Yesterday on Houda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford’s hour of the Today Show, they encouraged women to wear badges declaring either their age or weight. The theme: numbers are not who we are, so why do they hold power over us? Houda mentioned that when she was in sixth grade she weighed 101 pounds and it was traumatic. She felt good, but there was something about crossing the 100 pound scale line that marked you for ridicule. I could identify.
I’ve always been a curvy girl, and have been verbally hurt many times as a result. I won’t go into specifics because I don’t want to relive the pain, but let’s just say those who were supposed to love me most did the cruelest judging. It didn’t seem to matter that I was physically strong, active, and healthy. At my age I was supposed to be XXX weight—the charts said so. Even now I recall the dread of walking in the front of the elementary classroom, stepping on the scale, and having the weight called off by the teacher. Ug. It’s no wonder we carry our traumas into adulthood.
I believe Houda and Kathie Lee had their hearts in the right place. They are trying to explore our fears and hang-ups as women. Aging women in particular. I’m all for it. However, for me, declaring their numbers on national television in an attempt to gain power over them echoed my childhood too closely. “World, Houda weighs…”
Maybe it’s a mental stepping stone to healthier self-esteem, but it’s not one I’m ready to embrace. I don’t weigh myself at home, ever. I go by how I feel, and how my clothes fit. It’s my way of ignoring numbers and cultural bullies.