I never thought I would say this but, I love Tyra Banks.
Yesterday I was home due to the “snow” and I ended up exhausted at around 3pm because I had been up since 5am so I lay down on the couch and watched some television. The show I ended up on was the Tyra Banks show.
She came out in a swimsuit and started talking about how the tabloids have been saying really awful things about her lately. About how they say she’s so fat and she’s gained fifty pounds and that she weighs over two hundred pounds and a whole lot of other nonsense.
I stared at the television in disbelief. Have these people not SEEN Tyra Banks? I mean seriously. The woman is gorgeous. She was a model for what like seventeen or eighteen years? She is one of the most beautiful, self-confident women I’ve ever seen. And she weighs, what? I think 150 pounds? She’s approximately five feet 100 hundred. How can anyone consider her FAT? I would give Jason’s left nut to look that woman.
In 2005 Marie Claire magazine ran an article about how being fat was the last acceptable way in this country to pick on people. That it’s not okay to make fun of someone for their race or religion or what color their hair is, but it’s perfectly acceptable to make fun of someone for being fat. That celebrities are becoming thinner and thinner to the point that they are almost disappearing (we can only wish) and that what our children see is so extreme that they are beginning to think that it’s normal or okay for people to be so skinny that the have no curves, only bones sticking out. They detailed a group of men who would bet money against one another as to who could shag the fattest girl each night. And so on.
I read the article with great interest which became extreme sadness.
Immediately after I read the article I went to my computer and wrote a letter to the editor of Marie Claire, thanking her for running the article and saying how that I find it very sad that in this society today that I’m smart, funny, creative, kind, loving, and fat and that the first five adjectives that describe me don’t matter because of the sixth. I wrote that I felt so fortunate to meet and marry a man who loved me for the person I am and also thinks that I’m an extreme hottie (bless him) just the way I am. In fact, even though I’m trying to lose weight and be more healthy my husband says to me all the time, “Well please don’t lose a lot of weight. Not to much weight. You’re beautiful just the way you are.” He prefers a woman with, you know, boobs. And hips. And, apparently, thick thighs, if we’re using me as a gauge for that sort of thing.
The editor emailed me back within a few days and said they would be running my letter, with some editing, of course, in the magazine. In May, 2005 my letter appeared. They really, really, really edited it down to the point that it was basically only a few lines.
And what did I do?
Well, nothing. I got my copy (I’m a subscriber) and I put it on my bookshelf to save it. I didn’t tell anyone in my family (except my little sister) because I was…ashamed.
I was ashamed.
Because I wrote a letter standing up for myself and saying, “It’s not okay to treat me like this.”
Because my whole life I’ve believed that it’s okay for everyone to treat me like this. Because I’m overweight which means, somehow, I’m less of a person.
I was ashamed because I googled my name once and there was a person who had written in her blog about the Marie Claire letters and used my letter and my name and my city and said something along the lines of, “Yeah, fat cows like her need to just shut up and get up and exercise instead of wasting time writing letters.”
I was ashamed because I wondered if maybe I am crazy and maybe it’s really NOT okay to be overweight, even if you’re trying to do something about it. Maybe we should just all go hide under a rock somewhere.
But then yesterday, I saw Tyra Banks almost cry on television as she told the collective media to “Kiss her fat arse,” (she didn’t say arse, but you know what I mean)? I know it sounds hokey, but I got tears in my eyes.
If a freaking supermodel is being called fat, then what would they say about the rest of us?