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Far from slim and slender, don't forget my education because of my gender

Women are being body-shamed for gaining weight in school, creating emotional instability. It needs to stop.

Illustration published Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.

Illustration published Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.

It's almost 2017, and a woman's body image still has more importance than her education. 

School breaks in college can be tough for many students, but let’s be honest, women have a harder time than men because, unfortunately, women are expected not only to achieve but also to look good while doing so. 

Female college students go home for breaks worried about their figure because their bodies need to please everyone — or so society has made them believe. 

If you have gained weight and you're a woman, as a third year student, I can assure people will make comments about the way you look. 

If you're a freshman you’ve most likely already figured out that the “freshman 15” is no joke. And it gets better: If you thought those extra pounds would surprise you only in your first year, think again.

Men also gain weight and are judged by their families and friends but science has proved women are bound to gain weight more easily than men. I am still trying to understand how the universe and life works, why women and not men? Clearly God or the creator of the universe did not believe in feminism or gender equality. 


With time, women become more self-conscious about their figures. For Elida Ramos, industrial engineering junior, family had the biggest impact on the way she thought of her body image. “I would ask myself, ‘what am I doing?'” Ramos said.  

“For a week, I would try to adjust my study time to work out, but it made me feel tired during my school days,” she said. 

Ramos is a year away from graduating with a degree in industrial engineering. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women compose only 17 percent of the STEM workforce in the country. More people should recognize her hard work in this field rather than focusing on a few extra pounds. 

Paulina Orqueda, computer information systems and business data analytics senior, said she gained twenty pounds her sophomore year. “I didn’t have time to cook and I would eat fast-foods almost every day,” she said. 

Many women like Ramos and Orqueda struggle to keep a healthy lifestyle because their priorities are set in their education, so please stop body shaming us. 

Don’t expect us to look how we used to in high school because we were in fact, just girls. The words “women” and “girls” are not interchangeable. High school and college are different. They each require different responsibilities that truly do set the line between a teenager and an adult. 

If you are feeling ashamed or insecure about gaining the "freshman 15," take a look back. Embrace and appreciate the person you have become because there really is more than meets the eye. Every bit of those extra few pounds is the result of hard work.

Whenever you question yourself, remember the things you have overcome, alone. Remember that you’re one step closer to getting that degree you want so much. You shouldn’t let a person’s ignorance get in the way of accepting and enjoying your accomplishments. 

As women the truth is we will never be truly happy with ourselves, but we should embrace and fall in love with the change we see in ourselves, which is something truly beautiful.

Reach the columnist at or follow @santiagoc_17 on Twitter.

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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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