Over time, many women but also men have tried to fit in with society, either trying to look the way models look on a magazine or on TV, changing their looks or changing the type of clothes to wear to fit in. Thus, pressuring individuals in conforming to follow society norms or else they are rejected and then make them not like who they are because others do not accept it.
On top of that, having parents that are so strict and controlling on what their children eat and make them exercise so much to burn calories. This effect making it so difficult for any child to be able to grow up and play, instead of worrying about their weight or looks. This does not have a good impact on children’s development; mentally, physically, and emotionally, because for example, they will always have that worry in their mind about being skinny and cannot look fat because being fat is unacceptable. Unfortunately, getting to the point where as they grow up, they develop eating disorders, like becoming bulimic or anorexic, to stay “fit”. Society expect women to be viewed as thin and skinny to follow society norms, unlike Louise who broke those “so-called” norms, found her true identity and has come to accept who she was. To illustrate, the main character, Louise, had always fought throughout her life with her weight at home but also in school.
She had two close friends, Joan and Marjorie, who were thin but insecure with how they look, being the social outcasts. For Louise, her insecurities were her weight while her friends’ insecurities were their looks, boyfriends, or popularity. For Louise, she did not worry about boyfriends, because of her weight, she doubted herself, she thought no one would be attracted to her. Ingrained in her mind especially if her mother would tell her that all the time. As to what Louise would think, “I was always thinking about what people saw when they looked at me and didn’t want them to see two fat girls” (Dubus), she would choose friends who were thin because she would worry what others would say or see, she thought with thin friends, people will probably not notice her or how fat she was.
She hated her body in public, but felt so comfortable in it when she was at home. One would think, she probably felt more comfortable at home, when really at home it was not easier because her mother would be behind her about her weight too. In the same way, Louise’s mother, would always attack Louise about how big she was and how she was not going to confront the world if she did not do anything about her weight. Her mother would always say to her, “You must start watching what you eat, her mother would say. I can see you have my metabolism” (Dubus). As of the age of 9, Louise would be fed like she was on diet and have her food intake monitored all the time by her mother.
Unfortunately, to not upset her mother about what she ate, Louise would eat food when no one was watching, in pure darkness in the bathroom. Through Louise’s life, her mother ingrained in her mind negative perceptions about herself, not making friends, not having a boyfriend, not being accepted by society out in public because of her weight, if she did not start losing weight. Years go by, Louise meets a young and thin lawyer, Richard, who finds her attractive because she was able to lose all the fat and weight she once had during her childhood and high school years. But little does he know about her life before, what she had to go through and met the new Louise. Louise in a way foreshadows that Richard would have never been attracted in her if she had still been fat, when later during their marriage, she begins to gain weight and he does not find her attractive anymore. They get married and Louise becomes a housewife. While Louise struggles to keep herself thin, her husband can eat anything he wants as she watches what she eats to keep herself in shape. Louise gets pregnant and has a baby boy, after the baby was born she goes back to her old eating habits, losing more control of herself and her food intake, to the point where her own husband does not find her attractive anymore.
As he tells her in bed, “I don’t want to touch you. Why should I? Have you looked at yourself?” (Dubus), he becomes so controlling and angry over what she eats and her rapid weight gain, ending in them arguing with one another. To end the story, Louise eats a chocolate bar in front of her husband, showing that courage she grew to accept herself and what she looks like.To conclude, society has made high standards for individuals and people who think they do not fit in them are rejecting the way they look and feel disappointed about their body. Consequently, causing people to change themselves, when really, they should learn to love themselves and accept themselves. Happily, for Louise, she did what many could not do, her got the strength of courage to be herself, who cares what others think.