A Weighty Issue

too big, too dead, too small

The idea to discuss weight came to me from another blog post of mine and I decided that the issue of weight deserves its own blog post.

I was asked what I thought of Gabourey Sidibe as a role model for Black women since she apparently is perceived as overweight and that Black folk are for the most part, overweight and yet they are looking up to Gabourey Sidibe as a role model and this particular commenter did not think that this was quite the thing.

My response is as follows:

It ain’t just Black folk that’s overweight, at least not in America, that is. Obesity is an epidemic in America from what I hear. Now, when I was in the southern part of the U.S., I saw both young Black girls and young white girls that were extremely overweight for their age. Back in my day, when I was their age, we didn’t have that problem, but things are different today. With growth hormones in the foods we eat and the fact that many young people are placed on medications at such an early age, I think that this contributes to the obesity epidemic that is so talked about in America.

Not to mention that this is a fast paced world we’ve set for ourselves and when everything is grab Micky D’s and go, what can we expect? Children are hooked on video games are not outside playing like children should and this is another contributing factor. Habits start early and are learned and when the habits start out bad, there ya go.

Now some people cannot lose weight for the life of them despite everything and some people have medical issues that cause them to gain weight. You can’t just look at everyone and say, “oh he/she can’t pull themselves away from the table or they should leave the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet to those who weigh 100 lbs. Not all ‘skinny’ people are healthy and not all overweight people are unhealthy. Some folks body can tolerate more weight than others. Black women can often carry more weight and still look good. When a size 8 is deemed, fat, that’s a problem.

Also, take a look at this link and it will give you a slight idea about the differences in how Black women and white women lose weight though both are doing the same exercises and in-taking the same amount of calories.

http://news.msn.com/us/african-american-women-have-harder-time-losing-weight

So, as you can see, many Black women have a harder time losing weight, but it isn’t, in most cases, for lack of trying. If Gabourey Sidibe is healthy, then more power to her. However, people should not look up to ANYONE as a role model to determine whether or not they should lose weight. They should talk with their health care professional and seek advice as to what their options are and if they have been trying to lose weight and can’t, then their doctor can do tests to determine if they have a condition that warrants treatment. Certain thyroid or gland disorders can cause weight gain. Certain antidepressants and other medications can cause weight gain. It’s not a Black and white issue, it is an individual and the state of their health issue.

I basically strive to be healthy and I have found that I must continuously walk and be active to keep the weight off. I can’t let up for a minute. Losing weight is a lifestyle change, it is not a diet and that is what people don’t get. It cannot be a ‘New Year’s Resolution’. There’s a saying, “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips!” So, true and that is why before I open my mouth, I make sure that what I’m putting in it is worth it. If I know that I’m going to sip champagne, it will be a salad for me and that is all. But, everyone is not me.

So as for this young lady being a role model, again, no one should be a role model, they should confer with their medical professional. And since I don’t know much about her, I can’t speculate as to why she is perceived as overweight, but I am sure that if she is perceived as being overweight, she gets enough flack for it and doesn’t need any more of it from me.

Now, on the other hand, we have models who have been purported to be too big at size 4 to continue modeling. Meet Former Ralph Lauren model Filippa Hamilton is 5′ 10″ and 120 pounds
http://www.today.com/id/33307721#.Uta_u4_nZLN

Ms. Hamilton was allegedly considered too big to model Ralph Lauren’s clothes even though she had modeled for Ralph Lauren since she was 15 years old. In this next picture, Ralph Lauren decided that Ms. Hamilton should look like, well..see for yourself.

Seriously? And even Ralph Lauren finally admitted:

Ralph Lauren admitted that the digitally manipulated image of Hamilton ‘resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body.’

What message is this sending to young girls who are caught in the middle of this nightmare of on the one hand, if they are 120lbs, they are still perceived as being too big and if they are Ms.Gabourey Sidibe’s size, they are ridiculed for also being overweight.

Just what the hell do you want people? Must women look like this?

Yes, French Anorexic Model-Actress Isabelle Caro passed away while battling anorexia and this statement was made upon her passing:

So sad, considering that the 5’4″ model had brought her weight up from 70.5 pounds to about 92.4 pounds.

