Editors don’t really like to admit their ignorance, but there’s one part of our editorial direction I can’t make up my mind about – and I need your help.
Last week a friend of mine drew my attention to an article on the BBC’s news website with the headline ‘ More than half of British women’s waist sizes are “too big”.'
The crux of the article was that researchers found the average waist measurement for women is 84.9cm (33.43in), compared with the healthy size of 80cm (31.49in) (they didn’t quantify what they meant by healthy, but you get the idea).
The article also noted that 52.5% of the women have a body mass index (BMI) higher than the healthy range, while 16.2% were moderately or morbidly obese. It was a pretty straightforward news article, with a doctor quoted as saying this was a health, rather than a cosmetic issue.
There were nearly 800 comments - a combination of ‘no matter what I do I can’t lose weight’ posts, alongside the inevitable ‘all fat women are ugly and lazy, lol,’ comments (from those guys who live with their mums and never have sex), plus a few people who’d lost a significant amount of weight talking about how they’d managed it.
What there wasn’t much of, at all, was any sort of Fat Acceptance movement. Very few people waded in to say, ‘I’m this size, or bigger, I’m not necessarily unhealthy, deal with it.’ I couldn’t work out why this jarred with me until I realised that it was such a total contrast to xoJane.
Generally speaking, the only place I will find myself reading an article about weight, or weight loss tends to be on our sister site in the US. I read them because I love the writers, I love reading the comments, and IT’S MY JOB - I often use what people are saying about the stories in the US site to gauge what we should be writing about on the UK site.
You may have noticed that weight, body image, fat acceptance and the whole myriad of associated issues come up on the American site every few days, yet we’ve barely covered them at all here. And that’s because I’m completely stumped.
When Jane was last over, I told her that my friends and I rarely discussed our weight (we talk about everything else). Not because it’s taboo, but because it’s such a non-issue. I’ve never managed to shock Jane, but she looked pretty surprised at that.
To be fair, there’s very little relation between what I put in my mouth (chortle) and my body size, so I’ve never given it much thought – I’ve weighed roughly the same amount for a decade and that’s fine by me, so why would it even come up? Essentially, the amount weight, and body image are discussed on the US site, bears no relation to how much I, or anyone else I know, think about our bodies or our weight.
And what I really can’t work is if this is a cultural (UK) thing, or a ‘me’ thing.
So I need your help, dear readers. Is there a fat acceptance movement in the UK (a quick trip to Google is ambiguous)? Is this something you want to read about? How about eating disorders?
Or do you think we could stand to be a bit less body obsessed and never mention it again?
Tell me what you think. I’m asking because I really, really, really need to know.
p.s. Either way, I promise I will never, ever, tell you how to lose weight to make him love you, get a better job or be more popular. That’s not the way I roll.