Why Do We Care About The Number On The Scale?

Society has consistently had a fascination with weight. Whether the fascination be that the weight is too high or too low can change, but weight is a constant factor in how society perceives a person. Fat has become a modern disease, a condition of ugliness in contrast to the condition of beauty that is thinness (Wann ix). When did weight become the defining factor in how a person is treated in life?

Women and men everywhere are treated differently because their weight is not congruent with what society thinks is the norm: they are discriminated against, under paid, and less respected. In the job market, “fat women earn nearly 7000 dollars less than thinner women” and a worker might even be fired because their weight is a problem for the employer (Wann xix).

Slenderness has become the “contemporary ideal of specifically female attractiveness”, an ideal that is irrational and limiting to any person (Bordo 205). But a person is so much more than their weight; he or she is who they are because of their “gestures, voice, opinions, expressions, clothes, surrounding, and tastes”- things that cannot be defined by an arbitrary number that has no true meaning other than that which we as society give it (Berger 37).  A BMI does not make a person good or bad, a scale should not incite fear and panic, and a person should be able to walk through the streets without getting strange glances or faces because of what shape they may be.

For I am Fatacus, and I am proud.


Berger, John. “From Ways of Seeing.” Trans. Array The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. New York: Routledge, 2003. 37-39. Print.

Bordo, Susan. “Reading the Slender Body.” Unbearable Weight. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. 185-212. Print.

Wann, Marilyn. “Foreward: Fat Studies: An Invitation to Revolution.” The Fat Studies Reader. By Esther D. Rothblum. New York: New York UP, 2009. Ix-Xxii. Print

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