A full-grown woman weighed in at a whopping 70 pounds. We’ve got a world of issues, but people should not be dying because they must have THE look, the look that society has deemed ‘beautiful’. If a person is healthy, but perceived as overweight, so be it. But to shame people into losing their life over attempting to lose weight is just beyond the end of enough.

And why the focus on women? Oh, that’s right because women are still perceived by men as mere sex symbols and men have determined what ‘beauty’ should look like. Well, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch and Stitch and Itch for all I care, could just kiss my ass since I don’t give a damn about being anything but healthy. It pisses me off to no end that young girls are killing themselves because they are told that their bodies just don’t ‘cut it’. It pisses me off when someone will use the generic wording, “so many Black folk are already overweight.”

Why did you not point to what is perceived as an overweight Black man and ask me “what did I think?,” if it is ‘Black folk’ in general who are overweight? I think that there is more than enough self-hatred in this world than for me to join in to advance more of it. Count me the hell out. I’ll not point the finger at another and say, “geesh, you’re so big I can’t stand to look at you, lose it honey!” So many people have a negative self image of themselves(especially women) and then there are those who just go out of their way to make them feel even worse. If that shit was aimed at me, I’d tell you in no uncertain terms to “shove it!” People are damned either way, too big, too small, what the hell! Concentrate on uplifting people or trying to not be a part of the problem. And unless you’re perfect, there’s probably something that you could work on about yourself, like learning empathy but then that won’t help just like no one can be taught by a class on ‘sensitivity training’ if they’re not already, sensitive.

With all the problems in this world and we want to concentrate on somebody’s weight when we don’t know what their medical situation may be. Don’t judge and if you do, keep it to yourself! I cannot believe that this is coming from you because on the blog post, “I Am Cursed,” you had a problem with the situation as it pertains to the color of your skin and now you want to turn around and bash someone who already is at a distinct disadvantage because all that is glorified and considered beautiful in Hollywood is the white skin and now you want to throw ‘weight’ into the mix. Talk about the ‘pot’ calling the kettle ‘Black’. If someone thought you too Black to be human and considered you to be three-fifths of a person, you’d have a problem with that. And yet, you don’t have a problem slinging it at someone else. If you’ve got feelings that can get hurt, so does someone else. Think about it the next time you want to insult someone because of their weight. Someone could be insulting you because of the color of your skin. Can you help that? Did you eat too many chocolate Ho Hos and they turned you Black? I didn’t think so! And just maybe eating chocolate Ho Hos has nothing to do with why Gabourey Sidibe is perceived as being ‘overweight’ in your book or in anybody else’s book for that matter!

14 thoughts on “A Weighty Issue

  1. Shelby as you say, obesity is not a problem of any particular race in this country and to think that is is just being blind, it is an American epidemic. We are, in general, a very sedentary society. We love to sit on our butts tapping on our keyboards, watching endless hours of TV or playing with our smartphones and ignoring the benefits of getting a little basic exercise and having a salad once in a while. We don’t cook at home anymore instead we opt for fast food, which in general has no nutritional value and is very high in calories. As far as the models you show in your post go, I’ve never thought of them as being in any way, shape or form representative of what “real” women look like. Their images are an unhealthy example for our young people, women in particular. One can certainly be healthy without being anorexic. I have struggled a bit in my adult life with weight and diabetes, but have found that walking at least a 1/2 hour most days and sensible eating, not depriving, goes a very long way in keeping my weight under control. Unfortunately “control” is one of the things that many of us lack. Excellent post and by the way I hope you don’t take any offense, but I love the “in your face” way that you write. I mean that as a compliment.

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    • Dom, I sincerely thank you for your comment. And no, I don’t take any offense whatsoever. I tend to get all up in somebody’s face when shit pisses me off. There are only a lucky few who have the metabolism that keeps weight off and the rest of us must struggle. As you know, when you get older, the pounds just seem to want to pack themselves on and it is tougher to stay on track to keep the pounds off.

      Many older Americans have medical issues that make it even harder for them to lose weight, like arthritis and as we get older, many of us are prescribed a multitude of medications that cause weight gain. Arthritis can be a debilitating disease and it disrupts the immune system as in the case with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is no joke either.

