OPINION: Leave my weight out of it: from a ‘skinny’ perspective

It’s not unusual for women to feel like going shopping is open season for whoever is around to comment on their bodies, and it’s uncomfortable no matter what side of the scale someone is on. For me, it feels like my weight is a common topic of conversation, and it is especially uncomfortable when I’m not the one who brings it up. 

All within typical conversations, I’ve heard ‘You’re so tiny!,’ ‘Yay! You’re gaining weight,’ and ‘If I didn’t know you, I would guess you are anorexic.’ I’ve grown accustomed to people making a game out of seeing if they can wrap their hand around my arm and how much of an overlap their hand has when it’s wrapped around my wrist. Honestly, most of this is so normal to me that it doesn’t bother me. It just confuses me. 

Because I know many reading this are probably wondering, I weigh close to 100 pounds and the majority of the time I don’t reach triple digits. I stand at roughly five-feet, four-inches. I’m not unusually short for a female my age, but I do weigh a substantial amount less than the average college student at this height. 

However, I can say with confidence that there is not a cause for concern, and those who assume my weight is unhealthy are not my doctor — so it’s not their place to be questioning it anyway.

When I was around a year old, I did not gain weight for a month. My mother was made to feel extremely concerned by my doctor at the time, and my father and her took me to clinics for extensive testing. I was put on a crap ton of PediaSure, and the tests did not show anything of concern. From the very beginning, I was told I am just a smaller person, and for me, that’s my normal. That’s my healthy. 

Throughout most of my childhood I stayed within the fifth percentile in weight.  The chart containing my height and weight always showed a steady curve, and my doctor always told me he would be more concerned if I were to deviate from this pattern. 

I understand that when someone first meets me, my petite frame might be the first thing that catches their eye. However, that doesn’t make the comments any less strange. While I’m not offended by the majority of them, it is a bit uncomfortable to know people think my body is part of a typical conversation. 

It’s unsettling  to think that of all the things that make me myself, my weight is one of the most frequently talked about. I  can only think of a few social gatherings with friends — or even family — where my weight was not mentioned. 

Yes, I am very open about the subject (maybe because I feel as if I have to defend it), but I’m also open about many other things that are arguably way more important.

I love what I’m studying, especially my minor in women’s studies. I have so many places I want to travel and so many things I want to do in the near future. I am a sister to the best dog on the planet. I believe I make the best playlists in the world, and I have a few people to back me up on this. There are so many other things I can talk about other than my weight. 

In case it’s not yet clear, I’m more than a number. And that’s not unique to me — every human has so much more to them than their weight and other factors of their appearance, especially those things that aren’t easily modified or controlled.

Often, an individual's weight comes with a deeply personal story, and it should not be up for discussion from others. Even if one does not mean offense, comments about weight can often stir up negative emotions or — at the very least — uncomfortable feelings. So, why not be safe and just not talk about it? Why not talk to people about things they’re passionate about or just ask about their day? 

I cannot stress enough that I don’t resent every person who has ever commented on my size, and I am well aware that very few comments about my size come out of malice. Many probably come out of places of concern. But, I am not worried, and my doctor is not worried, so nobody else needs to be either. Instead, be concerned about how I’m doing in school or how I recently stepped into a new role at my job. Compliment my curly hair, my smile, whatever — it doesn’t all have to be about my figure.

(1) comment

Joe Motley

Ones 'figure' tells a lot about their overall body condition, it is very important especially when it comes to more serious issues like swelling, cancer, and obesity. It also says a lot about ones physical state which also greatly influences them as a whole just as you said.

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