We all know men like a natural look over a "fake" one, meaning they like their women to look like 19-year-old hairless cats with boobs, but without trying. They don't want to see you ripping hair out of your asshole or to know how long it takes to exfoliate your entire body, daily, or be aware of the layers of makeup it takes to hide pores -- they just want the end result: Olivia Wilde in Drinking Buddies. They want you to have a pudge-free waist (But don’t worry! Some of them are temporarily ok with you having fat on your ass, but only until Nicki Minaj and Christina Hendricks stop being trendy -- progress!) while simultaneously eating whatever the fuck you want all the time.
This is, in large part, because men are dummies who live inside a fantasy world of their own creation. You can see how invested they are in these worlds when you try to tell them that the women they are jacking off to in porn aren't really enjoying themselves, that we don’t shave our vaginas because we love the feel of it (who doesn’t love a nice, itchy crotch-rash amirite ladies?), that women don’t get breast implants "for themselves," or that Beyoncé has to exercise like crazy and maintain a super strict diet in order to achieve what most men like to pretend is a more "natural" look because she has thighs and a booty (and, gawd, thighs are a relief after all that thigh-gap bullshit we witnessed in recent years, but the mere existence of thighs does not necessarily mean there is no obsessive body-monitering behind said thighs).
At least Bey admits she has to work at it, telling Self, back in 2009, "I can't eat what I want, and I can't not go to the gym." I mean, most celebrities, whether they admit to it or not, don't eat or drink fun things and have ridiculous workout regimes most humans don’t have the time, interest, money or ability to maintain. Madonna doesn't eat wheat, eggs, meats or dairy. Kim Kardashian, who made the internet cream itself last week by turning her behind into a greasy tabletop, went on a "liquid diet" in order to lose weight, works out every day and also doesn’t eat bread.
The truth is that this lifestyle would have to be reality for most women if their bodies were literally their product. And still the reality for most women is that we don't eat whatever we want (granted, if I ate whatever I wanted I would be living on Pizza Pops, Twinkies and grilled cheese sandwiches and would probably be too depressed and lazy to think or function -- never mind the weight/body implications of that kind of diet...). We do have to work at it, despite the fact that apparently that isn't attractive to bros.
Lauren Bans wrote for The Cut today that no woman (herself included) wants to be “the girl on a diet”:
I've known smart women who’ve gone to extremes to hide the fact that they have to work for their figure. I’ve been one of them. I once got out of sharing bread pudding on a date by saying that the sight of it made me sad because it was served at my grandpa’s shiva....I have a friend who doesn’t put anything in her mouth on days when she has a date, so she can go out and eat with gusto in front of a new dude. Because members of the male species in particular seem to be put off and sometimes downright confused by dieting.
Bans asked some of her male friends how they’d feel about dating "someone on an ultrahealthy diet" (i.e. the kind of diet one would have to go on in order to look like 99 per cent of women we see on TV and in magazines) and one of them responded by saying: "I'm a foodie! I'd like it more if she just eats like a normal person and enjoys food as much as I do." Oh do you? Do you also really like it when women are always "up for it," come every time you wave your dick at them, really love watching porn and hanging out at burlesque shows, and never bore you by expressing their own needs and interests?
Fuck off with this "I like a girl who eats" shit. That’s what all men say. Because, as we discussed earlier, men are dummies who live in fantasy worlds that look something Game of Thrones porn crossed with King of Queens.
Bans speculates that this illusion may exist because men don’t have to work as hard as women to lose weight so maybe they don't quite get it. But whether or not that is true, the reality is that men just don’t want to get it. The fantasy Bans describes, illustrated by a Carl's Jr. commercial that features model Kate Upton eating a cheeseburger that looks like a Simpsons parody, is part and parcel of the world men have created for themselves. The ad itself is less an ad for a burger than it is pornography. Like, yeah, Upton would never eat that burger -- neither would I -- but also the character Upton is playing in the ad is just your run-of-the-mill male porn fantasy.
Upton's permitted to "eat whatever she wants" because she's still objectifiable.
Bans writes that, while the Upton fantasy (both the porn one and the eating a Carl's Jr. burger one) is acceptable, were "an overweight woman" to do the same thing, it's more likely she would be met with "a creep video of herself uploaded to YouTube for the teenage boys of the world to mock."
Even what we eat can't be "for us."
I'll admit I hate the trend of young, very thin women uploading photos of themselves eating, like, chicken and waffles or an entire pizza because I'm always thinking, like, who are you trying to convince? It's just yet another male fantasy we're feeding. I guess I should go Instagram my love handles next to the salami and cheese dinner I'm eating right now to even things out…
While I can’t fault women for participating in a selfie-slash-porn culture they didn’t choose, I also don't feel it's particularly helpful to play the woke up like dis game. Going to crazy extremes to achieve some kind of "perfect" body isn’t the greatest use of our time and energy as women, but it feels even worse to pretend as though it's all effortless. Or to feed the fantasy that says women simply don’t have body hair or pores or that we eat poutine on the regular but also have no body fat. I know all women’s bodies are different and that, yes, there are a few women who are naturally thin or even naturally model-like in their appearances, but the majority don’t live on beer and pizza whilst also maintaining what women's magazines have helpfully dubbed a "bikini body" (it's like a body, but less "human" than "mannequin" and only for looking at because if you have stomach fat, you obviously shouldn’t get to enjoy things like "oceans" or "outside.").
So yeah, nobody wants to be "the girl on the diet," but as someone who really enjoys disrupting male fantasies with tales of ingrown hairs and Spanx, I'm kinda for being real about the extent to which women feel they have to work to get that "natural look" the boys are so fond of.
Thank you for reading this story…
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