Although I could afford to lose a few pounds, every time I diet, I’m told diets or eating healthy is “stupid” by my peers. Why, in a country that has the highest rate of obesity in the world and idolizes the size-two supermodels, am I always condemned for dieting?
This dieting paradox exists because the reality is that men want it both ways. Men want a Victoria’s Secret model, but also the girl who eats cheeseburgers, drinks cheap beer and indulges in ice cream, because eating unhealthily is fun.
Advertisements for the Carl’s Jr. fast food chain that show a scantily clad Paris Hilton chomping down on a cheeseburger embody this “perfect woman” that men think actually exists.
Unfortunately, most of us can’t have it both ways. Full disclosure: I’m 5 feet 5 inches, weigh 139 pounds and have a BMI of 23. Although I’m a “normal” size, I’m not 100 percent satisfied with my body, nor am I always satisfied with my diet.
I’m not blessed with Jennifer Lawrence’s seemingly magical metabolism, which can maintain a lovehandle-less figure despite regular consumption of McDonald’s. If I didn’t watch my weight and work out six times a week, I wouldn’t even be the normal size I am.
When I watch my weight and try to be healthier, I’m seen as buzzkill, but if I’m not a size two and eat whatever I want, I’m not beautiful. Society tells me to aspire to this perfect figure, but not to take the steps necessary to maintain it.
We should encourage healthier eating, not because we should aspire to these unrealistic standards of feminine beauty, but because it’s better for us. We should stop equating healthy eating and dieting with insecurity and party pooping.
My fellow ladies, don’t roll your eyes when your friend orders a salad. Instead, support her decision to be healthy. Her decision shouldn’t make you feel threatened; it should empower you to be healthy as well. Guys, if you want to date a skinny girl, that’s great. But don’t expect her to order cheeseburgers and drink milkshakes like water.
We can’t have it both ways, and society should stop telling us we can.
Rachel Berquist is a junior majoring in English and psychology.
Featured image courtesy CKE Restaurants and Don Flood.