A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"
The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:
"Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.
Mermaids do not exist.
But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?
Without a doubt, I'd rather be a whale.
At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.
We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn't enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: "How amazing am I ?! "
(The girl on the picture is French model Tara Lynn)
Now, you're up to speed.
This chunk of words struck me as bizarre but it did make me think. Most specifically, it made me think about how poor to non-existent the the amount of thought that goes into body image amongst human beings. Maybe that's a lot to ask on something that most people react emotionally to rather than thinking about. Maybe that's part of the problem.
Maybe it's just coincidental that mermaids were brought up in a gym setting but it is fitting in one respect: mermaids don't exist any more than fitness models exist, or at least as we see them in the pictures. What we see is a tribute to someone's ability to pose, light, airbrush, and photoshop an image for people to chase after.
This isn't here just to show off muscle gals. I'll get to why in a minute...
It seems sadly fitting that many of those people seduced into believing that they can look like those models are running on machinery but going nowhere since they're chasing something that they'll never get. Most of us would agree that the whole senario is a poor and cruel way to shame people into a gym to work out.
Pauline, same woman as above, in real life. I have to hand it to her: she's honest!
As bad as that imagery is, the rest of the story is worse. I came across a fancy term in a book that I read earlier this year that seems to adequately describe that: cognitive dissonance. I'm sure that since you're reading this blog that you agree with me that being fat isn't any good and no amount of fantasizing that your wisdom will accumulate on your hips will ever change that. It's just an elaborate excuse.
Rather than coming up with some bullshit story/excuse, wouldn't the person writing this have better served her readers by challenging them to think about how healthy their bodies are and how well they perform? Now that I have a kid, I think about things differently. It's fun to eat ice cream with kids. It's far more fun to be able to play with them and not be worn out by trying to keep up with them. Playing with my nephew, as much as he wants. Henry's dad is good to go!
Another, very important consideration for me is being a good example. Muffin tops and beer guts aren't made of wisdom. They're made out of gluttony and sloth. Neither of these are good traits to pass onto children as normal or okay.
Oh, and while that model is a good looking, bigger woman, let's not kid ourselves. For every Tara Lynn out there, there's at least 50 Rosie O'Donnells and Kathy Bates. Fat rarely looks that good!
Maybe I'm taking this viral garbage too seriously. It really is a pretty stupid glob of words. It would have been too easy to dismiss had it not shown up over and over again on my wall. It's unfortunate when agreements can be made on problems but the solutions to them are so far apart. In the end, there's no good justification for obesity.