Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Let's Talk About Weight

Women are very aware of their weight. Society tells us to be, but I think it's also slightly built in. Models are skinny, most movie heroines are skinny, basically anyone we are told to look up to is skinny.

In reality, not everyone is skinny. Some of us will never reach this goal, no matter what we do. Some of us will be very unhappy as we try to reach this goal of imagined perfection. The truth is, everyone's healthy weight looks different (hey, did you know? Having a thigh gap has nothing to do with your weight, it's actually about your bone structure).

The thing is, our weight shouldn't dictate anything. Muscle weighs more than fat. So if you play a lot of sports or work out, your weight will go up, even though you might be skinny- I've personally experienced this during Football season. We're all different heights, we all have different eating habits and we all weigh something different.

When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I weighed 29kg (63.9 pounds). Over the next few years, I put on about 25kg (55.1 pounds). I stopped playing sport, I started homeschooling and I had almost no friends. I was incredibly uncomfortable with the changes in my body- I had been skinny my entire life, but in my bodies attempt to catch up with years of "malnutrition", I became "solid".

It took me a long time to lose the uncomfortable feeling, and it involved shooting up to 5'9", making healthy eating choices and playing sports again. I realised that as long as I was living a healthy lifestyle, I shouldn't worry about how much I weigh.

Dumplin' was published in September last year, but I didn't really start hearing about it until December. "A book about being okay with you weight? Finally! Where was this when I was in my early teens?" I thought. So I hunted down a copy, and began reading.

20 pages in, an uncomfortable feeling in stomach grew. Where was the part about body positivity? Acceptance of everyone's bodies? The author never states the exact weight of the main character, Willow (she wanted anyone to be able to identify with her), so what does "fat" even mean? On top of that, Willow picks fun on another girl her school who is "even fatter" than Willow, and skinny shames.

There's two plot lines going on on the story. A: Willow is okay with her weight. But Willow likes this boy, and he likes her. This makes her feel insecure about her weight, so she runs away from the relationship (which was never a relationship) and finds refuge in another boy who is "solid" (hellllooo, love triangle). B: Because of her insecurities, Willow decides to enter a beauty contest that her mother helps run. She thinks this is a way of proving that she likes her body. She then fights with her best friend El, who is skinny and beautiful, who wants to enter with her. The problem? El could win.

I wanted to scream by the end. You don't need to prove anything to other people to show you're comfortable with your body. If you feel insecure with someone, don't hang out with them. You don't need to be in a relationship. If you're the problem, go out and fix it. But not by entering a beauty contest. That is not fixing the problem.

Dumplin' was trying to tell me that any weight is okay and we should just be comfortable in our bodies, not matter what they are like. My problem? The message is a good one. But in a western society where we look up to people who are unhealthy underweight, and are being encouraged to do the same with people who are unhealthy overweight (in response to skinny models) or not offend anyone who is unhealthily overweight or underweight, I'm concerned.

None of this has to do with living a healthy, balanced lifestyle, which should be our real goal.

SO. Have you read Dumplin'? What did you think of it? Do you agree or disagree with me? If you haven't, I'd defiantly suggest giving it a read. How do you think YA author's should approach weight and living healthy? Have you read any good YA books that address the issue? 
Opal plays a sport all year around, and eats what she wants in moderation. Opal thinks this is the key to staying healthy. 


  1. "I'm fat, but you're ugly. at least I can diet LOL." Can't remember who said it.

  2. You're diabetic as well? Do you use a pump? I'm thinking of getting one...

    I feel that society tends to look up to skinny people but since I've been getting into Asian culture, I realised that it's WAY worse over there than in the Western world. I looked up this interview of a Korean guy asking some Koreans girls if they thought they were fat and I was so shocked!

    Also, the 'big booty' trend over here in the Western World where people finally realise that being bigger is okay *rolls eyes* But I don't think twerking is necessary to prove that

    I'm skinny and I feel that the word 'fat' is a very broad term. I wouldn't consider a slight chubby person as fat but apparently, they are? Some people consider Adele as fat, which I find crazy :/ I think there's a difference between curvy and fat. But I think being 'fat' doesn't make a person unattractive.

    1. I do use a pump. Grace, getting a pump was one of the best things that ever happened to be honest. If you can get one, go for it! The first few months are hard, but after that it's sweet :)

      Agreed! It's such a complicated issue.

  3. I think everyone is a certain way just naturally. They could be more fat or more skinny and it is ok. Nice post!

    Nabila // Hot Town Cool Girl

    1. As long as you're healthy, I think everything is all goods. Thanks :)

  4. I've never read this book, but it slightly disturbs me, to be honest. You're right, living a healthy lifestyle should be the real thing here.

  5. Honestly, I couldn't agree more with what was said in this post!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

  6. I totally agree with you. We should be trying to do what is right for our bodies and strive to be healthy rather then fight to be what society considers 'perfect.' We know what is right for us, not the media. Great post! :)

    1. Healthy = beautiful. Thanks Melissa!

  7. couldn't agree more. that book would probably make me want to throw a brick at something.
    thank you for posting this perspective.

  8. I read Dumplin' and I guess I didn't notice some things you seemed to think were problematic. For example, it didn't bother me that her weight wasn't mentioned, because I definitely think that would be different for people of different heights and ages, so it would hard to universalize something if Willowdean were tall or short. This way, we can just imagine her.

    And, ultimately, I felt like Willowdean was simply reclaiming her own body and decisions in the story. She certainly made some bad decisions when she shamed other girls' bodies, but in the end the pageant and her relationships were symbols of her ability to be comfortable with herself, and her decision to make those pieces of herself public regardless of what anyone else thought.

    I don't know. I guess I can see a lot of your points, but I'm not totally on board with all that you say. Although, I will say, Dumplin' was okay. I didn't really like the ending; it felt too rushed to make it feel really awesome.

    1. It's good to hear another point of view about this book :) I agree that the end was rushed though!