Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Of Breasts and Beauty

Via Shapely Prose, I have to comment on this photo from the Uncovered photography project. (Photo from Jordan Matter Photography.)
If you can't read the text, it is as follows:
When you're forty, men stop looking at you. You sort of disappear and
become a non-sexual entity. It's a very strange thing to have been interesting
to strangers your whole life and then suddenly it stops overnight and you ...

Now, I don't know about you, lovely readers, but I have never been interesting to strangers. Men have never looked at me. I find it fascinating to read things like this, stories of women who took such notice for granted, women who thought such notice was sure to continue indefinitely. What must it be like, to be considered a thing of beauty? What is it to know that you'll never have to pay for a drink or have an empty bed?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Random Roundup

Headless Torso has an excellent video up today.

Fat Bloggers made the New York Times!

And I have to talk about something that's been bugging me since it happened.

I have a Rack of Doom. My breasts are rather ridiculously large, and I have to buy bras roughly every six months. I usually try to get a fitting once a year, because they're not as young as they used to be, and they've started their southerly migration already. My band stays pretty steady, but I need bigger cups.

So I've recently moved to Colorado from Arizona. Being in a nicer climate has me out-of-doors more often, and in general, getting more exercise. I've lost about a dress size since moving over the summer, and I will probably lose more. It's not something I talk a lot about, because honestly? I find it irritating. I finally had a wardrobe full of lovely clothes that fit beautifully, and now I have to shop again, or take things in, and since I wasn't unhappy with myself, it's hard to see the changing of my body as anything more than an imposition on my time. Of course, no one I know will listen to my whining about "magical" weightloss, so I just keep mum and try crap on.

But the result of said loss is that I desperately needed new bras and a fitting. I had gone to an independent lingerie shop in AZ, but headed up to Nordstrom's this time after hearing wonderful things about them.

I get into the fitting room and tell the woman I'm currently wearing a 42H. The band fits okay, but not perfectly, so I don't know if I need to be down a band or not. The cups, on the other hand, are overflowing, and I'm not sure if I should look for I-cups or J-cups. She asks what prompted the fitting: I tell her I've lost some weight, and it's been a year or so since my last fitting, and my bras are falling apart.

She measures me and says my band measures right at a 42. Good - one question solved. She never measures my actual bust, but leaves the room to get things for me to try on. She comes back the first time with a 44D. She keeps coming back with various sizes, none of which are even close to my cup, and finally says, "I think you're a 44F. We don't have any in stock, so I'll email you when they come in."

And I hear you all: So what? It was a bad fitting. We've all had them.

And you're right - I've gotten them before, too. (For the record: I came home and had my husband measure me. I'm a 42J.) But what made this one particularly uncomfortable for me was that the fitter repeatedly made comments about how wonderful it was that I'd lost weight, how I was sure to lose more, and she looked forward to finding me even smaller bras. And won't it be wonderful when my breasts get smaller? And I was doing such a good job at sticking to it!

I didn't know what to say. I was a deer in the sizeist headlights. I just had absolutely no idea how to go about explaining that I was really annoyed to change sizes, that my breasts have done nothing but get bigger since I was 10 years old - no matter what my weight has done - and that I'd hate to be a size-whatever on the bottom and a size bazoomba-huge on the top because of these stupid boobs.

I had no idea how to say, "I'm perfectly happy with my size, and am not actively trying to lose weight." And that made me feel like a liar.

I came home and shared my thoughts with Bacon's Dad (while he measured me correctly.). His take? "Well, wouldn't it have made it more uncomfortable to say something?"

Sure it would have. But if I say I'm a Size Acceptance activist, if I tell other people every day the facts about fat and health and the beauty myth, aren't I obligated to do the same with strangers? Isn't my silence a tacit acceptance of the opinion that getting smaller is a good thing, no matter what I believe?

Looking back, I probably should have been prepared. I know how society views weightloss. I know how society views fat women, and I knew I was going to be shirtless in front of some random person literally taking my measure. I guess I didn't expect to be asked why I needed a fitting - it's pretty obvious, even when I'm clothed, that something isn't fitting properly.

It's just so difficult to boil everything down to something short, sweet and acceptable. "I like being fat; let's move on" seems abrupt and cold, but giving a ten-minute spiel on SA seems a little over-the-top. Surely there's something in between the extremes - and I have a feeling that I should try to find it, because I'm only going to run into more fitting rooms and more salesclerks trying to make conversation.

What would you have said?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What could you do with $5,002?

Sandy Szwarc has an excellent post over at Junkfood Science today.

Apparently, the average woman spends $5,002 per year on losing weight. For that spectacular outlay of dollars, she'll lose a whopping 3 pounds - and, of course, gain it all back. Over a lifetime, that works out to roughly $310,000.

$310,000. One house. Eleven cars. 88 diamond rings. 3100 fancy gourmet dinners.

Or three pounds.

You do the math.