Also, splutters of incoherent rage

The brilliant editorial staff over at AskMen have some awesome relationship tips for you, boys, so you’d better hop on over there. This hardhitting article has “six ways to tell your girl to lose some weight.”

Now, I have tried to stay out of the now-infamous “false advertising” debate, but with this article I must draw the line. It is so extraordinarily infuriating that I cannot remain silent. I had to draw myself out of my normally phlegmatic Sunday afternoon state in order to say this:

Fuck you, AskMen.

No, seriously.

First let’s start with the premise that it’s your responsibility to tell your girlfriend to lose weight as though it’s some sort of moral obligation. Clearly, you wouldn’t want to be seen dating a fat girl, so as those pounds creep up, you’ve got to take decisive action…or dump her. And you wouldn’t want to dump her, now would you? This premise also assumes that it’s totally socially acceptable and ok to tell your partner to lose weight, albeit in oh so clever and devious ways. As a self respecting man, you’ve got to take a stance somewhere, right?

These “tips” are degrading and offensive. Any self-respecting woman could not possibly be dating the sort of man who would take these seriously. Any man worth his salt wouldn’t be caught dead engaging in these sorts of petty tricks.

I really enjoy number five, when the boyfriend is directed to buy a garment which will be too small for his girlfriend, presumably to humiliate her into losing weight. It dovetails nicely with number one, where you are supposed to tell your girlfriend you “don’t like the way an outfit looks on her anymore.”

Maybe you’d prefer to prod her into a state of jealousy (hopefully you aren’t poly!) by telling her you have a “new female trainer” at the gym (number four), or that one of her friends is prettier than her. Or, in the case of number three, that one of her friends who has recently gained some weight sure looks like shit. Nice one there…use your criticism of another woman’s body to criticize your partner’s body. Now that’s class.

Hell, you can also follow number two, discussing how fat you are all the time, in the hopes of turning her mind to fat. After all, according to AskMen, us ladies are always bemoaning the state of our weight to each other, and if you join the club it will only heighten our awareness of that extra beignet we had last week.

Number six is the only tip that’s even vaguely acceptable, in my mind. Suggesting that both of you could benefit from a fitter, healthier lifestyle is not unreasonable. Indeed, you might even find common ground in hiking or biking together and cooking good meals.

But ultimately, you should be asking yourself if your girlfriend’s weight is really such a pressing issue. Surely you began dating her for reasons other than her anorexic, sized zero jeans. Maybe it was her laugh, her intelligence, her wit at a dinner party, her shared interest in activities with you. And if you put on some extra weight, how likely is your girlfriend to mention it? Far less, because she has more important things to worry about.

Maybe there’s a reason that she’s gaining weight, such as stress or a health problem. I assure you, if she’s like most American women, she’s fully aware of every extra pound…and doesn’t need you to remind her.

[fat]
[feminism]