So after last months random post, Sexism in the modern world, for November I wanted to talk about weight and body shaming. Yes, I know, contentious subject! I’ve always felt like I haven’t got a right to talk about weight because I’m skinny but that is part of the problem.
I have never been overweight, not really because I’ve made much effort not to be, I eat what I want and I don’t exercise. So I’ve probably put you off straight away right? But the reason I have never been overweight is that anytime I’m putting on weight my Ulcerative Colitis tends to flare up, kicking my arse and causing weight loss due to a loss of appetite and severe, chronic diarrhoea. So yeah, weight gain can be a struggle. I’m about 5’6 and my latest flare saw my weight plummet to 6st 8lbs, since then I’ve been struggling to get back to a healthy weight and I still only weigh 7st 7lbs with a BMI of 16.9.
My mum always tells me that people would kill to be my weight, as if somehow that should make me feel better about the fact that I feel weak all the time, I can’t sleep or bathe comfortably because of being bony and none of my clothes fit. It probably sounds really petty to people who are struggling with being overweight and I constantly feel ashamed if I complain. And that is the wider problem, shame.
I’ll never understand why we’re constantly being made to feel bad about our weight. While I was ill, I was continuously being told how skinny I was, for some reason it became okay for everyone to comment on my weight, or look at me with those concerned eyes. I had no control over how skinny I was and I found myself wanting to gain weight just to appease everyone else. Why is it okay to point out people’s weight? Why are magazines and websites full of articles telling celebrities they’re either too fat or too skinny? What message are we sending to kids?
Yes a healthy weight is important, I’m always striving to get my BMI to a healthy range but why do I have to feel bad that I’m not? I always wonder, if I put on 7st overnight (I know that’s not possible!) would I then have to put up with people thinking I’m now too fat? Can I ever win? I bought a dress recently, I ended up with a size 6 but when I tried it on in the shop they only had a size 4. The size 4 was a little tight, but it fit me. I felt so ashamed that even if the 4 had fit me perfectly I probably wouldn’t have bought it…just because it was a size 4. And why do I feel like that? Because apparently we all must always be constantly obsessed and ashamed of our weight.
Weight shaming is directed at men and women, overweight and underweight people, people who are too curvy or just don’t fit right in a particular shops clothes (which is entirely down to the design and nothing to do with you!). When people’s weight is being considered no one seems to take in to account any health problems or emotional problems. Why are people judged on their weight instead of their personality, their abilities? I look at pictures of myself and the first thing I think is do I look too skinny in it. I can’t help feeling judged all the time by everyone. I always feel like my weight becomes more important than anything else. And this is how people develop such an unhealthy relationship with their own bodies.
Yes be as healthy as you can, but don’t ever be ashamed about your weight and don’t ever make anyone else feel ashamed either. Yes, be concerned about your own health and others but don’t make that concern turn into blame.
Have you ever experienced weight shaming?