13 May 2005

250 Words About Body Image

At Home Depot today, I stood in line listening to my iPod (because that’s what I do when shopping now) waiting for the clerk to ring my items. When she got to my things she was chipper and focused. As I swiped my card, though, she stared at me and frowned.

“Oh, to be so skinny,” she said still holding the frown. “I was once as skinny as you but not any more. It’s a shame.”

A shame? What was I supposed to say? She was not incredibly overweight. But even if rolls of fat bulged from her body in such an unhealthy way that it was a shame, what would I say: “Yeah, you’re right. That is a shame”?

Of course, she had no idea if I had weight issues. I’ve known very small women who would give anything to have their weight back; they were thinning because of an illness. Or what if I had an eating disorder? Then wouldn’t that be the real shame?

The woman probably assumed her statement was complimentary to me. Her idea of complimenting me was to put down herself. Now that is a shame!

Why do we compare ourselves to each other? Why is our self-esteem so low that we publicly deprecate ourselves? Should we make comments about people’s weight at all? I can think of so many times I’ve heard people comment on some girl’s “big butt” or “fat rolls” or “tight abs” or “skinny legs.” Surely the world offers greater concerns to mention.


St.Phransus said...

The summit began early, all the leaders were eating pastries and sipping coffee waiting for another day of "peace and reconciliation" talks to begin.

The US diplomat had been to these things throughout his career. He knew nothing would be solved. He simply came for the coffee, the pastries and to get out of the house for a few days.

With a cream filled bagel stuffed in his mouth he spied the diplomat from Tanznia. The diplomat came in his direction. With a smile and not quite knowing what to say, the US representative said, "Oh to be skinny like you."

The diplomat, not blinking an eye nor gleaning a smile, said, "You can't. Your country's too rich."

Kami Rice said...

Nice, st.phransus.

And, Ciona, I'm glad to see you bringing together your writing group world and your blogging world. ;-) I resonate well with your 250 Body Image words.

And, by the way, we really need to get our topic for Sunday's assignment. :-) Where's Tom hiding out?

Gwynefere said...

Another great blog my dear! And speaking from someone who is also on the "I wish I were skinny like you side", I have issue with the word skinny. I don't like it. To hear someone say to me "You are sooo skinny" makes my skin crawl. Who deemed that ok anyway? I don't walk up to people and say "You are sooo fat". I realize there are few Americans out there wishing they were fat and far too many who are literally dying to be thin. But hitting me with a half insult/half compliment is not getting us any closer to accepting the bodies God gave us.

Anonymous said...

Weight was never a real problem for me. I wish I had never made it a problem for others, but I have surely made that insensitive comment at least 10 times to someone somewhere at a Home Depot or Harris Teeter or even in church (Lord, forgive me!)

Oh, as in the Book of James 3: 7-10, "All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man (or woman) can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men (and women), who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. People, this should not be!"

This should not be! The road to hell is paved with good intentions! I thought I was complimenting, but perhaps I was "cursing" some young girl who may have been bulimic and thought that because I took notice of her body, which she already may have been consumed with, that she was really fat when she was perfectly fine. What if she went home and purged herself! What if in the midst of it she had a heart attack! What if she died! Oh, no! I may have been an accomplice in a murder. OKAY! My imagination takes over sometimes!

BUT, I still need to think before I speak to insure that my "blessings" are not "curses" in disguise.

Thanks for the enlightenment! God bless you as you bless others!

MethodX said...

Yes, I too have received that comment many times. And it's made me think, they don't say "Oh to be asian like you", or "oh to be brunette like you". It's just as awkward to be "complimented" with my weight as it is to be criticized for it. - Julie O.