I have a bit of a bone to pick with Argentine society, surrounding the topic of weight loss. It has recently come to my attention that commenting on someone’s weight here is an acceptable form of flattery (as it is in many places in the world), even though it could be considered a very personal body decision. Over the past couple of months, my body has been changing, as it is going to do many times in my lifetime and after starting up with America (with up to three trainings per week) my body has also been reshaped. I’ve been receiving these kind of comments from family and friends:
“Perdiste peso! A mi me gustas mejor asi.”
“You lost weight! I like you better like this.”
“Che, vos estas mas flaca o yo me estoy poniendo mas gordo.”
“Hey, either your skinnier or I’m getting fatter.”
And the worst one given to me last Sunday, right before lunch:
“Si seguis asi, no va a quedar nada!”
“If you keep on like this, there won’t be anything left of you.”
The last one is particularly interesting because it was almost turned into a negative comment, in backward twist.
In public, people can’t comment on alopecia (hair loss), or if your teeth are straight or crooked. Only my grandmother will comment if I have a particularly bad zit that day. Instead, people feel completely comfortable talking about your weight. Of course, if you’ve gained weight they won’t be as inclined to say something. They directly equate your weight with your overall health. They don’t ask, how are you feeling? But how much you WEIGH?! How is this a factor of your health? I understand that most of these comments are meant as a compliment, with no malice intended. However, I feel it is about time the myth that the loss of weight = health must be cleared.
Also, from an athletic point of view, losing weight isn’t necessary a good thing. Yeah, I might be able to jump a bit higher and run faster, but I will also not be able to play in the post with the bigger girls since I will easily be shoved aside. There is a position for any weight, but I particularly love playing the tougher spots.
I’ve been experimenting with my response to these comments and have gone from mild to aggressive:
“Why don’t you flatter me on my intelligence, not my weight?”
“I don’t feel comfortable with you commenting on my body like that.”
My conclusion is that an aggressive approach is not the best reaction since people seem to come to the conclusion that it is some sort of personal issue of yours, surrounding weight. Instead, I’m working on the more informative approach of shinning light on the fact that weight is a tiny factor of many that leads to a healthy person. This includes emotional and mental health, which can’t be judged by the eye.
I still have yet to come up with a good response to the weight myth. Anyone have any ideas?