Women have more standards thrown at them than I could try to count; from being smart, but not too smart, to dressing revealing, but not too revealing, it’s no surprise that women are often often under attack for how they present themselves.
Bryn Mawr College, a women-only undergraduate institution in Philadelphia, is being scrutinized for their hateful e-mail sent out to only overweight students. The e-mail was a recruitment for a program designed to help students lose weight.
Naturally, the student body reacted with anger and flew to social media to attack this invasion of privacy. While the school did apologize for any hurt feelings, this issue does not get to be shoved under the rug.
This is a perfect example of what fat shaming is to college women. Fat shaming is looking at a woman and deciding that she is larger than “average” and thus is lazy, unhealthy, or sick. Therefore, she should be ashamed of her body and be doing anything she can to fix it. However, none of these things can be inferred by the size of someone’s waist.
This issue surrounds all women but is most hurtful to those who are larger than “average”. Google “women gym” and get 10 ways to lose weight, get the flat stomach you’ve always wanted, and lose those lovehandles!
Here at K, we are not immune to the issues of fat shaming, our gym being the biggest culprit. A recent Facebook post on the Kalamazoo College student page started by Mark Niehaus ’17 asked for one word to describe the weight room. Words such as intimidating, male, and excluding made the list, and all can be applied to women feeling uncomfortable in the weight room.
There are several things we can do to stop perpetuating the hurtfulness of fat shaming. The first and easiest is to stop looking at a woman’s health in terms of her body size. Women’s bodies are not our business, and they should not be put under scrutiny for loving themselves.
Another is making the gym a place to exercise, not necessarily lose weight. Stop the talk of how many calories you burned during those treadmill workouts and instead talk about the endorphins gained after doing some reps on the machines.
We need to stop trying to justify the ludicrous expectations that are put upon women to make it easier to bring them down. All women are beautiful, and all women deserve our respect.