I hope you'll forgive the seemingly random subject matter of today's post, however, I feel compelled to speak up about this.
"I just want to take you out and feed you!"
"Are you anorexic?"
"Do you do that thing where you eat and then throw up?"
"You need a cheeseburger!!"
Those are actual comments/questions I've gotten. In fact, all of those were said to/asked of me in elementary school.
That photo above was going to be part of this post, but I didn't include it. No, not because it's out of focus and I'm not wearing makeup. Can you guess why? My collar bones. I'm laughing in this photo, so the angle of my jawline makes my collar bones more pronounced, but I knew, just knew, that it would beg for comments about my weight
For the record, no, I am not/have never been anorexic and I don't "do that thing where you eat and then throw up." And I love me a good cheeseburger, especially if it includes avocado.
All my life I have been very thin. I naturally have a very fast metabolism and, try as I might, can rarely maintain a weight above 103 pounds on my 5'5" frame even though I eat a ton. When I was pregnant I gained 33 pounds and shed most of it within 4 weeks of Ayden's birth just by breastfeeding. Many women struggle with losing baby weight and I've found myself experiencing a feeling not unlike guilt about losing my baby weight so quickly.
Today's society is so focused on appearance. Every other day there's a new diet fad that promises to make the weight melt off. Celebrities, athletes, TV personalities, etc., jump on the endorsement bandwagon and America falls for it and spends millions of their hard-earned dollars on pills and potions all in the name of being thin. People are criticized for not being size 0 and it is international news when a "plus-size" model signs a modeling contract. How sad is that??
Recently a British journalist came under fire for making nasty comments about Kelly Clarkson, tweeting, "Did she eat all of her backup singers? Happily I have widescreen." How anyone could think that making statements like that is appropriate is beyond my comprehension.
Conversely, people also have mean things to say about people who are thin. Just today on Instagram someone left a comment on a photo of Giuliana Rancic saying "EAT." Many times I have seen people commenting on that same celebrity account things like "You look sickly," "You are a skeleton!" and "I can see your ribs through your dress."
The above-mentioned comments are hurtful, ignorant and just as inappropriate as the comment about Kelly Clarkson. For some reason people think that telling someone they are "too skinny" doesn't constitute bullying/shaming. In the same breath, one will whisper to their companion "That person is fat," yet will not hesitate to loudly tell someone like me "You need a cheeseburger!!" Why is "thin-shaming" not viewed the same as "fat-shaming"? Body shaming is just that, regardless of the angle of attack. Its purpose is to point out a perceived flaw in someone, something that very likely drives their insecurity. While the shamer may think their comment is just that, a comment, to the shamee it is a permanent rock in their shoe. The shamee will think on that remark for the rest of the day, week, month... Each time they pass a mirror or a reflective window they will notice their appearance and pray that they could change it all so that they fit today's standard of "perfect."
Now, I know what you're thinking. "Oh, poor little skinny girl". I get it. Skinny folks are certainly not discriminated against like people who are overweight, and I know I am very fortunate to have the genes that I do. The purpose of this post isn't to rant or complain, but rather to start a conversation about something that many don't take the time to really think about. Body-shaming is never okay and my hope is that you will be inclined to speak up the next time you see it happening.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go grab a burger.
UPDATE 04/01/2015: Giuliana Rancic explains the reason for her thin frame: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/giuliana-rancic-explains-shes-thin/story?id=30045093
It breaks my heart to read her words, knowing how hurtful those remarks are. I truly hope that this post and the statement above will drive home the fact that people need to think before they speak and make snap judgements.