How Much Does An Average American 12 Year Old Weight I’m Not a Skinny Asian Girl

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I’m Not a Skinny Asian Girl

I was born in Sydney, Australia, and lived there until I was nine years old. After that I moved to California. My mother is a Chinese woman from Singapore and my father is a Chinese man from Burma, so I am an Oriental raised with Western ideals.

Living near Hollywood, I really felt the effects of trying to get the perfect body. In my youth, newspapers, television and movies taught me that thin is beautiful; other things were disgusting.

As a child and teenager I was a bit of a pain, maintaining a slim figure but eating a lot of pizza, potato chips and candy. I never weighed myself, never dieted and never thought about my weight. When I was 17, I was 5’6″ and 120 lbs. People always said, “You’re tough! It’s probably because you’re Asian.” My biggest body issue back then was dissatisfaction with my small breasts.

After high school, when I was in my early 20s, I gained about 15 pounds. I’m still eating the same as before, so I know I’m not the dreaded “freshman 15” people are told they get in college. Metabolism started to slow down. My friend was on the Atkins diet so I jumped on the bandwagon myself. It worked well. I lost weight and was down my high school size.

I tried to play when I was 21 years old. At every audition, I noticed the girls in pink, they looked smaller than me, even the non-Asians looked skinny. I put the pounds back on after Atkins, so the “biz” made me eat again. I tried not to eat too much and went for a run. It also worked, I got my “straight” look back but I was starving myself. I always felt hungry and had constant headaches.

I ended up giving up doing things for spiritual reasons, not because it was difficult, but because I felt it was taking me away from God. So after my strict diet, I went wild. I ate all the fat and sugar. I weighed about 155 pounds, the heaviest I’ve ever been. I stopped hearing that I was thin, the stares from the handsome strangers subsided. I wasn’t fat, I was definitely heavier. One of my best friends at the time told me that I wasn’t “as attractive as I used to be.” Needless to say, we weren’t very close, but his words made me think a lot about his worth. My dad commented on how fat I got and was really hurt. One time I was at a friend’s house, he came out for a few minutes to talk to his girlfriend. He left me alone with his brothers and friends, whom I had known for years but not very closely. They started teasing me, asking me if I was “saving for the winter”. This is the lowest I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt bad.

I ended up losing 10 pounds, so I weigh 145. Sometimes, I can go down to 141 and sometimes up to 148, but I stay in that range, I’ve been like this for about five years. I don’t get comments about my weight anymore and I feel like I’m pretty average for Americans.

The only Asian countries I have visited are Singapore and Malaysia, where I am currently living temporarily. The first time I visited these places as an adult, I really stuck out like a sore thumb. I was taller and thicker than most of the girls there. When I tried on clothes, they were big or bigger. I have big thighs and a big butt. While this J.Lo bod may be loved in the US, it’s not here. Chinese girls are considered small and thin. Well, you might say, “Jackie, how do you know it’s not just in your head?” I know because almost all of my relatives here (ie about 12 aunts and uncles and 14 cousins) told me I was “too big”. Too big for Asia, land of “skinny Asian girls.” I have seen older girls here, but they are few and far between.

Last night someone suggested that I lose weight to “fit in” and be more successful in my TV production career here. It’s an insult to me, before I came here, my weight was down to 141 and stayed there, which I’m very happy about. Also, what does my weight have to do with performance? I was told that if I was skinny I would be more like them, accepted and respected. I listened carefully to the advice I was given, but said I was happy with my body. If I lose weight, great, if not, I won’t cry myself to sleep.

I may seem confident in my body, but there are many times when I look in the mirror and feel angry.

One of my friends in Australia, whom I have known for over 16 years, called me about my bad body image when I was visiting there last year. I have said a phrase that women my age say in America; “I’m so fat!” It will be said casually while trying on a dress or while eating greasy fries. I don’t even realize how often I’ve used that phrase. What I just said, it doesn’t mean that I thought I was fat, maybe, subconsciously, I thought that if I said it, I wouldn’t have to hear it from others. My friend told me that an Australian magazine is trying to reshape the female body image. They show women in all shapes and sizes on their covers. Even my friend, who is a happy Australasian, was photographed in her outfit in the pages of Australian Cosmo. I am proud that she is proud of her appearance.

I really want to write about this issue, not as an Asian woman, but as a woman in general. Images take advantage of telling us that we need to look at this or that. We all buy into it. As a larger Asian woman, I realize that other larger Asian women (meaning those who aren’t a size 14) feel more pressure to be thin than the average woman. Every race has its own stereotypes. White people can’t dance. White people can’t jump. Black people are thugs. All black men are basketball players. Asians don’t know how to drive. All Asians are thin. I beg others and I’m sure many of you do too. Justin Timberlake is a white man with exceptional dancing skills. Larry Bird is a white guy who can jump. Barack Obama (’08 US presidential hopeful) is a black man who is far from a thug. And I, Jackqueline Lou, am NOT skinny Asian.

And I’m fine.

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