      And yes, we Americans are indeed a most sedentary bunch. This was not always so, but with the advent of the internet and video games and super HDTV, a plethora of ads emphasizing supersized fast-food combo meals and the fact that we’ve made our schedules just too busy to have a cook-at-home, sit down nutritious meal, all of this has been a recipe for disaster. Obesity is an American epidemic and it is not just endemic of one particular ethnic group, as we’ve both stated. The key is to get up and move around, eat healthier, lighter meals, incorporate as many veges as possible and limit fast-food and empty caloric junk food. However, billions are spent on advertising the taking up of bad habits. Fast food restaurants spend a fortune touting their newest burgers added to the dollar menu. And with the average American’s purchasing power, shrinking, a dollar menu looks really good when it comes to attempting to feed a family. We all know that the cost of healthy food is so much more than the cost of unwholesome foods.

      I agree that attempting to look like models is not what we should strive for but that is another industry that spends billions in marketing to distribute their magazines and advertisements on TV and many people are taking this and running with it, right into anorexia and bulimia and they are literally killing themselves to attempt to emulate that craziness. I stress healthy living, not laxatives and purging oneself to look emaciated. That is the way to an early death.

      I once worked with a lady who, after lunch would go into the restroom and stick her fingers down her throat to make herself throw up. She was pencil thin and she died before she was 26.

      And as you can see, this really gets my goat up when people are relentlessly bombarded by pictures of how they are supposed to aspire to look like. It just makes my blood boil, it does.

      Thank you so much again for your comment. It is nice to hear from you as always! And on every point that you made in your comment, I agree! And I must add that your poetry shows that you are a caring, thoughtful, kind hearted man. If only there were more like you!

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  2. Everytime I bring this up I always get misunderstood which tells me I might be the one misunderstanding. So I go back and regroup.

    But probably not, I feel that we have,……………………….yeah never mind.

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  3. Shelby, As you suggest, if we didn’t know better, we might think there’s money … lots of money! … in making us all dissatisfied with our selves and our lives. Thus encouraging us to blame ourselves or some handy scapegoats for all our woes, real and invented. Which (coincidentaly) keeps us too depressed and preoccupied even to consider collective action against this cynical, oppressive corporate power structure. Hell no — they make us unhappy so we will hate ourselves and one another, so it’s easier to sell us shit that we are so-subtly assured will magically solve all our problems, and transform us into happily-ever-after fairytale princes and princesses. Why do we let the bastards do this to us?

    I spent most of my life fighting ten or twenty extra pounds, and even after a health issue has made me slightly underweight the past six years or so, I still automatically estimate calories all the time. And my 86-year-old mother is fighting to get her weight back up to 100 pounds, but she was considered overweight for so long that she still sees herself as fat, especially since she still has a bulgy tummy. When can we stop feeling we should look like eleven-year-olds? Why do we let corporate media and corporate advertising — which we know damned well do not give a shit about any one of us — tell us what health, beauty and happiness are? But this shit taps into our fears and insecurities so powerfully that it is a major struggle to transcend all that brainwashing.

    Thanks for this post, this is one of many things we do need to think about in a larger context, and not just jump on the latest fad diet or whatever. – Linda

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    • Linda thank you for that most heartfelt response. I certainly hope that I didn’t come off as flippant about this whole entire weight situation because it is certainly not funny.

      I was born weighing 120 pounds. But seriously, I am the eldest of three girls and I was always the ‘strapping sturdy’ girl. My mother could barely find clothes to fit my two siblings because they were a size 0. She finally got my aunt to make their clothes. She had no problem finding clothes to fit me because I was not skinny and I was not fat, but I was a sturdy little kid. I had ‘curves’ even as a baby. My sisters looked like boys well into their teens whereas I was approached by pimps who claimed that my figure appealed to a vast array of men. You see, when I finally entered puberty, everything fell into the right place. I lost that ‘sturdiness’ and went from sturdy to fab thanks to puberty. I couldn’t shake the fellas off and that is one reason why my mother refused to allow me to go to dances and homecoming, etc.

      I was hit by a car in 2005 and suffered fractures and so I gained weight due to the fact that I could not walk like I used to. Only after years of physical therapy, have I been able to regain my ability to walk like I was accustomed to. But before I got back into shape, I’m pretty sure that people would look at me and think that I just couldn’t pull myself away from the table. That is why it just pisses me off when people make assumptions about how other people look when they know nothing about their situation.

