Meghan McCain vs. Laura Ingraham In The Weight Wars


Your faithful correspondent generally avoids the topic of politics because:

a) they tend to be divisive and fights break out at cocktail parties (during the election, a food fight broke out at a soiree I was hosting that involved a large toasted Brie…I still shudder at the memory).
b) in my case, they cause Deep Thoughts, which tend to give me pounding headaches.

A disclaimer: some of my best friends are Republicans, and some of them are Democrats. And during my recent sojourn in Washington, DC (cf. earlier entries) I helped women of both parties get ready for the “new glamour”(sic) coming to the White House.

However, I am addressing the topic this morning because it involves one of what one might call one of my “causes,” which is loving one’s beautiful, bountiful body. Meghan McCain, Senator John McCain’s 24-year-old daughter, wrote an excellent column in The Daily Beast about that lunatic extremist Ann Coulter

(who has, by the way, used her physical image in no small way to get media attention) and how Coulter’s extremist politics alienated the people of Meghan’s generation.

McCain was blasted by Republican “pundit” Laura Ingraham not for criticizing Coulter, but because she was “too plus-sized to be a cast member on the MTV television show The Real World.” (Ingraham has also parlayed her physical appearance to become, as one website suggested, “an official Republican babe.”)

McCain accurately characterized Ingraham’s response as petty, juvenile and off-topic, and asked the question: why are we still judging women by their size? McCain is voluptuous and extremely beautiful .

Ingraham, of course, did not answer, but instead lashed out on her radio station’s website: “Now the Left is seizing on one satirical line from our show to paint Meghan as the victim of a right-wing hate crime.”

Uh, no, Laura, you have gotten it all wrong. Judging women by their body size is neither left-wing nor right-wing, it knows no politics. It only knows convenience, hatred and opportunity.

To answer Meghan’s question from a politically non-partisan view: because judging women by their size is more rampant than at any time your faithful correspondent can remember. The paparazzi simply cannot wait to publish pictures of celebrities sporting double chins, “baby bumps,” or being caught in the act of…gaspeating.

There are entire ongoing feature columns on some websites devoted to showing how famous women have gained weight, and those columns are NOT meant to be flattering. Occasionally a man makes it into these columns, but only if he is a sex symbol who has happened to develop love handles. All famous women, on the other hand, are fair game. Look at the flack JLo had to take at the Golden Globes because of her supposed “back fat”!

Yes, I also confess that I comment on models and other gaunt women in a less-than-flattering way. I believe strongly that they are part of the problem.

At the Edward Steichen exhibit, the fashion models were real women, with real bodies, as were the movie stars. (These days “real women” is often used as a euphemism for “fat,” have you noticed?) One could imagine them dieting and exercising, but hardly to the point of having colon cleanses and working out five hours a day, as Madonna does. And yes, some women are meant to be extremely thin. But not that many.

Characterizing us by our bodies removes our personalities, intellects and politics from the equation. Women become nothing more than those—pardon me for the vulgarity—but we become nothing more than full-page vaginal shots in pornographic magazines (yes, I’ve seen them).

Both celebrities and ordinary women in private life are affected by this obsession.
Yes, we have always expected movie stars to be attractive, but not to be perfect. This unreal, elusive and dangerous demand for “perfection” of size and appearance diminishes and distracts all women in America.

I think I might have been a size 10 once in my life (detailed in an earlier entry) through a combination of starvation and bulimia, so I like to think I have a wee bit of expertise in this area. By embracing the voluptuous body I was meant to have, and not the body society thinks I ought to have, I am free to concentrate on more significant matters.

Fortunately, not politics. This might sound mean-spirited, but I do hope Laura Ingraham chokes on the Splenda she stirs into her black coffee.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, and do have a green beer for me, dahlings!

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Oprah Winfrey, SHUT UP About Your Weight!


Yesterday on CNN, I watched aghast as Oprah Winfrey tearfully confessed how “embarrassed” she was to attend a photo op with Tyra Banks and some other woman. Or maybe some other two women; I was a bit distracted by sheer irritation.

Because Oprah’s shame was because she had—wait for it—gained weight. Never mind that she is one of the wealthiest, most powerful, and yes, the most glamorous women in the known universe! The fool wants to be Chanel Iman in the bargain.

Oprah, dahling, if I were sitting opposite you on the set of your show, I would have one thing to say to you about your weight:

Shut up.

Well, maybe more than one thing:

You were not meant to be thin. Haven’t you learned that by now? Hasn’t the fact that you have to work harder than a Roman galley slave to stay below 200 pounds made you realize that you were not intended to be waifish? Or even slim? Both of these photos are less than a month old.

Why do you keep punishing yourself? Why do you keep hating yourself? And more important, as a voice that influences millions of Americans, why do you persist in helping other large men and women feel horrendous about themselves?

What is WRONG with you?

Why can’t you be comfortable with your body, like Queen Latifah?

(Yes, I know she did those awful Jenny Craig commercials, that still baffles me.)

Enjoy your flesh, like Pierce Brosnan’s wife Keely (and, it seems, Pierce)?

Since I am talking to Oprah, I shall make a personal confession at this time. I too have fought the battle of the bulge. I too have given in to the whims of fashion, starving myself and exercising constantly. I was exhausted, and photographs from that time show a rather unhealthy looking young woman. For obvious reasons, the instant I relaxed my Draconian regimen, the weight came back.

Then, about eight years ago, for medical reasons, I had to lose some poundage, so I did. Slowly. It quite literally took years. But here is the crucial difference: my aim was not to be thin. I am still luxuriously plus-sized, with a beautiful décolletage and a comfortably curvaceous figure. I was never meant to be thin, and I have the common sense to realize it.

Oprah, there is nothing wrong with being “fat,” as you define fat. It is so easy to predict your future: months of hard work, following your new program for 2009, success, posing for happy pictures.

And by 2010, the weight will be back. And it will be time for yet another round of annoying interviews with a woman who refuses to accept herself for who she is.

Oprah, no matter how much you achieve, how much money you make, you will never truly love yourself until you learn to love the shape you were born to have.

Hmmmmm…Methinks I should have my own chat show, don’t you?

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog