Personal Narrative: Raging Slenderness

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Growing up as an Asian American, I knew I would never have the long legs or double-lidded blue eyes of the models that graced the TV screens and magazines I saw. Hell, I might not even have the tan skin if my melanin continued to refuse to cooperate. I recognized it would be biologically impossible for me to achieve the majority of Western beauty standards, and I was okay with that. Instead, I contented myself with believing I could do fairly well by Asian standards. My nose was upright, my hair was sleek and straight. Surrounded by petite Asian adults, I also assumed that I would grow up to be the same way. Effortlessly, easily, thin. Then puberty arrived. No, “arrived” is too passive of a word. Puberty blistered across my body, ravaging…show more content…
But part of the reason the pressure to be thin in East Asian culture is so suffocating is because it's assumed to be a natural given. Terms like “Asian-metabolism” and “Asian skinny genes” point toward the expectation that being slender comes effortlessly (and biologically) for people of Chinese, Taiwan, Japanese, Korean descent. To some extent, there probably is a higher percentage of East Asian women who are naturally thin. But the usage of this potential correlation as a blanket standard for all Asians led me to believe that my inability to be effortlessly thin meant that something was wrong with me. I was defective, and any measures I took to try and disguise this fact had to be kept secret. Beyond the ritualistic self-body-shaming sharing that most teenage girls discussed, I hid my struggle. I silently resented my little brother, who was underweight and had to drink chocolate milkshakes after dinner to bring the scale up. I saw red after I got onto the subway in Taiwan and saw a beanpole-skinny college student toting a giant bag of fried chicken. I looked away in anger when we went out to dinner and my thinner friends would order burgers and joke about pigging out while I picked at my

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