Okay, is there anything worse than being weighed in front of your peers, at any age, let alone in the eighth grade? Well, apparently this nightmare became a reality in one Indiana classroom as part of an assignment on BMI, according to Pop Sugar.
One athletic girl in the class, whose muscle mass lead to her body mass index being classified as obese, penned a powerful missive to her teacher about what is really behind the number that leads to so many women feeling shame about their bodies.
Posting as McLeodCartoons, a friend shared her letter on Facebook along with this caption:
"So proud of the family of one of my friends. Her daughter had to do a middle school project that involved body-mass-index. As a strong and muscled athlete, her BMI came out as 'obese'. This was her daughter's response. May we all raise strong girls and boys, willing to stand up for themselves and willing to stand up against the body-shape norms that persecute our children."
The letter read:
"Now, I'm not going to even open my laptop to calculate my BMI. And I'll tell you why. Ever since I can remember, I've been a 'bigger girl' and I'm completely fine with that; I'm strong and powerful. When you put a softball or a bat in my hand, they are considered lethal weapons. But, at the beginning of the year, I started having very bad thoughts when my body was brought into a conversation. I would wear four bras to try and cover up my back fat, and I would try to wrap ace bandages around my stomach so I would look skinnier. So my lovely mother did what any parent would do when they noticed something wrong with her child, she took me to my doctor. My doctor and I talked about my diet and how active I am. He did a couple tests and told me I was fine. He said though I'm a bit overweight, he's not going to worry about me based on how healthy I am. So this is where I don't calculate my BMI because my doctor, a man who went to college for eight years studying children's health, told me my height and weight are right on track. I am just beginning to love my body, like I should, and I'm not going to let some outdated calculator and a middle school gym teacher tell me I'm obese, because I'm not. My BMI is none of your concern because my body and BMI are perfect and beautiful just the way they are."
Breath, taken away. I mean, this teen has a healthier self-image than women twice, or even three times her age. It has honestly taken me until recently to have these types of positive feelings about my body, and I have three children. Bravo to her!
Meanwhile, what a shame a school project would classify kids' bodies in front of their peers. Those experiences can be damaging for life, and lead to years of poor self-image, depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts and actions for some.
I honestly think I would go ballistic if one of my daughters were asked to calculate and share her weight or BMIs in school.
How would you react?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.