Carleton University removed a scale from its gym in a laughable attempt to shield students from reality. Apparently the special snowflakes became so distressed when they saw their weight that school officials decided to protect students from the number. What’s next, ridding the school of mirrors in case students aren’t pleased with their reflection?
College campuses aren’t meant to be daycare centers. A university education is intended for mature adults, not babies that still need to be pampered. Body image is a difficult issue for many young adults. It’s also an issue that students should take up with their guidance counselor rather than their administrator.
A scale is a useful tool, particularly inside a gym. There are dozens of reasons why someone who’s interested in going to a gym would want to know their weight. People of all sizes occasionally feel dismayed by the number of the scale; skinny people who long to put on muscle and larger individuals who dream of slimming down.
“We don’t believe being fixated on weight has any positive effect on your health and well-being,” said Bruce Marshall, who manages the university’s health and wellness program. “The body is an amazing machine and even when we are dieting and training it will often find a homeostasis at a certain weight. It takes weeks, even months to make a permanent change in your weight. So why obsess about it? Why not look at other indicators?”
Marshall’s weak argument mounts a poor defense of the policy. Taking note of a measurement is not the equivalent of fixating on it. Of course it’s true that someone shouldn’t fixate on their weight, just like someone shouldn’t fixate on what they’re going to eat for dinner.
Weight is good indicator of overall health. That doesn’t mean that it’s the only one. Body fat percentages and overall fitness levels are also important. But there’s no benefit to focusing solely on one or the other. Someone who cares about their health should know at least roughly what they weigh.
“Scales are very triggering,” freshman student Samar El Faki told Carleton’s campus paper. “I think people are being insensitive because they simply don’t understand. They think eating disorders are a choice when they are actually a serious illness.”
Someone afflicted by a serious illness should be treated by their doctor, not a school administrator. Student health problems and body image issues have nothing to do with a scale. A student weighs the same whether they step on the scale or not. Preventing them from gaining knowledge about their own bodies is patronizing.
“This isn’t the first time a college campus has banned something innocuous to protect its students from hurt feelings,” reports The Federalist. “Last September, the University of Kansas banned images of zoo gorilla Harambe because he was too masculine. The campus feared images of the dead gorilla wouldn’t be inclusive to all of its residents and barred a resident assistant from hanging up Harambe posters in a jungle-themed floor of a dormitory.”
It’s almost like universities are competing to see who can make the most ridiculous ruling. Trying to shield students from hurt feelings is a futile and counter-productive strategy. You can never predict what someone will be offended by, and even if you could, colleges are supposed to foster mental growth.
Students would fare better if schools taught them how to confront what makes them uncomfortable. If officials believe that a significant portion of the student body is alarmed at their weight, the answer isn’t to remove the gym’s scale. That’s just ignoring the problem. Instead, concerned educators should focus on ways of promoting healthy lifestyles.
Coddling millennials has resulted in a generation of weak-willed Americans. Young adults grow up believing that their feelings are what matters most and the world must conform to them. Universities and colleges now spend time and effort figuring out how to placate the student body’s constantly harassed feelings.
Carleton University’s decision to remove the scale “…isn’t sitting well with several students who are accusing the school of kowtowing to a small group of gym users who are easily offended,” CBC News reports.
“Although it [a scale] can be used as a tool to help measure certain aspects of fitness it does not provide a good overall indication of health and here at athletics we have chosen to move away from focusing solely on bodyweight,” Marshall told CBC.
“If you need a number to focus on in regard to reaching certain fitness goals we suggest using girth measurements. You can start by recording measurements in multiple areas, for example your torso, hips, chest, legs and arms. You would then revisit these measurements after a few weeks to keep tabs on your progress.”
Why is he assuming that people won’t find body measurements to be equally triggering? Someone who’s unhappy about their weight isn’t likely to be pleased about what the tape measure says either. Carleton’s decision has proved to be so controversial that the school is already considering replacing the scale.