Saturday, July 9, 2011

TOO SEXY TO BE CHUBBY

I'm not gifted with a HOT and YUMMY body. In reference to a mass media's standard of hotness, a yummylicious man's body is basically composed of a perfect abs, broad shoulders, and a V-shape frame. More or more, just refer to a roster of local and foreign celebrities who flood print and broadcast media with their oozing sex appeals.

Interestingly, just recently, here in the Philippines, the Bench billboard along EDSA-Guadalupe featuring the members of the Philippine rugby team, also known as Philippine Volcanoes, in their underwear was removed. Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos agreed to take down the said sexy billboard.

As I read the thread on this issue, I had a good laugh. Why? Some Filipinos are just so creative in throwing in comments. In one of the comments that I read, it is said "Baka nagalit ang asawa ng Mayor dahil mismong si Mayor ay napalingon sa billboard ng mga lalakeng naka-underwear." Another comment also added, "Paano na ako gaganahan pumasok sa umaga," a comment coming from a gay guy.

Through reports on television, seeing the billboard and the action on removing it is somehow a great spectacle. And that made me reflect on my life as a chubby person and the rigors of what is like to live in a society that adores physical beauty.


Before I proceed with my entry, allow me to let you watch a video of the much-talked about Behind-the-scenes of the Philippine Volcanoes Billboard shoot.



I live in a family who values eating very much. My siblings and I were fed with a variety of dishes. My mom had always prepared the best meal on lunch and dinner time. Plus, it's a must in our family to not leave the house without eating a hefty breakfast. And apart from the 3 scheduled meals, there's merienda or snack time, which is mostly carbo overload. With these routine in dining, no wonder, I possess a cute and tele-tubby like body.

Growing up, I was like the child version of Santa Claus. Big tummy, double chin, flabby arms, and a body packed with fats. My "fatness" generates a the string of pangungurot from my mom's officemates, the ang cute mo greetings, and the unforgettable line which says "Siguro, napagiwanan ka sa kusina." Most of those people didn't know, the greetings made me somehow devour my tiny confidence on understanding the look and life of a normal kiddo, someone who is not teased by one's physical character.

Being Fat or Chubby is not easy; it may also be considered a curse for a society that defines being healthy on a skinny and lean body. As a Kid, I wore adult shirts and shorts. And as a young adult, I wore big size clothes. Despite the enjoyment of being able to wear loose clothes, the threat to my health rang the alarm. I was in second year highschool when the doctor found out that I have a highblood. That was the turning point of my motivation to loose weight.

Although I tried to control my diet and somehow exercised in highschool, it was only in college that I lived the much needed goal to loose weight and lead a healthy life. Well, it's not actually the exercise routines that made me shed some fats, it's the University life's stress. I juggled my academics, personal, family life, and my co-curricular activities.

By the time I graduated in college, I was already 160 pounds. I know, it's still on the obese border, but at least, I lost 20 pounds. I was 180lbs in highschool.

My body is not as stable as others. I sometimes loose weight. But most of the time, I easily gain weight, and I just hate it.

Sometimes I feel envious on people who eat more than what their body needs, but they don't get fat. Too bad, in my case, with a lethargic adrenaline, a few spoons of rice would definitely make me go extra large.

Having realized my body weight and its the unstable and uncooperative fats in my body, I opted to exercise and watch what I eat; I started to loose more weight. From 160 lbs in college, I weighed in at 140 lbs when I started to work in a television network. Yes, blame it again on stress, which I don't think was healthy that time. Plus, grieving for the untimely death of my mom added to my weight loss.

Currently, I can sense that I'm gaining some weight again. I can feel it especially in my tummy area, the hardest part of my body which is so hard to trim and which easily expands. By the look of my recent photos, everything is being confirmed. This paranoia is actually a reality. I weighed in and saw my weight. I'm 70.5 Kilos!

It was only when I worked in the media industry that I started to question the visualization of beauty and being healthy. Surrounded by models, celebrities and even aspiring stars, my life has been influenced to take a spin off toward imbibing what is like to be appealing and head-turning. As I work in the media industry, I dare to lose weight, more, and live up to the level of "sustainable" glamour.

As an impact, I become conscious with the way I look and speak. Coping with my being chubby, I get to manage my fashion sense. I know that wearing black makes a chubby person slimmer. I also realize that putting a V-neck shirt makes me a bit macho and stands out with a longer neck. On top of that, I now know that wearing smaller stripes is better to compliment a slimmer look. Thanks to these guidelines, I'm also to hide the flaws and show off body assets.

Although looking good is a positive attitude, what's not proper is to go extreme in achieving a life that is patterned on superficial icons such as projections or imagery brought by influences of texts and visuals around.

In my 29 years of existence as a chubby person, I must say that the pressure on loosing weight or looking great has become massive over the past years. Having worked in the mass media industry, I realized that the mass media have been shaping the concept of being gorgeous and handsome beyond what Athena and Hercules have positioned from mythology toward real life settings.

As the media presents gym-toned and some science-project made bodies, people like me who are chubby are affected in a way. Moreover, as vanity is propelled by social media such as in the concept of uploading pictures and tagging, the ticket on claiming a passport to the marketable lover's lane has just become tighter. Admit it or not, we now live in a society that weighs on looks rather on values and the greatness of a person's personality. With a society that evolves on instant items - instant noodles, instant coffee, and a lot more- even finding a relationship has just become so impromptu which sometimes led to instant relationships. But of course, only those who are sexy and hot could be able to enjoy a breeze of such instant privilege.

One must not blame the media for the redefinition of beauty and all the brouhaha which affects human interaction and relationships. There are a set of people who work behind a concept. On one hand, Billboard, for example, or whatever form of visual communication channels, can be read in different angles. For vanity's sake, sexy visuals are a reinforcement of a mirrored self. In the fence of homosexuality, visual exhibitions are pleasurable that comforts fantasies and desires. And for a marginalized groups, such spectacle are a reiteration of a discriminating divide in a society. It all varies.

In my opinion, Bench Billboards are a reminder of a society that capitalizes on a web of cultural politics and economics, which somehow sets aspirations for wanna-be's and discriminates who are incapable to undergo surgery or some intense working out in the gym, or for the lack of sports activity. Sad to say, Ido not belong to the group who are gifted with a HOT and YUMMY body. However, thanks to Photoshop, I can be one even in a digital world.

Now, whenever I look in the mirror,just like anyone else, I sometimes confuse myself with the definition of being healthy; and that is by looking physically great without venturing into the core of being a person. This is not only rooted on seeing a billboard. Truth be told, in reference to history, there's the presence of television, radio, print and other forms of mass media that contribute to the psyche of each and every Filipino.

Point is, there's just too much pockets of concepts and channels that define and redefine the concept of beauty and being healthy in the Philippines. Setting aside morality, should the government be serious about identifying a decent or ethical advertising standard, policies should be reviewed and implementation should be stricter. Hence, no billboard shall be put up and eventually be removed after the masses have devoured the feast on sex and sensuality.

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