I was looking over my stats today, and I found that I'd been linked to from a forum where people go to whine about their spouses gaining weight.
From what I can tell, the site is full of people who have taken their spouses' weight gain as a personal insult. Their belief is that, and I quote, "It Is Disrespectful To Willingly Become Unattractive To Your Life Partner".
Yes, I know many of you are busily putting a half dozen markers on your bingo cards already. But, for those who don't know about "bingo", I'm going to deconstruct this a little bit.
"Become Unattractive" -- by this, they don't mean gone and tattooed a swastika on forehead". They mean "has gained weight." I would like to point out that being unattractive and being fat are NOT mutually exclusive; it is our social conditioning that makes us equate fat with unattractive, and many people, despite the constant barrage of fat=ugly messages in our surroundings, manage to find fat people attractive in spite of the messages. Fat is not inherently unattractive.
"Willingly" -- I'll let the Gina Kolata article explain why diets don't work, and how hard it is to make thin people fat. What I want to discuss is the flawed logic behind saying that it was "willingly", as if the life partners did so on purpose. Look, if I knew that my husband did not prefer blondes, I wouldn't go dyeing my hair blonde. If I'm already blonde, however, I am not going to dye my hair just to suit his tastes, and he wouldn't expect me to (because he's not an asshole). He was able to accept my blondeness when we got together, and as a part of me, he accepts it now--and has even grown to like it.*
I honestly doubt that any of the spouses involved willingly became fat. After all, there is a considerable amount of shaming that comes from every direction when a person gains even a little weight. Americans spend an egregious amount of money and effort trying to avoid becoming fat.
"Disrespectful" -- Really? These folks truly think that, by having more adipose tissue, their life partners are being disrespectful? And that, even if that were true, which it isn't, that they ought to find ways to make their partner lose weight, instead of, oh, I don't know, getting some goddamn marriage counseling? Or getting a divorce? I see two scenarios here:
1. If the spouse really IS being disrespectful to you, then get out of the relationship.
2. If they are not being disrespectful, but have gained weight, and their weight gain makes them no longer interesting to you, then get out of the relationship and set them free to find someone who isn't as shallow.
What kind of self-centered whiny baby goes around complaining that their partner disrespected them by putting on weight? The same kind of self-centered whiny baby that posts on websites with other whiny babies that encourage each other to nag and bitch at their spouses to starve and exercise themselves into a "hot little body" (yes, that's a quote from the site) for the sole purpose of becoming more sexually attractive to their spouse.
Interestingly enough, my husband has no problem finding me sexually attractive. Our relationship never stopped at the "Platonic" station; we went straight to Lust City the very night we met. I'm not saying that everyone has to be attracted to me, but I AM saying that, if my husband stops being attracted to me, I'd rather he do me the favor of getting a divorce instead of resenting me and sniping at me for it. Yes, that's right, I am suggesting you split up if your relationship is so dysfunctional that you cannot tolerate a change in the amount of adipose tissue your partner carries. They're better off without you.
* Please note that the blonde story is just hypothetical. I actually had purple hair when Brian and I met, and it's light brown now.