Making women feel fat…REALLY???


~ If you live in the United States you would  have to be living under the proverbial rock to not know that today is the Super Bowl. Perhaps the single greatest sign of the times when discussing culture in relation to the Western World, the Super Bowl embodies so much that intellectuals both love and hate about the West;

—) The Super Bowl reminds us of humanity’s long standing tradition regarding athletics going back to the ancient days of Greece and beyond

—) The Super Bowl, and American Football in general, represents the violence that permeates our culture. Unlike European sports such as Golf or Tennis, or other American sports like Baseball, American Football is violent. Retired players have shorter lifespans then the typical adult male or women due to the massive amount of head trauma they experience during their short but eventful careers.

—) The Super Bowl reminds us that the Western World is first and foremost consumeristic. Companies spend millions of dollars on 60 second commercial advertisements, betting on the consumeristic tendencies of Western People who, after seeing the advertisement, will purchase the product or service.

—) The Super Bowl reminds us that the Western World is obsessed with triviality. For the past two weeks, the lead story on many cable NEWS shows and radio NEWS shows was a story about the New England Patriots and the amount of air in their footballs.

—) The Super Bowl reminds us that the Western World has a limited appetite when it comes to depth of conversation. Millions of people (mostly men) watch trite and meaningless interviews of athletic players with phrases so redundant and stupid, I’m sure a 10 year old could do just as well; “Everyone is against us, nobody believed in us, but we believed in ourselves”, “Our back is up against the wall”, “We just got to play our game”, “We need to keep playing the way that got us here”.

All of these points and more, are not limited to the United States. Our friends across the pond do just as good a job at littering the airwaves with celebrity gossip, vapid conversations, and an overall obsession with consumerism that nearly equals the level of vigor with plastic nonsense displayed here in the U.S.

So where does it all leave us? I’m not entirely sure, but I do see a constant trend during my lifetime in which our culture moves away from meaningful tradition and beautiful art, to a traditionless generation of young adults who feel disconnected from their ancestors, and despite being connected to social networks every second of every waking day; they feel emotionally and physically disconnected from each other at greater levels than ever before in the annals of human history.

Reversing the trend in our society may be an impossible chore. Like Atlas, there may come a time when the standard holders who are still keeping the literary classics alive, the museums of art history operating, and the music of a dead generation barely beating, there may come time when these gallant intellectuals shrug, and the entire culture dissipates into one big colossal mass of plastic.

Mark Twain wrote on this topic of dying culture as a force of habit throughout his long and illustrious career. He mocked the people who made him famous, the people who bought his books, he laughed at their voracious appetite for triviality. In Huckleberry Finn, perhaps the greatest American novel, Twain details the nonsense of adults, the hypocrisy, inconsistencies and triviality which stains so much of their lives. Huck Finn, a rather uneducated individual, becomes the voice of reason in a world gone mad; a voice of reason in a world obsessed with the color of skin and the way someone looks, Huck Finn see’s that what really matters is the human heart.

A hundred years later and you and I still live in a culture that is inundated with how it looks. Matters of the heart, spirituality, and depth of intellect are pushed to the background in favor of the latest trends and meaningless fare. If you don’t believe then just consider for a moment that all these years later, women are still living under the oppressive force of a culture that demands they look a certain way.

Our culture spends more time arguing about the glass ceiling, the invisible barrier that is supposedly preventing women from earning the same amount as men in the work force. And while equality is definitely something I support, if we’re going to be honest; who cares if the glass ceiling is shattered or not, if women are still under the oppression of depression and stress thanks to our cultural attitude of making them feel ugly because they don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model? Who cares if women make more money now; because the rates of depression in women are higher than in men. What good is all the money if you hate yourself because you’ve been taught to think your hips are too big?

It would seem that the Super Bowl is merely another reminder of our culture gone mad. But then again, what do I know.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,


Categories: Culture & Society

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42 replies

  1. Something I have learned about women, that oppression/depression thing and all our body image issues, are primarily self inflicted. It upsets some people when i say that, but self inflicted means we have the power to self cure and self heal and be free of them, completely independent of culture and other people’s opinions. It’s a bit humorous, but it is often women ourselves who are so judgmental about our own selves and about other women. Men tend perceive women with much more delight them we perceive ourselves. Obviously.

