Am I Anorexic? Asian Girl Body Issues

A few months ago, a student from Yale University, Frances Chan, blogged in the Huffington Post about her horrific experience with Yale–she was 5’ 2” and about 90 lbs, and they designated her an “eating disorder” case and began to force her to gain weight. The problem was, Chan didn’t have an eating disorder, her body was just the way it was, but their use of the broad (and widely considered inaccurate) BMI measurements labeled her an anorexic that needed saving.

When I read this news, I realized this was the tragedy that would happen should I ever become dictator of the world (or at least master of all media content). I grew up idolizing Sarah Connor from the Terminator movies, and my idea of feminine beauty is this, one of my fighter athlete idols Cris Cyborg:

Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. Marloes Coenen
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My view of feminine beauty of course is not something everyone can live up to, not even me. Cyborg is probably two or more weight classes above what I would probably be with a fight-ready body, and I don’t have her long arm reach, good for ground-and-pound from any angle. But a girl can try to live out her dream, can’t she?
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Health, Appearances, and Asian Americans

 

The incident where Maria Kang was briefly kicked off of Facebook,  recent news about the “lower” rate of obesity among Asian Americans, and the debate on CNN above combine to bring up a subject that isn’t often discussed: health vs appearance. Is someone who is skinny necessarily fit? Is someone who is not so lean necessarily unfit? While I don’t doubt that Maria Kang is very fit,  Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) appearances can be deceiving with regard to health.

8A-2014-01-29-CNN-FitMomVsCurvyGirlsResearch on Asian Pacific Islander BMI and waist circumference demonstrates that these standards, which often match appearances of fitness, are deceiving. Just because an AAPI doesn’t look fat doesn’t mean that they are fit and not vulnerable to heart disease – the standards for some Asian ethnic groups are lower than for whites. By the same token, just because some looks bigger doesn’t mean that they are not fit. Measures like BMI and height/waist ratio vary greatly, with Pacific Islanders having a much less stringent standard for being healthy. The LA Times article gets some things wrong – some Asian Americans can still have a BMI under 25 and under the Asian BMI standards, be overweight.

It’s worth mentioning that other conditions are important to health and the ability to look lean and cut.

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Model and Former Pageant Queen Maria Kang’s Controversial Fitness Photo and Message

maria-kang-whats-your-excuse

The Hubby disagrees with me on this point, but of course he does. After all, he is a straight man with a pulse. Men everywhere are rushing to defend a [super hot and sexy] damsel in distress. Women, on the other hand, especially fat, ugly women, are up in arms.

Sexy Maria Kang, model and former pageant queen, posed in sporty underwear next to her three kids for a photo shoot and headlined it: “What’s your excuse?” I do not doubt that Ms. Kang meant no harm. Her intentions were good. If she can find time in her busy schedule with three kids (and a non-profit organization and several businesses, no, no one’s bragging here) to work out and achieve a toned model’s body, then so can you! Ladies, are you inspired now to feel better about yourself as Kang intended? Or did you just turn green with envy at her, played with the bat wings under your arms, then stared at your belly, and depressed, reached for another pint of ice cream?

If you did the latter, well Maria Kang says that’s your fault, not hers. You’re just a hater because you’re too lazy to get up and do something about your ugly ass and so when you see how much hotter she is than you, you’re taking out your insecurities on her. She says to you haters directly: “What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.”

See? Her intentions are good.

Sadly, you know what they say about the road to hell. In her case it may not be as extreme as hell, but certainly the road to contributory negligence for further aggravating female body issues and playing the ever popular ever so trite blame game, which truly is best played against women.

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