You know you are Asian when ...

happyfeetmama By happyfeetmama, 27th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Culture

"You are Asian! You are naturally skinny!" - now that's a myth.

You know you are Asian when ...

I should clarify that when I say "Asian", I am referring to mostly Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese.

So here it goes ... you know you are Asian when you have close family members (cough cough ... like your mom) or relatives (no matter if they are close or not-so-close ones you know like the wife of the cousin of your dad's cousin) who would not hesitate to tell you that you have gained some weight recently (or "you are getting fat/chubbier!!!!" if they are more direct). And they are not afraid to make a remark like this in front of other relatives.

Now my parents won't say such things to me, but I still remember coming to the States for college and gaining about 15-20 lbs in the first year by eating junk food. You can't blame me, really. Dorm food sucked so bad and since we did not have a kitchen in our dorm and I could not really cook either, my friends and me frequently went to Royal Farms for fried chicken or those "2 for $5 " ice-cream specials. Sometimes we would also order pizza or Chinese takeout or those Jamaican wings at night. Man all those good memories! Needless to say, when I went back to Hong Kong the next summer, my relatives were quick to point out that my face has gotten chubbier, that I could lose some inches off my waist and that I had "fat thighs". Thanks Aunt XXX for the honesty and sharp observation!

Now these family members/relatives are not necessarily mean people, and they really don't mean to hurt people when they make such a comment about your body. It's just that it's such a socially-acceptable thing to say that other people won't even raise their eyes at such comments (even though it's very hurtful to that person to say the least).

Here in the States, a lot of people think that Asians are "genetically or naturally skinny"? Ugh, yes some of them are, but I have to tell you, a lot of them are pressured to be skinny. Body image (being skinny) is such a big thing in Asia and if you go to Hong Kong/Korea, you can see all those advertisements about diet pills, diet management program, body slimming and beauty products, plastic surgery everywhere, seriously and literally, everywhere. You can even see them in all the subway stations. Not to mention that some of the cutest clothes that they have there is one-size-fit-all, so it's almost like they are telling you that if you are not skinny, you are not worthy to be wearing their designs. Because of such misconception ("Of course you have to be skinny, you are Asian!"), a lot of my Asian American friends still feel the pressure to be slim from their family and friends even though they are in the States.

So if you are Asian/Non-Asian and you are reading this and are struggling with body image issues, you really need to take a step back and think for a moment - you know, nothing is more important than your health. It's really not worth it to wreck your body by taking all those diet pills or by going on those extreme diets. Being sexy is not about being skinny. Being sexy is to have a healthy body, a healthy mind and a smile on your face!

Originally published in Bubblews:

Image Credit: google search - label for reuse, even commercially

Copyright 2013 Katherine Yeung
All rights reserved


Asian, Body Image, Naturally Skinny, Sexy, Skinny

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author avatar happyfeetmama
A work-from-home mom of a super-active, super-clingy toddler. Currently living in North Carolina, USA.

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author avatar littlebelgianwriter
27th Jul 2013 (#)

I could not agree with you more. It is sp wrong to pressure people into thinking that they need to lose weight.

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