by Marcia Barhydt

I recently saw an ad on TV for a website called Cerulean Star. I wasn’t paying really close attention, but I’m pretty sure I heard the commercial bill itself as Canada’s first online portal for plus size singles. Wow, I thought. This is pretty cool because I don’t think plus size men and women have been addressed exclusively in the online dating website frenzy. Women are discriminated against based on their body size and shape. It happens every day of the year. And it happens to men too, although men seem to be able to deal with it better than we do.

I’ve written about acceptance of our bodies before, specifically about a photography exhibit called The Full Body Project, done by my favourite Vulcan, Mr. Spock, aka Leonard Nimoy. Have a look at this exhibit here: What’s really outstanding to me in this collection are these women’s faces and their carriage, their posture, their air, their demeanour. They’re defiant, they’re daring and they’re proud. I believe they’re also so accepting of their own bodies as to not be concerned with the fact that their size, combined with nudity, may be shocking to some people. They seem to be in a state of acceptance and joy.

So you can see that I was excited, delighted, to see a dating website for overweight women.
Imagine then my reaction when I went to the website and saw that although it did include a portal for plus size singles dating, the thrust of the website was how to get thinner. Sigh. I’m saddened but also angry at this deceptive advertising.

The home page promises to give information such as an interactive meal planner, lifestyle goals, shopping tips to help you buy clothes that make you look slimmer, how to calculate your Body Mass Index and a panel of experts to help you in many areas of your life, including how to lose weight and how to boost our self esteem (in spite of our size, I bet).

In other words, this is just one more website getting on the bandwagon of making us over into the acceptable size that others feel we should be; another website telling us that being overweight is kind of ok, but being slim is way, way better; getting on the bandwagon of telling us that we are not acceptable the way we are right now.

What a bunch of hooey.

As we age and as our bodies change, become larger, become less toned and more, um, saggy, we’re all faced with a new phase of body acceptance.

We need to be the first ones to accept our body size, the same way we accept our big ears and noses, the same way we accept our stubby necks or frizzy hair, the same way we accept every part of ourselves. And once we accept our weight, our body shape, as easily as we accept our navel being an innie or an outie, then we’re on the road to happiness.

As soon as we learn to love ourselves as we are right now, this very moment, the sooner we’ll begin attracting men who share our priorities, the priorities that include making ourselves into something much much more than a number on a scale.

Our lives promise to be so rewarding, so affirming, so empowering that we need to let nothing stand in our way to receiving all this bounty. Don’t let a number get in our way.

We are comprised of so very much more than our bodies and I believe it’s essential that we embrace that thought as we move ahead. My beauty neither starts nor stops with the shape or condition of my body. My beauty is completely removed from the externals of me. My beauty is in my soul and in my mind and in my heart.

I’m a woman of a certain age and I’m certain there’s more to me than my body shape.

©Marcia Barhydt, 2011