I’ve really needed to do this article for a long time. Besides that, I’m beginning to think I’m a closet anthropologist because I love to study people, their differences, beliefs, and lifestyles.
One difference I’ve noticed in cultures is the acceptance of weight, or the lack thereof, especially when it comes to women. There are actually societies today (i.e., Mauritania’s white Moor Arab population in Africa) that engage in wife-fattening, where young women are instructed, in preparation of marriage, to purposely overeat to gain weight.
Looking back in history, it’s interesting to see trends when heavier figures were esteemed as beautiful, then slimmer figures were more desired, then back again. I’ve just discovered the term, Rubenesque, which refers to a painter living in the 17th century named, Peter Paul Rubens, who painted the female form physically well-rounded and curvy. Even now at present day, the term is used to describe women of that body type.
We as humans are very influenced by our senses – what we see, hear, and taste. Because of this strong connection with external queues, it cannot be overstated that what we see is not always realistic or healthy. Subsequently, weight has not ceased being a hotbed of debate, and there are unhealthy extremes to each side of the debate. Meaning, no, being ultra and unnaturally thin is not beautiful, but neither is being obese or morbidly obese.
No name-calling here, just the plain ol’ facts…the weight where we are the healthiest and happiest, that is the key. I remember Oprah said it best, “our fighting weight.” I personally believe it’s not just up to our doctors or medical professionals to tell us that. It’s up to you to consider how you feel, what’s reasonable for your age and build, as well as your family medical background.
Me? I am a 40-something African American who stands 5’3,” have a small to medium bone structure, and whose family line is rife with diabetes. According to most of the weight charts I reviewed, I am overweight, to which I agree. And for those wondering, I am presently working towards my fighting weight and a healthier lifestyle. But I have never been skinny and do not wish to be so. In fact, most in my ethnic background prefer a rounder look. However, for my naturally slimmer counterparts, you already know you are beautiful, so don’t sweat it.
How does the phrase go – do you? That’s the only way to be really happy and healthy.