What Should Weight Mean?

Would you rather lose some of your life than be fat?

Almost 50% of the people who took a Yale survey said yes; they would give up a year of their life to be skinny. Think about the implications of this. Our society has become so warped that people would willingly live shorter lives as long as they look better.

In many cultures where the images of what is deemed to be the ideal body type bombard the population, people tend to lose sight of what is important. There is a reason excess weight is regarded as negative:  it can often be a useful indicator as to the quality of our health. But people ignore those implications for purely superficial reasons. In today’s society, body image is placed before personal health and well-being, and that needs to change. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look better to improve one’s self-confidence, but it has gone too far. Many people have become obsessed with being thin and beautiful, and it is painfully apparent in that 24 million Americans have eating disorders.

All over the world, crazy diets crop up — eat celery, drink grapefruit juice, etc. (“Ingest a tapeworm egg”, anyone?) And let’s not mention all the plastic surgery, especially those procedures involving weight loss. Other than the dangers presented by surgery, the obvious drawback is that if a person doesn’t work to lose weight by natural means, how can s/he expect to remain skinny after all of the dangerous and risky surgeries? Studies show that many people are willing to do everything to lose weight except exercise. Exercise has numerous benefits, and a healthy lifestyle increases lifespan. A person doesn’t have to be thin to be healthy, and being thin doesn’t mean a person is healthy.

This was found under the caption “Sexy Women”; not a single model was any larger than this woman until page 18…out of 21 pages.

If a person ever thinks that s/he is in any way over weight, that person should be urged to stop looking in the mirror and wondering how to look better. Instead, a better, more productive thought would be that perhaps the appearance is in some way correlating to how often eating unhealthy foods or skipping exercise occurs. A more positive message would be that as long as the goal of improving the quality of life is being worked on, looks don’t matter.

Women in particular are fed negative messages. As society progresses, women may realize that it is not their duty to be beautiful and/or stick thin. To help facilitate some of this progress, organizations that work with women and girls to teach them that their intelligence and kindness are far more important contributions to the world.

Society has painted a picture of what women are expected to be: classy, respectful, dignified, polite. While it is possible to be all of these things, women are often judging themselves by someone else’s standards, as is often the case with what is the ideal weight. In patriarchal societies, women have been expected to be the caregivers which evolved into the “trophy-wife”. There’s a ridiculously regressive double-standard; men simply have to be talented in order to acquire fame and recognition whereas if a woman wants to get anywhere in this type of culture, she is required to be skinny and gorgeous along with having various other outstanding qualities. This is a poisonous environment, especially for little girls, who grow up thinking that beauty is a necessity for success.

The current on-going “War on Women” continues to focus the need to teach girls and women that outdated concepts should not be forced on us. Women will aspire to contribute to society with our minds rather than our bodies, and we should strive for equal acceptance. That is progress.


Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net