If you’re too fat, it’s bad. If you’re too thin, it’s bad.
That’s what society tells us, isn’t it?
I have always been naturally skinny. Genetics and a fast metabolism make it hard for me to gain weight. My bone structure also makes me appear particularly bony. And over the years, I have made peace with it. There’s a beauty in being born with a specific body. It is yours to own.
But it wasn’t easy to reach this acceptance.
There are strict bodily expectations deeply rooted in today’s society. A sexy woman is someone curvy in all the right places. A healthy woman is someone who is not too fat or thin. Too much muscle makes a woman look like a man. Skinny fat is a new thing that is being called out.
Tell me, how is anyone going to fulfill these impossible criteria? And what will be the impact on their body image and mental wellbeing if they attempt to?
I want to call out this need to mold people into society’s definition of a “perfect body.”
A perfect body that keeps changing with each passing decade. First, skinny was desirable. Then, skinny was unhealthy. First, curvy was desirable. Then, curvy became too fat. It’s ridiculous.
Society expects us, specifically women, to look a certain way physically. And if we don’t, their endless criticisms might drown you.
My childhood was filled with such criticisms. People, who were supposed to be my friends, commented on my weight daily. They would grab my wrist and say, “Oh my God, you’re so thin; don’t you eat anything?” They would measure the “skinniness” of my wrist by wrapping their fingers around it and blurt out the first thing that came into their head. Another common phrase I would hear was, “Oh, don’t fly away with the wind.”
I fake smiled through it all. I wasn’t supposed to show how it made me feel.
My friends, who had a different body mass to mine, decided it was right to comment on my appearance and even mock me for looking a certain way. Yes, it was extremely frustrating to hear such comments. But the thing was, before I could even decide or realize that I was skinny for myself, society told me I was. The result? I believed for 14 years that I was “unnaturally skinny” and was not supposed to be in the skin I had.
I had to be someone else, the person that others wanted to see.
As I grew older, I slowly learned to separate my opinions from that of society. And that’s when I could finally start to heal from the continuous bullets of words that hit me every day and decide for myself who I wanted to be.
Skinny shaming happens more often than you think. There are so many people who are skinny and healthy. And I know that people know that now. But I don’t think they understand the extent to which skinny shaming affects the person. It impacts their self-worth, confidence, mental health, and social life. It teaches them that they are not enough as they are. And that there’s nothing they can do about it.
Can you imagine how trapped they must feel?
I remember once, my sister asked me, “If you could say anything to the people who body-shamed you, what would you say?” I responded, “That what you said hurt. It hurt me. And I want you to know that.”
We don’t want to hear that we’re like a skeleton. We don’t want to be asked if we eat enough. Or be made to feel like museum specimens. We don’t want to be judged by the beautiful body that we were given.
We are sexy, healthy, and powerful women.
I’m proud of my bones.
Sometimes, I like to laugh and think that the Goddess gave me this body so people can see even from afar how strong I am. My bones keep me wild and grounded.
And I can see that now.