Why Weight Shouldn’t Be Equated With Beauty

Why Weight Shouldn't Be Equated With Beauty

It seems to be a life long struggle for most people in modern-day society to claw their way up the insurmountable mountain that is beauty standards. Like all other animals, humans’ bodies are wired to want the best mate- to have children that will survive with ease. But, unlike most animals- we have a centralized and ungraspable idea of “society” that pushes those ideas further than other species. It’s become a constant struggle for people to reach the peak of what society deems acceptable, and for those who can’t- it oftentimes affects their mental health. One of the biggest scams of the beauty industry, in particular, is that they’ve convinced the entire world that weight has anything to do with beauty.

People can achieve every single facet of beauty, but if they’re overweight- all of their efforts will amount to nothing. The morals and ideals that society has placed in the minds of everyone have cultivated a culture that thinks it’s okay to demonize people just for the simple fact that they hold more weight on their bodies than others. These attitudes have made overweight people have to deal with being considered ‘less than’. Not only is this ideology based on judgment and pride, but it also has a severe negative mental effect on those who are placed in front of the appraising eyes of society. “It’s hard to stay confident while also eating food in a healthy way and maintaining a proper diet because when I ate the amount I was supposed to it still felt like I wasn’t losing weight fast enough so eventually I just stopped eating. It was really hard,” Katie Downey, Cass High School Junior said, ” “I had to come to terms with the fact that my body has a set weight that it was supposed to be and I had to understand that my body was going to maintain that weight so I should be comfortable with that instead of trying to change myself for society. It came to the point that the way I went about it was unhealthy and it got really scary. And it’s still a hard process but I’m finally on my way to understanding that I’m beautiful the way I am.”

Many overweight adults and children suffer from eating disorders and body dysmorphia due to the constant watchful eye of those who should have no say in their lives. Children shouldn’t have to go through the trauma of hearing their parents telling them they need to lose weight. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, there are people who are told they are ‘too skinny’, “Growing up and having people constantly tell me that my weight was never adequate has been hard. I’d have people comment on my weight even as a six-year-old, because Hispanic culture values more round cheeks, or a more curvy body- and those were things I didn’t have anymore. It was hard growing up because my parents didn’t teach me how to love myself but rather they taught me how to make others love me,” Selma Sanchez, Cass High School Senior. People of any age shouldn’t have to go through the scrutiny of the diet industry. People shouldn’t think of their selves as ‘less than’ because the only way to be beautiful is to be skinny.  Selma continued on to say, “It’s also hard because I have ADHD, and people with ADHD are four times more likely to have an eating disorder. My eating disorder started when I’d look in the mirror and hated what I saw. It was always a control type of thing, and I know that it’s contradicting because I’ve always wanted to gain more weight- but food was the only thing I could control and it was hard habit to get out of.”

An age-long argument against body positivity is that ‘it’s not healthy to be overweight’ but that’s just an excuse for people to put their noses where they don’t belong. There are people out there whose genetics have made them the weight they are, and it has nothing to do with health. “Growing up, I was taught that to be a nice person, I had to be skinny. Of course, that’s not true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s completely subjective. If I was told that from the beginning, I would’ve grown to be a completely different person. People change over time, and ideas change- for the better hopefully. When I was young, it was all uniform beauty.” Says Cass High Senior, Trevor Howard. And even if someone is overweight because they’re unhealthy, that has nothing to do with anyone else. Bodily autonomy means that everyone has the right to do with their body what they please. It’s all a guise to hide the true intentions of fat-shaming. ” If you didn’t fit into that- you couldn’t be beautiful. Once you realize that it’s all a lie, and that beauty comes in every shape, size, and color, that’s when you finally become you. Of course, it’s always hard to stay confident- and I think it’s a constant struggle because of what’s been ingrained in us- but it’s a struggle you have to keep fighting.” Trevor finished.

Overweight people aren’t the only ones this issue affects though. Many people- teens especially- suffer from body dysmorphia and eating disorders even if they fit society’s standards because people have begun to cling to unachievable standards. “With my body dysmorphia, it’s sometimes even hard to leave the house. I’ll be almost ready to leave and then I’ll see myself in the mirror and hate what I see. Sometimes I’ll even have an outfit picked out from the night before that I liked, but in the morning I’ll decide that I need to cover up more- to hide the body that I have. Even if my clothes are baggy it’s not enough, I’ll add layers to hide myself. It makes me really susceptible to eating disorders, especially when you’re already stressed. The only solution my brain could come up with would be to stop eating for about a week, but by the time you feel comfortable with your weight- you’re starving and you have to binge eat, and then it’s a cycle of self-hatred. I’ll never be able to look at food without feeling confident. It’s been a long journey and it’s one I’m still on, but every day I’m working on my confidence,” Says Isabel Navarro, Cass High School Senior.

On the other side of the spectrum, many people also believe that there is such a thing as being “too skinny”. Children and adults alike are forced to hear ill-willed jokes and judgments without being able to react simply because they’re not ‘overweight’. But both experiences are valid, and it’s an experience that shouldn’t have to be had.

All in all, weight shouldn’t even be part of the discussion of beauty. Not only does it have a negative effect on those who are targeted by the ideology that weight should be equated with beauty, but it also cultivates negative personality traits within those using that same ideology as a weapon for hatred. People are beautiful as they are, and anyone who comments on other people’s looks need to reevaluate their life choices.