The Terrible Toos (Too Fat, Too Poor, Too Old…)

Too this, too that. Theatrical, but moving. Might bring tears.


Watching Jade Beall’s TED talk on body hatred recalled for me the general problem of human suffering described by John Koller in Asian Philosophies (2007, p. 9, fifth edition):

Two fundamentally different approaches to the problem of suffering are possible. Both approaches recognize that suffering is the result of a gap between what one is and has, and what one wants to be and wants to have. The solution to the problem seems obvious: what is and what is desired must be made identical.

But how can this identity be achieved? One approach to the solution is to try to attain what one desires. […] The second approach consists in adjusting one’s desires to what one has.

I especially like the phrase, “what is and what is desired.”

Grasp or let go.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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4 Responses to The Terrible Toos (Too Fat, Too Poor, Too Old…)

  1. Alan says:

    I am reminded of a poster in the early seventies with shadow-casting silhouettes of Nixon/Agnew and the caption: “When small men cast long shadows, it’s a sure sign the sun is setting”

    So I guess here, it’s trivial problems casting large angst. What is needed is direction and motivation to focus their attention on their potentials of useful, productive achievement.

    • Santi Tafarella says:


      I don’t think women’s lives–and body image’s impact on them–is a trivial problem.

      We’re all small in the large scheme of the cosmos, tiny figures casting long shadows on our way to sunset (death). That’s what it means to be human.

      But the way you said this puts me in mind (today) of the Tea Party and climate change denialists, not women trying to shift the culture on body image.

  2. Alan says:

    If they focused on climate change (a problem driving world catastrophe), they would forget about their self imagined problem of body image.

    • Alan says:

      Perhaps I should have said self-created to be more clear – self imagined could be understood as not real. Due to our free will, much of human reality is self imagined as a step in the creation process, to include language and society itself.

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