I recently came across a video by Crystal Breeze in my YouTube recommended section (I get recommended random stuff all the time). In this video, she talked about how it’s not fair that men and women who are overweight are treated differently. After listening to her, I just had to write about it and find out why men and women who are overweight treated differently.
I think we as women are held to an incredibly high standard when it comes to beauty. For example, I talked about why men don’t really want a woman who doesn’t wear makeup. We’re really expected to be superwomen when you think about it. We’re supposed to be nice, healthy, beautiful, intelligent, clean, able to cook, funny, happy. All these things that we just can’t be all the time. I think there are different requirements for men. Men can be lazy, arrogant, sloppy, busy. They are more allowed to have bad days and they are more accepted if they’re overweight.
In Crystal’s video, she points out that there really isn’t a plus size section for men, while there is a plus size section for women. I would have to agree with her that it’s a bit like a zone you do not want to go in and try to stay away from. It’s kind of like shaming women in a sense. However, I really don’t see the same for men. Sure, some stores have a big & tall section, but most of the time, the larger sizes are together with other sizes.
So, why are men and women who are overweight treated differently? I think for the modern day, it comes down to money. However, history tells a slightly different story.
The early traces of dieting comes from a 1840s minister, Sylvester Graham, who promoted a diet for women as the key to health. Then in the 1860s, the predecessor of the Atkins diet, the Banting diet, a protein-heavy regime that really jump-started the United States’ anti-fat obsession. Corsets were never meant to make people look thinner, but they were meant to rearrange fat into places that were considered fashionable at the time. However, when corsets were no longer fashionable and women stopped wearing them, women weren’t happy about their natural shapes.
Things really became an obsession with the introduction of standardized dress sizes. Before, you would have your clothes handmade and tailored for you, but now women could go to the store and pick out their sizes. You can imagine how easy it now was for women to compare themselves to each other and how embarrassing this could have been. With the introduction of the calorie and the person scale, I think the obsession came into full bloom.
So, does this tell us why men and women who are overweight treated differently? Well, notice that a lot of information is pertaining to women. It’s about women’s clothes and sizes. Men’s bodies aren’t really dissected and discussed as much as women. Advertiser’s make a lot of money from creating a sense of insecurity. I think because insecurity among women has been there far longer, it makes them an easier target.
When you think about it, it’s not as weird to see a woman who has been deemed “unattractive” date an attractive man as opposed to the opposite. I’m sure in this society, both couples would still get looks, but I think women tend to be more lenient when it comes to looks. Overall, men are perceived to be more assertive or dominant where women are seen as more emotional and dependent. Even though I think these stereotypes are not true at all, advertisers play on them to try to gain more revenue. I think this has ultimately created the society we now live in.
For men, being overweight is still rooted in what they can provide. They can still be powerful and successful. When it comes to women who are overweight, it’s rooted in sex. Can she be seen as sexy? Is this the person I want to have sex with? Because of society and the media, the answer to these questions is often no. And if it’s a yes on the part of men, then you “have a fetish”. I think that’s why body positivity is so important because no one deserves to feel unsexy or undesired because of their weight.
I think everyone deserves to be treated equally no matter what size you currently are or what size you will be. It’s quite sad the society we have here. Even though female empowerment is strong, there are still certain areas that haven’t been changed. Why are men and women who are overweight treated differently? Well, it’s because of advertising, comparing each other, history, and just plain ignorance. It’s such a shame that people have to live up to certain standards in order to just feel respected.
Question of the day: Why do you think men and women who are overweight treated differently?
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