SBVN2015: Being “Fat” in Vietnam

As much as I wish it weren’t true, the truth is there is no universal beauty standard. All over the world people view beautiful differently. My opinion is probably different from yours. Now this isn’t to say we aren’t all beautiful, but goodness. Some people are just cruel.

I stand at 5’5, weigh in at 121 lbs, and have a slim but awkward build. I have a weird prepubescent form of an hour glass, with potential to fill out and be lovely. But my bust will forever be captain of the itsy bitsy titty committee and my bum will never have that Kim Kardashian bubble butt feel. I have a small-ish waist though. Got that much going for me.

Though I have some insecurities about my body (stretchmarks are evil), I’m content. I don’t think I’m fat or skinny, I’m just yknow, normal. Or that is according to American standards.

But in Vietnam, I’m fat. Not obese, but “you’d be prettier if your waist was 60 cm not 67 cm” kind of deal. (Yeah someone actually told me that.) It’s funny though, because I’m tall compared to a lot of people in Vietnam. And it isn’t that people here are absurdly skinny. It’s that Asians, for the most part, are built slimmer. Their frames are smaller.

Which is cool, but everyone’s different. So if everyone’s different and we know that much, how come we apply one single beauty standard to society? I never understood that.

I’m very happy and confident with my body because it functions great and is healthy. I think that’s the beauty standard we should uphold, a healthy body with a smiley face. Now that’s gorgeous.

On a small tangent, I think this “American” mindset I have ties into my confidence and why you can spot me as the American in a group of Vietnamese people. I could never explain how or why my brother and I could look at a crowd here and point out who’s the foreigner. But I stand out by my confidence and body language. I carry myself differently. I’m loud and abrasive and not calm or demure. I don’t hide my smile or laugh quietly. I’m just *so American* compared to my family here.

I think it’s sad that people hide their smiles and laughs. Honestly, I don’t see many people here smiling or laughing unless they’re drunk or on a night out. I don’t see any casual laugjs or smiles or giggles or chuckles. I miss my American mannerisms.


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