I’m a body scholar, but also – surprise! – an embodied being. There’s no scale where I’m living in Berkeley right now, and I’m using this as an experience to reflect on weight, health, and beauty.
Talking about our own bodily experiences can feel weird, but I think it’s important to do. For example, I wrote about my experiences losing weight while on the Whole30 diet, and I’ve written about the intense shame I felt when I had to sit out part of a dance workshop due to being in too much pain to keep doing it. In many ways, I believe oversharing is a feminist act, and that it counterbalances a lot of the distorted representations and unequal access to content creation that until recently (or still) have plagued women and minorities.
I still feel weird talking about my own weight and my own embodiment a lot of the time, though. Partly it’s because I’m aware of my systemic privilege in the American fat/health/beauty regime, in not only having access to mostly-healthy foods most of the time, but also in how my body arbitrarily fits within acceptable weight and beauty standards. Of course, we all know that being on the skinnier side or having symmetrical facial features doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. But the cultural correlations go pretty deep.
This is all a roundabout way of saying that I’m ambivalent about body stuff, but I talk (and blog!) about it anyway. And now that I’m living somewhere without a scale throughout this semester, I’m curious to see how it goes.
There’s a good chance I’ll have to see a doctor sometime in the next few months (another expression of privilege, and one that might not last for me) and thus end up having to step on a scale… but for now, I’m excited to not have to attach a number to my well-being. I’m interested to see whether I keep putting on muscle thanks to my plans to dance a bunch and rock climb and do yoga, in addition to all the walking I get to do on a daily basis here in the Bay Area. Will that affect how my clothes fit, how I look and feel, how I move when dancing or climbing?
And this is worth saying too: I’m aware that there’s a lot of class privilege in the ability to pursue these activities, as well as to talk about my body and health in frank terms that won’t immediately inspire scorn (as folks in the fat activism movement have been pointing out).
Still, as a thought experiment… I’m like, sure, why not? Will the inability to pin a number to my weight (and, by implication, my health and beauty and well-being) impact how I experience my embodiment? Will it impact my self-image? I’m kinda excited to find out.