Priya malik my body is not a temple
‘My body is not a temple – and it never will be’
In the first of her blogs for Marie Claire, Stephanie Wilderspin explains why being plus size doesn't mean she's unhealthy
“Your body is a temple.”
I’ve heard that phrase so often over the years. At talks that were held at school. From relatives watching me get a second helping at dinner.
But to the people who use that phrase, my bodyisa temple. As they see things, my body is a public space to be critiqued and compared to other places of worship. They look at the exterior and judge the architecture, the age and size of it, how well it’s being maintained. They’ll tell you what they know about the religion it is built around. Even passers-by will tell a friend their own opinion, or maybe, because they don’t like what they know about the religion, they’ll spray-paint words across its walls because they think that specific religion is bad. They need to let the worshippers know their flaws. Maybe it will help them see the light and change their life around.
If you’re overweight and someone tells you that your body is a temple, that generally means that they are going to give you The Health Argument. They’ll tell you that you have to ‘look after your body’ and that it is ‘not okay to be overweight’ and that you ‘should lose weight to look after yourself’. Normally, this will come from a place of caring, even though it probably hurts to hear at the time. Because, the truth is, nobody wakes up one morning and decides to be fat. Being fat is a side-effect of something much deeper, and that “something” is different for everybody.
The term “obesity” comes with many problems. Firstly, someone is considered “obese” based on their BMI: a system almost 200 years old that only takes weight and height into account – not your breast size, not your bone weight. It’s unfair to group so many different people into one single box, defining them according to one, unnamed statistic, skipping over their story because their height and weight don’t correlate. Each person has a different genetic disorder, or illness, or reason behind their choice to lead an unhealthy lifestyle. The term obesity only refers to the exterior. And that’s not an accurate way to judge someone’s health.
Video: Your Body is Not a Temple
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