I lost a round of grocery store Russian roulette this Saturday and ended up in the slowest of four open lines. The women two spots in front of me was having some sort of problem which required the general manager to descend from her high counter of postage stamps and money orders to swipe her magic pass card over the bar code scanner. I imagine her magic card allows her to do all sorts of forbidden things, like run the conveyor belt backwards and play solitaire on the register’s computer screen, or maybe it just lets her issue refunds.
While I was trying not to watch the man who had been behind me check out in the next lane over, I picked up the latest issue of People magazine featuring Tyra Banks, who weighs 161 pounds. How do I know Tyra Banks weighs 161 pounds? Because it’s right there on the cover in all caps, 72pt bold font, you fool! An excerpt of the article is here.
Previously I didn’t have much of an opinion about Tyra. I don’t watch her reality show America’s Next Top Model or her daytime talk show. I know she did an episode for the latter where she wore a fat suit, but I never saw the episode so I can’t comment on it. However, after this story the woman has scored major Brownie points with me, enough for a new patch on her sash. She’s going to have to strangle some puppies or drown a kitten with three legs before I think ill of her.
It’s nice to see someone fighting back against the prevailing idea that you have to be super skinny to be pretty, or that having some meat on your bones automatically qualifies you as “fat.” As you can see in my sidebar, I’m an inch shorter than Tyra and 160 is my goal weight. Basically, I’ve been working for the past two years to be about the same size as she is. I understand that if you are a model, this size would be too large to get you booked in any shows. But as she points out in the article, she’s not a model anymore. She doesn’t have to maintain a smaller size. Just like a retired athlete doesn’t have to bench press 200 pounds three times a week, a former model doesn’t have to fit into a size 0 unless she wants to.
I also liked that she admitted that the tabloid stories do bother her. I’ve seen celebrities go on talk shows and say they just ignore that stuff, but it must hurt a little when someone says something nasty about you. In the article, she endorses a healthy relationship with food and seems to have good self-esteem. I also admire that she has taken charge of her career and developed it into something more, like Heidi Klum did with Project Runway. To post her weight on newsstands and grocery store aisles across America is gutsy. Even though I agree that she’s not fat, you know there are going to be assholes out there declaring she’s Porky Pig’s lost cousin. Tyra Banks is fearless.
Eventually the check-out line issues were resolved and I started loading my groceries onto the conveyor belt. I tossed a copy of People magazine on there too. If sales for this issue are good, maybe it will encourage magazines to feature more body positive stories. That’s four bucks I’m willing to spend.