Let’s talk body image. It’s one of those topics that can touch every woman because whether we admit it or not, it has played a big part in our lives growing up. I want to talk about body image from one perspective & one perspective only. It’s the side of body image confidence that we never really hear about because the media has twisted it completely. It’s the side of body image that doesn’t always have a voice & by writing this post I intend to give it a voice – it’s the body image of the ‘skinny’ girl.I hate the word skinny & I always have. For me it has so many negative connotations around it & my insides continue to squirm when I hear it even at the ripe old age of 25, but I’m going to use it for the purpose of this post.
So let me give you a little bit of a background – I’m that skinny girl. I have been very slim my whole life which has a lot to do with a thyroid condition that I was born with (but we’ll not get into that) so I have never been this slim by choice. Now when I say slim I don’t just mean slightly smaller than average – I mean that my legs were minuscule & shockingly tiny. I hated them more than could imagine. Growing up I had serious confidence issues & was so self-conscious about my body. While I am no longer as skinny as I was as a teen, I’m still tiny but I’ve just learnt to accept it & deal with it. But I’ll never forget the things that people called me, the sly comments & the judgemental stares. That is the reason for this blog post – I want to talk about what it’s like to be a skinny girl in today’s society & how harmful it can be.
Now I want to add a little disclaimer here because body image can be a sensitive topic for many: I am in no way undermining those who are overweight or what they go through mentally when it comes to body image. I am simply giving my perspective from someone on the opposite end of the spectrum because it’s something that is rarely talked about.
The media has shaped society’s thinking around weight massively. We’re constantly seeing and reading about celebrities losing & gaining weight featuring unflattering photos & nasty articles. It’s a horrible world & can hurt so many peoples self-esteem. A pattern that you’ll notice if you pay attention, is that according to the media anyone who is too thin MUST have an eating disorder because no one can naturally be that thin. It is this thinking that can be so detrimental to people like me who are naturally underweight. Throughout my life I had to constantly explain myself when people made comments like ‘you’re so skinny, do you not eat?’, ‘you’re too thin, you need to go eat lots of burgers’ & so on. The problem was that because the media had shaped society in such a way no one could understand that I could possibly be this size if I ate a normal diet.
This is where society is so wrong. As a ‘skinny’ girl I have received as much criticism, as much judgement & as much hurtfulness as someone who is over weight but people struggle to or can’t see or understand that. People assume that we couldn’t possibly understand how a larger person feels but I’ve stood in front of the mirror & cried about how I look, I’ve felt self-conscious in every outfit I tried on and I tried to hide my body because I felt it was ugly. So the reality is that those of us who are very underweight can relate to those who are overweight more than you think.
There has also become an acceptance in society that if someone is too slim, that it’s okay to tell them. You would never go up to an overweight person & say nasty things but if it’s a ‘skinny’ person it’s perfectly fine to do that. I am not saying that overweight people never get horrible comments made at them by lowlifes, I’m just saying that people feel like they have a right to tell someone that they’re too thin because ‘its for their own interest’ or because ‘society says it’s okay’. I’m here to tell you that you have no right to comment on anyone’s weight. Ever.
This may have been a slightly long-winded blog post but I just wanted to create awareness about what you say & how you act towards ‘skinny’ people. We have feelings, we’re sensitive about our size & we feel body issues like anyone else. I didn’t choose to be this size & it’s very, very difficult for me to change it. My challenge to you is that if you don’t already, treat ‘skinny’ people with the same respect as you would anyone else because you have no idea how they feel about themselves. Don’t make comments about their weight. Don’t make them feel inferior, worthless or bad about themselves. If I ever have a daughter with a similar body shape to mine, I would never want her to feel what I have felt & neither would you.
Basically, be nice & don’t be a dick!