Body image has always been a controversial topic to discuss on and offline.
Before I begin this post, I want to start by saying that no person deserves to be shamed or mocked for their physical appearances. Everyone has their insecurities and parts of themselves that they constantly pick out in the mirror and focus on. Now this post may end up coming across as a little "world body peace"-esque but this is a topic that has been itching at the back of my throat for quite some time now.
I recently came across a couple of articles discussing the "mythical" topic of skinny-shaming. While these articles acknowledged where these skinnier girls were coming from, they decided to rebut their opinions with one main counterargument- that skinny-shaming and fat-shaming were not considered "equally painful". These writers also argued that there is a prominent privilege to being skinny in today's society. "Skinny bitches" never struggle with finding clothing that fits their body shape, "skinny bitches" never have to hear the lose some weight spiel from their doctors, "skinny bitches" aren't turned down by men because of their physicality, "skinny bitches" aren't mocked for eating.
I would love to argue otherwise.
We never struggle finding clothing that fits. Contrary to these writers' beliefs, I have found myself in fitting rooms staring at my reflection with complete shame and frustration behind my eyes. I am 5'9" weighing 130 pounds. Yes, I am considered skinny. But that doesn't mean that every small or medium article of clothing on the racks is going to fit me or look good on me. Bras in particular have caused a lot of emotional pain. It seems silly but there have been numerous times I have gotten lost staring at my flat chested reflection in the mirror at Victoria's Secret, wishing I was just a cup size larger. I can't even fill the smallest sizes of bras sold in stores.
Person after person after person has made some kind of comment about my bust at one time or another. I too joke about it. I'll call myself a plank or a school-boy when my friends are talking about their bust sizes, which usually in turn leads to them also chiming in for fun. But the reason why I make the remarks first is because they hurt less when I say them. These comments always arise at one point or another so I'd rather initiate the jokes and get them over with so I can create a buffer.
In today's society especially, America loves curves. They acknowledge the curvier ladies and the little bit extra that "boys have to hold at night." Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with bringing booty back! Curves are beautiful! I'm a bit envious of those curvaceous ladies. However! Those writers claimed that we skinny ladies have nothing to complain about. Alas, we flat chested and back-to-leg, no booty ladies also have comments thrown at us from strangers. "Hey itty-bitty-titty-comitty president! How about you invest in some real melons?" "Hey girl, maybe you should try doing some squats? I hear it helps a girl get an ass."
Shirts dangle off of my shoulders like they're still on hangers. Jeans won't even stay up with a belt. Body-con dresses make me feel like a mummy withering away. With that said about my body type, obviously there are other women who are shaped differently. Some women have smaller waistlines and bigger busts who have a multitude of different fittings. There is no perfect body that will look fantastic in every piece of clothing in a store.
We never hear the "lose some weight" speech. This is true! Err- from our doctors at least. There are two parts here that I'd like to address: The first part is that we never have to hear this speech from our doctors. Again, this is very true. While I've never been told by my doctor to change my diet and exercise for a skinnier figure, I've heard the "put on some weight" speech just about every time I've entered the office. Now I understand that this doesn't stir up the same emotions that the "lose some weight" spiel does, but they stem from the same place. I naturally have a fast metabolism. However, this can cause a serious problem when it comes to trying to gain weight. I understand that I need to put on weight, yes, and that it does affect my physical abilities but it's hard for me to put on weight. I've tried everything from eating sugar and carbs to eating only red meat. I've eaten my bodyweight biweekly. It's hard. And it's equally hard for me to gain muscle mass. I'm still currently working on living a healthier lifestyle but it's still a difficulty for me.
The second part that I'd like to address is this: I have heard this "lose some weight" speech before. People close to me have pointed out my larger hips, my bigger thighs and yes, even my tummy. One of the most memorable moments that I have about my weight and build was when I was purchasing my senior prom dress. I absolutely fell head over heels for this dress and as I was trying it on for the first time, I had a lady who worked there help zip me up. It was snug due to my thicker thighs, wider hips and broad shoulders. As it tugged she asked if I was a swimmer. When I said no she mumbled to herself about how I'd have to "purchase the dress if I ripped it" and that "only girls with thinner legs ever manage to pull this dress off so don't feel bad." The dress was snug and hard to zip but I bought it anyway. It was my dress and my body. I know that I'm skinny. I know I don't have to lose weight. But this hasn't stopped me from trying. I'm aware that I have jiggly parts and squishy parts. No woman should be ashamed of this. This is natural.
We are never rejected for our physique. This is almost laughable to me. As I mentioned above, I have zero curves. My flat chest, lack of ass and broad shoulders and hips have turned men away ever since I grew into this body. I've heard guys talk about me as "the linebacker" and "Sasquatch" due to my big feet and wide shoulders. I've had men explain to me that while they think I'm a great person, I'm "(no offense) not curvy enough" for them. That they "like women. Not little girls." No woman deserves to be told that they're anything less than what they are. Women are women. We come in all shapes and sizes. We all look different. How boring would it be if we all looked exactly the same? I'm not saying that I'm upset that men have preferences- we all do! There's nothing wrong with being more attracted to a person with brown hair and a round face than someone with blonde hair and a square face. What I'm trying to explain is that every woman has experienced some kind of rejection due to our physical appearance. And rejection is normal. Everyone experiences it at one time or another and sometimes it'll hurt and sometimes it won't be as painful. We just need to be gentle to one another when it comes to physical appearances and preferences. Be kind.
We aren't mocked for eating- or not eating. "No, no, no. I'm buying you a sandwich. You're too skinny to just not eat lunch right now." I've already eaten. I'm genuinely not hungry. I have a small stomach. Just because I'm not eating lunch at the moment, doesn't have anything to do with how skinny I am. Granted, sometimes this is nice because we get free food out of it (and I always love eating), but that's not where I'm going with this. Like I said previously, my physique has nothing to do with my hunger. With that said, I love eating. I eat a lot. And yet, I've received the bulimic and anorexic "talks" and jokes (in which case, neither of those things should be the butt of jokes anyway). When I eat as I normally do, I tend to surprise whoever I'm with by the amount of food that I'll consume during our meal. To which they usually make a remark about how they have no idea how it'll all fit inside my little tummy or sometimes about the "affects of when my metabolism slows down and it catches up." On the flip side, when I choose not to eat (whether it's due to my low self confidence when it comes to eating with people or not) people blame it on my flat tummy. There's nothing to "blame". This is my body and it's my decision on how I'd like to feed it.
With all of that said, and many more feelings still humming in my hands over the keyboard of my Macbook, your body is your body. Own it. Love it. Those "flaws" according to society should be loved. Your "flaws" are what make you original. They're not flaws, they're the curves in your signature, the prints on your thumb, the colors of your eye. Your body is yours. Only yours. You are a perfectly sculpted piece of art. Don't let other people tell you what's "perfect" and what's not.