Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Meg's Tiny Waist

I'm reading Seven Little Australians.  It's a famous Australian childrens book similar to the British William books and the Jewish All of a Kind Family books.

In the novel, sixteen-year-old Meg is pressured by her slightly older friend to wear a corset.  Her friend insists it's of extreme importance for Meg to have a proper sized waist.

Wearing the corset so tightly is painful and dangerous.  Still,  she does it so she can be pretty enough.  Her father, sibling, and stepmothers have no idea Meg is damaging her body in this way. They find out when she collapses and is taken to the doctor.

What women will do to look tiny.....

They'll sacrifice their comfort, enjoyment, and health.

They'll sometimes risk their lives.

Often they suffer silently and secretly.

If they're thin enough, there's a chance someone might notice and reach out and help. But what IS thin enough? 

And not every person torturing themselves for a good body is skin and bones. Some of them are only a bit slim.  Some have an average weight.  Some may even be overweight.

Women of various sizes are struggling to achieve or maintain a body that is acceptable to our society.

What can we do?

Who knows.....

Maybe a good start would be too stop judging women on their size.  Maybe we should stop complimenting people on losing weight, because we can't know if they're doing it in a healthy way.   And who knows, it could be something like cancer that's making them thin.

I think maybe if we see someone that's very fat or very thin we can guess it's very likely that they're struggling with something....either emotional or medical.   And we should have compassion for them.  


FruitCake said...

I'm doing my part to fight the social pressure to be thin. More than my part. I take it as not the best way to be, but better than so depressed I try suicide by starvation. I've been alarmingly thin and alarmingly fat by turn over the years, and I'd rather be heavy than depressed.

I do remember once I had lost about 5 stone very rapidly and someone enthused about it and asked how I did it, she found it so hard etc, and all I could think of was that I wished I had an appetite for life.

Don't know if you ever saw the movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape? The mother in this movie was ginormous and, humiliated at having affected her son's life with her size, she apologised and said "I didn't mean to get this way." This was a comment that provided a blinding moment of insight for me and altho thin when I saw the movie, it taught me not to make assumptions.

Well said, Dina, well said.

Dina said...


Thank you. And your comment was very well said too.

Better to be fat than depressed.

All in all, we should work on caring more about how people feel and how they act; rather than caring so much about how they look.

Outside for a few exceptions, I'm sure most fat people didn't mean to get that way.

I think most thin people DID mean to get that way; but there are exceptions there as well.

We really can't look at someone's body and know what's going on in their mind and lives.

Redhead said...

I still remember the scene in Gone with the Wind where Scarlett is trying to get back into an 18" waist after having a baby. And the black housekeeper says "no way honey". It only shows that the pressure of fashion can make bright people do dumb things...

Ann O'Dyne said...

corsetted 19thC women were always fainting and reviving 'smelling salts' were in every home.

Food is so comforting, so if obese people got frequent hugs and sympathy maybe they would eat less.
I include myself in that.

Dina said...

Redhead: Yes! I love your makes bright people do dumb things. That's so true.

I think a lot of us get brainwashed.

Ann O'Dyne: Food IS comforting. And yeah I think it can be used as a substitute for the sympathy and hugs we're lacking.