Life as an Extreme Sport

The Good Body

We live in a capitalist society that expects you to consume. Consume food, more and better and pay, until your flesh jiggles and body spreads. Consume the services that will shape and mould your body, through effort and sweat or sedation and surgery. Consume the clothes Macy’s lays out, and if you can’t fit into any of them, consume that box of Franco’s by the door. Consume until your body weighs you down, or until your body fades to nothing. There is no perfect, there is no place of resting, no finished and done – just always circling, consuming, trying to reach a point so undefined and tenuous, it is an abstract idea at best, and obsession at the worst.

Have you ever thought about the fact that it’s not okay, not socially acceptable to admit to others “I’m smart.” Doing so will invariably result in one of two things: people either saying “well yes, I’m smart, too” or thinking you’re conceited. If you actually have the nerve to admit that you’re more intelligent than other people, well. You’re arrogant, at the very minimum. But if you admit to being pretty, people will just nod and say yes – at least, if you actually are pretty. Sure, if you say it constantly and often, you’ll get labeled conceited and stuck up, but to just occasionally admit it, no big deal. You’re expected to flaunt it, and well, if you’re pretty, everyone can see it, so you’re just talking about something that everyone already knows. There’s no visual referrant available to determine intelligence.

If you’re not thin and pretty, you’d better be smart and funny – an old adage that still rings true. If you’re smart and funny, people will still pay attention to you. If you’re pretty, that’s all you need; no one will notice anything else, anyhow.

My fat, it insulates me. It protects me. My curves and lumps and softness force people to see my mind, to see my intelligence. If I lost that fat, if I slimmed down and became that social ideal, tall and blonde and thin,… would anyone notice anything else? If I lost what protects me from being labeled nothing more than a bimbo, would people see anything other than a disjointed Barbie ideal?

I don’t want to be sold on the necessity of being thin. I don’t want to embrace the ideal that says I should be nearly six feet tall and at least a size 6, if not smaller. I don’t want to be dismissed as just another pair of breasts with nothing to say. My fat protects me from these things. But even in its protection, I can’t love it or embrace it, or see it as anything other than that which makes people see me as a brain, not a body. And therein lies the contradictory nature of being me, and perhaps of being a woman. No matter the rational thought process, the idea, the ideal of the thin blonde beauty, is still in my body, my blood. Passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter and more, I can’t seem to escape the ideal of the good body.