Guilty Pleasures

Today when I went into the City with Puff, I realized that I didn’t have anything to read on the MUNI back. This, of course, meant that I got to indulge my great guilty pleasure: reading girlie magazines. I don’t know why I do it, because I spend most of my time shaking my head in puzzlement over the “relationship advice,” wondering if anyone seriously believes this sort of nonsense. Seriously. Do people really need to read magazines to be informed that they should touch their partners during dates? And then I marvel at specials like “picking out the perfect summer bikini,” which would apparently have readers believe that purchasing a $200 swimsuit will magically give them the figure of the model in the picture. And the perfume ads smell bad, and the “fashion” looks terrible. You’re also hard pressed to find anyone over a size eight in the entire magazine, unless theres a special about fat people.

But I picked up the May Cosmo anyway, and settled in a quiet bus seat with the cover hidden so that no one would realize I wasn’t reading Atlantic Monthly.

One article stood out to me in this issue. It was written by a woman who had a gastric band put in to lose weight. Given that she was over 300 pounds, it sounds like it may have been a good choice for her, since she was having trouble controlling her weight with other methods.

But the article made me rather sad. Instead of talking about any of the health risks associated with being overweight, it focused on the idea that people should lose weight in order to be attractive. Case in point for the article’s author was the event that proved to be the tipping point for her. She writes about having lunch with a friend who has just acquired a new boyfriend, and thinking wistfully that she wants a boyfriend as well. But…”it never would if I continued eating the way I did. I had to lose weight.”

It’s really unfortunate that this had to be the catalyst. Why not “I was tired of wheezing after short walks” or “my doctor was concerned about my heart health as a result of my weight.” Probably both of those things were true…but the author didn’t lose weight for herself, she lost it for other people. Personally, I think that’s tragic. She touches upon this briefly later in the article, where she talks about feeling odd when men hit on her, knowing that they wouldn’t have given her the time of day at her previous weight. I have to hope that the article was tweaked by Cosmo, because I feel like she’s going to regret her decision later on, if she really did just lose weight for other people.

The article also did not talk about the risks associated with abdominal weight loss surgery. I notice that a lot of magazines like this only focus on the positive side, the amazing stories of people losing hundreds of pounds. They don’t talk about when the surgery fails, and the patient ends up gaining more weight. They also don’t talk about the serious issues of infection and death which can accompany abdominal surgery. Nope, you too can pick up a hot new boyfriend after a quick and painless surgery.

And, of course, no one would want to be fat, and choose to reject the weight loss surgery if it was offered. Because fat, my friends, is ugly, and gross, and wrong.

Oh…the other interesting thing? I note that she didn’t mention any new boyfriend, suggesting that weight loss wasn’t the golden ticket to success anyway. Bummer.

[Cosmopolitan]
[fat]