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English 1B, Sec. 5.
October 18, 1976
Mary Rasmussen

                    ONE SKINNY LITTLE CALORIE

    Browse through a recent woman's  magazine.  Many cigarettes (the  long

and thin brands) and various liquors  are advertised quite a bit, but  the

substantial amount of advertisements deal specifically with products which

function to either change the  scent, the shape, or  the basic looks of  a


    Hair product advertisements abound  in the magazine.   We see a  woman

with "embarrassing  gray  hair"  instantly  transformed  into  a  gorgeous

brunette with a  single dye application.   Ladies with "dull,  mousy-brown

hair" are changed overnight into blonde, sexy broads.  Straight,  listless

hair is zapped  back to life  with permanents, and  unruly, frizzy,  curly

hair is  toned  down  to  beautiful long  hair.   Skin  products  such  as

moisturizers, skin and  tanning lotions, and  face makeup are  advertised.

Hundreds of different  types of  perfumes (some  which may  bring out  the

natural-born innocence of a woman or others which may, on the other  hand,

bring out the animal instinct of a man). Other products such as bright red

matching lipsticks and nail polishes capture our eye.  And, of course,  we

cannot miss the constant dosage of diet ads...


attention is  immediately focused  upon the  beautiful thin  model who  is

ridiculously kicking her  legs and  flinging her arms.   Overjoyed by  the

fact that  "TAB has  only one  skinny little  calorie in  16 ounces,"  she

appears to  be  in utter  ecstasy  after having  sipped  her can  of  TAB.

Reading the ad, and seeing such a beautiful, skinny, happy model, we think

that perhaps TAB might not be such a bad product at all.  Perhaps it might

even taste "terrific," as the ad suggests!  In fact, with only one  little

calorie, this particular product even sounds rather unbeatable!   Anything

with one skinny calorie must be good!

    But why?  Why must a  typical American female be constantly  bombarded

by this image of  the "skinny, petite" throughout  her life?  Thin,  thin,

and  thin...beautiful  skinny  bodies.   The  girls  certainly  know  this

necessary, specific female  requirement demanded by  the males.   36-24-36

(plus or minus three) are not numbers  for a bicycle lock.  And yet,  most

women would not even know WHERE to begin measuring a man's measurements!

    It is almost impossible for American women to escape from the "skinny"

image which is  plastered over all  types of the  media.  "Special K"  and

"Post Grape Nuts" are only two of many brands of cereal being produced for

dieting women.  Disgusting TV commercials promoting bras and girdles  (Oh,

it's so  comfortable  I  forgot  I  had  it  on!)   constantly  sell  this

"skinnyness."   Magazines  flaunt  beautiful,  tall,  thin  female  models

wearing sleek,  slender gowns.   Rarely does  a typical  woman's  magazine

exclude an article  referring to  some type  of a  revolutionary new  diet

plan.  Even  the  women's special  cigarette  brand is  labeled  "Virginia


    Why must women be constantly  subjected to such harrassments?  Why  do

the men, who, in most  cases own the media,  project this image?  Do  they

demand this  "thin" image  purely out  of spite?   Do they  really  loathe

women, and so,  consequently demand  that they see  as little  of them  as

possible?  (If you don't like it, get rid of it.)  Is it that the  fashion

designers are  largely  homosexual, and  want  women to  look  like  boys?

Perhaps it is  that plumpness reminds  them of pregnancy?   Or, can it  be

that the men derive much  egotistical satisfaction from feeling that  they

are the  "Savior, Protector,  and Provider"  for their  "frail,  helpless,

little wives?"  Or what?

    Why is  this "skinny"  image being  perpetuated?  And,  why are  women

conforming to it?  Women have already accepted the thousands of other pro-

ducts created by men  which change their basic  being.  Just as they  have

accepted  such  ridiculous  products  as  fake  eyelashes,  padded   bras,

perfumes, and hair bleaches, they  are now willing to  pay up to 35  cents

for a worthless can of a one calorie soft drink.  Why must men insist that

women change their looks or smell or  shape?  And, why are men so  opposed

to strong, healthy women?  Why , for instance, must the great East  German

swimmer,  Kornelia  Ender,  be   condenscendingly  described  by  a   male

journalist simply as "ox shouldered, 5'11" Kornelia Ender?"

    "You've Come A Long  Way Baby," in reference  to modern day women,  is

courageously spelled  out in  the "Virginia  Slims" advertisements.   But,

have they really?  Women  have been, and still  are being coerced into  an

inferior position in relation  to the males.  By  living up to the  "thin"

image (narrow standard) that men have set for women, the females are  only

helping to  reinforce  their  inferior status.   Women  must  oppose  this

standard which they have been subjected to.  They must drop their  curling

irons, false fingernails AND their one  calorie TAB drink.  By growing  up

as strong and healthy individuals, without having to diet themselves  down

to HELPLESSNESS, women  can help  themselves to attain  equal status  with