      And yes, billions are being made yearly by advertising weight loss products and gym memberships, especially during and around New Years. Take a look at this link:

      http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/01/02/the-heavy-price-of-losing-weight

      Here’s an excerpt that proves my point that weight loss can never be looked at as a resolution.

      “It probably starts about the last week of December. Everyone’s motivated and excited about the idea of getting into better shape.”

      So much so that last January, Snap Fitness added 100,000 members to its nationwide membership roster—nearly double how many they would add in August.

      By August, at fitness centers throughout the country, the new gym members are nowhere to be seen.

      So, even though most Americans know that they can stand to lose a few pounds, the will is just not there and like Dom stated in his comment, control is lacking. And it seems that not many people are ever really satisfied with the way they look. And the advertising and modeling industry spends billions in helping to keep us dissatisfied in how we see ourselves. We are so brainwashed, it’s pitiful. That is the main reason why I have no TV and refuse to buy one. I will not sit down and be dictated to that this is how I should look, what’s funny, what’s sad, what I should buy, etc., etc.

      And to know that your dear 86 year old mother is still struggling over weight is heart wrenching. Because as long as she is as healthy as she can be, that should be all that matters. Yep, corporations have really helped to fuck us and fuck us up in how we perceive ourselves and others. Linda, somehow, those of us who are brainwashed have got to find a way to pull it together and realize what we are allowing to be done to us. We’ve got to find a way to love ourselves no matter what we weigh and just concentrate on trying to be as healthy as we possibly can and not lose weight for all the wrong reasons. I know that it isn’t easy to tune the dictates of a fucked up society out, but we’ve just got to try!

      And again, thank you so much for that touching comment.

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      • Shelby, one more quick note, and I never thought you were being flippant.

        In recent decades, it has somehow become socially acceptable to again make vicious racist, sexist and ethnic jokes and comments And the bastards are or seem proud of themselves for it — they’re so honest and brave. Grr, it’s another thing I really like about people. When did it start — I associate it with the whole Reagan era, but things sneak into our culture almost imperceptibly, and I can’t pinpoint it.

        But fat people have always been fair game for jokes and ridicule. After all, we’ve earned our better physiques, right? By our consistent healthy eating and disciplined exercise. Those fat people are just morally inferior — weak and lazy. Kind of like all those contemptible poor people. Apparently, we must have someone to look down on or — gods forbid!! — we might have to examine our own failings. – Linda

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  4. This isn’t a racial issue or problem. Go to a local high school or mall on a Saturday and look at the kids. Down here on the border where everything is double-dipped in lard, there are as many obese Hispanic kids as there are white kids. Male AND female; it’s not even a sex-issue at this point except that media is still holding a double-standard…overweight men are “hefty” or “bear-huggable” while any woman carrying more than 1/4 cup of extra water weight is ridiculed.

    I get called a ‘skinny little bitch’ fairly regularly…I’m told I don’t understand what it’s like to struggle with weight issues. Huh. That’s odd considering my mother put me on my 1st diet at age 11 (a 6 wk metabolic diet that made me pass the fuck out) and she used to buy clothes I liked a size too small…she’d tell me if I wanted to wear them, I’d have to ‘slim down’. I got so good a slimming that I was nearly hospitalized at 16 and at age 25, a size zero literally fell off of me. Skinny? You betcha. Healthy? You gotta be fucking kidding!!! I can’t begin – I don’t WANT to begin – to imagine the long term damage done to my body.

    Skinny DOES NOT = Healthy…and vice-versa.

    And now…it’s time for a salad…and a big glass of that wine I mentioned! 😉

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    • You are right! It is not a racial issue and yes, I have seen quite a few obese Hispanic kids. They’ve got a weight problem too. It just pissed me off that the commenter stated that “Black people have a weight problem” as if Black people are the only ones who do.

      It also got my goat up that the commenter wanted MY take on what I thought of that young lady, Gabourey Sidibe being considered a role model for Black women. I am quite sure that Ms. Sidibe is not requiring ANYONE to make her their role model and people should have more than the sense god gave a goat to know not to emulate everyone they see. It just makes no sense that people act as though everyone needs to look at a particular person and hold them up as some idol or role model to emulate. Are we all sheep needing to be led by a herder? I’m not and the sooner many people realize that it is best to look in the mirror and make a role model of themselves, the better off they’ll be.

      And wow, just WOW! My hat is off to you for sharing your story with us. I am about in tears. I just cannot imagine, I really cannot. So many people with the potential of being fucked up royally by the shit in their childhood. We must be some strong people to make it through some of the shit we’ve been put through, I must say.

      And you have certainly proved my point again, by your being called a “skinny little bitch,” because that shows once again, that people are damned if they’re skinny and damned if they’re perceived as overweight. I’ll ask the question again. People, just what the hell do you want? People are damned if they’re thin and damned if they’re not. To hell with it all, I say. I am going to be ME and to hell with what ANYBODY thinks to the contrary. My relationship with MY body is between me and my health care professional. It’s got not a goddamn thing to do with what ANYBODY else thinks of me, not my weight, my height or the color of my fucking eyes. Everybody got that?!!!

      You see, Misbehaved, I’ve gone and got all bent out of shape because between your story and Linda’s, my heart is so touched and it angers me what you two have and are going through. And like you say, the emphasis on weight is not placed on men like it is with us. Oh no, they are ‘hefty’ and ‘huggable’ whereas we need to “lose it honey!” You betcha! That’s because it’s some goddamn big, hefty motherfucking male behind most of this “women need to weigh 70lbs in order to look good,” bullshit! And we’re buying right into the bullshit for the self aggrandizement of those nasty, dirty minded, puckered cock, corporate shits!

      Don’t even get me started on those shits! As I stated elsewhere, cocktail hour is starting earlier tonight. Count on that!

      And I thank you also for sharing and please know that not all of us are as insensitive, though quite obviously, many are.

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      • I agree – on this count, no one race can or should be singled out. To say that only black people have an obesity issue is to look for a conflict, isn’t it? Or perhaps maybe it’s a limited world view?

        I’m so pop-culture clueless that I have to admit to not even knowing who Gabourey Sidibe is or what she is famous for. I don’t get the whole idol-worship gig or why on earth we hold complete strangers up as examples of what (or what not) we’re supposed to be and I have no damn idea what leads humans to that kind of worship. Judging from Greek and Roman statues, it’s not a new phenomena…as easy as it is to blame TV and mass media, maybe there is something more to our psyche that we’ve yet to uncover or understand? I honestly don’t know.

        Hell, no tears for me. I feel worse for my mother who was so screwed up by society’s expectations that she’d honestly thought she was doing me a favor by helping me “get control” of my weight at a young age. The poor woman hated herself to death, literally, I swear it. She sounds very much like Linda’s mom…only my mother never got her excess weight off and 100lbs would have been her dream weight…even if it had meant being unhealthy.

        I love your attitude about being yourself and it’s one that has taken me most of my life to even begin to get into. Years of working construction got me over a lot of my vanity issues…sweat and sawdust CAN be sexy when it’s the end result of building someone a new kitchen, thank you very much! 😀

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  5. @Linda, I agree with your comment in its entirety! Don’t even begin to get me started on that fake ass acting, no account, plastic faced, tattooed blushed, ‘trickledown voodoo economics’ piece of shit Reagan!! That bastard was the beginning of the end with his fucking deregulation and let the wealth trickle down to the peons. I ain’t seen hide nor hair of a goddamn bit of wealth trickling down onto the poor homeless and poverty stricken souls I write about and attempt to help. Trickle down, my fucking ass! And to think that those bastards in the not so lofty halls of congress hold that piece of shit in high esteem is fucking mindboggling as Reagan’s name is synonymous with racism. Why that two-bit glued haired bastard was just the end of enough!

    I’ll never forget, at a company I worked for, we were having a luncheon to thank our general agents for their business and one of my co-workers interrupted me in line to tell me that some nasty bastard was telling a sexist joke about rape. He was telling one of the general agents that “a woman was so skinny that she looked like a boy and that someone had to put a sign on her stating, ‘in case of rape, this side up’! Oh, I found the son-of-a-bitch and hell hath no fury! They call me a witch even to this day simply because he dropped dead a week after I had lit into his nasty ass at the luncheon. The only thing that I can say to that is “what comes around, goes around.”

