I am a quintessential skinny girl. I eat a lot, I’m underweight according to the BMI (which is bullshit, anyway), but I don’t suffer from any eating disorders and I’m healthy. So I’ve got that going for me.
If I look up at a billboard, I see women and girls who have the same body type as me. Skinny, angular hips and knobby knees. Ribs showing, edgy cheekbones and visible clavicles. I know it’s not natural, maybe not healthy either. I know it’s all Photoshopped, whatever they say. But I see a form that’s familiar to me – the skinny girl. I have bony hips. I have visible clavicles, and my kneecaps pop out.
And lately, women’s media (magazines, websites, blogs, newspaper columns) have been gushing about “real women” advertising campaigns like ModCloth’s swimsuit advertorials, Meghan Trainor’s body-positive songs, plus size models pushing the frontiers of fashion and other ‘curvy’ news stories. We get it – it’s in to push the body positive manifesto. And we should.
But the body positive manifesto feels more like a curvy-is-best rather than skinny-curvy-and-everything-in-between campaign. Body positivity was supposed to celebrate all healthy body types but this movement has manifested in a way that biases the curvy at the expense of the skinny. Now I know the purveyors of messages didn’t intend to ostracise any body shape, but it comes across that way. People talk about how great curves are, but they forget there are women and girls out there who also seek affirmation that their angles are great too. Just because skinny is favoured by fashion, it doesn’t mean skinny girls aren’t negatively affected by all the curvy-is-best messages flooding the media. And I wish, as a skinny girl, that we can wholly embrace skinny, curvy and everything in between. Not in a one or the other kind of way, which is how it seems to work.
But hey, we’ve had a long time in the sun, us skinny girls. Those catwalks are filled with our bony brethren and we fill the pages of fashion magazines and coffee table books. We’re the ones wearing skin tight jeans on billboards, and we have those goddamn thigh gaps which really aren’t all that exciting when you’ve had one since, well, forever. When we try on clothes, we look like the mannequins in the shop window. The status quo, in fashion, is or was, the skinny girl. We have it good. We have it really good.
So I don’t mind. I don’t care if I see a lot of posts in my Newsfeed about how curves are better, and “real women have curves”, even if it excludes skinny girls and women. Because body type is a fashion thing, and fashion is transient. Skinny used to be in and we’ve had our turn. Let the girls with curves have theirs.