Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Being thin

Hello Everyone,

There is a lot going around these days about accepting yourself and loving your body, especially if you're curvy, and those evil, evil men with their Photoshop are not promoting your body type. Its okay, you're beautiful with those curves, and those girls that don't have them are just bitches. They're entitled middle class white girls who don't know anything apart from being a pretty face. Karma will get them, just wait and see, men like women with curves, not ones that are shaped like a 12 year old boy (or are thin enough to be called that). 

Okay, I may have been a little melodramatic with that point. But consider it. There are so many things out there that are 'thin-shaming' today, pictures with a slim girl in a bikini wet and bedraggled after coming out of the ocean with a bad angle, compared with a picture of Marilyn Monroe with the the caption: "When did this become sexier than this?" Since when was this acceptable, but reverse the images and it becomes cyber-bullying, people come down hard on you for it? 

I've been lucky throughout my (short) life that I haven't needed to particularly worry about my weight, I've always been slender, and had a fairly fast metabolism. In primary school, I was often called 'the Dustbin' as I would eat anything and everything, because I was always hungry. I love food, and will eat a lot of it. As I grew older, this suddenly became a big deal. I got told that I was 'lucky' or that I will one day regret eating all that food. People would look at me strangely whenever there was a buffet, as I would fill my plate up, and then go back for more once it was empty. So my plate sizes reduced. It was a gradual thing, until I realised that I would never be able to compete with the boys my age, something I had always been able to do. Now, I don't think that there is a particular problem with this, I never deprived myself of anything, and I never went hungry. But the fact that people looked at me like that, and with such judgement that a twelve to fifteen year old became self-conscious about the amount she ate, and changed it to avoid such gazes is appalling. Being thin and not eating next to nothing became reason for judgement. 

I was also told by girls (not guys, funnily enough) that I was too thin, and that I needed curves. In fact, one girl actually told me that a dress I was wearing would fit her better, because she had some curves to fill it out. So, no wonder I have some body issues, and weight is one of them. There is a lot of pressure for thin girls to remain thin, or to be thinner, just as there is pressure on over-weight girls to lose weight. We are told we should be happy with our bodies. If I say anything bad about the way I look, I get told that I shouldn't have any body troubles because I am thin. Or someone will tell me that I need to put some weight on, that I need some meat on my bones, and that's why I have problems buying clothes. Because I'm too thin. 

Now the situation changed slightly. I will choose to have a salad, and I get looks, and people saying to me, 'you don't need to eat that, you're thin.' 'I would love to be thin, you can eat whatever you want' as if being thin means no body problems or anxieties. So, essentially, I get judgement when I eat a lot, and judgement when I eat less, or opt for the healthier option. The common denominator has to be being thin. When I was younger I could put it down to people just being jealous. Now, I'm not so sure. The media are either going one way or another, the 'you must be skinny in order to be beautiful, look at all this weight this celeb has lost', or the 'you must have curves to be desirable, or to feel good about yourself in any way'. Sometimes they do both at the same time. This has to stop. People are beautiful just the way they are, if they're happy with their body, accept it. Don't tell them things to make them feel bad about their body, like you need to lose weight, or you need to put on some. Or to try the children's section when you go shopping. 

This has happened to me. A high street shop that I've gone to, especially for jeans, will not have any in my size. I ask them if they have any in the back, and they say that they don't stock clothing in that size because nobody is that size. Well, clearly people are, and what are we expected to wear in the meantime, as it is illegal to walk around with no clothes on? And I get told to try the children's section. Now this is not too offensive to me as a student, as I'll take anything as long as it is cheap (and no VAT on children's clothes is exactly that), but for my mother, who was just about fifty when this was told to her (in M&S, the slightly older women's clothes shop) that she should try the children's section for a pair of pajamas. Now, don't get me wrong, my mum looks good for her age, and is still pretty slender, but no way is she going to fit into child size pajamas (even the age sixteen which I think I will never fit). 

We should accept people for the size they are, or perhaps not judge them depending on their size, but their personality. Don't comment on someone's size, even if you think of it as a compliment, it might not be one to them. Instead of saying, 'you look really thin in that', just say that they look nice, or it brings out their eyes. It makes anyone feel better to hear that, that their worth is not dependent on their size. A throw-away comment can stick with someone for ever, especially when they hear it enough.