Though I have never been overweight, I do know exactly what it is like to be judged for my size and hear unkind comments about what I look like. Shouldn't we shift weight issues to health, rather than appearances?
I was a super skinny girl growing up. I was teased relentlessly for it.
And I was just naturally this way. I ATE and I ate a lot. My own dad would tease me and say I was a human garbage disposal because I ate so much.
But what if I wasn't naturally this way? What if I was starving myself? Be careful who you make unwarranted comments to!
In high school I was actually nicknamed 'Annie' which was short for anorexia.
I was called Olive Oil (from Popeye) by the older folks.
I did a bake off as a charity event and brought cookies. The gentleman I gave it too said - honey, you eat them. You need it more than I do.
I had a gym teacher tell me I was too fragile for sports.
I had another gym teacher tell me that if I wanted to raise money for my school, all I had to do was sit outside with a cup and people would feel sorry for me and give me money.
I had an art teacher say I was a weakling and I would need help with my clay making project.
All great stuff to say to a growing girl in front of her peers.
Maybe I have never been fat, but I certainly have struggled with body issues and confidence issues because of it.
Breasts? Um, what are those?
A booty? Does a bony one count?
I sleep with a half a dozen pillows because my bones rub into each other and it makes me nuts.
As an adult people are less likely to make such rude comments to me, but as an adult I still struggle with body issues. Maybe you are the kind of person who simply looks at a brownie and puts on 5 lbs. Well I look at a dumbbell and my muscles shrink. I still have to work damn hard at keeping myself fit and cellulite plagues us skinny ladies too. And as an adult I am now thin, no longer a skinny kid, and that helps - sometimes. It is certainly easier to put on weight now than it used to be.
I don't hear anyone ask overweight people things like -
Do you even eat? (Ummm, yes, I do and more than you think)
Have you ever considered a boob job? (Uh, sure you gonna pay for it?)
How much do you weigh anyways? (Sigh....)
Oh, you work out? (YES! Can't you see my muscles?!)
Ah! You have cellulite? (Yep, and thanks for pointing it out)
Taking care of my health is still a priority and can be a struggle for thinner women as there are no outward signs that your cholesterol and blood sugar are too high. We don't have as much incentive to stay away from bad foods, especially when you have everybody telling you - you should eat more.
Do I struggle with my weight? No. Do I struggle with my body image? Food choices? You bet. And the unkind words and comments that people feel are OK to say to a thin woman doesn't help.
Skinny shaming is not okay.Anyone who thinks it’s okay to comment on or mock a skinny girl’s body needs to recognize his or her own internalized prejudice. Skinny shaming is body shaming. It’s harmful, and it’s real, and we need to stop it just like we need to stop fat shaming.
I remember what I learned in Kindergarten - If you don't have something nice to say, then don't bother to say it at all.
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- from Taylor Oakes
As the body in the featured image, I'd also like to note that extremely skinny DOES NOT indicate health. That is me - I am constantly swaying between a size 0 and 2. I've never been larger than a size 3 and have even dipped down to a 00. You can see my ribs and my spine if I move certain ways and my torso is exposed.
That being said, for my height (5"2) and size, my body fat percentage is higher than average. I have a very large bust but a very tiny rib cage & waist - looking even thinner. I have a decent amount of fat on my hips, stomach and butt. I have cellulite. I have stretch marks. I have a muffin top. All because I have a bad relationship with food.
I loooove salt. I looove fatty foods. And I'm an emotional eater. That being said, my body composition & stature keep me relatively small.
That does not make me healthy.
But that also does not make me underweight, anorexic, or "too thin".
It just makes me, me. I'm working to be fitter, healthier, stronger and more consistent. But as that happens and I lose fat, I actually get smaller.
The last photo is not the best example, but is me at my leanest. I had definition in my stomach, my arms, all over. But was SO. INCREDIBLY. THIN.
And that's technically, based on my height, age and measurements, at an ideal/fit body fat percentage. Is it what anyone would say they "prefer"? No, probably not. Myself included. It is not when I think I look the best, but it IS when I FEEL the best. Is it the worst struggle in the world to have? Absolutely not. Not even close. But it is something to keep in mind the next time you see a photo of a size two and simply assume that they starve themselves.