Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eating a Cookie Doesn't Make You Fat

"I'm such a fattehh!"

"Mmm. Sooo faaat."

"We being fatties!" *laughter*

I hear variations of these every day. And every time I do, I cringe.

How is that constructive? How is calling yourself and your friends 'fat' useful? Does it encourage? Build up? Create comraderie? What? Why do people keep saying things like this?

It bugs me. Because the people calling themselves 'fatties' are never actually overweight. They're eating a cookie, for goodness sake. That doesn't make you fat. If you're eating a cookie, it means you're human. Normal. Possibly hungry. You have a sweet tooth. You're stressed. You're celebrating. It can mean any of these things, but none of these things signify or warrant you calling yourself 'fat.'

Body image is not a bad thing. Knowing what you look like, what styles you look best in, being honest with yourself about you-- none of these things is necessarily detrimental on their own. But when you add that one little word: 'negative', then things change.

When I was younger, people would come up to my mother and exclaim over how skinny I was and tease both of us over whether I actually ate. I didn't really enjoy it then, I still don't enjoy it now. What do you want me to say, guys? "Thank you"? Doesn't seem too appropriate. Or make much sense. Why would I thank you? Being called 'scrawny' isn't exactly a compliment. If they'd said something like "Do you dance/do gymnastics/swim?", thennn we could have a conversation because I did indeed do those things. But calling me a 'beanpole' just makes for awkward pauses.

My mother worked at Stanford Hospital once upon a time on the floor where all the people with eating disorders were admitted. You think she wouldn't notice if I had an eating disorder or was too skinny for my age/gender/height/ethnicity? Eating disorders are something I feel passionately about because they're so prevalent, especially in this culture, with my age group, and especially in this city where I am right now. Negative body image can kill, guys, and it's nothing to joke around about.

Just like drinking alcohol or even having it available at a party can quietly encourage freshies to drink, teasing each other over being fat for eating some ice cream or munching on some crackers is a subtle, maybe even unconscious, thing that can cause others to alter their behavior to fit what they think is the norm.

Heck, it sometimes even makes me feel bad because I'm unrepentant in my cookie-eating. I don't apologize. I mean, why should I? What did I do wrong that necessitates making an excuse? *sighs* Pleasepleaseplease, stop calling yourself fat every time you aren't eating carrots or celery. It's not funny and it's not useful. It is contagious, but like the Black Plague and not like raising money and awareness for some good cause.

Please be careful. Your actions influence others.

No comments:

Post a Comment