Monday, March 16, 2009

McCain Wins

I just want to give props to my favorite McCain, Meghan, who wrote this straightforward response to Laura Ingraham's commentary on McCain's weight. (McCain criticized Ann Coulter for her, well, Ann Coulterness; Ingraham then criticized McCain on her radio show for her attack on Coulter -- and, in doing so, made a total non-sequitur reference to her weight. Which is, for the record, a healthy one.)

One thing I'd like to note, though, is that this is widely being seen as a critique of McCain's weight -- which Ingraham undoubtedly intended it to be. But what she actually said was that McCain was too heavy to be a contestant on The Real World. Putting aside the general ridiculousness of using anybody's supposed unsuitability for The Real World as an insult, this isn't a critique of McCain's weight; it's a vocalization of the sheer facts. McCain, simply by being a normal-sized adult woman (at a self-proclaimed size 8, she's still smaller than the average), probably is too heavy to be in contention for the "hot chick" role on those sort of shows, in the same way that most plus-size models are actually too slender to gracefully wear plus-size clothing. (Industry standard for plus-size models is size 12; Lane Bryant sizes begin at 14.)

I'm sure that Ingraham had zero intention of semi-critiquing size standards in the media, but in a way that's what she did. The insult wasn't "You're fat," it was "You're too heavy to be on reality TV." (It could also be read as a notation on why one's suitability for television is the beauty standard, or the ridiculousness that anybody's real body could be considered too big for "reality" TV.) No credit goes to her, though; I'm saving that for McCain. I love how she consistently kept the focus on Ingraham and the ridiculousness of her comments, instead of falling for the bait and wailing about how she's not really fat at all. She also took the opportunity to note that even though she wasn't overweight, that didn't matter; it's the critique that's wrongheaded, no matter the size of the target body.

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