The calm at the center of a pearl

January 16, 2008

For love of — anorexia?

Filed under: Journaling — kyraninse @ 2:58 pm

I’ve been reading Utne. The Jan/Feb issue for 2008 has a couple of articles on obesity and prejudice and yada yada yada.

I’m a psych major. I should know better — but I don’t.

It has been scientifically documented that obese people earn less, are more likely to be rejected for jobs, more likely to be rejected as a applying renter, more likely to be considered more stupid/lazy/un-hygienic, etc.

This past vacation, I went with my parents on a volunteer effort in China. There was this other, older woman, who was an alternative medicine practitioner. She was trained in yoga, acupuncture, etc. What was amazing, and infuriating, was that she never failed, on the near two weeks we were both there, to remind me about my weight. Whether indirectly telling me to self-massage more because it helped with weight loss or directly telling me I needed to lose weight — she never failed to comment on it one way or the other.

I went from fury to resignation to plain confusion.

What was this woman’s issue? What made her feel like she had the right to tell me such things, in such a non-diplomatic, one could even say harsh manner, day in and day out?

I’m 5 feet exactly on a good day. I weigh 60 kg. It’s true that I could stand to lose some weight, but I’m not obese – except if one really wanted to stretch the definition.

Courtney E. Martin talks about how she also has this snide little voice inside her head that comments on the weight of women around her. She said she was horrified by what that little voice has to say sometimes.

I have that same little voice.

I wonder how is it that we have been reduced to this.

Call me out if I’m wrong, but the social conditioning I’ve received tells me that women are the enemy. Including myself. There’s only so much love, job opportunities, friends, etc to go around. Women are to be feared, warded against, struck down before they can get in a strike first. It’s not just the weight, although that’s an issue. It’s the entire mindset that people are not just people, but potential enemies.

Is that why I feel compelled to dish out criticism of everyone I come across? Is the rat race to blame?

Or are we just cruel at heart?


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