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Really?? Stock Photos of a Woman Standing on a Scale Showing an Unreasonable Weight? Really??

really seth meyers amy poehler james comey

As pointed out by Bustle’s Emma Lord on Twitter, there is a generally female-positive site that continually uses a stock image that shows a woman standing on a scale, and to make matters worse, the weight shown on the scale is unrealistically low for most women.

What’s bad about this being considered a good depiction for stock imagery is that it (a) encourages women to constantly obsess over their own weight, and (b) it’s unrealistic. Even by the questionable standard of BMI, 112 pounds is extremely close to being considered underweight for a woman of average height. It’s not even close to average weight (anywhere in the world), making it an odd choice if the stock image’s intention was to be neutral (narrator voice: it wasn’t).

But Lord’s tweet pointing out that the weight on the scale is unhealthy was also a wakeup call to me personally:

For years, I was under the impression that I needed to weigh, at a minimum, 110 pounds to be healthy and attractive. Even at my lightest, when I would only eat toast once a day and work out constantly, I weighed 120 and thought that was too much. And why did I think that? Because of things like this.

I’ve always had a warped vision of my own self-worth because we live in a society where our bodies and our weights are a core part of how we feel about ourselves, and that’s crap. I had weight issues as a teen that led to me not really eating for a few years and running 6 miles a day, and then feeling guilty if I had some toast—all because I wanted to weigh 110 pounds, which, if you look at the BMI chart for my height, isn’t even the lowest weight they suggest for someone between 5’2″ and 5’3″.

The idea that someone who is 5’2″ needs to weigh anywhere from 104 to 130 pounds to be healthy is ridiculous, but it’s something I’ve fixated on my entire life and thought was normal.

I saw 110 pounds as a completely reasonable weight because it was displayed everywhere for me—not always in my face, not always forcing me to look at it, but subtly. It was on a scale that a model was standing on. It was on my BMI possibility. It was looming over me like a cloud and making itself seem like a reasonable goal for me to maintain.

It’s taken me a long time, and I’m still not okay when I step on a scale. I look at how much I weigh and fight the urge to not eat. I constantly force myself to sit and eat a meal and not feel guilty about doing so. I’ve limited how much I’ll let myself go to the gym so I don’t fall back into the same patterns.

It isn’t solely because of advertisements like this, but it is a big portion of the issue. Putting it out there that 112 pounds is a reasonable weight for most women to maintain isn’t healthy, and we need to stop the narrative that women and our self-worth should revolve around our weight.

(image: screengrab)

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Rachel is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, and wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. At least she gets to live in New York City though!