Home > Friday Fun! > Friday Fun! (On Health and Entitlement of Women’s Bodies)

Friday Fun! (On Health and Entitlement of Women’s Bodies)

Hello my lovely readers!  Sorry for the relatively smaller amount of reviews this week.  I’ve finished a few books, but didn’t have the time to write up the reviews yet.  This just means next week will be full. 🙂

I have a relatively serious topic I want to talk about today.  You guys know that I take health and the obesity epidemic seriously.  One argument that I’ve heard a lot of unhealthy women make is that they put on a ton of weight to avoid men.  They weren’t comfortable with the attention, etc…  I remember thinking, when I, at the time, was overweight myself, “How bad could it really be?”  Turns out…..pretty bad.

Over the last year, I’ve gone from a size 16 to a size 10.  Over the last month, I’ve had more encounters with men who feel entitled to my body than I had over the entire two years I was overweight.  I know correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but in some cases it does.

I’m a single lady.  I date.  I go places where single people hang out to try to meet new people.  I do what single people in cities do.  I dress attractively, because I WANT to, but also because I’ve worked damn HARD for this body, and I’m proud of my work.  I’m not saying I’m Miss America, and I wouldn’t want to be, but I definitely look happy and healthy when I go out.  Much more so than when I was overweight.  I get hit on. I get asked on dates.  This also happened when I was overweight.  The difference, though, is that now when I dare to say the word no a much higher percentage of them get downright angry at me.

He’ll say something like, “Do you want to go on a date?” I say, “No, thank you.”  He says, “WHY?! Think you’re too good for me?!” or “Well you shouldn’t dress that way if you don’t want attention” or “Please, you obviously need a good fucking.”  (I am not exaggerating.  These all have been spoken or texted or what have you to me).

Worse, though, is I’ll go on a first date. Usually dinner or drinks.  I have a nice enough time, but I can tell we wouldn’t work long-term, and I want a relationship at this point in my life.  He leans in for a kiss, and I turn my cheek or he asks me for a second date and I say no I don’t think it’ll work out.  The reaction generally is, “You owe me, I bought you dinner!” or “How can you possibly know after only one date?!” or “Well, I thought you were ugly anyway.”  (That last one, btw, makes zero sense since he ASKED ME OUT TO START WITH).

What really aggravates me about these interactions isn’t their disappointment that I said no.  Obviously, that is flattering.  What is bothersome is the evident sense of entitlement over MY BODY that they have.  I’m pretty and single.  They’re available and have a penis, ergo, I must want them or I’m a horrible woman.  Since when did my body become the possession of every straight man in the greater Boston area?

Oh yeah, since I started glowing with health.

It’s draining. It’s enough to make me not want to go out some nights.  It’s enough to make me want to stick my earbuds in in public and ignore everyone.  Of course, I’m me, so I’m not going to do these things.  I’m going to keep being my awesome self and feminist hulksmashing the douchebags (verbal smack-down, folks, not a physical one), but.  If I didn’t have such a strong personality or had personal issues or WHATEVER I could totally see this being a thing that would make me stop working out, stop eating healthy, stop it all and just hide to protect myself.

Do you see where I’m going here?  This misogynistic entitlement to women’s bodies is a poison to our whole society.  A POISON.  Every time you police a woman’s body or act entitled to her or watch it happen to a woman and not stand up for her, you are essentially watching the cook poison the food and then serve it to the dinner party without saying anything or trying to stop him.  It hurts everyone, and it is not ok!  It is just as bad as those cultures (that I know Americans judge) that say, “Women need to cover up because they tempt men.”  Our cultural impetus is the opposite.  “This woman is young and healthy and available ergo I deserve her body.”

No. You. Don’t.

I vow to say something any time I hear this attitude happening, and not just to me.  I vow to encourage all women to remember that our bodies are ours and our health is about US and not about THEM.  I hope you all will do the same.

 

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  1. February 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

    This is part of a culture of rape. Some men feel entitled to sex. It’s not even modern, women are just more willing to have sex with them. A date is often seen as quid pro quo: expensive food for sex. I remember friends mother’s telling them don’t order expensive food on dates because boys will think you put out. My mother always insisted I pay for my portion of a meal.
    The problem is women play the game just as much as men. We are taught to play the game and then we have to hide when we hate it. We don’t fight back. As a plus size woman I can tell you I let a lot of the weight stay on because I hate the dating scene. I hate being seen as a piece of meat. Still, I realized that putting on the weight literally made me a piece of meat that was not appealing. I played the game without realizing it.

    • February 10, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Yes yes yes! This comment deserves a gazillion thumbs up.

      And for the record, I’m so proud of your decision that you deserve to be healthy. So incredibly proud, lady.

  2. February 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I agree with librarygurl. Some men feel entitiled to sex because some women are more willing to have sex with them. I am big or fat or chubby or whatever you want to call it and live in Ghana where every young woman and sometimes older, is trying to stay slim like the western girls because the men like it that way. Though there may be some who stay slim for health reasons, the general feeling is that the men like them slim.
    Needless to say I’ve never bothered in my life to dress or look good for a man. I do what I please and what will suit moi, period. I’m married with 3 kids and have a short natural hair (not texturised) and people ask me ‘does your husband like it that way, is he happy with it? And I tell them, it is my head and face, not his. And he likes whatever suits me.