    Football, well, football is a mess, but it is also an opportunity to do battle vicariously, to actually win something in life. It is a great escape, relaxation and play for those who are forced to plod along in life without much opportunity for evidence of our own personal victories. So I have some patience and empathy for the football obsession in this country, but I am telling you, lime green and royal blue frosting has got to go. That is just wrong on so many levels.

  2. Come on now. Every culture through out time has had their Super Bowl and they used to be a hell of a lot more violent. The geeks and their Olympics (and their ideal women etched in stone), the Romans and their gladiators (also etching the ideal woman in stone to taunt those who were not), the Mayans and their Ball Game (and ideal woman carved from obsidian). At least in the USA, putting the losers to death and selling women at the game is illegal….

  3. You’ve stepped into the trap of Progressivism with both feet this time Kenneth. People like stuff. People like to bash into each other… especially young people. People like to look like they did in their most reproductive years, and probably always will. Women change fashions faster than the leaves change, and blame the need to do so on men… even as their men look at the accumulating bills and just shake their heads. This sort of Progressivism is a kind of moral handwringing, just one step away from asking, “What could God have been thinking?” We have bodies and riches and we spend them and waste them. Even Jesus wasn’t above drenching himself in expensive oils. Take a break. It’s the Superbowl! 🙂

  4. I love this post and agree wholeheartedly. Thank you!

  5. Why is it that knowing what’s causing the problem doesn’t fix the problem? Why do we all sit back and accept things that are unhealthy for us? If we have the power to break the cycle why are we just sitting on our couches watching overpaid men grapple with one another for a silly underinflated piece of pigskin? When do we stop talking about the problems and start doing something to correct them?

  6. Kenneth!! Why is your post titled in this way??- The post is primarily about football culture not about women’s hip size….but which one is going to be read to day when everyone is writing about football, eh?? Correct me. I hope I’m wrong 🙂

  7. I live under a rock. I didn’t know the Super Bowl is today. I won’t be watching it, anyway. It seems a little silly to waste time watching overpaid men play a kid’s game. Worse than watching the game is allowing the commercials work behind one’s conscious thoughts, altering how the viewer perceives the world.

    We aren’t throwing the Christians to the lions as a sport, yet, but we are painting Christian ethics, morals and principles as being antiquated and even objectionable, while the federal government works to force the religion of progressive secularism onto every baker, florist and church across this country. How is it that they “moved the ball” so far down the field? By using the TV set as the offensive line, of course.

    Have a great day, Kenneth. Join me in not wasting it in front of the TV!

  8. First – the underinflated bit is a bit trivial and yet…is it really? The underlying problem is the potential for cheating…the same team that got in trouble for spying on other teams; to me the issue there is you have a “professional” sports team giving a bad example AND using people’s money to do so…there does come a point when (or at least the NFL SHOULD) do something about that. Second – you oversimplify these athletes. They are not all just a bunch of neanderthals. That said, I mostly agree with what you’re saying. As for women, while a previous commenter mentioned women’s ability to fix themselves and while there is truth to that, that’s easier said than done when not only the media constantly feeds us images of “perfect” women but also people in general are becoming more and more vain. In my experience, I see women and men looking for “beautiful” partners and treating those who are “less than” perfect horribly. How much of that has to do with this health craze I don’t know. In this country I see an interesting dichotomy…those obssessed with being healthy to the point they judge and those who are so unhealthy and there is an obesity issue. It’s odd how both are at work right now. The good news, I do also see an uptick in the emphasis on being healthy – not stick thin and not obese; and there’s an uptick in accepting one’s body and being comfortable in it. It takes a lot of time to change how people think though so who knows when it will actually be better to a point where we see that.

  9. what the super bowl reminds me . . . is that the outrageous cost to go to one guarantees I never will . . . and that thought makes me feel a little smarter than the rich dorks who do . . .

