An Open Letter to Naturally Thin Girls from a Not-So-Naturally Thin Girl


I might regret this post, but I keep hearing a lot of buzz in the news and entertainment industry about women, their bodies, and who gets to say what about them. In an interesting turn of events, American women have shifted many of their attentions from "being skinny" to "being healthy," and they're really pushing for magazines, fashion, and Hollywood to catch up. Many advertising campaigns, books, artists, and performers have presented various forms of this phenomenon, and some of it has taken the form of "skinny shaming." In the past, a thin woman's body was off-limits. It was not subjected to the open, societal judgments that not-so-thin women encounter on a regular basis. A thin body was to be admired, emulated, and envied. While I admit some have gone too far in the other direction, I'm asking naturally thin girls to please have some patience with the rest of us.

Never having been a naturally thin girl, it's likely my perception is skewed but indulge me for a moment if you will. When you try on clothes in a store, what does it feel like to have them fit and flatter your figure? When you wear a bathing suit, what is it like to not have a tight elastic band digging into your midsection, chopping your body silhouette in two unflattering halves? What does it feel like to fit perfectly into roller coaster seats and airplane seats, without squishing your hips and thighs or barely buckling the seat belt? What does it feel like see cute new underwear in a catalog and then, when you put it on, it looks like it did on the page? What does it feel like to eat a burger or dessert or go to the soda machine in full confidence of your right to eat or drink it? 

Not-so-thin girls do not have that luxury. Others around the not-so-thin are silently judging these choices. Because if she quit eating that burger and drinking that soda, she wouldn't be not-so-thin, so what right does she have to enjoy those things, particularly in public? Doesn't she know she'd feel and look better if she ate healthy?! And these are just the outside voices. We'll not count the internal head-trash she's subjecting herself to -- a vortex of guilt and shame on the inside. 

Same burger. Same soda. Same dessert. Except it's COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

Maybe this is going a step too far, but I want to help you see where I'm coming from, naturally thin girls. If a gentleman in our society is into "bigger" girls, it's pretty much considered a fetish, out of the norm, something he has to defend to his friends. I don't really want to talk about adult entertainment, but this is most evident in that industry, or so I believe. When he has to intentionally choose a section that features Big Girls, well... I'm sure you can put this part together for yourselves, but do you think that feels great? To know it's considered "out of the norm" for a man* to find your body attractive simply because it's not-so-thin? It's insulting and demeaning and down-right humiliating.

So, I'll admit. There's some skinny shaming. We not-so-thin girls are experiencing, for the first time in our lives mind you, someone other than our moms saying we're beautiful. Online, in television, in music - we're being encouraged to feel good in our own skin for the first time. I'll come out and say it - it's a heady, ecstatic feeling and we're on a roll. And sadly, that might mean steam-rolling you a little bit around the edges. I know, in my heart of hearts, we're all beautiful, and the last thing I ever want is for another woman to feel bad about her body because of something I said. I've experienced enough of that to last all of us a lifetime. And I also know that the examples and questions I've posed here are minuscule in the grand scheme of health and psychology, and that my views are 100% biased by my experiences and perceptions. I do not believe for a second that there's a woman reading this, regardless of her 'thin' status, that doesn't have insecurities about her body. But please cut us some slack. We have been introduced to a new concept that we don't quite know what to do with yet, and we're bound to slip up along the road to self-discovery and acceptance. 

"I try to put on weight but I just can't." More often recently, I come across occasions when a naturally thin woman is defending her size for one reason or another. Please know that this societal awareness of your weight issues, those feelings of hurt and defensiveness, that others feel they have the right and need to comment on them, is something not-so-thin girls have been experiencing all along. Be gentle with us, now that you know what it feels like. Educate us, because we're emerging from under a sweat-pant-and-baggy-shirt-covered rock. Show us how to be gracious in our confidence, accepting when someone uses terms like "beautiful" or "attractive." HELP US. We need it. :)

xo



*or woman. we're not judging here

Sarah :: Plucky in Love

Sarah, aka "Plucky", blogs on the reg, unless she's on vacation or there's a Pretty Little Liars marathon or she's mulling over the implications of the phrase "on fleek." She can't live without iced coffee, a portable phone charger, or equal pay. Say hello!

2 comments:

  1. Sarah, I love this post. Thank you for speaking out about your heart and your own insecurities. I think that we all need help, skinny, or not-so skinny, in feeling comfortable in our own skin. We as women really suck in the self-image department. We see what we wish we could be, and stop looking at ourselves as lovely - no matter what we look like. I have a lot of respect for women who work hard to be a healthy weight. They exhibit self-control and determination. They are strong women. I will admit, a lot of comments about skinny-shaming in the music industry have made me go "hmm..." I love that we are learning to accept all body types. But why even pay attention to body types in the first place? I think the media oversexualizes everything. It shouldn't be a fetish when a man loves a woman with curves. It shouldn't be thought of as ugly if someone is too thin or too heavy. I wish we lived in a world where our beauty was more focused on our hearts, our souls, and our spirits. Maybe that's an unrealistic, hippie mindset. I just want everyone to see themselves as beautiful because we are all made in the image of God.

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  2. It is so hard just to be these days isn't it. I find myself thinking judg-y thoughts about others, myself, my surroundings... just always critiquing everything. I've been trying to focus less on that and more on the positive things in my own life and on getting to know those who I think I have a negative opinion about. It makes me feel better about myself and also obviously I don't want to think negative thoughts about anyone... haha So I'm working on it. We all need to. So it is definitely good that our society is accepting things that didn't used to be acceptable, but I hope that we keep going too. Heck, I feel smart-kid shamed, and good-girl shamed. It's just hard. But I think the awareness will make it easier for everyone. Thanks for writing this, for getting us all to think... :) -another not-so-naturally-thing-girl

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