Sin #2: Pride
Pride parades. Hubris. National pride. Pride and Prejudice. Spirit Week. Fight songs (the only one that matters) and national anthems. Election campaigns. Saving face. Advertising. Publicity stunts. Shameless self-promotion. The 4th of July. Facebook.
Pride seems to permeate every facet of modern society, settling deep into the nooks and crannies and slowly expanding out until it it wraps its fingers tightly around young people with newly developed Freudian egos.
As toxic as pride can be, so too is the diminishment of pride. There is no clearer example of this than the overwhelming collective response of women everywhere to the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. If you need proof, scroll through your Facebook newsfeed and start counting the statuses with melodramatic proclamations of “never eating again” or “working out ’til I pass out <3 VS Fashion Show” littering cyberspace during and immediately following the airing of the show.
An hour slot on prime time television devoted to showcasing avant garde lingerie so kitschy and awkward that only models could pull it off seems harmless enough– particularly with its finely tuned appeal to both male and female audiences. However, the messages girls and women come away with can be pretty destructive.
Thin. Thinner. Thinnest. Starve and carve until you’re cut like a diamond. Diet. Detox. Purge (but don’t you dare think of bingeing). Hair extensions. Make-up. Jutting hip bones. Light as a feather. Let your body desiccate. Working out hours a day, every day. Counting calories until your world looks like this:
It’s a tale as old as the new millennium. It probably even dips back into the nineties.
I’m not here to stand on my perfectly poised I’m-a-recovering-anorexic soapbox, nor am I harkening back to my all-girls-boarding-school-feminist/liberal education. Nope. I’m just here to offer a different perspective.
The backlash the VS Fashion Show typically receives touts messages along the lines of “thin is sickly,” “curves are so much more beautiful than stick figures,” and “the models need to go eat a cheeseburger.” These statements are offensive. But mostly, they perpetuate the sad dichotomous thinking that thin is either “perfect” or “anorexic.”
There are beautiful women of all shapes and sizes. Some women are naturally skinny, and to condemn them is just as damaging as it is to condemn a woman with a full figure. The point is to embrace what ya’ mama gave ya’. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, get enough exercise to get an endorphin rush, indulge when you won’t feel too guilty, don’t get caught up in trivial numbers like dress size and body mass index, and just LOVE YOURSELF. From what I’ve heard, it’s easy for a man to love you if you love yourself.
Perhaps it is some sort of social construct that has caused girls and women to derive the messages that they do from the VS Fashion Show. Or perhaps it is the fashion show itself that glamorizes extreme dieting while simultaneously suggesting that the sexiest of women have bodies that mirror those of the Angels. I really don’t know who or what is at fault, and I don’t really care.
All I want to do is take the motto, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” and strike a line through it. What a fallacy. If these are “inspirational words” you try (in vain) to live by, well, I dare you to bake these cookies and reassess.
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cup grated carrots – about 3 large carrots
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 12 oz cream cheese (1 1/2 blocks), softened
- 6 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy
- Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium until fully incorporated
- In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger with a wooden spoon
- Gradually add bowl of dry ingredients to butter mixture, mixing on low until just combined
- Mix in oats and carrots until fully incorporated.
- Chill dough for four hours or overnight
- Grease two baking sheets and preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Using your hands, roll dough into balls with a ~1 inch circumference and place on baking sheets (leave about two inches of space in between each-- cookies will expand in the oven!)
- Bake for 11-13 minutes
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool
- Combine butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy
- Spoon icing into a piping bag and pipe onto the bottom of a cookie, place another cookie on top to create a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies.