Personal

“No, don’t throw me a burger.”

from: http://www.polyvore.com/
Too funny.
from: http://www.polyvore.com/

You know when you’re walking around in a store and a stranger thinks that it’s completely normal to walk up to you and say, “Wow, you need to gain weight,” and you’re so taken aback that it only registers later on that that was an insult. Yes, ill-informed stranger, an insult.

If you walked up to an overweight person and said, “Wow, you need to lose weight,” wouldn’t that be an insult? So why is it OK to say those things to an underweight person?

I’ve been called too skinny, skeletal, anorexic, and, my personal worst, malnourished. People who tell me these things say it as though I don’t know what my body looks like. FYI, I own a mirror. And I happen to like my body.

Not only do people I barely know feel that it’s OK to tell me to eat, [which I do because otherwise I’d be dead] those who do know me wonder where the food goes to because, ironically, I eat a lot.

So where does the food go? A humored response I like to give, because I feel that it kills two birds with one stone, is that it goes to my lips. That way my response pokes fun at my big lips and my tiny frame. And yes, I do find it funny at times but it’s gotten to be a little much because nowadays people I barely know ask me, “You’re too thin, how will you have babies?”

Now I know being underweight or overweight isn’t good, regardless of whether you’re going to carry a baby in your belly, but asking me that when you don’t even know me feels like you’re invading my personal space. And really, how do you answer that question? Here’s how: you don’t. Of course I don’t answer that question because strangers shouldn’t be asking me that in the first place.

Truth is, it’s not easy for me to pile on some pounds. Maybe it’s my high metabolism or maybe it’s just genetics. Maybe I was too athletic and it stunted the weight-gain hormone or something. Who knows?

I think we all need to take stock of what we say to others because not every comment is as innocuous as we think it is. Take me for example, when I was younger I used to see a boy walking around the neighborhood going from door to door and I always wondered why. He wasn’t a beggar, and you know what else? He wasn’t a boy, but a girl that just looked boyish with short hair and boy shorts. Mistaking a girl for a boy, especially when they don’t want to look like the opposite sex, is very awkward and also hurtful. It may not be the same as telling someone they’re too thin but, a common denominator is body image.

I generally take those comments lightly, but there are days when it’s downright annoying because I’m just thin damnit, not malnourished

So, no, don’t throw me a burger.

I prefer pizza anyway.

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7 thoughts on ““No, don’t throw me a burger.”

  1. I loved your article and it is really is a sensitive topic for me- I absolutely hate when people I don’t know are continiously commenting on my weight. When I pick up weight I get comments “you should loose weight” and now that I lost a considerable amount of weight, now I get comments like “You’re too skinny”. Deadly cycle!

    Your blog is really beautiful too, Tasneem! I like the background.

  2. I used to be like that – super skinny and could overeat and lose weight the next day. So I can relate.

    I think the issue comes down to seeing women as beings unable to think for themselves, because obviously if a woman is too skinny she must be starving herself on purpose because that’s what society wants/tells her, because duh that’s the only possible explanation.

    1. Agreed. The women we see on television and in magazines are all ‘thin’ so to be naturally skinny is looked upon as though we’re either sick [anorexic etc] or insecure so that we starve ourselves to look like the models we see everywhere. To top that off, it’s annoying when those same people say, “Oh, well when you have a baby you’ll get fat.”

      1. I never had a baby and my metabolism still slowed down. I think it’s inevitable. Women blame a LOT of things on babies that is just part of the body maturing, such as sagging breasts and stretch marks. But it’s easy to understand why, because the majority of women had little choice about having babies because of lack of birth control.

        Anyway, sorry for the tangent.

      2. It slows down eventually, when you hit your 20’s. So I don’t know why they blame everyone having a baby :p Of course your body is going to change as you get older, the same way it’s been changing ever since we were born.
        No need to apologize, I like hearing others’ thoughts and opinions 🙂

  3. I know how you feel! Although, my problem has more to do with how I act instead of what I look like, which actually in turn influences each other.

    I have always been an expressive child and always loved acting and mimicking my favourite characters. I was told as a child that I could be whoever I wanted to be, which gave me the freedom to express myself, as long as it didn’t hurt anyone. It made a very happy child.

    Then I went to an all-boys high school, which was probably one of the biggest mistakes that I have made. All of a sudden I was being squished into this cubic framework of what a “man” should be, and I found that my expressiveness didn’t really allow it. Long story short, my mom took me out of there after a month of torture.

    Next was at university where I went to a male residence. Once again I was the weird one. Someone even told me that I’m TOO expressive. I could hear in his tone that my behaviour, in his opinion, loomed to the “gay” side. It made me want to punch walls! Luckily I live in a flat now, with an awesome flatmate! 🙂

    I hate it that we still have a society where we all must fit a certain criteria to be “normal”, whether it has to do with your body, the way you act or your preference. Maybe one day society will reach that stage of acceptance, where we can be who we want to be, but that is going to take FOREVER!

    Oh well… If you’re done with that pizza, could you throw it this way? 🙂

    1. I can relate to that too. And it bothers me when people tell me how to act, especially when it requires me to pretend to be something that I’m not. So I just don’t do it.
      I think everyone at some point feels like they’re being pushed into a corner, to conform to what’s ‘normal’.

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