Advice found lightweight


January 03, 1993|By SUSAN DIETZ

Q: I have read the letter from Penny and the comments of your readers. I believe she should not lose the weight and that she is a woman with a heart of gold. She is the sort of woman I would like to show off to my friends, and in my eyes she is a 10.

A: You are not alone. My mail has been top-heavy with letters -- mainly from men -- stating that I made a major blunder by advising her to lose her extra poundage, and that weight alone is not a turnoff. What matters is the person within, and on that score Penny is a winner. Read on.

Q: Usually I enjoy reading Single File, because I find your advice wise and full of guidance.

However I did not like your response to Penny a few weeks back. She appears to be a young woman who is overweight, and your advice was rather harsh, suggesting she lose weight and face the "thin woman" inside. Such a cruel blow to a woman's ego and spirit.

Penny sounds like a wonderful person with a caring heart and a good spirit. In Ireland, men are not so blind as to live by your absurd American standard of movie star beauty. No, it is the heart and the goodness of a woman that matters.

I find it very strange how American men look down on a woman because she is not size 5. In fact, anorexia is a dangerous disease many women here face.

This adolescent approach found in 25-year-olds is disheartening. an Irishman, it is the character that matters because bodies grow old and wizened, but not the soul of true love.

Penny, keep your chin up.

Q: I have noticed that for all letters from a "person of size" you have a stock answer about how fat people "overeat" for psychological reasons and must lose weight in order to be attractive to the other sex. Well, perhaps you should look to yourself and your own prejudice in this department.

Specifically, your response to Penny B. in San Antonio bothers me: Here is a wonderful woman who every day tries to make people smile. She has at least found enough self-respect to realize she no longer has to change herself to please men. And all you say in return is that turning off the other sex is a "fact of life" if you are big.

Well, I hope not everyone thinks like you. I wish everyone had the priorities as Penny does of being the best they can be, and being sincere, loving and fun to be with instead of obsessed with how they appear.

A: I hear your message -- that weight is not the measure of a person. That truth comes across loud and clear (and it's often the students who teach the teacher) but there is one point left unaddressed here . . . extra poundage is only unimportant if the person under it feels good and confident about herself. If that weight saps self-confidence and brings insecurity, then it needs attention.

Still, message received.

Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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