In her response to Katrin Bennhold’s op-ed piece about women’s focus on goals having to do with losing weight rather than climbing the corporate ladder, Erin Gloria Ryan reminds us of the obvious:
Achieving a professional goal requires the cooperation of others— the further away you move from your own body, and the more people who are involved in the achievement of a goal, the greater the chance that someone other than you will fuck it up. Dieting isn’t the reason women don’t succeed, but it’s a sign of popular acknowledgement that the odds are stacked against us. It’s not the disease; it’s the symptom.
It’s much easier to run until you have beastly calves or lift weights until your back looks like the statue of a marble goddess or chain yourself to the Stairmaster until your face is the color of a tomato than it is to convince your dinosaur of a boss that you shouldn’t be an administrative assistant anymore. And until the old fashioned attitudes at the top die off or retire, women will keep setting goals that aren’t completely soul-crushing.
- Erin Gloria Ryan
I agree: controlling your physical weight may seem like a reasonable proposition in the face to trying to control the weight of your professional presence, especially in a world in which if you are woman against whom the numbers are stacked, be they those of pounds or years, you are likely to impress and effect change in the world in an inverse proportion to those same numbers. That is, the heavier and older you are, the more invisible and powerless you appear to be to the guys - and gals - around the boardroom.