Argentina is a country of immigrants from all walks of life yet most share one similar characteristic: they’re thin. Wondering around Argentina you experience things that were obviously not made with fat people in mind. Thinner bathtubs, beds, and shorter seat belts all easily come to my mind.
I believe that self-love is a life long journey. As someone who is overweight learning to love and accept my body as it is, experiencing these changes in my daily life affected me greatly. I remember passing the first few days wondering if I’ve gained weight. Questioning why the bed felt so small, why the shower curtain hugged the side of my body so closely, why the seat belt on the plane barely closed. These are things I never struggled with in the US (BUT there are people who do and that’s important to point out too).
In just the first few days I was in the country I felt the need to watch my food intake. I didn’t realize how significantly the machismo in Argentina could influence my feelings. It wasn’t that I was bigger, things were just smaller. The creation of smaller clothes, beds showers, etc. are made to make people feel fat. They act as an indirect method to enforce deadly beauty standards.
Argentina has a history of brutally enforcing strict beauty standards, specifically women (Although men are also affected and definitely also suffer from eating disorders!). My in country director told me that the Argentine government was forced to (recently) pass a law that forced clothing makers to make clothing up until size 14. I think it is important to blankly point out that there are sizes bigger than 14 that exist. I also think it’s important to also point out that in the United States the average women’s pants size is 16.
I spoke with my porteño friends about this topic and they shared with me that they believed things have actually improved. According to Argentine Association to Fight Bulimia and Anorexia, 900K teens report an eating disorder in 2000. Many refer to the early 2000s as an epidemic of eating disorders that plagued Argentina teens.
I watch my friends in this country as they skip meals or eat only salads. I hear my housemate tell me about how her coworker thinks she’s overweight at 120 lbs. I listen to my coworkers tell me how they drink mate to avoid hunger. And yet this is an “improvement”.
Mi gente I am sorry society tries to sell you the idea that you aren’t enough, that you’re too much. Your self-love is the most powerful act of resistance. Please remember to care for yourself and love yourself.