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When asked, many people say that physical dispositions are not really important in determining what kind of person we are. Clothes and hairstyles might, but size and features shouldn’t affect our perception of someone. But then why are the sale of diet pills and nutritional supplements becoming a key product in some of the fastest growing businesses in the western world?
The majority of people would say that there are more important things to worry about than picking up a stone or two. On the other hand, how many of us feel panicked when the number on a scale goes a little higher? Personally, although I would like to say that I am not at all superficial, one of my biggest fears has always been getting fat. I can’t remember whether there was a time in my life when I just ate whatever I wanted without feeling guilty or when I did not make sure that I exercise daily to burn the calories off. Even if I am bit of an extreme example, I know that many people feel the same way. An example from the public sphere could be Chris Christie. If you don’t know who he is, type his name is the Google search. The second line that will pop out is “Chris Christie and weight”, the sixth one is “Chris Christie and weight loss” and the seventh is “Chris Christie fat”. Why is this person so famous for being overweight? He is the governor of New Jersey. Therefore, if weight is just a matter of aesthetics or of being attractive, in his case it should not matter at all. Nevertheless, he hesitated to run for the position at first, explicitly because he was criticised for his XXXL size. The question is why does society deem that weight can reflect personality?
Could it be that somehow, to an extent, being overweight signifies a lack of strong will or overindulgence? Not in all cases, as it was scientifically proved that genetic dispositions play a huge role in this. However on many occasions people have problems with their weight simply because they can’t force themselves to go to the gym a couple times a week and they can’t choose their food sensibly. Nature is particularly unfair in this sense, though. Some people seem to be able to eat non-stop and stay skinny without any exercise whatsoever. Therefore, just as being overweight cannot prove that the person in question has the tendency to “go-over-the-top”, similarly being slim doesn’t really say anything about a person other than they have a fast metabolism.
However, the thought behind being overweight does not go that deep. Being overweight simply does not appear to comply with modern day trends. In everyone’s eyes, I dare say, a 90-60-90-measured model will always seem more charming and empowered than a larger person. In a way we could say that obesity or fatness indicates incapability to keep up with the society and its current demands – whether it is incapability due to genetics or due to lack of self-discipline. However, at this point I would like to quote my grandmother’s wisest saying: “Every girl and woman is beautiful. She just needs to learn how to bring out her beauty.” We are all different, and even the fashion industry recognises it. There are many types of clothes, each of them fitting better on a different figure. Being well-dressed, stylish, and simply fashionable does not have as much to do with being slim as we may assume.
The standard of attractiveness changes all the time. Several centuries ago, the standardised perception of beauty was a very different one. Michelin-like curves, especially in women, were sign of motherhood, of voluptuousness, and of fertility. An overweight person was considered wealthy; it was a sign of wealth. In twenty years’ time, the standards could shift again. This is also not to say that people who are larger or overweight are striving to be skinny, there are many people who love themselves as they are, and are completely happy with the way they look.
Weight is a phenomena nowadays, and simply ignoring it and saying that it “doesn’t matter”, is nothing but hypocritical. We need to take a reasonable approach to it, it seems that it is best to avoid making assumptions about other people and concentrate on yourself – ‘judge yourself before judging others’ is a useful maxim. In this case, I judge myself on my own willpower and strength, but not the others.