Tuesday, 5 April 2016

SKINNY SHAMING: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE IGNORANT*


Dear anyone who has ever called someone 'too skinny', or told someone to 'go eat a cheese burger',

Maybe you can help me understand something.
Something I've always struggled to comprehend, is the double standard when it comes to calling people out on their weight. Why, when you see a slim, healthy girl, eating a salad, do you think it's acceptable or any of your fucking business to ask 'Why are you eating that? You're already so tiny!', or when you see a slim, healthy girl eating a huge plate of pasta, or french fries, is just no problem for you to tell her, 'ugh, you're so lucky you can eat that and stay so skinny'.

You see, all my life, I've been slim and while I do understand and accept that genetics do play a small role in this (I must emphasise that, unless you have a health condition, this is a small role, because until someone finds me a fat skeleton, I won't be changing my opinion), it's also down to something else and honestly, brace yourself because this may blow your mind - it's not 'luck'. I know, right? The revolutionary secret to it is, I eat well and I regularly exercise. And do you know what? I'm sick to fucking death of this being a taboo subject.

Now I do not advocate the media sharing photos of stick thin, blatantly malnourished models to promote products, nor do I think that Kate Moss quote should still be circulating the internet, however, I also don't think posts that say 'real women have curves' and 'only dogs want bones' are healthy either. I'm aware that you can be bigger and healthy, however, I'm also aware that carrying too much fat on your body increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and various other scary diseases and in all honesty, I don't think promoting that is any more of a healthy message to young, impressionable children, than pictures of size zero models. It's the same, we shouldn't teach anyone to strive for a stick thin body, but we also shouldn't promote and glamorize obesity either. For example, if a girl of a healthy size and weight with a banging body because she eats well and works out, posts a bikini photo, it's 'vain' and 'showing off', but when a larger lady does it, it's 'confident' and 'empowering'. I'm not necessarily saying there's anything wrong with either of these, but what I don't understand is why larger ladies are allowed to love their curves, while smaller girls are shunned for loving their well earned rock solid abs and toned thighs.

What I need you to clarify for me, if you can, is why you feel it's perfectly okay to tell me I need to put 'more meat on my bones' or as a total stranger (yes it's happened), grab my wrist and say, 'look how thin you are, you're so lucky!', what if someone like me decided to tell a plus sized person, 'you could do with losing a bit of weight' or 'look at your chubby arms, hard luck love!'. That's not okay, that's rude. Here's what you need to remember, to me at least, 'skinny' is not a compliment, 'slim', fine, 'healthy', you're damn right, 'in shape', go for it, but 'skinny' implies, too thin, unhealthy, negative. Yet we don't put it in the same category as calling someone 'fat' because those who are skinny are the 'lucky' ones.

Lucky. Is it luck to eat well every day? It it down to fate that I get up and move my butt in the morning? Is it written in the stars that I avoid fatty, cholesterol filled foods because I want my body to function properly for my whole life? Maybe my horoscope said because Mercury and Venus are aligned, I won't be taking part in McDonalds Monopoly? Ridiculous? Absolutely.

I'm not saying it's hard to be healthy, because I love the way I eat and live and wouldn't change it for the world, but I am saying it takes some effort and I refuse to be put down and sniffed at for that any more. The next time you go to share that post about being a 'real woman' because you have curves, think about how that actually comes across and how you'd feel if a girl 3 sizes smaller than stated that 'real women' do their squats and don't have bingo wings. Sounds rude when I put it that way right? Why? Is it because it's any worse than saying a woman isn't a real woman if she's not plus size. or is it because your views on the entire subject are so distorted that you don't realise how offensive you're actually being?

Sincerely,
That lucky, skinny bitch who probably only eats salad.

*Usually, this is where I'd write a disclaimer about not wanting to offend anyone, but I'm not going to, because this letter is addressed to those who have ever skinny shamed someone, which is offensive and if you're offended by this post, then I'm glad I returned the favour.

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