Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beating the Holiday Bulge

A Constant Battle for Women in a Misogynist Society

By Brianna Savoca

With two Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday and Black Friday leftovers, like many women around the country, I found myself dreading to step on the scale following the weekend's food festivities.

It's no secret American's holiday traditions cause weight gain- the American Heart Association reports most people gain 5 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years. More than likely, I will certainly be a part of this statistic.

When it came to stuffing, I did not skimp. Mounds of mashed potatoes, tons of turkey, and green bean casserole galore covered my plate in the afternoon and evening on Turkey Day, as we celebrated at my boyfriend's and my family's homes. Thank goodness we did not have to go for a third meal at my Dad's side of the family, as that may require purchasing a new wardrobe on Black Friday to accommodate the influx in my dress size.

Even though I did not stop myself from eating the traditional holiday dishes, I had to wonder- do men feel the same frustrations following Thanksgiving weekend? Do men feel as self-conscious stepping on a scale after gorging on turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and mashed potatoes?

Based on a couple factors, I would conclude men do not feel the same pressures as women when it comes to weight.

First, typical gender roles create a strong difference in clothing styles for men versus women. Clothing styles for men fit looser, making it easier to disguise the belly bulge or thicker thighs after holiday meals. Women's clothing hugs the waist, fits tightly on the thighs, and makes it difficult to conceal extra flab from extra food.

Second, men brag about how much food they can consume, almost making an eating contest out of big meals. My male cousins competed to see who could stuff down more stuffing and eat more turkey than the others. The man who eats more holds bragging rights, and is essentially the Thanksgiving Champion of sorts. In comparison, most women try to conceal how much food they have even consumed during holiday meals, as stuffing your face is not quite "ladylike" behavior. Many women even turn down high caloric dishes, using excuses like, "It will go right to my hips," or "I won't fit into my clothes."

Third, based on "How to Beat the Holiday Bulge" articles found on many news websites, the advice seems mainly geared toward women, even in one American Heart Association article. One article says to wear a belt around the stomach or a tighter clothing in order to stop yourself from eating as much. Another article says to focus on making conversations rather than eating, or learning how to politely say no, advice geared toward women and feminine qualities.

Overall, women in our society seem to dread the holiday bulge more than men due to genderized pressures, cultural norms of weight, and society's beauty ideals. Men can hide weight gain under their clothing, whereas women are forced to conform to societies standards of beauty and weight.

While I did not succumb to the genderized pressures of starving myself to stay skinny over Thanksgiving weekend, I will give into the pressures of style, avoiding my tighter fitting clothes for the month of December. At least I have "Cyber Monday" to order a new wardrobe in the next size up.

1 comment:

  1. i totally agree. women today are too focused on how they look rather than being happy. personally, i can't stand the superficial pagent queens who think looks are everything. women need to figure out that looks aren't everything and that men like you for who you are. I'm a lovely 218 pounds and look better than the stereotypical "pretty".