July 14, 2013

the skinny on thin

I recently read an interview with Oscar nominated, Emmy award winning actress Melissa McCarthy and learned that New York Observer film crit-dick Rex Reed called her a "hippo" in his review of Identity Thief. I was disgusted by this on so many levels: why would Mr. Reed or his newspaper's editor, find it acceptable to deny McCarthy's gifted comedic timing as an actress and reduce her to nothing more than a childish label? When new records or works of art are reviewed, the artist's appearance does not come into play whatsoever - they are reviewed for their WORK. If McCarthy was Louis CK or Steve Carell, you can mark my words that their reviews would have been entirely based upon their comedic performance, not the size of their clothes.
I remember when I was in my early twenties, I was seated at a company dinner and the woman sitting beside me whispered , "You're so lucky you are skinny - life is so easy for you."
I, of course, couldn't hear her because I was far too busy counting all my money and friends and my ears were draped in diamonds.
Just kidding.
I think I know what she was trying to say - that the world tends to show thinner people more kindness - you see it in the hiring practices at local restaurants and bars, you see it splashed in magazines, you see it on TV  - but I don't want my daughter for one second to think that skinny is the key to happiness.  I would much rather say, "My daughter is so bright/funny/athletic/talented/interesting....any of those adjectives as opposed to...my daughter has really low body fat."
Being skinny didn't help my friend when she went through major depression, being skinny didn't save another friend's marriage, being skinny didn't make it easier when my friend lost her baby, being skinny didn't make it easier for me when I lived with someone with addiction, when are we going to stop acting like someone's genetic disposition represents their worthiness?
Let's shift the focus to being healthy and interesting instead.
I was out with friends last week and we all agreed that we work out for the benefits it gives our minds - so that we can feel strong, get the endorphins pumping- boost our spirits. I would much rather say that I feel good in my days and that I am healthy and strong than I wear size zero jeans.
Seriously, we disregard too many interesting women for the sake of them not being thin enough.
An 8 year old boy called my daughter chubby the other day and it broke my heart. I know he is young, so I told him it isn't nice to call people chubby. But she's one and a half. I mean, come on. What I could have told him was that it's awesome my little girl loves food because I never worry that she isn't getting enough nutrition, she never gets sick, she sleeps well at night - has a real spark of a personality - but I spared him the lecture. We have to teach our children early on what is really important in life and being thin isn't. It just isn't. Be healthy. Be interesting. Eat a piece of delicious cheese for god's sake.
In case you missed it making the internet rounds this week, please take a moment to watch this interview of Dustin Hoffman, speaking about his performance as a woman in the film Tootsie.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, your words are always beautiful Kelly. I've struggled for years and years to accept my body. Now, since giving birth I view my body so very differently. I want Henry to know that confidence, worth and love comes from inside you and not measured by appearance. Thank you for putting your thoughts into words (you scare me sometimes its as if you are writing from my heart!!). Love from across the ocean, Lu x

kelly said...

Thanks so much Lu - you should definitely embrace your whole self - you are such a phenomenal and truly beautiful momma!!

Anonymous said...

And right back at you xxxx