Flawed

PBS (I’m the kind of nerd who follows PBS on Facebook) is having this online film festival, an the theme right now is “Girl Power.” Watch this here – it’s 12 minutes of your life you’ll have spent well:

What I love about this short film is that it puts body image into the context of a loving relationship, where two different points of view are represented: the clinical, medical side, where the culture is about One Ideal Form, usually based in health, but crucially NOT ALWAYS based in health, and the artistic, aesthetic side, that celebrates jolie laid or wabi sabi, the idea that beauty lies not in conformation to a perfect standard, like a show dog, but in authentic expression of an individual, necessarily and beautifully different from everything and everyone else.

Or maybe I just like the pictures and the music.

Either way, it’s a compelling story about figuring out the complexities of bodies and what it means to be “perfect” or “flawed.”

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THIGH FAT is made of MAGIC

I’ve mentioned a couple times in my class that I adore thigh fat, and this week one student reminded me to be sure to explain WHY.

Let me start by explaining that not all fat is created equal. Fat stored on different parts of the body has different chemistry and different function.

Belly fat, for example, is highly mobile fat, readily accessed during aerobic physical activity. When your muscles need fat, they call out, “RELEASE THE GREASE!” (as Covert Bailey puts it) and belly fat gallops in like the cavalry. At the same time, the mobility of this fat means that it’s the fat culpable for cardiovascular disease related to triglycerides – they float around in the bloodstream looking for a muscle that needs them, and can accumulate in unwanted ways in the arteries. Belly fat is important and interesting.

But thigh fat. THIGH FAT. Oh.

Thigh fat is your BABY FEEDIN’ FAT. It is stationary. It is long-term storage, a kind of metabolic fall-out shelter, where energy is stored in case of famine, so that no matter what’s happening around a woman, she still has the energy to generate breast milk; even if she’s starving, her baby won’t go hungry.

And that means it’s SAFE fat, too, from a health perspective. Fat on your thighs isn’t implicated in heart disease because it stays put and only under the most dire circumstances does it reluctantly move into the bloodstream.

Oh hey, and a note on cellulite: cellulite is the dimpled skin found in places like the back of the thigh or on the belly. It’s caused by the skin and connective tissue, not by fat; a person can be quite lean and still have cellulite, or have lots of fat and no cellulite. Losing weight rarely reduces cellulite. If you want to minimize it (if you careā€¦), grow more muscle in that area!

So that’s why I love thigh fat. Between thigh fat and cervical mucus, you have two of my favorite biological elements of females.