I go to a women's college. I work at the school gym. It's a nice gym, the kind of place you'd have to pay a good deal to have a membership to. The kind of place that you actually want to spend time at, because the people are friendly, and after two years, the building still looks brand new. But that's beside the point.
You don't have to go far, especially around here, to hear that low self esteem in women is a problem. It's a problem that people are aware of and want to try to fix. At the gym, for instance, we're told to watch out for girls who are working out constantly. At a dorm meeting, we're asked to keep our living space a "fat talk free zone".
Fat talk, that's what they call it. The mutters of "I'm so fat. I eat so much. I need to go work out." The phrases which say "I'm not good enough" and hammer in the ideal of thin.
But what is this ideal of thin? A woman I know who had cancer talks about being complimented on her "amazing body" after treatments had left her nearly skin and bones... and being smart enough to respond with the kinds of chemicals which had been pumped into her body to cause it.
From the sounds of things, fat talk is everywhere. For some reason, I haven't really heard any of it. Aside from the quoted "I feel fat and sassy" which my friends and I tend to say to each other after finishing a big meal, I can't actually remember hearing any fat talk since early high school.
Until this morning. While waiting for my math class to start, I overheard a group of girls, probably freshmen, discussing their plans for the afternoon. Soon they were discussing working out.
"I don't have any motivation to go work out" one complained.
"Neither do I" said another, and then looked down and put her hands on her stomach. "But I feel like I've already gained a bunch of weight"
I looked at her. She looked like she was probably smaller than me (though I tend to make that assessment of people), and I'm under doctors orders to eat as much as I want.
She continued. "It's not that I don't work out, it's just that I eat so much!"
I found this statement hard to believe.
"Like this morning for breakfast, I had a small bowl of cereal, an english muffin with butter, and some fruit!"
"That is a lot of food."
That is a good balanced breakfast.
Working out is good for you, if you treat it right. So is eating a large, healthy breakfast.
But really, girls: you're the most beautiful if you are confident.
That said, I'm going to go make myself a very large sandwich.