I’m finally speaking up.

I really should be writing some paper right now. It is finals week after all, however, there is a certain type of article that I keep seeing all over the internet and it is driving me totally insane. Can I just ask; why is EVERYONE so concerned about weight? Not just their weight, but the weight of the people around them as well. I have scrolled down my Facebook news feed several times today and each time I have noticed an article related to celebrity weight gain or weight loss. WHO CARES?

Here is a list of the problems I have with the weight discussion:

  • It is harmful to a person’s self image. Every single person (that’s right, skinny people too). Period.
  • It is ESPECIALLY harmful to developing teens who are still trying to be their own person.
  • That person that you just ridiculed? They might love their body or they might have put up a big fight to get to that weight.
  • Everything is okay until someone starts criticizing your weight… HELLO this should make you realize that the people you talk about feel the same way! 
  • There are more pressing issues at hand, like the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria, or the boat full of students which sunk, or how awesome your dog is. Literally any other conversation is more worthy of your time.

I could go on and on about why I hate the discussion on weight, but what is the point? The conversation is like the elephant in every room. People are always thinking about it. We wonder why our youth are so self conscious and why they are constantly promoting themselves online, but we haven’t thought to examine the conversations surrounding them. They feel that if they can post a photo on the internet and get a certain amount of likes, they are pretty/handsome. Why do they think that way? Because society tells them to. Even their doctors contribute to this conversation. I would know this first hand. Doctors are still using the BMI to determine if a person’s weight is healthy or not, but this method has been proved ineffective! 

My sophomore year of high school I went in for a routine check up. My doctor of course took my height and weight. After putting this through a BMI calculator, I had been placed in the obese category. I was 5’5″ at 145lbs. The problem with this is that the calculator doesn’t account for the difference between fat mass and muscle mass. I was a three season, three sport athlete. I was running every single day after school. I was healthy and in great shape. Sure, I didn’t eat all that well. I was a typical teenager, but I was fit. If you had stepped back and looked at me then, you would think they were crazy to call me obese. Despite the obvious, my doctor recommended that I “go on a diet” and “get more exercise.” I remember leaving that appointment feeling ashamed, ugly, and it really effected my self esteem. As a 15 year old girl, that was really hard for me to hear, even though I knew that I was perfectly fine. The doctor had a slightly different conversation with my twin sister. She stands at a whopping 4’11” still weighing about 90lbs. The doctor intensely questioned her about an eating disorder. My sister eats more food than anyone I know. She is far from having an eating disorder. She simply has a naturally quick metabolism. She looks completely healthy when you look at her. The number on the scale doesn’t mean nearly as much as we all think it does. The number of that BMI truly doesn’t mean anything at all. She became really self conscious about being too skinny as I had become self conscious about being too fat. 

These conversations happen every day in doctor’s offices across America and it is a problem! Not only is society telling our youth that they need to look a certain way, but our medical professionals are backing it up. This is why we have high rates of depression, suicide, and eating disorders. We are putting too much stress on ourselves and ESPECIALLY our youth everyday to fit a mold that we cannot possibly all attain.  

Do yourselves, and everyone around you a favor, talk about something besides weight for once. 

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About kscoughlin2013

I'm a full time college student studying English Literature and Secondary Education, a part time dreamer, and occasionally I write a decent poem or take an okay picture.
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