Fat, Sex and the New Year

Phoebe Connelly

The post-holiday obsession with dieting and health. New Year's resolutions to give up bad habits (cigarettes) and take up good ones (yoga). You've taken your three Borders-Barnes-and-Noble gift cards only to find the displays stacked knee-high with books offering the "10-step-lifetime-promise-to-the-all-you-can-eat-better-abs-legs-face."Right. Even the columnists are getting into it. Over at the Chicago Sun-Times Laura Washington declares that "the Fat Nag is back" and exhorts us all to consider weight loss for our health, not just our image.Real Simple, a high-fashion, back-to-earth glossy crows in its February issue that this is the year of the "No-Diet Diet" in which we return to sensible, non-faddish ways of eating. And then they offer you a plan on how to do so.And Tuesday's Science section of the Times considers the lack of real data about the long (or even short) term effectiveness of diets.But the best thing I've seen so far is Laura Kipnis' article in Slate. She explains why all this discussion leads back to the opposition of feminism and femininity: …the fact is that the beauty culture is a heterosexual institution, and to the extent that women participate in its rituals, they, too, are propping up a heterosexual society and its norms. The problem for a feminist is that historically speaking such norms have worked out far less advantageously for women than for men.Ahhh…takes a media studies professor.

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Phoebe Connelly, a former managing editor at In These Times, is Web Editor at The American Prospect.
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