Victoria’s Secret models

Student-athlete: “I want to get rid of my belly fat.”

Me: “Well, even the most fit people usually have some belly fat if they’re not flexing.”

Student-athlete: “Victoria’s Secret models don’t.”

Boy, high standards.

Yes, I suppose Victoria’s Secret models, at a particular point in the year, dehydrate and deprive themselves enough so they have almost no visible belly fat. For one night each year we can collectively celebrate an impossible standard of beauty. For the other 364 days we can shame ourselves for not having it.

Having some fat on your belly used to be a status symbol: “I have enough food to eat.” A flat belly indicated poverty, and hence, low status.

In a world with plenty of food a flat belly is the new status symbol: “Even though I could eat food, I don’t.” Belly fat indicates a (false) sense of self-mastery, and hence, high status.

Once you realize the absurdity of chasing this sort of status–really knowing it in your body–you can give it up. Then, you never have to lay on the ground doing ab exercises again, because you don’t need to feel a burn in your mid-section to tell yourself a better story about your status.

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