9. Wildcard: Why Kenneth Tong Has Got The Skinny All Wrong

I was going to blog about careers today, because I intend to make this week’s blogs follow a ‘Careers’ theme. I was going to write about not being sure where your career will take you, and debate whether it’s important to know what you want to do at such an early age.

That was, until I read about the Twitter storm that was pathetically cultivated by Kenneth Tong this week, as he openly and repeatedly advocates ‘managed anorexia’ and tells women that size zero is the only size to be.

Apparently, if you don’t hold this view, you’re just jealous. Jealous and fat. So let me be honest:

I’m not a size zero. I’m probably what you would call skinny though – borderline underweight, in fact – after losing forty-four pounds in 2010. I’ll admit I was a curvy girl, technically overweight when I started (but only just), and that I was much more confident in myself once I’d lost weight. There are definite bonuses to not being overweight any more: not getting angry at your jeans when you try and put the on after they’ve been washed and not knocking yourself out when you go for a jog being two major ones.

Let me tell you: I was never happier once I’d got down to a perfect ten. But I was never more miserable once I continued to lose weight and became skinny.

Being skinny is a challenge. Here’s a few reasons why:

1. When you lose weight, you get used to feeling in control when you manage your eating. But when you reach a healthy weight, your brain doesn’t suddenly go ‘Bing! Now have a cake.’ Instead, it continues to nag at you every time you so much as glance at the biscuit tin. So now, when I go for a meal after ‘being good’ all week, even though I could currently probably do with gaining a little weight, my brain continues to aggressively bellow ‘WHOOO ATE, WHO ATE ALL THE PIIIIES?’ around my skull. Which sort of puts me off my risotto, if I’m honest.

2. No matter how skinny you get, you will always have skinnier friends. I know I do. So you turn up to the party showing off in that tight dress, and find yourself mentally counting how many ribs are visible on everyone else and feeling sort of put out that you look like one of the healthiest ones there. ‘Why can’t I look like I’ve been through a famine. It’s not faaair!’

3. There is no such thing as a Eureka moment when standing on scales. Find me a woman who has ever stepped on the scales and said ‘Oh, well look at that. I’m the perfect weight.’ and I will gladly spray chilli sauce in my own eyes. Trust me – it doesn’t happen. You will always think ‘Well, I can do this, then I can surely lose half a stone more.’

And do you know why you think this? Because you’re not a size zero yet. And do you know why you’re not a size zero yet? BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE THE BODY OF AN IMPOVERISHED TWELVE YEAR OLD BOY.

You have hips, and breasts, and a curve to your behind that drives any man with an active penis out of his mind. You have a typical woman‘s figure – not one that’s been drained of all signs of vivacity.

Being thin/slim is great. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t say that – I love being the size I am now. I’m an 8-10, fighting to keep above the underweight border despite this guilt-tripping brain I’ve engineered for myself. But bearing in mind I already have ribs on display, bearing in mind my colleagues already think I look ‘gaunt’, and bearing in mind I’ve already gone down a cup size – can you imagine what I’d look like if I went down a further TWO DRESS SIZES to become the British equivalent of a size zero?

I think I’d look like two nipples painted onto a pale plastic bag that’s been stretched over a hat stand.

Now, men – would you rather wake up next to that, or next to one of these:

1. Marilyn Monroe

Wow – look at the healthy meat on those thighs.

2. Beyonce

Be honest: even the girls watching that started breathing a bit funny, didn’t you?

3. Christina Aguilera

People were shocked by how curvy she’d become when she appeared on the X Factor last year. They were shocked because – despite the magazines telling you that size zero is the only way to be attractive – she still managed to pull off this sensual performance. What do you mean girls with a BMI of more than 12 can look sexy? NO WAY.

4. Rihanna

Just you wait until she takes off that dress. Those powerful legs and curves, and the way she moves with ease, being that special kind of sexy we all try and be in the mirror, and yet retaining such amazing self-respect. You don’t get that with diet pills.

What all these women have – as well as curvy frames – is an inner confidence that means they know they’re attractive. ‘What you want? Baby I got it!’ as Aretha would say.

And that, everyone, is not only what will get the positive attention of those around you, but it is also the way you will retain your self respect and feel happy in your own skin. And believe me, when you’re so busy trying to be skinny you find yourself counting how many Weightwatchers points are in a single fucking Quality Street at the Christmas party, it’s quite hard to cultivate that inner confidence thing.

Let me finish with a quotation from Belle De Jour’s The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl:

“Holding your stomach in when your clothes are off is not fuckable. Slapping your ample behind and inviting him to ride the wobble is.”

Slap those ample behinds, ladies.

/// End of blog post. Turns out I don’t need to blog about not being sure what I want to do for my career: I want to fight for what I believe in. I want to do this.

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6 thoughts on “9. Wildcard: Why Kenneth Tong Has Got The Skinny All Wrong

  1. Great post! I’m firmly, FIRMLY in favour of the curvy girl. Christina Hendricks is pretty much my ideal woman. Red hair, curvy body, pouty lips. Mmmm.

    I’m not generally a shallow type but I’d drop everything for a steamy night with her. 🙂

    Um. What was I saying? Yes. Kenneth Tong is a dickhead. Fortunately, I think most people realise he is being a dickhead. Sadly, though, it just takes one person taking his words seriously to do damage. And with all the exposure he’s getting, that becomes more and more likely.

  2. Great post – I similarly like your writing style 🙂

    I’m in agreement. Nigella Lawson – what a woman. Though am also a fan of the more svelte, such as Uma Thurman.

    Anyway, I think the point I want to make is that the perfect weight for a woman is what she’s comfortable with, i.e. is happy with herself and not miserable. The issue I think society has is that often women lose weight for people/things other than themselves, and similarly they will deny they are unhappy with their weight.

    I’ll also make a point that I don’t like fat people, however this stems not entirely from a aesthetics standpoint, but also that they cause themselves entirely unnecessary health risks, and often only have themselves to blame. As well as stress that it can put on things like the NHS, this is in a similar vein to smokers.

    I’m not saying being fat is a life choice, but it’s certainly not forced upon them; and could really be avoided from taking responsibility for things such as over-eating or exercising.

    Though at the end of it all, endorsing anorexia is an absolute joke and this Kenneth Tong is a complete and utter tosser. It’s such a shame that controversial tool’s get such exposure on the internet these days.

    Ooooh…maybe a blog idea.

  3. Good post. I remember talking extensively with an anorexic woman on a psych ward. You think you can understand the condition by reading about it in a book, but when it’s right there in front of you, all the self-hatred, skewed perspective, damage and destruction, it’s something else.

    Your comment about women and scales reminded me of her and how she was never happy with her weight, even when she was dangerously close to death. Anorexia can not be ‘managed’, it can only destroy. Thanks for writing this.

  4. Pingback: Promoting Anorexia as a ‘Fashion’ & ‘Lifestyle’ is Beyond a Joke | Ramblings of a Creative Mind

  5. Pingback: Michelle Sutton: Promoting Anorexia as a ‘Fashion’ & ‘Lifestyle is Beyond a Joke « The One A Day Project

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