Much like other more economically developed nations, Japan has an obsession with its weight. In modern society there is a continual emphasis on being thin, and particularly for women. But at the same time, the other side of the argument – the idea that people should embrace a variety of different body types as healthy – has more visibility in the media than ever before.
So when a teenage girl posted on Oshiete! Goo, the Japanese equivalent to Yahoo! Answers, asking why there were so many girls around her who were too thin, she struck a chord with netizens.
Her original post is now part of an article by Goo Watch, which tracks trending topics on the website. When it was reposted on SNS news site mixi News, it drew plenty of comments from mixi users, all of whom seem to support a body-positive image for the nation’s women.
From Goo Watch:
On A Diet Even Though They’re 165cm Tall And Only Weigh 42kg? Women Are Too Thin!
Recent data revealed that young women today consume fewer calories in a day than women did immediately after the end of WW2. Perhaps one of the causes for this is that the number of women who feel strongly – too strongly – that they want to be slimmer. And in fact, even walking around town, you frequently catch sight of women who are extremely thin.
Amidst all this, I discovered a Q&A on the website “Oshiete! Goo” [similar to Yahoo! Answers], entitled “Nowadays all the girls are too thin, aren’t they?”. The OP who asked the question was a girl in the 3rd year of high school. She said that all of the girls around her were thin, but that “I prefer it when girls are not too thin, I think that’s also good for when it comes to having children”. By the way, the OP herself was apparently 154.5cm tall, and weighed 48kg.
So the OP was asking what other users thought about the tendency for so many girls to be too thin, and what she should do as a someone who “wasn’t thin”. I collated some of the answers she got to these questions.
■What do you think about the growing trend for women to be too thin?
“Girls these days are too thin, they really are. Even in their medicals at work there are girls who are 160cm and weigh 43kg and just make me think “What’s happened to you?? Aren’t you too thin?” (tyatoran2さん)
I feel the same way. When I checked in on an online beauty community, I was surprised at how many comments were saying things like “I’m 165cm and 42kg. I really gotta drop some pounds”. I thought to myself, “Doesn’t she mean ‘I really gotta gain some pounds?’”, but in fact the number of girls who feel too strongly that they want to be slimmer is on the rise.
“There are girls who are slimming down to a BMI lower than 18.5, which is unhealthy. They believe that if they could only weigh less, all their wishes would come true, and they get to a point where they’re erasing their own bodies, with BMIs of 17.5, or even 16. I’d kinda like to assure them that even so, they will not be able to make themselves thin with the proportions that they actually want “ (cozycube1さん)
Your BMI is made by dividing your weight by the square of your height, and if the total is less than 18.5, then you are too thin, whereas a BMI between 18.5 and 25 is normal. A BMI over 25 is generally considered overweight. If you are too thin, then insofar as there is the fear you are harming your health, you will also be skin and bones, and won’t look beautiful. Although we often think I want to slim down and become beautiful, it’s pretty pointless if you don’t become beautiful and actually end up harming your health.
Certainly, it’s not good that they number of girls who are too thin is on the rise, and the comments agreeing with the OP really stood out.
■ And what now for the OP, who says “I’m not thin”?
The OP felt that she “wasn’t thin” because of all the girls around her who were too thin. What should she do from now on?
“I think it’s fine not to be thin. I think it’s best to be ‘healthy’. I’m 157cm, and I’m 54kg …I think that’s just right” (my-townさん)
Both the OP and my-townさん have BMIs in the normal range. If you are deemed overweight, then it’s probably better to think about losing some pounds, but if you have a normal BMI then you are at a healthy weight, so there appears to be no need to slim down (of course you also have to combine the BMI with body fat, so this isn’t a hard and fast rule).
“Do your best to get an amazing body through muscle training, but definitely not suggesting that you lose any weight” (Mio9000さん)
“If you don’t eat before bed and get lost in your studies, and follow your own interests, then really, it’s going to be difficult for you to continue to be overweight” (u-jk49さん)
Focus on studies/work, enjoy your hobbies, and exercise appropriately. If you live like that, then won’t you be able to have a healthy beauty, as well as a healthy mind?
I hope that the OP goes on to aim to become a healthy beauty. And for those of you who want to get thinner even though you are already too thin, how about thinking again about your health and your beauty?
Comments from mixi.jp:
I think that everyone has their own best weight. For me, if my weight goes over 45kg then my body feels heavy, and that’s not good. But someone who is the same height as me told me that “if I’m less than 52 kg then I get dizzy”. As long as it’s not bad for you then, each to their own when it comes to weight.
When I was a middle school student, I was 164cm and 42kg, but I never really thought I was really thin – I had a double chin, and my collarbones were fleshy. My BMI at that time would have been underweight. It was just because I had no muscle at all, and once I toned up my weight also went up, but now I have a really nice body shape.
Rather than worrying about your weight, it’s better to worry about your body fat.
One of my girl friends is 148cm tall, and weighs 42kg. Her ass is kinda big, but she doesn’t look fat, she has a waist, and she’s healthy (●Д●)
If you’re 42cm, and 165kg, then it’s pretty serious (´･ω･`)
Models and glamor models put themselves through all that as part of their job, but there is absolutely no reason why people in other lines of work have to be the same as them. I’ve worked with models and celebrities, and a lot of them were emotionally disturbed because of weight-loss hormones.
This gives me the creeps…I’m on a reverse diet! Being thin ain’t what I’m about. But even though I consume over 4000 calories a day, I just can’t put on weight. Don’t be jealous! It’s just that for me it’s the other way around, but the feeling of your diet not going well is the same, foolz!
Even though back in the day they were always making such a fuss about being thin, *now* they’re always telling us that it’s good to be a bit chubby…
There are way too many women around today who mistakenly think that if you’re thin you have a good body, but they’re just skin and bones. I just don’t get what is good about ribs sticking out and flat chests. They have these thin wrists like withered tree branches that old women get. They say they want to get think, but they’re just like those monks who starve themselves into mummification.
It’s better to think about your body shape than your weight.
People who say stuff like “If you’re over Xkg then you’re fat” don’t have much muscle to support their core, do they? If you add muscle, then your weight will go up a little, but your figure and your proportions will look better, and it even becomes harder to get fat.
I think that when you’re having a health check, they should calculate how much muscle and how much fat you have.
So what I’m saying is, your weight don’t matter. If you’re well, then it’s all good. Oh, and calling people “slim”. Let’s correct it to “skin and bones”.
When I was 168cm and 48kg it was really awful…:(, when I’m 53kg I fill my clothes properly and I look my best.
I’m quite stocky, so I have to lay off the muscle training 笑
Damn I really gotta lose some weight? Damn, you really gotta lose that way of thinking.
Hmmmm, I think girls who have a bit of meat on their bones are cuter than girls who are too thin.
What’ s that? No one asked what I liked? Oops, sorry ‘bout it.
It’s not good to be too thin ^^ I want to take the fat from my lower body and stick it to my chest! 笑 And I’d like to firm up my butt, too!
At a sports gym, if a girl’s BMI drops below 17, then she’s given nutrition and exercise guidance.
And diet does not equal getting thinner, originally it is something meant to support good physical condition.