An Open Letter to Cheryl Burke

11/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dear Cheryl,

I am very upset about all this talk about your weight. In my opinion, you are not only gorgeous (even with the five pounds) but one of the best dancers I have ever seen. With everything that is going on in the world today, it is hard to believe that your five pounds are making such a big splash.

As an eating disorder therapist, I have been trying to help people feel good about their bodies for years. In fact, I wrote an article about how to stop feeling fat several years ago. In the article I talk about ways to make yourself feel better when you are having a fat day. The problem is, however, that unless you are a size 2 or smaller you are considered fat. There seems to be no healthy middle ground. There is "perfect" (which means very thin) or fat. We don't even have words for women at a healthy weight. Fit comes to mind but you can be at a good weight and still not be fit. Svelte, means thin to me, average, medium, normal...

Since the average woman in the U.S. is 5'4" and 142 lbs. (at least from the stats I can find), the average woman in our country would be considered fat. She is having a fat day, everyday.

So who are these people who are jumping all over Cheryl for gaining a few pounds? Women who are way heavier, less successful, and not on TV, I would guess. If we ask men, I doubt many of them would be thinking fat, ugly, awful, but more like hubba hubba and/or where can I sign up?

Our culture/society has a long way to go in its treatment and view of women. We may have gained equality in areas where we weren't even allowed to set foot before, but we have found new ways to keep each other down. We have a woman running for V.P. who is basically against women. Go figure. We have gorgeous and talented Cheryl Burke defending herself on national TV for gaining five pounds. Go figure.

So Cheryl, I am routing for you on DWTS. You are one of the best dancers ever and one of the most beautiful. Thank you for being vocal about these attacks on your weight. By speaking out, by being our beautiful selves (whatever size) we can change things.

All the Best,

Irene Rubaum-Keller