TRIGGER WARNING: references to body shaming, body size
Today I had to witness some pretty outlandish ideas regarding obesity in one of my sociology classes. To summarize the group presentation, the information presented stated that all obese people suffer from low self-esteem, they have no self-worth, and that they all hate their bodies.
I’m moving around in my seat; I’m restless with annoyance. I’m tapping my finger on my coffee tumbler. I’m taking a sip of coffee; I’m swallowing hard. I’m fidgeting. I’m uncomfortable.
When the group was finished presenting and they gave us a few discussion questions, I felt my hand subconsciously rise immediately. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but I knew I had to challenge them.
I ended up asking them what their thoughts are regarding people who are larger than what society deems “normal” and their ability to be proud of their bodies and happy with themselves. I used Tess Holiday as an example and her online movement #EffYourBeautyStandards.
No one in that group could really answer my inquiry because my question turned their entire project on its side.
Is it really impossible to believe someone who is obese can be happy? Is it really possible someone who is overweight can be happy? Is it really possible that someone who is “average” weight can be happy? Is it really possible that someone who is underweight can be happy?
The size of your body does not determine your self-worth.
This is a statement that I use over, and over, and over again. It is a statement that means so much to me because it is an idea that has taken me so very long to wrap my head around.
I think the whole notion of Body Mass Index or BMI is troublesome. I’m currently in the “overweight” range, yet a few months ago, prior to my Whole30 journey, I would have been in the “obese” category.
Right now, I’m overweight, but I feel healthy. I’m overweight, but I’m able to run, walk, jump, and jog, with no problem. Right now, I’m overweight but I enjoy dressing up in fancy clothes. Right now, I’m overweight, but I feel beautiful. I’m overweight, but I’m happy.
I hate that society is so obsessed with categorizing people and objects. Under almost every circumstance/situation, you will find three categories:
It’s almost as if we are dehumanized, become inanimate objects, and are sorted. We’re like lego pieces. If we are the board, we have the perfect shape, and everyone strives to be like us and fit in with us. If we fit correctly with other lego pieces and on that board, we are okay. If we are the random pieces of lego that don’t fit everywhere [lego heads, food props, wheels, etc.] then we are bad. We don’t serve a real purpose because we cannot connect in the same way as the other lego.
Did I really just use lego as an analogy for society?
The point I’m trying to get across is that we should not be categorizable. We have the capacity to challenge this.
I am somebody’s daughter. I am somebody’s sister. I am somebody’s niece. I am somebody’s cousin. I am somebody’s second-cousin. I am somebody’s granddaughter. I am somebody’s girlfriend. I am somebody’s best friend. I am somebody’s friend. I am a somebody’s employee. I am a teacher’s student. I am a care provider to three cats.
I am a lot of things and none of those things are defined by the size of my body.