A Conservative Pundit’s Plus-Size Remark

7:45 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
I read this column in the New York Times, and I was shocked, appalled, and then bolstered by the awesome remarks made by Meghan McCain in response. Some of you know that I've struggled with my weight a bit over the past 3 or so years due to a hypo-active thyroid. I've lost 30 pounds since my peak, and I'm feeling pretty good about myself... sometimes. When I'm in Los Angeles, the land of skinny, plasticized women, I feel pretty fat. Like even though I buy my clothes at regular stores in regular sections (not the plus-sized racks) I'm somehow disgusting. The conversations at work always center around diets, and I often receive unsolicited advice about how I should eat to lose weight. I didn't ask for your advice, but thanks, I'll remember that. This weekend I was in Boston, land of liberal intellectuals and rowdy Red Sox fans, and I felt great about my body. Yeah, it's on the chubby side for me, but it's not disgusting, it's just how I look, and it's not that important. In fact, I thought about the way I looked much less in Boston than I do in L.A. Maybe that's why people are so wicked smaht back home...
Anyway, it's upsetting to me how obsessed our culture is with body image. I know I'm ranting here, I'm almost done. I recognize how dangerous obesity can be for one's health, and think that the world's (and especially country's) problems with obesity need to be addressed. But being a healthy weight, like Meghan McCain, who isn't even overweight in the strictest sense, and still being subject of public humiliation, is disgusting to me. I'm really glad I don't listen to Conservative radio, it would probably give me bloodthirsty rage.

Here's the article, and photographic evidence:

Criticizing a woman’s weight is one of the “last frontiers” of socially-acceptable prejudice, says Meghan McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain.

Ms. McCain, who calls herself a progressive Republican, was responding to remarks by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. It all started when Ms. McCain, 24, criticized Republican pundit Ann Coulter for her extreme views in an online column and an interview with talk show host Rachel Maddow. That enraged Ms. Ingraham, who responded on her radio show by mimicking Ms. McCain, using a caustic “Valley girl” voice. (The blog ThinkProgress has the audio.) Among her remarks:

"O.K., I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in “The Real World,” but then I realized that, well, they don’t like plus-sized models."

Ms. McCain, who would be considered normal weight by most standards, responded in The Daily Beast with a highly personal column called “The Politics of Weight.”

"I have been teased about my weight and body figure since I was in middle school, and I decided a very long time ago to embrace what God gave me and live my life positively…. I am a size 8 and fluctuated up to a size 10 during the campaign. It’s ridiculous even to have this conversation because I am not overweight in the least and have a natural body weight.

But even if I were overweight, it would be ridiculous. I expected substantive criticism from conservative pundits for my views…. My intent was to generate discussion about the current problems facing the Republican Party. Unfortunately, even though Ingraham is more than 20 years older than I and has been a political pundit for longer, almost, than I have been alive, she responded in a form that was embarrassing to herself and to any woman listening to her radio program who was not a size 0.

In today’s society this is, unfortunately, predictable. Everyone from Jessica Simpson to Tyra Banks, Oprah and Hillary Clinton has fallen victim to this type of image-oriented bullying. Recent pictures of Pierce Brosnan’s wife, Keely Shaye Smith, on the beach in her bikini raised criticism about her weight and choice of bathing suit — as if the woman should be wearing a giant muumuu to swim in the ocean. After Kelly Clarkson’s recent appearance on “American Idol,” the first commentary I read on the Internet was about her weight gain instead of her singing.

My weight was consistently criticized throughout the campaign. Once someone even suggested I go to a plastic surgeon for liposuction. Afterward, I blogged about loving my body and suggested critics focus their insecurities about women’s bodies elsewhere. On the other side, my mother was constantly slammed for being too skinny, so the weight obsession of the media and our culture goes both ways. It also goes to both parties. Hillary Clinton has consistently received criticism for her pantsuits and figure. Whatever someone’s party, these criticisms are quite obviously both wrong and distracting from the larger issues at play.

The question remains: Why, after all this time and all the progress feminists have made, is weight still such an issue? And in Laura’s case, why in the world would a woman raise it? Today, taking shots at a woman’s weight has become one of the last frontiers in socially accepted prejudice."

Meghan McCain is hot! Look at her, all technologically savvy... I still won't vote for her dad, but I'm loving her! You can find Meghan's blog at McCainBlogette.com.


Tracie said...

I completely agree with you! Laura Ingraham can be pretty witty, but I was blown away that she would stoop that low to a topic that has nothing to do with anything. Anyway, just be happy you have a body that works and work what yo' mama gave ya!

As I always say, beauty is relative ... I mean, really - if we lived in the Renaissance, we would have been the hottest fair damsels around.