  10. Do you really wish to uphold this culture, this tradition?
    It seems the western people tend to loose their historical memories (or just tend to intentionally avoid remembering), therefore no roots. However, what roots you/we can wish, long for, since there was barely any absolute value in the known past of humanity?
    Sure, we should focus more on equality, and go way beyond tolerance, to approach and master the realm of love. And love is pure, unselfish, absolute, never changing. Anything else is just falsely titled…

  11. Never watched a single football game until I started dating my current boyfriend. I still don’t watch them, but now I have to deal with it in the background. I didn’t really understand it before and I don’t understand it now. But, I’m not about to begrudge anyone their interests or entertainment (not that I think you’re doing it, mind you, please don’t misunderstand). The only thing about football (and sports in general) that bugs me is when the public gets stuck funding these massive sports arenas but sees very little benefit from them – it’s not like they get to go to these games for free by footing the bill. Nor do they see much, if any, of the profits the stadiums generate. The Olympics are arguably the worst, as the public is out money and poorer people are often forced out of their living spaces to accommodate sports arenas that are almost always a one time use. And for what?

    As for standards of beauty and gender equality… you can tie our obsession with looks into the income equation. All other things being equal between two women, the woman who more closely fits society’s standards of beauty will get a job.
    On a related note, since buying this Lammily doll, I have seen so many nasty comments (thankfully not on my blog!) about how she is “ugly”, “fat”, and, “looks like a bulldog”. And this is *just a DOLL!* Yet, there is already so much polarization about her and even her mere existence as a toy feels like it needs to be justified because she doesn’t fit the standard.
    It feels like everything a woman chooses to do is somehow scrutinized and makes some manner of socio-political statement, whether she wants it to or not. Do I wear makeup or not? What does my outfit say about me? Is it too revealing? Does it make me look frumpy? Do I go on that diet? Who am I dieting for, really? and etc. This is not to say that men (and especially men of color!) never have to worry about their appearances – this is just my personal experience as a woman.

    • youre so right; football stadiums and stadiums in general, often cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars; money that could have been better spent on public transporation, poverty, etc. so many better ways to spend the money

  12. Women’s situation wouldn’t change until they change the way they look at other women and themselves. They got to get out of their insecurities and learn acceptance. My great aunt said it beautifully “a woman is woman’s worst enemy”
    They have to step up above themselves and dogmas.

  13. after a read like this I wish I could like it a few times =^_^=

  14. This got me when you say western culture is obsessed with triviality. Here also in the eastern culture triviality of life seems to be more important than spirituality, philosophy, and logic.
    “A woman is more beautiful if she has this and that…if she puts this and that… if she wear this or that…” Really, they should stop telling this to women. What good comes from telling women that she isn’t enough? Nothing.

    Thanks for this post, a very timely post. 🙂

  15. Western culture is not just focused on trivial things, democracy for one isn’t trivial. Many forms of music (including pop, some may argue is trivial but it is used in many different types of gatherings), human rights, ballet and more. There is no such thing as perfection but a good thing about Western culture is that its citizens are open to discussing its shortcomings and trying to work on them, no matter how many (hundreds) years it takes.

    So anyway, I’m in Australia and my husband lamented that we may not see the commercials of the Super Bowl. That’s when I said something about good, I don’t need to be reminded of greed and waste, and that’s why your post rings true to me in some form. Really well written, got me thinking. I think I’ll go look up the musical instruments, scientific breakthroughs and other great things of Western culture now 🙂

  16. Interesting thoughts. I found this post a bit ironic though; I recall many months ago you wrote about the lack of community in Western culture. In particular, you talked about visiting small towns in South or Central America (I don’t recall where), where people know each other and come together much more easily than we do here in North America – a place where many don’t even know their neighbours. I found today’s post a bit ironic because I think sports games (and the Superbowl in particular) are something that draws people together. For me and my husband, we have a local pub we occasionally go to, where we sometimes run into other “regulars”. This is hit and miss throughout the year and we don’t always see everyone we know from the neighbourhood. Except on Superbowl Sunday. That’s a guaranteed time when the same group is bound to show up, we share laughs, catch up, tease each other about our teams and generally have a good time. This must be true for many others as well. This little Superbowl group of ours is the main reason we still go to this pub to watch the game, when we’ve been invited by other friends to other SB parties. We value it that much.
    So no, football is not deep and meaningful, and our obsession about it isn’t going to change the world. But it might not be as trite as you suggest here!
    Although you’re absolutely right that we should spend just as much if not more time, as a society, talking / obsessing about the problems that really matter and finding solutions to make things better. 🙂

  17. ‘Unlike European sports such as Golf or Tennis’
    clearly you have never watched rugby…

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