I can’t listen to you hate your body anymore. I just can’t.

You’re smart and beautiful. You’re funny and irreverent. And I can’t sit through one more meal where you barely eat, spend ages discussing your diet and dump on yourself. I don’t care if you feel like you gain weight only in your stomach or your thighs. I don’t want to know how you attempt to feel full on 1,200 calories a day. I hate that women make themselves feel equal by comparing their “problem areas,” or their inability to diet. I hate that my time has to be spent listening to you compare yourself to unattainable ideas of beauty. I’m sorry that you’re 5’2 and 120 pounds, not 6’0 and 120 pounds, but I still think that you’re wonderful and that you should spend some more time appreciating that you’re awesome.

Physical fitness is not a sign of emotional or intellectual achievement. There are many, many women who are size 00 and personally miserable. They have been gamed by a system that has managed to equate personal success with a number on the scale. The people who support this are laughing at you, not with you. They’re laughing all the way to the bank. There is no reason to miss out on life’s joys because you need to count points or haven’t spent enough time on an elliptical.

I am a woman and I want you to give yourself credit for being an intelligent, caring person. I don’t care how much you weigh or how many hours you log in the gym. I think that being happy is more important than being skinny. Happy does taste better than skinny feels, and she pays way less to her psychiatrist.
I may not be model skinny, but I choose to value my best attributes instead of hating my worst. I may be lucky that somehow the world has never made me feel that my physical appearance is all that I have to offer, but I know it for the truth. I will not join in a cycle of self-hate where we sit and compare our dress size and our ability to love low-fat cheese. It tastes like crap, and it is as empty as the delusion that a stick thin body equals personal fulfillment.

I choose to believe that I’m as hot as I am confident. I think that my ability to attract people lies in my sarcasm, my outspokenness, and my bold laugh. I wish that you saw your sense of humour and your smart ideas as the things that drew me to you. I think that we would all decide that personal charisma and intellect are far more attractive than size 0 jeans. I wish that we would condemn those who want to tell us otherwise.

I won’t listen to you criticize yourself anymore. I won’t help by commiserating. I won’t be witness to anymore unwarranted self-hate.

Next time you sit down with me at lunch forgive me for ignoring your lengthy description of how kale is just as good as potato chips. I’m going to ask if you think that NATO intervention in Libya is justified. I’m going to inquire if you saw this week’s Glee and if you also missed Jonathan Groff. Hell, I’ll even talk about the weather.

If I can’t do any of these things, and I space out, forgive me. I’m imagining that I’m congratulating you on a promotion, or a new relationship with a caring person. I’m imagining a world where you value you for yourself. My biggest hope for you isn’t that you lose ten pounds, it’s that you achieve intellectual and emotional self-fulfillment. I hope that you’re imagining the same for me.