This sentence has nothing to do with body image, but I find it interesting how I have a lot more things to blog about and a lot more going through my head when I am in school versus when I am at home during the summer. I guess education really is etherializing (as President Worthen would say).
Anyways, one of those things I was thinking about is body image. I have actually been thinking about it off and on for several years, but I am finally getting around to writing about it.
And I read this quote that I found very interesting. It comes from a website called Humans of New York, which is this guy who goes around photographing random people in New York and then interviews them about life. But right now he is on a world tour thing, so he is taking pictures of people all over the world and interviewing them. So this quote is from his recent interview with an overweight lady in India:
“You really have to battle to separate your self-image from your weight. Because weight is always the first thing that somebody sees. Somebody will see you after a few years, and their first comment is about the weight you’ve put on. Maybe I’ve become a better person these last few years. Maybe I’ve been a great friend to someone. Maybe I’ve read a lot of books and become smarter. Maybe the reason I’ve put on weight is that I’ve got a great job that can be stressful and doesn’t leave me time to go to the gym.”
I just found that really profound. I know that I obviously do not deal with being overweight, but I deal with the other end. People always comment on how small or young-looking I am. And yeah it probably is easier to deal with being called “cute” or “little” every day of your life than being called “ugly” or “fat,” but that doesn’t take away the fact that it is your appearance being addressed.
(Note: I am not writing this post because I have been offended or because I necessarily struggle with my body image. Typically I write about things like this because I like to observe social trends and think about their implications and application to my own life.)
I used to loathe being called cute/little/young/small/short, but pretty much ever since I started college, I have accepted it as part of my identity. I don’t even bother to separate my self-image from my weight because it is not possible for me. My weight is not the only part of my self-image, but it does contribute to who I am. Since accepting that fact, it is kind of fun to see how people react to a college student who looks like she is 14.
Another thing I have been thinking about is the way I think about body image. While I used to get upset with people calling me short all the time, I never really took it as a blow to my self esteem. It was more me getting upset that all people can comment on is appearance. Like their minds are so shallow that the only conversation topic they can come up with is what they see in front of their face.
[Sorry if that seemed a little harsh, but I personally would much rather talk about books I read, or skills I worked on, or philosophical topics I have been thinking about, or religion, or technology, or pretty much any other topic besides appearance (and the weather and TV shows/movies). Also, I recognize that this is something I need to work on as well.]
I think the reason why I never took it as a blow to my self esteem is because the way I was brought up. I have a mother who rarely talks about her own appearance. And I honestly think that is the number one reason why I have always been able to shake off derogatory comments about my body image. And also the number one reason why I don’t really care about getting my nails done, or dying my hair, or figuring out new make up techniques, or buying expensive clothes.
And I’m not saying that those things are bad, I’m just saying that I have other priorities. For example, I would rather spend money on fabric to make my own clothes. And I would rather sleep in or exercise than do my hair and makeup every morning.
So there are my thoughts on body image that I have been pondering for years now. My purpose is not to offend anyone, but really just to share my own observations and conclusions. (But as my teacher would say, the end goal is really to be remembered. Whether someone loves you or hates you, you were remembered.)
And while we’re at it, here are my first and last Facebook profile pictures to prove that I have in fact aged since the time that I was 14 (although not much :)).