Most people who told me the words “My goodness, you are so skinny”, meant it as a compliment. There are only a few times where someone would say it with the words “Why are you so skinny?”, and that’s when it makes me realise how a simple compliment has many connotations behind it. Slim, thin and slender are seen as a positive across all the fashion magazine spreads and the ever many images we are exposed to growing up. As a young girl, I had my arms compared to twigs. My body felt judged and somehow they were very innocent words from other children, but it already emphasised the focus regarding ones body shape.
As with many young girls and boys, I grew up feeling self conscious of my body. It’s an internal voice we all have, in which others see us in their own way, and we see ourselves in our own way. They may be two vastly different perceptions. The judgment upon body image, can really spread the feeling of not feeling good enough about ourselves. However, with the voices of social media, many people are talking about body positivity and bringing attention the importance of self love. This is so important, in a day and age where many headlines or images tell us we are not good enough, even though we are beautiful as we are.
The same reasoning is applied when thinking about all different body sizes. Everyone is different. Every body is different. Skinny has been identified as something that is accepted and that is often taught from a young age from the people we see on film, magazines and TV. The word ‘skinny’ has such a damaging effect on young girls, who should know that they are beautiful the way they are. Skinny can influence people to have eating disorders or feel low self esteem for their bodies. I previously wrote an article about “Why Being Skinny Won’t Make You Happy”. Happiness is based on how we feel, not based on the way things look.
Many people ask me if I am vegetarian or if I eat less, and the simple answer is I eat healthily. There is a common misconception that being called skinny, means you limit how much you eat. The word with skinny in the media, is also an incredibly hurtful word. No matter how much a celebrity weighs during that time, they are either never skinny enough or they are too skinny, in which every headline tells us they must have anorexia. It’s disappointing that the judgment of others body image makes headline, because it has the ability to influence and warp others view on what is beautiful.
Growing up being called Skinny, actually made me feel not skinny enough. I would put pressure on myself to remain skinny. It sounds terrible, but that was the effect it had on me. I used to weigh myself every single day when I was still at home. Today, I really try to emphasise health on my blog a lot, because of my previous experiences. The reason someone is skinny can come with a range of reasons, that cannot resort to simply judging someone for being that way. The main reason commonly is that the person is born that way, they may have fast metabolism, some people may be suffering through an eating disorder or they are going through a stressful time in their life – that has caused extreme weight loss. The reasons are ongoing.
Our body types will not be the same, and that’s exactly what makes you beautiful. It’s sad to see many young girls write #goals all over images of women they depict as what should be beautiful. It causes excessive comparison. We deserve all the positive self talk and love for ourselves and for others to embrace our own bodies. Perhaps the next time you compliment someone, tell them how kind they are, how lovely their smile is or how beautiful their eyes are.
Art by Egon Schiele; ‘Sich Entkleidendes Mädchen’, 1911