Yes, I am a naturally thin woman. I was born this way (cue the Lady Gaga music). I am not “so lucky.” No, I am not on a weight-loss diet. I do not spend every waking moment in the gym. I do not constantly weigh myself or count calories. Yes, I have seen a doctor and, yes, the consensus is that I am a healthy. And no, I DO NOT have an eating disorder.
With pencil-thin supermodels on the runways, being plastered across billboards and magazines, naturally thin people tend to be seen as “the enemy.” I have been told that I give voluptuous women a bad name simply because I portray the “media standard” for what the body is “supposed to look like.” In the same breath, women that defend their curvy body type have told me that I do not have a “natural human form.” In response to these statements, I ask, “Why does there have to be a standard for the human form? Why I am attacked for being born this way? Why can’t a body just be a body?”
What surprises me most about the women that ask me these questions is that they promote positive body image, but only for curvier women. If you look like the women in magazines, it is as if the “Positive Body Image Movement” does not apply to you. People think that I do not have insecurities just because I am thin. I can honestly tell you that that is not the case. We are all human, regardless of our body types, and we all have issues.
What saddens me the most is when I get asked if I am anorexic or bulimic. I have had people ask me such questions and treat these serious illnesses as if they are a synonym for “thin.” In high school, for months, I was called “Anna-rexic.” I have heard these words thrown around as if they are harmless adjectives. If you do your research, you will soon realize that they are not.
Would you walk up to a heavier individual and ask, “Are you obese?” Would you walk up to someone that is ill, and ask, “Do you have cancer?” In cases such as these, I assume that the answer is no. So, why is it acceptable to ask a skinny person if they are suffering from an eating disorder? Eating disorders are life-threatening mental illnesses that are complex enough to have multiple symptoms. Yes, one of those symptoms is a “thin appearance”, but there are others.
I have also encountered people that believe that my thinness means that I am weak or breakable. I have had male peers come up to me and ask if they can pick me up. These same male peers later referred to me as a “little girl” when, in reality, I am a grown woman. Do you know how demeaning that is? Being called a little girl because of my physicality, when, mentally, I am mature enough to know that I am not “little” or “cute”?
I do not want anyone to criticize, nor defend, my body type. I just want people to realize that the shape of your body does not define you. It does not make you ill, wrong, unnatural, ugly, or any other negative adjective you can come up with. It just makes you, you. The only requirements for having a positive body image should be “happiness” and “healthiness.” No magazine, image on television, runway model, or billboard should dictate that.