December 21, 2004, - 1:42 pm

2004: Fat Chicks, Good; Big Guys, Bad

By Debbie Schlussel

2004’s message was big women are good; big men, not so good.

True, this PC-conventional wisdom was gaining strength before 2004.  But this year, social commentators told us so:

Fat chicks are good, no matter how many unnecessary calories they consume.  But, wealthy, big male athletes are bad–very bad–because they ingest steroids.

The hypocrisy should be alarming.  But in a world where movie stars can call their kids the names of fruit, but America’s major department store can’t utter the name of America’s major holiday, wrong is right, and right is wrong.

That’s exactly why those who can’t control themselves at the buffet are heralded, but those who take chemicals to enhance their athletic prowess are scum.

But what really is the difference?  For one thing, compare the number of pro athletes who’ve died from taking steroids to the number of Americans who’ve died from obesity or related conditions, cancers, maladies, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

The only pro athlete who comes to mind as hitting rigor mortis early from steroids is former NFLer Lyle Alzado.  But how many Americans have died from caloric over-endowment?  A heck of a lot more.

Yet, instead of outrage over the calorically-gifted segment of the populous and their addiction to muffins and Krispy Kremes, we’re supposed to be upset about Jason Giambi, Bill Romanowski (who isn’t even playing football anymore), Marion Jones, and Barry Bonds.

Are you upset about them?  The media, pop culture, and everyone else is telling you to be angry.

At the same time, they’re asking you to cheer on the fact that there are stores for the size 16 plus set.  Chain stores, like Torrid, growing with the ever-expanding girth of their female customers.  There’s nothing torrid about size 20, not even lukewarm.  Frigid would be a better store name.  But, no, the chain of halter-tops and thongs for the five-chinned, ten-bunned segment of the population has to fool its pathetic customer into believing someone actually wants to see her in that hammock-sized version of Victoria’s Secret fare.   Does hip super-sized clothing encourage fat chicks to lose weight?  Or does it say fat is fab (as opposed to what it really is, flab)?

A recent outing by plus-size “supermodel” Emme with her group of fat chick buddies included a screening of the movie “Curves,” a celluloid celebration of cellulite.  Afterwards, Emme complained that real supermodels (the thin kind) aren’t called “minus-size models.”  How punny.

But those who jump on the anti-steroid bandwagon are full of hypocrisy.  Not just about fat chicks.

There are also the sagging remnants of the bra-burning feminist crowd.

When it comes to abortion and sex, they insist that it’s a woman’s body, and only she can decide what she does with her body.  Yet, mention male athletes on steroids, and the mantra strangely disappears.

On a recent episode of MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” (on which I appeared), steroids was the topic of discussion.  One half of cable’s Dr. Berman sex show duo (two sisters use their “doctor” degrees to make their sex yenta-fest seem high-brow) insisted that “the government must get involved” to stop pro athletes’ use of steroids.

Gee, isn’t it the MAN’s body?  Doesn’t HE and HE alone get to decide what HE wants to do with HIS body?  If we were talking abortion and women, the Dr. Berman chick wouldn’t hear of the government legislating human biology.

Silly me, wrong gender, right message.

Then, there are those who say we can’t compare the records of today’s baseball players with those of the olden days of the Fifties and Sixties.  USA Today wasted important op-ed real estate, last week, on a writer arguing this point.  Call these people the “asterisk” crowd, because they want an asterisk next to any sports record of significance, circa 1980 and beyond.

But anyone who knows anything about baseball today versus baseball of yesteryear knows that the hits of Mickey Mantle can’t be compared to the hits of Barry Bonds, anyway.

Newsflash:  Since the days of Mickey, the bats are lighter, the balls are made of higher, tech, lighter materials, and the fences have been moved in.  If you don’t believe those things all make it easier for a Sammy Sosa or Mark Mcguire to hit it out of the ballpark, then I have a baseball team from Montreal, by way of Washington, DC, to sell you.

Players in Mickey Mantle’s day didn’t have personal trainers, high-tech physical fitness equipment, nutritionists, and masseurs.  They drank a lot (like Mantle), they ate slothfully, and caroused ‘til all hours of the night.

Yet, Mantle hit 52 homeruns in 1956.  In 1953, the National League homerun king was Eddie Matthews with 47 runs.  In 1951, Ralph Kiner hit 42 homeruns.

Imagine how many home runs they might have hit in those days with the modern day accoutrements and conditioning of pro athletes.  Those are methods of  “cheating,” too.

Sure, steroids are a drug, harmful to the body.  Sure, using them is cheating.  But even caffeine fits that bill.  Are we going to call in the government to regulate usage of that, too?

If President Bush and John McCain are ready to regulate steroid use, they’d better start in the kitchen.  Can they take the heat?

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