Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Les vaches suisses

In today's first Prudence letter, further evidence that Western European women care about being skinny at least as much as their American counterparts.

4 comments:

Britta said...

Perhaps even more so for European women in America, because much of European identity re America is that Americans are fat and ugly and Europeans are effortlessly thin and attractive. It's like being upper class and morbidly obese. Not only are you failing to live up to your own beauty standards, but you resemble people who you spend a lot of time and energy attempting to differentiate yourself from. My guess is her coworkers are super annoyed (and possibly jealous) to encounter an effortlessly thin American woman, because it goes against all their preconceptions and sense of self (compared to Americans that is).

Phoebe said...

Britta,

Agreed. My own theory regarding this letter is that weight is actually secondary to what's going on, and that what happened is that for whatever reason this woman's co-workers dislike her, and have picked up on the fact that this line of teasing bothers her especially. Do they dislike her because she's American? Because she's thin without much effort? Could be, but it could relate to something about her the letter doesn't reveal.

Britta said...

Ha, I actually had the same thought. For some reason these women don't like her, and they're using food to passively-agressively take it out on their coworker. I think that is what is occurring here, but the underlying idea that European women should be thinner and more attractive than their American counterparts still probably exists, even if just as a framework for them to take out other workplace dynamics.

Phoebe said...

Yes, European women like their American women loud, brash, and huge, in the way that everyone likes Others to fit stereotypes. But yes, overweight seems, in my anecdotal experience, to be far more stigmatized in Western Europe than in the US, with certain regional exceptions.