I would like to take a minute to discuss a topic I have seen floating around the world wide web and has made it’s way into the news over the past few weeks. The first time I saw this issue come up, I had to refrain from putting in my 2 cents worth because I thought surely the world would come around without, well, my 2 cents.
Yes. Who knew I would ever write those words because it was an actual term now known by the general public. At first words failed me when I saw this being talked about on the Today Show, local news channels and in articles floating around on Facebook. The first time I felt like this issue, without the title, was in our faces was when the latest winner of Biggest Loser was literally Skinny Shamed on national television and social media.
I don’t watch the Biggest Loser much, so honestly when this whole thing blew up I thought surely I was missing something. I only saw the “after” picture of her (at first) and I thought she looked great. She was 5’4″ and 105 lbs when she came back to weigh in for the finale. I realize this weight is definitely not the standard weight for most of us woman these days. But as a girl who is 5’8″ a currently weighing in at 110 lbs, I was a little frustrated when everyone started calling her “unhealthy”. Because, well, she wasn’t! She had a strict diet, worked out religiously and got her body back. And just FYI, she used to be a swimmer, someone who was fit and healthy. Then life happened. She gained weight, stopped caring and then decided to make a change. And instead of people applauding her for her awesome achievement, everyone was standing around hating. I just didn’t understand. Does a number on a scale automatically classify you as healthy or unhealthy?? It shouldn’t!!!!
**I don’t ever condone eating disorders or an unhealthy obsession over weight. I want everyone to eat healthy and exercise and if that means you are 100 lbs or 200 lbs then we shouldn’t care. Weight is a number. And it usually depresses us no matter what end of the spectrum we fall.
Now, months later, this skinny topic has come up again. First, I see that they are telling Victoria Secret that their models are “too skinny”. I also saw an article that said “F$^# the Thigh Gap”. Excuse the language but that was the actual title. Someone feels really strongly about that issue.
Again, this is coming from a girl who, growing up, had skinny legs complete with a “thigh gap” *swoon*, pants that never fit right, and boobs that never quite filled out a bra. I hated it. I know, #skinnygirlprobs. But let me just say, if I had a penny for every time a STRANGER let alone my friends or acquaintances told me, “You are so skinny, do you ever eat?!”, I could retire. I have been told countless times to “Go eat more McDonald’s” and “drink more milkshakes”. Oh! How kind of you! Yes, let me go binge on that deliciousness. Because that’s healthy? Nobody cared about what I was eating or not eating, they just wanted me to gain some weight.
As a younger girl in middle school and high school, this hurt my feelings. I didn’t like being skinny, having to alter my clothes because they didn’t fit, or being self conscious in a basketball uniform. I told my mom about people saying these things and that I didn’t understand why they had to say it. She said, “Honey, they think they are giving you a compliment. I know it doesn’t seem that way but a lot of people wish they could be thin like you.”
Oh. Really? They want to look like this? I did NOT take these comments as compliments. They felt negative and derogatory. I didn’t comment on their weight, why did they feel it was okay to comment on mine?
Don’t worry, I never cried myself to sleep or became reclusive with no friends. I marched my skinny “bird” legs with my over-sized skirt and barely-there-boobs into school everyday and just assumed everyone wanted to look like this! My self esteem was through the roof (ha!). *thanks Mom*
Now I am 26, I have a kid, I have put on a couple pounds and a few stretch marks and now I fit right in with everyone else, right? Unfortunately I am not much happier with my body. But we never are, are we? Now my bird legs have some cellulite (thanks Graham). I can’t fit into all of my 25 pairs of pants I have collected over the last 10 years. It’s unfortunate really. But I am not about to sit here and bash “skinny girls” because I am having a bad day.
“Skinny” models are used by Victoria Secret because they are our ideal. They just are. And I don’t think we should start “skinny shaming” because the majority of Americans aren’t happy with themselves. We ALL want to look like them. We all want a thigh gap (apparantly). *Side note: I refused to wear shorts for years because I thought my thigh gap made me look stupid. But whatever. * But just because we all don’t look like them doesn’t mean we can’t be happy with ourselves. Beauty is much more than just skin deep.
The best of the best are printed in magazine ads, television commercials, and of course you want the “prettiest” girl modeling your lingerie. It’s not discriminating, it’s good marketing. I would not have made it as a lingerie model because I don’t have all the assets they want. I’m not offended, it just makes sense. I do feel jipped out of a potentially great career, but ya know, we can’t all be VS Angels!
When we aren’t happy with ourselves it’s always easier to criticize someone else than deal with our own insecurities. But please, don’t start putting down “skinny” girls who are beautiful, look good in anything and get offered jobs by Victoria Secret. Those girls have things they hate about themselves too, I promise. Those girls you feel it is appropriate to “skinny shame” are people too and are not out to ruin your life. Just embrace that everyone is different and unique, thigh gap or no thigh gap.
**Disclaimer: In case anyone missed the point of this, I love everyone no matter the shape or size and I don’t feel the need to ever dwell on the outward appearance of people. It’s none of my business. If you are a size 00 or 20, neither of those should dictate how I treat someone. It’s never okay to bully or “shame” someone because we feel they aren’t the norm…skinny or fat.