Few women of my generation didn’t, at some point or another, list losing weight as one of their New Year’s resolutions. While we didn’t have Instagram models with impossibly glamorous lives constantly reminding us that you could actually be too rich and too thin, our magazines were rife with ‘Ten Tips to Slimming Down in 10 Days’ and similarly audacious titles. No one ever spoke about health, just about the numbers on the scale. Weight must be one of the only areas in existence where your value seemingly increases as your volume decreases.
It would sadly seem that our younger generation has inherited this issue, as a recent global study found that one in ten girls under the age of 18 have taken diet pills, weight-loss supplements, or laxatives to control their looks in the last year. I’d like to say that I’m shocked and surprised, but that would mean that I’m living under a rock. Everywhere you go, the message is consistent: the world is your oyster only if you’re young and, well, thin (it also helps you to be white, but that’s another topic for another day). Everyone else is invisible.
It’s ridiculous if you really think about it. Here we are on a dying planet, surrounded by people killing babies over borders, and the most many of our teens seem to feel they have to offer the world is a slim physique. How did we get to a place where one of the ‘ugliest’ things you can call someone is fat?
There are so many worse things you can be – like unkind, cruel, malicious, and selfish – these are all things within a person’s control, but a slow metabolism isn’t. Being fat or thin doesn’t make a person better or worse; it’s just another characteristic, like having brown eyes or blue. It’s so miserable that little girls everywhere are waking up every morning and hating themselves enough to ingest pills that may have long-term, adverse side effects on them.
Instead of commenting on people’s bodies like it’s 2003, maybe you could ask them about the last book they read or show they watched. Or if you’re really stuck and have no hobbies, you can do what the English have done for hundreds of years and speak about the weather. Unless there’s been a hurricane that has maimed people, that shouldn’t keep anyone up at night feeling empty. You may not see it, but how you speak about others says a lot more about you and your value system than it ever will about them.
Weight has never and will never determine worth.