Checking out at the grocery store makes me sad. Not because I have to hand over my credit card, (though that doesn’t fill me with paroxysms of joy either) but because of the magazines. Oh, the magazines. The covers of tabloids that ridicule women for being too fat or too thin. Covers that pimp the soup diet and the potato diet and the carrot diet. Covers that speculate on who’s pregnant and who’s just fat. It’s depressing and I rarely ever want to buy any of those magazines. I doubt I will, until I see a cover that touts how to lose 20 pounds sensibly in 20 weeks instead of in 20 days. Why are there always women on the covers? Magazines marketed at women have women on the covers and magazines marketed to men…also have women on the covers, though usually with considerably less clothing. Odd.
Seeing covers like that makes me glad that I’ve essentially checked out of pop culture over the past few years. I’m really picky about what TV shows I watch, and even then I don’t watch commercials. I don’t read fashion and beauty magazines that tell me I’ll be inferior unless I buy certain products. It’s been really great for my mental health. A lot of who you are depends on who and what you surround yourself with. If you want to achieve a goal, you need to hang out with people who support that goal. I want to run a mini-marathon, so I’ve been hanging out with runners in my training program every weekend. If you want to feel good about your body, you need to surround yourself with media that supports that. Thus, me and pop culture have essentially gone our separate ways and it’s been good.
But I still read the news, and I recently read that Lisa Marie Presley is suing a British newspaper for making fun of her weight. Personally, I think this is a bad move. I had no idea anyone had called Lisa Marie fat until she filed a lawsuit. I suspect a lot of people didn’t know the tabloids had called her fat. So, if she found the tabloid story to be embarrassing, she just magnified that embarrassment tenfold.
After the articles came out, she got on MySpace and said, “I have had to show my cards and announce under the gun and under vicious personal attack that I am in fact pregnant.” Second mistake – never let them see you sweat. She’s clearly pissed. While she has every right to be mad for being publicly ridiculed, I think it’s better to never let people know they’ve hurt you even if you’re bleeding profusely out of your severed arms like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “It’s just a flesh wound!” And why did she have to show her cards? It’s no fun being made fun of, but if she wanted to keep quiet, that was an option, a tougher option perhaps, but still an option. While she talks about being under the gun, no one was actually going to shoot her if she didn’t talk about her baby bump.
In her law suit, she alleges that the story was “slanderous and degrading.” I haven’t read the tabloid article, so it’s possible that I’m talking out of my ass here. I have no doubt that the tabloids were cruel, because that’s what tabloids do, but there’s no law against being mean. Mostly it makes me sad to think that calling someone fat is considered slanderous and degrading. I certainly prefer being thin to being fat, but I was not a bad person because I was morbidly obese. If someone called me fat, they could certainly hurl it as an insult, but ultimately it was true and in a perfect world there would be no reason to consider the word “fat” to be slander.
I understand why Lisa Marie was hurt by a mean article that made fun of the way her body is changing in ways she can’t completely control. She might be sensitive to the issue because her father, Elvis Presley, had an obesity problem later in life. I don’t know. It sucks that the tabloids taunted her, but her reaction to the mockery doesn’t make me any happier.
Now where can I find a checkout lane without any magazine racks?