Does that title make you uncomfortable? Good. It’s supposed to. It made me uncomfortable to write it. We’re supposed to be bothered by such derogatory comments, because we all know (or at least, we should know) that they’re unkind and hurtful. I sincerely hope that if you’re reading this right now, that we can agree – whether you’ve ever said something like that or not – that picking on someone for being a larger size is not a very nice thing to do.
What I’m wondering then, is why on earth it seems to be so socially acceptable to knock someone for being very thin? When did this become okay?
Hold that thought.
Last Sunday was the Grammy Awards. I get more excited about awards shows than I rightfully should. I love them. I do. I love music and movies and television and pop culture in general; I love the pomp and circumstance; and I love the revealing of the answer to the scintillating question that’s on everyone’s minds: What will the stars be wearing?? It’s true. There’s something strangely thrilling about watching pretty people in dresses that cost more than my car.
My husband, who would rather have extensive elective dental work than sit through more than 3 minutes of an awards show, was beside me in body but not so much in spirit… so I virtually watched it alongside hundreds of other people via Twitter and Facebook. It was interesting following all the commentary in real-time.
Adele’s wearing color!
Chris Brown and Rhianna are publicly canoodling even after he assaulted her.
Oh. Em. Gee. It’s Justin Timberlake!
And then came the body-shaming. “Someone feed Taylor Swift a sandwich.” “Nicole Kidman needs a cheeseburger.” “Faith Hill’s gotten way too skinny.”
Again, I have to ask: When did this become okay? If we can all agree that it’s not right to negatively point out someone’s larger size, why shouldn’t the same hold true for those on the other side of the spectrum? Why should we be critiquing others’ bodies at all?
The day after the Grammys, I was looking through a pictorial of the attendees’ dresses on a popular entertainment website. On the side bar, two previous articles caught my attention: The first, an article touting celebrities’ best-kept weight-loss secrets. Right below it? “The most scary skinny bikini bodies.” Is it any wonder society is so confused, with that kind of disparity? Lose weight, lose weight, lose weight!! Too skinny, too skinny, too skinny!!
I used to be the “too thin” girl. I’m not anymore – my 39 year old body has resolutely decided to naturally carry 20 more pounds than my 29 year old body – but once upon a time I was the one being told to “eat a couple sandwiches.”
It’s hurtful, and it’s embarrassing.
I remember being at a holiday party once, all dressed up and feeling festive and pretty. I was shivering, literally shaking, because it turned out I was coming down with the flu. A friend of a friend looked at me, and said, loudly enough for the whole roomful of people to look at him, “It’s because you’re so damn skinny. You need to eat something. I can practically see right through you!”
15 years later, I can still remember exactly what he said, and exactly how it made me feel.
Dove has an ad campaign called “Real Women” that mostly features women with curves. Real women have curves, these ads cry. And you know what? Sometimes they do. And sometimes real women have no curves. Sometimes real women are tall and lanky. Sometimes real women have big boobs, and sometimes real women have no boobs. Sometimes real women have no hair, and sometimes they have hair everywhere. Sometimes real women have flabby thighs and flat butts and muffin tops. Sometimes real women have big ears and stretch marks and bony knees. Sometimes real women sit behind a desk all day and wear a size zero. Sometimes real women spend all day in the gym and never get below an 18.
Sometimes real women laugh when they want to cry.
Can we stop with the body shaming? I am so, so tired of a culture that fights so hard against a “thin is beautiful” mindset that it’s only succeeded in carving the second side of the same damn coin.
Thin is beautiful.
Big is beautiful.
Healthy is beautiful.
Strong is beautiful.
Vulnerable is beautiful.
Happy and confident and kind are beautiful.
We never know someone’s story just by looking at them. Can I say that I again, because *I* seem to forever need to reminder?
We never know someone’s story just by looking at them.
It’s easy and convenient to assume that a diet or a sandwich will cure someone’s supposed “flaws”… but it’s far more kind (and so much more productive) to never see them as flaws to begin with.
(I wrote about this same subject here)