Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Weight

Weight is usually an extremely touchy subject with people. It is considered more impolite to discuss weight than it is to discuss religion, politics, and issues with one's parents combined. To me, treating weight as such a sensitive issue has always seemed extremely strange. Besides, as a person with Asperger's I love raising issues that other people avoid. :-) So the time has come for me to blog about weight.

I haven't been skinny since the advent of puberty. I have also been blessed by high self-esteem and a great body image, so I never tortured myself with the desire to be size zero. Or even size eight. In the last year, I have gained some weight, which, from what I hear, is very normal when people start their first full-time job. It might later go away. Or it might not. Both possibilities are perfectly fine with me. What is funny, though, is how people react to my weight. For the most part, they studiously avoid noticing this simple reality to the degree when it becomes really funny to observe their heroic efforts not to mention it. It seems like for some reason people assume that I have to be heart-broken about it and any mention of this can send me over the edge. These same people have no difficulty mentioning any other change in my appearance, so the avoidance of the weight issue seems extremely strange. The idea that I might be perfectly fine with it - or even happy about it - never seems to cross anybody's mind.

When I refer to my own weight, people often feel so uncomfortable that they immediately try to silence me on this subject. I remember how I was once talking with a very nice and kind friend of mine and said something to the effect that I'm not skinny. "Oh, Clarissa, don't say that about yourself!" she replied all horrified. Apparently, being skinny is often considered as uniformly good and desirable, while not being skinny is perceived as undoubtedly horrible and painful.

For me, mentioning weight is not offensive. The avoidance of the subject, however, is because it betrays a person's belief that people who are not thin must necessarily hate their weight and be miserable about it.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Salary is also a very touchy subject with most people, which I also don't understand.

For me, I lost weight to feel better and to be able to do some of the more athletic things that I used to do.

A side benefit is reduced food bills and that I look better (and more of my clothes fit right).

But I wasn't unhappy 30+ pounds heavier, nor did I care what anyone thought about my weight.

It might be cliche to say it, but I lost weight for myself and I am glad I did. But if someone is happy how they are, no reason at all to change, in my opinion.

-Mike

V said...

One person somewhere is jumping through the roof with joy shouting "Yes! Yes! Yes! I told you!" :) :)

On a more serious note: the US regulations about what additives, preservatives, hormones, etc one can and cannot have in the food are much more lax than Canadian ones. Or maybe Canadians just care more without any regulations. Canadian food is natural, it gets rotten after several days, American stays intact for much longer time. I lost some weight as a result of moving from the USA to Canada, despite starting in a faculty position, and even though I do not limit my food intake whatsoever. (I am known to my family as somebody who should not be left alone with a chocolate bar if one wants to still see any chocolate after 15 minutes. :):) )

I know you were mostly in the US for years, but I guess it caught up with you gradually.

Clarissa said...

"One person somewhere is jumping through the roof with joy shouting "Yes! Yes! Yes! I told you!" :) :)"

-Oh, so you HAVE met my father. :-)

Clarissa said...

"It might be cliche to say it, but I lost weight for myself and I am glad I did."

-I think it sounds like a very healthy attitude, cliche or not. :-)

V said...

----Oh, so you HAVE met my father. :-)

Obviously, I did not mean him. I meant an expert in all subjects from religion to the color of your hair.

Clarissa said...

I know, I was just kidding. :-) hence the smiley faces. :-)

Kola Tubosun said...

The question then is: Who came up with this idea that it is impolite to talk about someone's weight, or even acquiesce whenever they themselves talk about it.

This is my best part of your post:

"The avoidance of the subject, however, is (offensive) because it betrays a person's belief that people who are not thin must necessarily hate their weight and be miserable about it."

I hope that sentence has liberated someone somewhere.

Pagan Topologist said...

To the first commenter, Mike:

I think people are cautious about revealing salaries because they may engender resentment and envy on the part of lower-paid people. This issue is different from weight, since one is unlikely to be able to conceal ones weight. (Although one of my daughters refuses to let me look at the scales when she stands on them.)