    “But fat people have always been fair game for jokes and ridicule.”

    That is the god’s honest truth. People have feelings and even if they are overweight because they’re eating Ho Hos, most likely they’ve got some underlying depression or some issues that they can’t handle. But even if it is just because they love Ho Hos, I don’t even fucking want to hear that they are inferior and lazy. But when you call folks out on it, they’ll say, “well her being fat is costing me in terms of health care dollars since we all pay into the health care pool.” And I say to that, when we stop paying for penis pumps, and we all know that a limp cock ain’t gonna kill the bastards, then come talk to me. If I’m paying for their Cialis and Viagra, goddamn it, they can pay for someone to get some health care who is obese and depressed.

    Oh and we ALL know that the poor are just lazy. I mean, why can’t they find jobs that pay a living wage? Why must they turn 65 and still be flipping burgers at Micky Ds? Why didn’t they get a great education and reward themselves for criminal shenanigans just like I did on Wall Fucking Street? Why can’t those poor suckers just bail themselves out like they bailed my worthless ass out on Wall Fucking Street? Double goddamn standards all the way around! No one is constantly blaming the corporations for raking in trillions of dollars a year and refusing to pay their workers a living wage and we, the taxpayers have to pay for their Medicaid. The fucking government ain’t fucking worried about the loss of tax revenue that corporations are getting away with not paying. The government is not concerned that taxpayers have to take up the slack while evil, greedy corporate execs jet back and forth across the planet, live lavishly and then claim that it is their workers fault for not being able to make ends meet on the pitiful excuse of a salary they pay them.

    See what you’ve gone and done Linda. You’ve awakened the sleeping lion and am I roaring or what? There just ain’t no end to what pisses me off. I am bombarded by shit that’s just not fucking right!

    But all the same, I thank you for your comment. Every once in a blue moon, it does me good to explode!!! Damn! That’s right! It’s the goddamn full moon too. Hell! I’ll be outside howling drunk tonight and howling at the goddamn moon too!!! Hell to da ya!!!

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  6. @Misbehaved, I didn’t know who Gabourey Sidibe(and I keep having to copy and paste her name)was either. I was asked about her on another post of mine and I had to initiate a search because I’m not into all of this pop culture either. I have told these people that I do NOT own a TV, nor do I watch movies and yet, I still get asked for my opinion about Hollywood shit that I know nothing about. I am just not into that, never have been and never will be. My role model is ME! And I can’t even keep up with myself, let alone attempt to emulate some Hollywood slingslang shit.

    Apparently, many of us need to uncover just why we need to emulate ALL things Hollywood which consists of the sluttish, the whorish, the drunks, the drug addicted and the otherwise fucked up. Why would anyone want to use that shit as a role model is beyond me? If I just had to have some role model other than myself, it most certainly would not be some foul ass Hollywood fucked up shit. Hell no!

    And thank you very much but it took me years to figure out just who I am because my mother tried her best to get me into a convent. Can you imagine me, in a convent? HAAAAAHAAAAAA!!! The Vatican think its got a scandal now? HA!! It’d be worse than that if I was in the mix, let me tell you. LMAO!!!

    Thanks Misbehaved and I gotta love YOUR attitude too!! I’m starting the countdown to my happy hour(s).

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  7. I know this post is old, but I just wanted to share with you this video. It’s by electronic music duo Daft Punk. It taps into the same self image thing you talked about. If you see past the graphic subject matter, it carries a good message. The song to this is called “The Primetime of Your Life”. If the link doesn’t work, you can just do a google search. These guys are smart!

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    • Thanks Flying! I was able to view the video and it was spot on! Apparently, TPTB think that we should ALL look like that in order to be ‘accepted’ into AND by society. Well, I want NO part of that society. I mean, gee fucking whiz and all! And as most of us are aware, those images are aimed at women. We’re bombarded by THE LOOK from Hollywood films, singers, magazines, commercials, billboards; everywhere we look, we just cannot escape from the ‘look’ that we are supposed to ‘aspire’ to. This is why sometimes, I despair of us because we just will not see what it’s all about.

      Thank you for posting your comment and the video. It doesn’t matter how old this one is, I never mind responding to comments on any of my posts.

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