Downside of being slender


Amelia Yang

Junior Selma Chang shows the difference between her normal stomach and her “food baby.” Chang uses humor to overcome stereotypical comments about her weight.

Usually, being called “skinny” is a compliment, but to junior Selma Chang it’s an obnoxious insult. People often comment on her body, and she finds that it gets very old-very fast.

“If people just say I’m skinny, it’s okay, but a lot of times people go on about it and then it gets annoying,” Chang said. “Especially when they ask if I’m anorexic. Then I get pissed.”

This happens more than she’d like. Though she laughs it off when people tell her to eat more, her smile is a little forced after. People tend to talk to her not because of her personality, but because they want to comment on her body.

“Instead of trying to understand me as a person, they just look at me as a stick-skinny girl,” she said.

However, Chang uses her body type as a source of humor. Though most people like to avoid their post-lunch stomach inflation, Chang loves it. She calls it her “food baby.”

On a flight back from Chicago this summer, Chang had consumed a can of soda, which puffed up her stomach. When she waited in line for the bathroom, she noticed a woman staring at her. “I was kind of cradling [my stomach] as if my food baby was an actual baby, and the woman next to me gave me a judging look.” Chang said.

“After she eats a lot she’ll stick out her tummy,” says her sophomore friend Angie Tong, “and she’ll ask you to rub it.”

When her friends tell her she’s too thin, Chang counters, “No! Call me fat!” Contrary to most girls, Chang considers being called “fat” a compliment.  To her, having a little body fat is nice. When buying clothes, she is often frustrated because she only fits an extra small and is often forced to leave stores empty handed. Chang wishes it would be easier for her to gain weight, if only to find better fitting clothes while shopping.

Despite unwelcome words and fruitless shopping trips, Chang uses humor to make peace with the body she’s in. She’s happy with the body she has, food baby and all.