    • February 10, 2012 at 9:58 am

      It’s great to have a reader from Ghana. Welcome!

      I think we need to be careful to not shift the blame for a sense of entitlement over women’s bodies to the women who choose to have more casual sex. It is our right as people to make whatever personal choices about sex and who we have sex with we want to make. It is the man’s responsibility to realize just because one woman is willing to have a one-night stand with him doesn’t mean all women are willing to do that with him. Similarly, just because a woman has had a one-night stand before doesn’t mean she’s going to do it with him. Every choice we make about sex is individual to that situation, and we should not be judged on what we have or have not done prior. Just as we should not be judged on how we choose to handle how our bodies look.

      I would definitely be interested to hear about the cultural shift in Ghana toward a more westernized ideal body size and what implications that has had on women and health.

      And kudos for keeping your hair natural. I am ALL ABOUT natural hair on all women. 🙂

      • February 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

        You see, but that is just the point, the cultural shift and difference . Hitherto, overweight or women on the plump side was the in thing. Plumpness was equated to good living and wealth. You come across men who fret becaus their wives/women were on the slim size. This meant that they were not taking good care of their womenfolk. Then again, when a woman delivers she is made to eat a lot to look good and generate enough breast milk for the baby and this makes the man proud. Derogatory terms are used to label women on the slim side. Even now, with the cultural shift and all, there are some men who prefer their women on the plump side. And so there again, we in Ghana tend to do things to suit our partners more than ourselves and this can be attributed to the way we view marriage and relatiosnhips and the man’s role in the home/family as the head.
        These are values that globalisation and the influx of technology and western culture has not been able to adulturate.
        Admittedly, western influence in the Ghanaian society and education has made the Ghanaian woman aware that she has to lose weight and keep on the slim side to stay healthy and for her own sense of self worth. Education on medical issues has made her aware of the dangers of being overweight. But lurking in the shadows is the culture/traditional little voice that nudges the Ghanaian woman to keep her body in good shape, in order to keep her man interested in her, to avoid competition from another woman.

      • February 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

        It’s interesting that the cultural shift came from an influx of western values and did not just gradually happen on its own. I say this, because we know that it used to be the same in western society that plump women were the ideal because only the wealthy could afford to be plump. Currently in America the wealthy are lean and the poor are overweight, so it certainly is partially about that too. If your woman is plump she’s considered to be either lazy or you’re too poor to afford a gym, good food, etc…. It’s interesting that it was the influx of Western ideals that has led to a similar change in Ghana.

        It makes me sad how much we women feel we have to do to keep our men around. What happened to the requirement that a good man stands by the woman he loves? *sighs*

  3. February 10, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Strangely enough, I know a guy with this problem. He’s a married man who purposefully let himself go and didn’t take care of his body because he knew he was less attractive to women when overweight. He was worried that if he lost weight it would be too easy to give in to the temptation and cheat on his wife.

    • February 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      I….just…..wow. I get it he’s your friend, but REALLY?! The only way he can keep it in his pants is to get fat? Wowwwww

      • February 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm

        Yeah, I know. The really awful thing is that when he got obese, his wife didn’t find him attractive anymore either. It’s a real sad situation to see.

      • February 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm

        😦 That’s a couple that needs some couples counseling. I can completely understand that it’s hard as a friend to watch too.

  4. February 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Wow I don’t think I’ve ever had quite such bad responses to rebuffing someone. I’m not sure if that is a cultural difference or the fact I haven’t really dated that much. The problem I tend to have is with strangers when I’m out and about walking anywhere especially by roads. I would say I am attractive, and I am naturally petite and slim except for maybe my bum I don’t have trouble staying that way either. I used to worry about what I wore because of the unwanted attention I would get from fellow pedestrians and men in cars. I have a nice figure…this does not mean you must either wolf whistle, stare, shout vulgar remarks, ask me if I want a lift, follow me, or try to touch me, or the worst of them all pick me up literally lift me up I may be small this does not mean I am a toy. However thank God the physical problems happen rarely. My new tactic is to wear whatever I want to wear but always make sure my accessories include an ipod and headphones. Shout and whistle all you like I can’t hear you!

    • February 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      I’d say it’s probably 6 of one half a dozen of the other. Dating a lot does tend to give you more opportunity to come across assholes, but also Bostonians are a very out-spoken bunch. I bet you’d have more stories to tell if you had dated more before meeting your boyfriend. Particularly with a good “bum.” *giggles* Oh your Britishisms. Love it!

  5. February 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    They are. Getting counseling, I mean. I just thought it was interesting to come across a man who also let himself get overweight to avoid unwanted attentions.

    • February 13, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Oh it is interesting! And yet it still somehow manages to be misogynistic, lol.

  6. February 17, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Sigh. Rape culture, so icky. Hulk smashy is always a good response.

    • February 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Yeah, I probably could’ve summed this post up with “Rape Culture GUH.”

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