same insecurities as women. Who enjoys being referred to as “a third pillow with a dick” simply because you don’t have six pack?

What people don’t realize is that, while it’s easy to laugh things off out loud, it’s still wrong as it gets internalized. I mean, look at Richard Simmons on Wendy a few years back detailing his struggle, he’s near tears:

There will probably be some guys who’ll read the Cosmo piece and feel like a punchline. A younger bud of mine once lamented that because he didn’t look like the “teen idols” of his department at work, he couldn’t find a girlfriend. It made me sad that he was down on himself due to the lack of a six pack. He has plenty to offer, and to be honest, just because someone is physically fit doesn’t mean that they’re perfect overall–once you get past the just hooking up stage, if you really want to date, it’s going to take more than a gorgeous smile and great arms to sustain a relationship. You need to bring intelligence, humor and patience as well. 

So, Breslaw, Cosmo, think before you write. I know you could’ve come up with a better, more positive list of reasons to sleep with a larger guy that didn’t reduce them to a punchline. You get mad when it happens to women, so why should men be treated any differently in that regard? It just sucks all around.

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Personal

How I’m Getting Fine at 29

I mentioned this concept in my last personal post, but I never really detailed how exactly I was going to get fine at 29. Yes, these are pretty much new years’ resolutions (and what better timing!) but I’m not going to New York Sports Club for a week, nor will I start some crazy diet that will go out the window two weeks after that. This is about long term goals, that will last past 29.

 

1. I will get fit to the point where I can run up a mountain in the snow

 

This is not going to happen in a year. I will be the first to admit as I’m not Sly Stallone and had the other three Rocky movies/First Blood/Rhinestone under my belt before shooting Rocky IV. Nor am I 5’10” (was I really the only one who thought Sly was about 5’4″ all these years?) But I do want to be that strong without the reliance of fancy machines or steroids, just rely on my body. My problem is that I get mad at myself for not being able to beat Ivan Drago right away. I just have to remember my experience in tae kwon do.  I took a class in college, and I loved it. Although I couldn’t run without getting winded after about a lap and a half during warm ups and most Asian men don’t have hips and a butt the way I do and had to wear track pants instead the proper uniform pants, I kept at it. I fought hard, and it paid off–I surprised the instructor who thought I was going to quit after the first week by passing my promotion test at the end of the semester on the first go. And speaking of fighting spirit…

 

2.  I will retain my enthusiasm and energy

“Headlong” is the last music video of Queen with Freddie Mercury shot in color. A little less than a year after this video was shot, Mercury succumbed to AIDS. Although he doesn’t have the same level of energy that he did at Live Aid a few years earlier or especially during Queen’s heyday in the 70s, he’s still fierce. Listen to the vocal. I felt like an immense asshole after watching this the other night. Of course your energy is going to change after major events–but it shouldn’t come to a complete stop. I’m also not physically ill the way Mercury was. I have no excuse. I’m angry that I went numb over the summer.

 

3. I will remember that I want a Marshall, and not settle for a Sheldon.

“What?!” you’re probably thinking. Let me explain. When I was in my last year of college, I started watching How I Met Your Mother. I was instantly drawn to Marshall Eriksen. “That’s the kind of guy I want to end up with.” I told myself. Marshall to me is warm, he’s sweet, he’s caring, he’s doting without being obsessive, he’s energetic, he’s optimistic, he’s silly, yet at the same time, he’s smart, he has a great job, I could go on.

However, when I started dating as an adult, I was not finding Marshalls. I was finding perverts and (perhaps slightly worse,) Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory types. This is not to bash geeks–wouldn’t you consider Marshall to be slightly geeky given his interest in finding Bigfoot and the Lochness Monster?–but these guys had Sheldon’s cold, awkward, rude, condescending, stubborn behaviors down. Yet, part of me was always like, “oh, I shouldn’t be mean, I should give this poor guy a chance,” go out on a second date with them, and be more miserable than the first time out. No more. I’m done feeling bad that I want a Marshall and not a Sheldon. I’m not going to settle because I feel that “what if this is my last chance?!” Fuck that.

 

And while I know I have other things to improve on to get fine at 29, these three are the biggest, and again, this isn’t just for being 29, these are more long term goals: strength, enthusiasm and not settling. To others about to turn 29, how are you getting fine?

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