Girls, tell me how much you weigh

Just kidding. I wouldn’t do that to you. But really, why is it such a big deal?

This week I had to register my son in a sporting activity. The form included a line for “Weight.” I called out to my son as he walked by my office, “Step on the scales, would you, and tell me what you weigh.” He walked right to the scales and told me his weight. No hesitating. No hedging. No chopping off five, or ten, or twenty pounds to make it sound better.

Why can’t women do that? Why do we all continue to buy into the notion that a number defines us?

On one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Penny reacts negatively to the suggestion that she might weigh an almighty 110 pounds. 110? 110?! I think I was 10 years old the last time I weighed 110 pounds. Kaley Cuoco, who plays Penny, is 5′ 7″ tall.

This is a picture of me on my wedding day.

Looking pretty good, huh? I was a competitive swimmer. I could swim for miles and miles, and I had excellent muscle tone. I looked all right in a bikini, if I say so myself. When I got married—at the time of that picture—I weighed 145 pounds. (If you had asked me then, I would have said 130 or 135.) I am 5′ 5 1/2″ tall. Can you imagine if I had weighed 35 pounds less—the much vaunted 110 pounds? I would have looked, and probably felt, awful.

Why do women believe that 100, or 110, or 125 are magic pound numbers and anything higher makes them fat?

These days, 23 years and two kids later, I’m proud to say that I weigh . . ..

No, sorry. I can’t do it. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t fit into that wedding dress anymore.

It’s too late for me. The harmful lessons are too deeply entrenched. Maybe we can work on the next generation of women so that my granddaughters, or great-granddaughters can hop on a scale and call out the number without hesitating.

2 thoughts on “Girls, tell me how much you weigh

  1. Sharyn

    I too am 5’5″ tall and remember weighing 145 pounds and thought I was the size of a house. I’d be grateful to be 35 pounds MORE than that now. Strange how our perspective changes.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Yep. For some reason, when I was in my teens and 20s, I had 125 pounds in my head as the weight that EVERY woman should weigh. When I could never achieve that goal, I was certain that I was appallingly fat. Looking back now, though . . .


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