Today was one of those days were you just go "Wow, that was messed up!"
Although since I am an exchange student I am able to take that statement and not let it bother me and just accept it as just part of the culture no matter how wrong or how inethical today was.
So what did happen today?
Basically, it was a meat show.
Things have started to become mundane and I know what to expect each day. So, when I walked into the gymnasium I was expecting to run a lot of laps around the gym, then stretch, then do some random sprints, then play "soccer" if you could even call it that with the girls in the class. Most times the teams will consist of one team against me. But today was a different story. I was handed a sheet that reminded me of the sheets that I am given in gym in Canada, where I have to write down my flexibility, vertical jump and other measurements of strength. This sheet was slightly different. It didn't ask me about my strength, or my flexibilty or even how my cardio was. Instead it named body parts. Because here, strength and what your body can do is not important its what it looks like.
First they measured my height which was slightly a problem seeing as how I am the tallest girl by far. Then they had to measure my weight, I was not entered into a private room so I could see the number by myself, nor was this whole process in a private manner seeing as it was on the stage in the gym for everyone to see. Of course when they told me my weight it didn't mean anything to me since it was in kilograms but it turns out I have gained a little bit of weight but nothing noticable and it hasn't forced me to buy new clothes. We then had to do some calculations to see how much fat we have in kilograms, which doesn't work because it doesn't take into account for how much muscle you have. They don't use newer machines that send a very tiny electrical shock to see much fat and how muscle you have. So most of the numbers are completely false.
Anyhow, I thought this whole thing was over and that we might actually do something physical. But, it wasn't over. We then went to using a skinfold measurer (google it) to measure the rest of the fat on our bodies. Our male gym teacher proceded to measure the fat on the back of our arm (he also gets part of the tricep as well), also on our shoulder blade area on our back, and then on our lower abdomen. Of course it was conducted in a professional manner but after I was measured I was in such a state of shock because that should just never happen. It just felt so wrong, and I knew in Canada numerous parents would have contacted the school about it, but here it was treated like nothing different. Nothing about that day to them was wrong or insanely different.
The next step was to measure around our bust, the smallest part of our belly and our hips. Not really sure what the bust can say about your fat seeing as how everyone has a different ribcage size. It just seemed so weird. I am so used to having a machine telling me my body fat precentage that having a bunch of false measurements seemed so.........incorrect. Not to mention all the "healthy body talks" I have had and all the self body image conversations I have gone through, so when I was 'analyzing' this situation I couldn't help but think of all the negative body thoughts and images that these girls could have. Especially when one of my friends actually said "Hahaha my arm fat is lower than yours" who says that. I was so surprised so I just laughed along and excepted that this is Chile.
Well, it wasn't over yet. We then did some abdominal exercises, the basic ones you would expect but then they got weirder and weirder as went furthur along. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if the all the guys in our class wasn't watching us (the guys were expected to do nothing the whole gym class so watching us was some entertainment). One of our exercises was in a bent over position while lifting our leg like a dog. I am sure there is merit to this exercise but it is rather embarrasing when the whole class is watching you, and calling your name, namely only mine.
Today was weird. Today was messed up. Today was different. Today I was culture shocked for the first time since I have been here.