The Minnesota Starvation Experiment post … I really wish I had discussed it as part of a larger, feminist issue. After all, a part of the problem I see with a great deal of the discourse of weight loss is the idea that male and female bodies must lose weight in the same way. Sure, women can do a great deal of things that men can do, and just as well or often better than individual men. But a by-product of feminism is probably the assertion that equality must begin with society thinking that men and women ARE THE SAME. We’re not. Biological similarity and value judgement based on the value of certain gender roles are two totally different ideas, and yet they are becoming blurred. Gender roles, the things that women and men are “supposed” to do, and the biological components which make people think that men and women are “supposed” to do these things, are not inherently something that has a judgement value. Men are not “better” than women just because they have more physical strength or because they lose weight easier. Men are definitely DIFFERENT from women because, on average, they have more physical strength and can lose weight easier.
Gender and sexual inequality is founded on the idea that every difference between the two sexes must be evaluated for some kind of level of usefulness or superiority. Men’s qualities have more value, and thus men have more value. Men’s bodies are better at the sort of things that men do, thus men’s bodies have more value, etc. etc. Never mind that many “male” qualities are present in females, that female bodies are better than male bodies at doing what female bodies do, like, you know, generally speaking, bearing children and being able to feed those babies once they are born.
The notion that these differences make one of the sexes weaker and one of the sexes stronger is a value judgement. Both are equally strong, but different.
I say that because it enlightens us to how weight and the way it is perceived in our society is a feminist issue. Women are especially pressured to be thin, regardless of the fact that our bodies, generally speaking, are made to retain weight. Men are pressured to be “fit”… and I’m sorry, a very small man can bulk up his muscles and obtain a level where he no longer looks like a shrimp and is “fit” a lot easier than a woman can change her inherent biology to become totally thin.
So, a starvation experiment that only uses men as a part of the study group is inherently flawed, and cannot fully relate the total impact of starvation on ALL human beings. Women starve differently than men, because women’s bodies are different from men’s.
I’m sure there will be more on the issue of feminism and weight loss later, seeing as how its something that has really caused me to have a burr up my butt. Seriously, I am not joking when I have said previously that my efforts to present my FB friends with fat activism messages, in the hopes that they will pass on these messages (such as pointing out how screwed up it is to take a perfectly normal little girl and Photoshop her fat, or how screwed up it is to assume that I or any other fat person are unhealthy and need to be reeducated [indoctrinated] with the truth of weight loss, or must somehow WANT to lose weight or are blaming others for our bodies and unhappiness when we discuss issues of fat stigma) have been met with GUYS, not my fellow female friends, but GUYS telling me that they are sick of fat people complaining, that fatness isn’t genetic or isn’t a matter of biology, but a matter or poor diet or laziness, or that men are stigmatized for their looks as much and in the same ways as women.
I fail to be convinced because of the ample evidence I have found that contradicts this idea. And just because the media has begun to objectify and skew male perceptions through Photoshopping and overly-pumped depictions of masculine attractiveness doesn’t negate the fact that this is a recent phenomenon, unlike unrealistic depictions of women, which have existed in advertising for as long as IT has existed.