Monday, 15 September 2014

Why I lost 30kgs and put it back on again

So there I was, enjoying my lighter physique, experiencing a boost to my health and feeling more vital. And then they started to look at me. Men, with their predatory smirks and cunning 'male gazes'. I felt more self-conscious about my body than ever. I was conscious of representing myself as a sexual object and not knowing how to operate outside the ideology that led me to do so. I was worried that my new, 'more attractive' appearance made me more vulnerable to sexual violence. It made me more vulnerable to problematic heterosexual circumstances. I didn't want this.
And so I gained the weight back. I'm newly invisible to the average male, and this invisibility protects me. Why lust after my body when there are so many other bodies that are much more appealing? I suppose I'll never be immune to the libidos of some who have a fetish for big women, but they are part of a minority I rarely experience.
I don't know how healthier women do it. I don't want to dispense the 'keep your distance' defence at every step that I take. I don't want to feel that I am a one-women army, disarming or ignoring a million micro-aggression per week. When you are reduced to sexual object status, you start doubting your right to your own agency.
It's not good for my health to have added 30kgs to my weight, but I felt it was what I had to do to keep my sanity. I had become accustomed to doing without the vicious male sizing-up, and this brief interruption of that narrative was unwelcome. Of course, I still value the healthier habits I adopted, but I don't have the luxury of attaining them. Not just yet. Maybe in a decade, when my fertility is no longer, and I become invisible due to my age, I can safely resume sounder eating and movement practices. For now, I have no wish to wage a war every time I situate myself in a public place.

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