I’m Not Fat, I’m “Retro”

I recently bought a T-shirt with images of Marilyn Monroe on it.  Every now and then someone comments on it, and I tell them “This is my reminder that you don’t have to be a size zero to be beautiful.”  Marilyn was undeniably gorgeous – a beauty icon.  And she wasn’t stick-figure thin, either.  (Her actual size was between an 8 and 12, depending on what reports you read.)  If you believe the measurements provided by her dressmaker, though, it seems she had an un-naturally small waist.  (36-24-37, in inches), but she still would be considered “fat” by 2012 standards…

Funny How Times Change:  Advertisements from the 1930s into the 1960s told women how they could gain weight.  Yes, gain.  While we are constantly bombarded with ways to shed pounds, women in this era were shown how they could add some.  Crazy, right?  I love this one, telling you “If you want to be popular” that you shouldn’t be skinny.  Wow. (view more ads here:  http://www.retronaut.co/2011/11/vintage-weight-gain-ads/)

But I Don’t Live in the 1950s:  Unfortunately, I’m forced to live in 2012, which is apparently the era of the anorexic.  Nobody wants to gain weight in 2012.  The only people who want to be my size are people who are bigger than me.  I know I’m overweight (maybe even by 1950s standards!) and I need to work on that.  But I refuse to let my self-worth be determined by a number on a scale.

Un-Denial:  I’m not going to be one of those people who says “To Hell with it!” and just wears whatever they want, either.  I’m not one of the People of WalMart or one of those people you see at the waterpark who is testing the tensile strength of their bikini.  I know that I will never be able to wear non-Bermuda shorts at this weight (or maybe ever).  I realize that horizontal stripes and bright colors are not my friends.  I buy clothes based on how they look on my body, not how they look on a model/mannequin.

I Am Me:  Yes, I need to be in better shape – but my weight doesn’t keep me from doing things I would normally do (except maybe wear certain clothes).  I don’t have any weight-related medical conditions.  Most importantly, I’m comfortable with who I am, which is more than I can say for the 20-something, 120-pound person I used to be. (I’m 5′ 8″ and have weighed as little as 108. Yes, that was too thin, but I’m sure Calvin Klein would disagree with me…) I spent more time and energy obsessing over my body in my 20s than I do now.  (Ironically, I wouldn’t mind being as “fat” as I thought I was back then!)  It seems that no matter what I’ve looked like, I’ve never been satisfied with my body.  So, I’ve decided to be happy with who I am, which has absolutely nothing to do with how much I weigh.

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  1. I love how women in the 50s and 60s looked so healthy! That vintage standard of beauty has actually helped me to stop trying to rigidly control my own weight and just enjoy to live in my own body. Of course it’s still important to stay physical active and eat healthy, but not to the obsessive extent that is consuming people today.

    • I agree. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the numbers on your scale or clothing tags and focus
      on just feeling good. It’s sad to me that some people aren’t built ”skinny”, so they starve themselves and risk their health for someone else’s ”ideal”.


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