It’s Never Too Late to Grab a Muffin

by Philo Cohen

There was a time when the more weight you were, the better. Food was a sign of money, and curves were the symbol of ultimate sexiness. I just read a description in The Yellow Sofa by José Maria de Eça de Queirós, a book written at the beginning of the twentieth century, in which he describes a female character’s beauty by saying that when she “put on weight,” the male character in the story “had never seen her look so attractive.” In art, the ideal female body male artists depicted was hairy and juicy. Look at Courbet’s paintings or even Ingres’s Odalisques.

Why would a woman’s natural curves ever be an enemy? When did food (crucial, needed for survival) start to be controlled, adding stress and discomfort in women’s minds? Today, the more money some people have, the skinnier they get. It used to not be *badass* to keep hairs and have thighs; such attributes were considered beautiful. Until late, plumper women were widely regarded as the most beautiful. Women like Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Queen Latifah, and Beyoncé have all released such emotion, intensity, mystery. I find these women empowering, beautiful in their size and strength. We are overwhelmed by the media which presents skinny white girls most of the time. This beauty standard is not, to me, the beauty standard we should be holding today.

What patriarchy has drawn from pornographic culture and men’s fantasies about our body should not touch us. Too many girls care too young about calories and how they are going to pay for their waxing session at the end of the month. Too many girls try to fight with nature. Hair is natural; thighs, tummy and boobs are nature. Do with yours as you feel, but know that everyone has different natural preferences. For example, I don’t let my arm pits grow and I shave my legs. I am not saying that everyone should be hairier and bigger, I am just warning girls to fight the urge to conform to the Barbie doll type preferred by the media. I have been victim of that. I had a macho boyfriend in high school who used to warn me when my pubic hair started to get to long, I counted calories and I stalked European models on Tumblr and Instagram trying to look like them. I have done all that. It is unhealthy and shameful but I have done it.

What I learned is that it is never too late to just stand up and grab a muffin. Stay healthy, work out when you can, find your sports, eat sugar if you feel like it. Any time the body is limited, it feels it and will be even worse after. I believe that it is better to stay in a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle rather than to go up and down all the time. Moderation is key, especially in a society where everything has become so extreme. Trust the body. Be proud. Whatever nature gave you, you will never seem prettier and stronger than when you are proud of it. I stopped wearing makeup, and sometimes I don’t work out for a month. I ate 5 desserts the other night. We are humans, we have desires and weaknesses. It is normal. It’s better to put energy in creating, dancing, moving, singing, writing, working, socializing, learning than watching our bellybuttons all day!

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