gimmicky “diet” book

I went to the bookstore the other day and came across a diet book called Skinny Bitch. Or Skinny Bitches, Skinny Bitch Diet… something like that. I had to flip through it to see what the gimmick was. The beginning was “tough love” type insults. They said that “fat slobs” had to admit that they had a problem, get off their lazy asses, quit eating so much, etc. And it went on in that vein for a few chapters, telling the reader to exercise more and eat less, with liberal peppering of the words fat, slob, bitch, lazy, etc.

“How long can this book sustain itself?” I wondered.

In the middle, there was a chapter about meat being fattening. And then, with no warning whatsoever, the book became a hardcore vegan tract. Flipping through it there in the aisle, I saw the usual arguments about cruelty and health issues. They even busted out and told the reader that she didn’t need that much protein survive. “Look at giraffes!” the authors said. “They don’t need that much protein!” (That’s usually the part where I stop listening to vegan evangelists in real life–when they suggest that my dietary requirements should be the same as an herbivores.)

So the book got hardcore vegan in the middle. Then, for Act Three, the authors apologized for the ugly words and the tough love, and said they only did it out of genuine concern for the reader. Then, there was a lot of “you go, girl!” sort of truisms, about living for yourself and not waiting for love to change your life, and only being able to change yourself, and loving yourself whether you’re fat or thin… and that men would love you if you were beautiful inside as well as out, and that being beautiful inside was only possible if you were “cruelty free.” (I.e., if you don’t eat meat.)

And this is what I have to wonder. What is the point of browbeating insecure straight women into becoming vegans? If you believe in veganism, why aren’t you browbeating everyone equally? Do the people behind this book believe that insecure straight women, once they become vegans, will influence everyone else in the world to follow their example?

I didn’t understand it. It was puzzling to me. I was, and remain, puzzled.

I am secretly a man.

That’s what people think about me, when I don’t act the way they believe a woman should. I am secretly a lesbian, a robot, an alien, an animal, or crazy.

No, you guys. I’m a woman. Really! I just don’t always feel like getting all emotional with you. I don’t want to have personal dramas–at least not between 8 and 5. I just want to do the work I’ve agreed to do for money. And then go home.

I save my emotions. I’m running out of them, as I get older, so I save what remains for the weekends and spend them on little things. You know? Art, music, commercials with sad music… my own children, my own family, my own romance.

Don’t take it personally, that I don’t get emotional with you. Don’t think I’m abnormal. I’m just conserving resources. Please understand, and help me. I’d do the same for you.


I just wrote, deleted, rewrote, and deleted a bunch of stuff about prettiness. About losing weight, becoming prettier, people hating pretty people, people treating pretty people like objects or possessions, people stalking and harassing pretty people, pretty people becoming defensive and protective of themselves, other people mistaking pretty people’s defense mechanisms for haughtiness and conceit, people who hide their own prettiness out of fear, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, attempts to change one’s negative mental associations with prettiness and weight loss, fervent wishing to be judged by my actions and not my looks, the fact that prettiness, in spite of everything, is still valuable and not something you would ever really willingly lose…

… the fact that I can’t write anything about any of these things because it’s obnoxious, it sounds like Andie McDowell smirking “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” the fact that you’re not allowed to say aloud that you might believe you’re pretty, sexist socialization, my grandmother flying down from heaven and slapping my face, women being damned if they do or if they don’t, possible self delusion, annoying self censorship, annoying fear.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in lookism, sexism, venting, writing on 11/21/2007 08:51 pm

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.