“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” -Amy Bloom
I was recently scrolling through Facebook in an effort to further put off studying (as one does), and I came across an article titled “You Attack My Size 0, But I Can’t Attack Your Size 16.”
I’ve seen many posts like this in the past few months. After reading this blog post, I wanted to share it and add my opinion (because isn’t everyone just dying to know what I think about everything?), but I realized I had too much to say, and that I couldn’t fit all of my thoughts into a single Facebook status.
This blog post is my response to AbriAna’s editorial.
Before I respond to the Puckermob post, let me start by saying two very important things:
First of all, it is never okay to shame anyone’s body, no matter the size or shape. I don’t care what size pants you wear or what the scale reads; your body is beautiful, and nobody can take that away from you. Furthermore, nobody has any sort of right to criticize or even comment on anyone’s body.
Second of all, I used to have an eating disorder. It was a pretty complicated time in my life, but as I recovered, I also became more open about it. I mention it now because I think it’s important to note that I have been on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve been a size 2 and I’ve been a size 14. My doctor has told me that I was dangerously underweight, and I’ve also been considered overweight.
Okay. So…back to Puckermob post. AbriAna, I’d like to respond to some of your comments.
“Why are you allowed to say I’m to skinny when I’ll be publicly torn apart for saying you’re to fat?”
I think there’s an obvious answer to this: “skinny” is seen as a compliment, but “fat” is an insult. “Skinny” is something many (but NOT ALL) people want to be – and it’s something society tells all of us that we have to be.
However, I’d like to reiterate that nobody should be commenting on your body in any sort of way that diminishes its beauty.
“Apparently only women who are a size 8 and above are real women. I don’t know who died and made these standards but please, let me know.”
Nope, definitely not true. Once again, if you’ve been told that you aren’t a “real woman” because of your size, you’re talking to the wrong people. This statement is absolutely not true or even remotely acceptable, and it certainly does not represent the feelings of the larger percentage of the female population (to my knowledge, that is).
“Now I know what people are thinking as they read this, that size 0-2 are the general beauty standards, which is slowly fading.”
Again: not true at all. While there have been many body-positive campaigns that have promoted appreciating everyone’s body (not just a certain size or shape), I would invite you turn on the TV and find a model or actress who is larger than a size 6 (which is considered plus-size in the entertainment industry). Smaller sizes are still seen as the ideal.
“I’ll probably be fused at for saying this but women are the first ones saying us skinny girls aren’t real women but you’re also the first ones wishing to wear the crop tops and short shorts I wear. Is it that you secretly wish you could look like me or is it that you truly hate the body I possess? Or is it a insecurity that your man would want someone like me over someone like you.”
Ah, here’s where it gets interesting!
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?
It’s degrading and horrific to assume that every “bigger” girl wishes she could wear the crop-tops and shorts you wear. Because first of all, anyone can wear whatever the fuck they want. Second of all, it is both toxic and ignorant to assume that every heavier person wishes they were skinny like you. By assuming this, you are perpetuating the unhealthy idea that only skinny people are beautiful. You claim to be against the principle that one body type is better than the other, so why are you simultaneously supporting it?
“Rather it be insecurities or not, please figure it out and stop body shaming us and we’ll stop body shaming you.”
Sorry, but that’s not the way being a good person works.
If you’re truly against the concept of body shaming, you’d learn to stop doing it all-together – regardless of how anyone treats you. It seems, though, that you don’t actually care about anyone else being shamed; you just want to whine about the nasty (and wrong) people out there who have criticized your body.
“When I complain about how I feel no one listens cause I’m lucky to be skinny so I have nothing to complain about.”
Rather than complaining, I would invite you to try and understand how “the other side,” if you will, feels.
I repeat: I am not condoning any sort of body shaming. I know how painful it is to hear unkind words about your body, and I am so sorry that you – or anyone else – has to endure that.
However, larger women have systematically been pressured to attain a certain weight, size, or shape for their entire lives. That’s why we need the body positive movement.
This movement is not meant to pit women against each other. It is not meant to make anyone feel bad for their lack of curves.
It exists so that those of us who are constantly shamed for the way we look can stand in solidarity with each other and show the world that we’re beautiful no matter what.
I fully acknowledge that the unfair beauty standards that women face can and do affect everyone, no matter their size. The problem with our society is that we are taught that instead of loving ourselves, we should view ourselves as eternally imperfect.
The body positive movement includes every person of every shape and every size – including skinnier people. I would like to apologize on behalf of anyone who has falsely represented the movement as an excuse to shame skinny women and/or accuse them of not being “real women.”
When I was dangerously underweight, I received conflicting messages about my body. My parents and friends were telling me I needed to eat more; strangers, classmates, and boys were telling me I looked hot, beautiful, etc. Someone asked me if I was a model (and they were serious).
My eating disorder destroyed me. It destroyed my mental and physical health. More specifically, it destroyed my thyroid, which caused me to put on another 50 lbs. after I recovered from my ED.
When I was at my highest weight, I hated my body – and I still do.
The same body-positive movements that you are attempting to shut down because they don’t cater exclusively to you are the ones that showed me that it was okay not to starve myself.
Anybody who makes you feel like your body isn’t incredibly wonderful is not truly body positive.
So please, don’t try and shut down the entire movement because you’ve experienced those unfortunate individuals who are certainly not body-positive.
Now that I’m a larger size, I feel like a stranger in my own body. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t trying to lose weight.
When I was skinny, I enjoyed the benefit of being what society considers the ideal body type. I felt desirable. And I loved it.
Being told to eat a cheeseburger just isn’t comparable to being told that your entire being is undesirable. I am told on a daily basis that in order to be a beautiful human being, I must be skinny.
More than anything, I want to reiterate that it’s not okay for anyone to make you feel like your body isn’t beautiful. But I would also urge you to please try and understand that you have not been consistently pressured to conform to a different body type in the same way that “larger” people have.
As always, I welcome feedback and comments on this post. My goal in writing this was not to hurt or reduce anyone, but to offer another perspective that I feel was overlooked in the external post.