|1991: "Light" referred to the scale, as I thought i was heavier. |
Guess I wanted to get to 130!
For decades, women have been told that their bodies are not acceptable, whether because they can "do more" or because their partners would like them better if they did something to change themselves…however and in whatever way they were "supposed" to. In class this week, I talked about how my college teammates and I used to somehow gauge our fitness levels by how many ribs we could see. Six pack plus a side of ribs, Tennessee style. We were distance runners, and I was bulimic. I was 2+% body fat and I consistently wrote "Fat!" and "Loose weight!" in my training log. Now, I was not in the very tough, differently gendered situation many female athletes are in. But it was, quite simply, a purging situation for a while. Looking back, it is still troubling to remember how normal it felt to puke up whatever "extra" I had eaten that day. So…fast forward 20+ years. For a bunch of reasons, and as a result of interrelated social factors (e.g., media images, masculinity, changing notions of aging, etc.), I am…susceptible isn't the right word...but I do find myself looking at Sly Stallone's body at his age, the bodies of 40+ WWE wrestlers, and the host of commercials aimed at guys like me, and my abs, my biceps, my wrinkles, my sexual prowess, my hairline, and wondering…what the hell am I doing wrong? Women have Oil of Olay…what am I using? Let's be honest though: After 40, your abs just have to be functional, not ripped. It serves no actual purpose. Yet today before I left for work, I made sure my "belly," which is what I call any adipose tissue I have, wasn't visible with the shirt I had set out to wear. People can be morbidly obese, and others can starve to death. Getting ripped means nothing. Repeat. Repeat again. Ad nauseam.