My work colleague is not skinny, but she ain’t fat, and her BMI is nowhere near mine (I am overweight).
Yesterday we had a conversation that went like this.
Her: I was two people behind you in the lunch queue at the canteen yesterday. I had the same as you – vegetable hotpot and small chips. But the guy said to me “going heavy on the carbs there.”
Me: Nice to see the patriarchy at work (yes, I know, #mansplaining)
Now, if memory serves, it wasn’t the same person – I was served by a woman. But this – I can be overweight and while people may think it, they don’t come out and say it. Men’s bodies are just not policed in the same way as women’s.
And yesterday, the front page of the commuter mcnuggets (aka “Metro) obliged with the front pages story
“Ten Jagerbombs, 3 heart attacks” and the obligatory picture of a pretty young blonde.
So, the moral panic about Our Womenfolk Seduced by Demon Drink gets another clipping.
(Yes, we’re all drinking and eating Too Much. Why pick on the pretty young women? It’s salacious, it ‘sells’ newspapers (or gets people to pick up the free ones).)
Anyway, I – and no word of a lie – then used that John Berger quote during my further mansplaining efforts. Nobody had heard of the guy.
“To be born a woman has to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men. The social presence of women is developed as a result of their ingenuity in living under such tutelage within such a limited space. But this has been at the cost of a woman’s self being split into two. A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself. Whilst she is walking across a room or whilst she is weeping at the death of her father, she can scarcely avoid envisaging herself walking or weeping. From earliest childhood she has been taught and persuaded to survey herself continually. And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman. She has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life. Her own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another….One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object — and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”
― John Berger, Ways of Seeing