The Ever Present Obsession with Losing Weight in America

Imagine my distress as I am reading this morning in the paper about a new method of stapling your stomach where the surgery does not require cutting. I am quite serious and this appears to be quite real and if you’d like to read the article you should click here. I have always found it distressing when women (or men) want to get surgery in order to lose weight. Perhaps I am wrong but I just feel that the healthy way to do it is through diet and exercise. And I do realize that everyone’s body is different and it can be more difficult for some than it is for others which can be disheartening but I also think that it is our own responsibility to take care of our bodies. You cannot just allow yourself to balloon out and then expect a surgery to fix it.

Now I am no exception to the rule, I have my own set of insecurities about my own weight as do most women that I’ve met in the US. (Quite frankly many women from other parts of the world seem to have a healthier view of their bodies, perhaps not leaps and bounds healthier but it’s not quite as hyped up as it is here in the states, at least when I base this on my friends circle.) And I know that in recent years I have really let go and I really need to kick it up a notch but I am not going to let my hectic schedule talk me into a surgery that could possibly be damaging to my health. I mean how much do we know about “shrinking” your stomach. Somehow that just strikes me as a bad idea that could lead to all sorts of negative side effects and serious complications should you not be able to comply with your dietary restrictions.

It’s funny because I don’t think Americans have *always* been obsessed with being slender. I look back at the time of Marilyn Monroe and in those days having curves was sexy. In fact, that was the typical image of a model, it wasn’t those stick thin coat hangars that we call models these days. My theory (and I could certainly be wrong) is that this all changed when Audrey Hepburn came on the scene. No actress/model/famous woman had ever made it so glamorous or “cool” to be thin as she did. I mean let’s face it Audrey Hepburn is still an icon of class and beauty that is unparalleled. (I may be biased, I am also a little in love with her). But it saddens me to think that my most favourite icon of all time could have been partially responsible for this drastic shift in what is a beautiful body. I mean before her time women were supposed to have hourglass figures, which I will admit can also be a bit unrealistic but I think it gives a little more room for imperfection than the coat hangar look.

Don’t get me wrong I love Audrey Hepburn and I think that thin women without an hourglass shape can be beautiful too I just think it has lead to an obsession with losing weight and being thin. It would be great if we could get rid of the stigma of not being stick thin but also maintain an idea of what healthy is so that this country wouldn’t have such a problem with obesity. I believe there is a happy medium and somehow I think that we should be able to attain it.