“It’s What’s Inside that Counts” – it’s funny how this phrase only seems to exist in Western cultures. Western society wants us to think that concentrating on a person’s outward appearance is shallow. They wants us to imagine that the heavy-breathing 300 pound lady in front of you in the Walmart checkout line with a cart full of cheesies has a really good personality, not in terrible health, and that having a baby with her wouldn’t be the biggest mistake of your life. A less extreme example would be Kim Kardashian’s giant butt on the cover of Playboy Magazine. Somehow this is now deemed beautiful in our society.
We have forgotten why being fit and attractive is so important. Outward appearance is a key factor when choosing an ideal mate. Silky smooth skin, shiny hair, clear white eyes, above average height, muscular guys, shapely women – all these physical attributes indicate that the individual is healthy and less likely to have a disease. Choosing such a mate is a wise choice as your offspring will also mostly likely be genetically fit, strong, and able to pass down your genes to the next generation.
The “ideal” body type of the American women has changed dramatically since the 1950s. Just look at Playboy Magazine in the 50s, 60s, and 70s – all the girls quite slender and ladylike. Fast-forward to today and we get to look at Kim Kardashian’s big fat oily butt. Gross.
What happened? How come the Western standard of beauty went from slender and fit to big fat oily butts? How come over 60% of American and Canadians are terribly fat? Not just a few extra pounds, but a very obvious weight problem. Did our standard of beauty change just because most of the people around us are fat and by changing the standard we’re making them feel better about being fat?
That could be part of it. But I believe there is a deeper explanation.
You’re fat because big corporations want you to be fat. They want you to pay dollars for Pepsi that cost pennies to make. They want you to balloon up to some monstrous weight, encounter numerous diet-related health problems, then pay pharmaceutical companies for drugs that help you with your long laundry list of ailments. You pay one group of corporations to make you sick, then you pay another group to make you not sick. It’s a beautiful cycle of you handing out your hard-earned money to filthy rich corporations that profit off you being in a constant state of disease.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb sums this idea up quite nicely in his book Antifragile:
“Have you noticed that while corporations sell you junk drinks, artisans sell you cheese and wine? […]The problem of the commercial world is that it only works by addition (via positiva), not subtraction (via negativa): pharmaceutical companies don’t gain if you avoid sugar. […]Now consider companies like Coke or Pepsi, which I assume are, as the reader is poring over these lines, still in existence—which is unfortunate. What business are they in? Selling you sugary water or substitutes for sugar, putting into your body stuff that messes up your biological signaling system, causing diabetes and making diabetes vendors rich thanks to their compensatory drugs. Large corporations certainly can’t make money selling you tap water and cannot produce wine […]. But they dress their products up with a huge marketing apparatus, with images that fool the drinker and slogans such as “125 years of providing happiness” or some such. I fail to see why the arguments we’ve used against tobacco firms don’t apply—to some extent—to all other large companies that try to sell us things that may make us ill.”
So why has the Western standard of beauty changed? It’s changed because big corporations paid lots marketing dollars to make you think that being overweight is not only not a big deal, it’s beautiful!
And if you don’t think so then you, my friend, are ridiculously shallow. In fact, you should feel so bad for being so shallow and thin that your best bet would be to eat a tub of ice cream and get fat like all the other “normal” people. If you eat enough you’ll be on the cover of Playboy.