My, my, my. . . the Matron has been very interested in details at the Colony!
But the outright vilification of flesh gave the Matron pause. Why? She’s thinking of our daughters. Yes, yes, the boys –and she has two of them—feel pressure to adhere to cultural ideals, yes, indeed. But she’s here to argue that there’s a unique condemnation of female flesh. Is there any male counterpoint to Oprah’s battle of the bulge? Starr Williams? Ricki Lake? She could go on and on and on. For every Jared, there’s a Jenny Craig, Valerie Bertinelli, Kirstey Alley and every celebrity who has ever given birth. The Matron would love to take every “how she got her body back after baby” article to kerosene and torch. That would be one big bonfire. She’d toss in a few pages on Jennifer Aniston’s abs, just to make that flame burn brighter.
Every few days, she’s reminded of how cellular these issues are to women, how this deep-tissue condemnation of female flesh is being passed along to our daughters. You see, the Matron has a good friend – a rail-thin woman who, not unlike the Matron, works toward that condition--- who cannot get her daughter to be thin enough. The daughter is not fat. Not thin. She is firmly in the middle, a 12 year old with new breasts, hips, and a little bit of tummy. The Matron’s friend, Jay we’ll say, is routinely saying things like this:
“I’m taking Kay for a walk tonight to make sure she burns some calories.”
“Do you pack carbs for Scarlett's lunch? I’m just leaving carbs out of Kay’s diet unless she asks for something like a cookie.”
“I know, I know, I’m worried about the weight. But it’s so much easier to be thin. Your life as a woman is easier.” (True)
“Kay? Do you really need to eat a whole hamburger or is half okay?”
“Girls? Can we skip a snack after school and save our appetites for dinner?”
The Matron is not condemning Jay but putting her on a spectrum, a spectrum in which the Matron herself, survivor of an eating disorder, is firmly situated. With three spindly young ones, the Matron hasn’t (yet) navigated the land of ‘watch what you eat.’ But she sees plenty of mothers, not just Jay, fretting about their daughters’ physiques.
Last week, Jay’s daughter, Kay, said this to Scarlett. The Matron overheard from her secret spot out in the open two feet away from the kitchen table:
Kay: “Scarlett, let’s go on a cleansing diet next week. No carbs, no wheat, no diary, no meat, no sugar. What do you think?”
Scarlett: “Sounds good! We can get healthy just like our Moms!”
Oh darlings. It is a little more complicated. Please don't emulate your mothers.
Move beyond us.