Monday, 2 June 2014

Weighing Up Education

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& it's an amazing feeling that fills your heart when you finally realize that you're so much more than that number

I was eleven the first time I weighed myself. Before I was eleven I had only ever been weighed at the doctors but even then I have no real memory of it, I'm just assuming it happened. However, at age eleven I was made to weigh myself at school, in a class full of people. Not only did I have to weigh myself, I then had to plot it on a graph against everyone else in my class. I've been thinking about this quite a lot recently and find it very worrying that my first exposure to the body as some sort of competition was as part of a lesson at school, it was so called education.

Before this first weighing I had been brought up in a nice little bubble with no concept of body weight only to be popped by such a bizarre scenario. Given this, I had no idea what classed as heavy or light but when I had to tell my classmates my weight so they could graph me I was met with "oh my god you're so skinny" comments. I didn't really understand what that meant, was that a good thing or a bad thing? I can't remember much else of the lesson, I don't remember the point of this weighing and plotting, I don't know what was good and what was bad. I just know it happened and I felt really weird about it. I was always quite small through school and have countless "you're so skinny" memories of getting changed in PE, I didn't understand that then and I still don't understand it now.

In my adult life I still get the "you're so thin" and "eat some pies" type comments and I never know what to say back. Well, I have quite a quick answer to the second one, I don't like pie because one time I got food poisoning from a pie. But the first one, what is that supposed to mean and why is it even said? If it is meant as a compliment I don't take it as one, my size says next to nothing about me. Or is it supposed to be an insult when followed with the pie comments? If so, why is that an insult? I've found myself just saying "okay" to these comments now, in a sort of protest against negative body talk, I'm not sure if this is the right response though.

I just feel really angry that at age eleven I was taught to compare my weight to others. What on earth is that all about?! My body weight wasn't a competition then and it isn't one now so why do people act like it is?

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