Lilly’s Blog: Being the Skinny Girl is No Picnic
The negative attention received by naturally thin people is nowhere near comparable to the criticism and pressure overweight people face. Yet it is worth acknowledging that our society’s concept of a perfect body is so toxic that even girls who resemble the skinny prototype are not safe from comments about their appearance.
I have always been skinny. I am lucky enough to have genes that lend themselves to a tall, thin frame…truly a miracle given my sloth-like demeanor. I am fully aware that being thin is a privilege; I never have difficulty finding clothes that fit and I will never face discrimination based on my size. I am aware of what it means to be skinny mainly because no one will let me forget it.
Friends, family members, peers, acquaintances, teachers, bosses, random adults……I’m hard pressed to think of a group of people who have not, at one point or another, commented on my appearance. Though most people would never dream of telling a young woman just how fat she is, few see a problem with remarking on a teen’s thinness. Now, before you accuse me of complaining about something silly (would I whine about being told my wallet looks especially stuffed with money?) let me explain. I imagine masters of the obvious (I’m skinny? No way! Next you’ll tell me there’s a special sort of reflective glass that lets you see yourself. Craziness!) think they are complimenting me but their observations almost always seem accusatory.
It is not unusual for me to hear that, “You’re so skinny. I hate you!” My thin friends agree, sometimes we feel like we are being asked to apologize for having the audacity to be naturally skinny.
I can deal with the comments because I know that they are generally well intentioned. The worst part about being born thin is that people assume your body type is the product of an unhealthy lifestyle. Within the first week of high school, a boy had convinced a sizeable portion of the grade that I, the new girl, didn’t eat. Truth be told, it was the first week at a new school; I was too nervous to eat during lunch. Sadly, there was a wonderful girl in my class struggling with anorexia at the time. The uncalled for attention on my body was both distressing to me and belittling to those truly afflicted by disordered eating.
I have always been faced with skepticism regarding my eating habits. If I don’t wolf down a hefty meal, I’m anorexic. And if I do, everyone waits to see when I’ll purge. Sometimes I feel like being naturally, and healthily, thin is an elaborate scheme I’m getting away with and everyone’s waiting to find out my secret.
People do not consider that my entire family is skinny. When thinking about skinny girls, we forget a simple truth; bodies come in all shapes and sizes. And just as we celebrate bodies we refer to as “pears” or “curvy,” it is time consider that, for some people, “ruler” or “toothpick” isn’t just what we see in magazines and runways. For some, skinny is healthy and normal. Now, let’s eat to that.
Lilly is a high school senior and guest blogger for RachelSimmons.com. Read more about her here.