Size Matters.

“Jennifer Lawrence is considered fat by Hollywood standards.”
“Kate Upton is obese.”
“What am I? A beached whale?” 

Ever googled street fashion for inspiration? The internet is full of ready-for-the-runway supermodels, and yea, I get that most people want to look at highly fashionable girls, and those with great style usually tend to have the stick-thin bodies of models, but still, where does that leave the in-betweener? The one who’s not fat, but not skinny either? 

Growing up, I was always on the athletic side. I was a swimmer, and that came with a swimmers physique: a broader torso. “Muscular” was the word used. Then I stopped swimming and the muscles faded into flab-land. My best friend is a really athletic guy who used to tease me for my arm flab. He  loved loves squishing it. Hey, I get it, but at 16, that was a little soul crushing (I was/am still a little superficial/vapid enough that I do care). I also attended an all girls’ school through the ages of 7-14. Being surrounded by girls who all had the same slender physique, got a little taxing. I’ve starved myself skinny, puked myself to a flatter stomach and worked out hard to achieve a cellulite free butt… All for what? 
Just so I could look the same as everyone else? 

I thank the gods/stars that at 21, I still have a pretty flawless metabolism, because I pretty much eat as much as Shamu (is that a politically incorrect thing to say?) but I do. Fries at 3am? Bring it. I also drink like a beast. Seriously. I’m 5’2, weigh in at 125lbs (which is a perfectly healthy weight!) and I feel fat. Like all the time. (Mostly because I’m hungry all the time, and as a self-gratifying millennial, I tend to just do whatever I want in the moment and then regret it later.)

Thing is, I like my body. It’s taken me 21 years to say that and actually mean it, but I do. 

I get a little self-conscious now and then, but I like the way I look. My stomach’s pretty flat, my butt’s pretty perky, I don’t have c-cup boobs, but they don’t sag. Yet, every time I tell myself these things, I feel like I’m justifying my body to fit society’s standards.
I used to believe that if I had a hot body, everything in life would be perfect. 
This is an important topic because little girls who are growing into their bodies are growing into them with an idealized Hollywood version of what they should look like. 
It’s worst if you’re asian (which I am) because as the #asianproblems state: “can I get a size smaller? XXS is still too large”. *@$?! {insert whichever crude word you want to here. The explicit message is still the same}

As I get older, I become more aware that girls grow into their bodies. 
Stunting your growth by starving yourself at eleven/twelve/thirteen is not OK. Beyond that, it’s unhealthy. Our perverse obsession with our bodies is unnatural. We should be taught to embrace who we are and be happy with who we are. Instead, we’re bombarded everyday with conflicting images of how we should look. 

While I’m really happy that more and more people are becoming proactive and aware about this problem, I’m also astounded, disappointed and afraid of the way we’re dealing it. While Fat shaming is not OK, Skinny shaming is not OK either. 
What we should be taught besides being happy with our own bodies, is that we are allowed to change ourselves if we’re unhappy without feeling guilty about it. 

This is the message that seems to get lost a lot. 

If you’re unhappy with your weight, by all means, lose it. But do it the healthy way. There are no shortcuts to anything (well, other than to get home, I guess? But y’know, just as the horror movie cliches go, shortcuts often end terribly. Same concept can be applied to life, I feel.) Wanna drop a size? Exercise. Diet in moderation. 

Feeling sluggish? Go on a juice cleanse: just don’t overdo it. 

Unhappy with your nose? Get plastic surgery. Don’t make all these justifications about why you’re doing it because it helps you breathe better or… y’know. Whatever. Don’t do it because society tells you a perfect nose should be like this. Do it because you genuinely believe that it will make you happier. 

I don’t understand the taboo behind changing the way we look to feel better about ourselves, but I liked the way Glee tackled this issue on that episode with Quinn. She changed because it made her happier. She knew what she wanted and she went for it and her life was better. The main point wasn’t “plastic surgery makes everything better” but that she, deep down inside, was happier. 

We shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to do anything to make us happy, ever. 

Which is pretty much my to my point. 

One of my favourite actresses, female comedienne/all around laughter genius, Rebel Wilson, has a clothing line which was pretty controversial several months back, “Not for Skinny Bitches”. 
While I love Rebel to death (her name in itself, is the coolest name alive), her tagline disappointed me because while I get that it’s just a joke, this is still a classic case of “skinny shaming”. 

When did it become not OK to express concern regarding someone’s body weight? When did being slender become a crime? 

Media portrayals are extreme in this sense. While we are taught that big can be beautiful, what they fail to emphasize is that if you’re big and unhealthy, that shouldn’t be encouraged. We shouldn’t be fat-shamed into being skinny because skinny does not equal healthy just as we shouldn’t be skinny-shamed into feeling guilty for being slender. 
What we should be learning is more than just “any size is beautiful”. What we should be learning is that who we are is so much more than just a number on the weighing scale, and who we are should be encouraged, through outward expression, even if it means changing our bodies to fit who we want to be/who we feel we are inside. 

In the LGBT* community, embracing who you are is celebrated, often with great fanfare. 
Trans* people are encouraged to look the way they feel inside
This, I feel, is the main issue that the media should be tackling: that we should be encouraging each other to be happy with our own bodies instead of shaming anyone into being either or b, because in life, there’s always the in-betweener.

Size matters because who we are is being simplified into a number, a dress size or a cliche. There are larger issues being ignored that affect not just the way we look, feel, but behave. This is the ideal that we should be striving towards: recognizing that the current issue is so much more nuanced and complex than just the way we look or feel because it’s not just about physical health, but also mental health. 

 

 

 

*I would like to state that while I know LGBT & Trans are a large umbrella term, I do not feel adequate enough to fully go into detail as I have only information I’ve learnt from a class in university tackling literature in the LGBT community, particularly regarding transgender and transexual emotions and physical operations. I would also like to further state that I mean absolutely no harm and sincerely apologize to all who read this if they felt my usage of these terms were grossly simplified or misused in any way. Please let me know if there are any changes you would like to be made in this regard. 

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2 thoughts on “Size Matters.

  1. Your body isn’t that important. Good friends won’t care about your body. Good men won’t care that much either. The only people who will really care are jerks, and do you really want to torture yourself for the sake of some jerks?

    Plastic surgery, though??? That’s dangerous. Don’t do that.

    The reason why skinny people deserve a little more criticism than fat people is because they think they are healthy when they aren’t. It’s because our society emphasizes “weight loss” so much. I don’t think any fat person actually goes around gloating over how healthy they are.

    You don’t have to be “LGBT” to disregard physical appearance, you know. Disregarding physical appearance is something I was taught as a “Christian”. It’s called being spiritual, and as part of that philosophy I also generally consider LGBT people to lead immoral, sex-obsessed lives. So, let’s not confuse the issue. (But ignore the mainstream Christians who wear fancy suits and makeup. They are not real Christians.)

    (I’m not really a Christian either, technically.)

    • that kinda was my whole point: skinny doesn’t equal healthy and vice versa.
      Our society does emphasize weight loss a lot, but there’s no emphasis on being healthy at all.
      Though I think your saying that “your body isn’t that important” is wrong. Because when you’re healthy, and this applies to both men and women, it doesn’t matter which end of the weight spectrum you’re on. You should care about your body and what you put into it irregardless of whether you’re fat or skinny (and these are the extreme ends).

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