health

"I am thin. I have always been thin. And it is not okay to shame me for it."

I know that my body is not “normal” – but it’s every bit as “real” as anyone else’s.

‘Skinny’ has become a dirty word.

A woman is never just ‘skinny,’ she is TOO skinny, skeletal, angular, bony and emaciated. She’s starving. She’s vain. She lives at the gym. She quit sugar and she’s gone paleo.

It’s because of this that I’ve never once heard a woman say, “I’m skinny and I’m proud”.

Well, here you go: “I’m skinny. AND I’m proud.”

This is me, waiting in line for DUMPLINGS.

Before you insist I eat a burger and bark “half you’re luck,” I’d like to explain four things:

  1. I have always been naturally skinny, I am quite simply, a standard, very healthy, size four.
  2. I have never endured an eating disorder. In fact, I enjoy a balanced diet, including burgers.
  3. I am aware that my experience does not compare to someone of a larger size. BUT, my experience as a skinny woman still matters.
  4. I am not here to guilt, ridicule or embarrass those who are not a size zero. There is no right or wrong size – it’s all relative.

Yes, thinness is valued. Yes, thin bodies are privileged over fat bodies. Yes, in fact, our Western society demands and validates female slimness, arguably, above all else.

Want more like this? Try: Celebrities are now fat-shaming themselves.

So, why am I complaining?

Because I am constantly judged for my size.

While studying at university, I worked in retail.  On a daily basis someone would pinch at my, “tiny, 12-year-old girl,” waist while another would poke her finger at my rib cage. Some would laugh at my “chicken legs,” and still others would comment that I was, “just skin and bone”.

Why is skinny shaming accepted?

Whatever someone’s size and shape, there is no excuse for this.

I am aware that in the body-image space, I am privileged. I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk into a store and not see my size on the rack.

But the fact of the matter is, a lot of the time, I simply don’t fit into the clothing stocked by many well-known brands. We celebrate when Target begins to stock plus-sizes – and we should, of course – but the smaller girls don’t belong in the kids’ section.

I have never been fat, but I know what it feels like to be judged for my size.

Or, do we?

As a small woman, I am often diminished. Take for example, the popular comment, “I think I was your size when I was 10. I WISH I had your discipline”.

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Translation: “I’m a real woman and you’re just a girl. Go eat a burger.”

Suddenly, the space between ‘fatness’ and ‘thinness,’ doesn’t seem so vast. As a skinny girl woman, I too have experienced the feeling that one’s private anguish is on display on one’s own body. The feeling of being horribly conspicuous is something which comes with those size-four jeans.

Now, let’s talk about ‘positive’ affirmations. Take for example, “real men like curves, only dogs go for bones.” Or how about, Meghan Trainor’s recent All About That Bass, featuring lines like, “boys like a little more booty to hold at night,” and, “I won’t be no stick-figure silicone Barbie doll”.

If only, ‘dogs go for bones,’ I guess that makes my fiancé a dog. Sorry Nath.

I know that these ‘empowering’ phrases have come about as a response to the existence of fat-shaming. But this doesn’t make them okay.

To begin with, each of these examples peddles a muddled brand of self-acceptance where men alone decide our self-worth as women.

And secondly, while I completely understand that those who have experienced the torment of being made to feel ashamed of their own bodies want to be acknowledged and validated – as they should be – why must it be at the expense of another body?

You might also like…This photo says one thing: Erase all signs of having had a baby from your body. Stat.

No-one should feel like their body isn’t good enough. BODY shaming, fat or thin, is a tool of oppression.

I’m exhausted by being judged, ridiculed and made to feel guilty for something that is completely out of my control. Just as some struggle to lose weight, I struggle to put it on.

So, if you’re still screaming, “being thin is a privilege,” please understand this.

When you reach a level of self-consciousness, where you feel as if your every move and word is judged by your outer appearance, it’s unlikely that you’ll feel like you’re experiencing privilege – thin, fat or otherwise.

Do you agree? Have you experienced being shamed for your body shape?