Body shaming takes on new shapes

What growing up skinny taught me

Before I begin, let me preface this by saying this is not a plug or me saying, “I’m skinny and it’s a problem”. I will say however, that it is not all it is shaped up to be.

I remember when I was seven or so years old, my uncles and aunts commenting about my twiggy legs.

“You need to get some meat on those bones!”

I heard this line over and over at every family gathering for years. My older brother was shamed by his elders: “You’re smaller than all the other boys your age,” he was constantly teased. I always could see the rage in his face; I could feel his frustration because, like me and so many others, he could not control the shape of his body. Being shamed for being underweight is a different kind of shame, but it is no less an issue.

Now, I am 18 years old and pretty average sized. I don’t get nearly as many comments on my body, but when I do, it still stings. People torment skinny girls who don’t have as large of appetites. Songs like Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” made me feel like boys preferred girls with curves; Boys wouldn’t want to date someone shaped like me.

What makes that okay? Why is it okay to ask me so casually if I have an eating disorder, just because I only eat one slice of pizza? Why is the stigma surrounding “skinny” any less under the spot light than other body types? I have heard, on more than one occasion, that “real women have curves”. Since when was my womanhood determined by the shape of my body?

We need to end the negative connotation that comes with having different body types.

Most girls grow up hearing that one body type is superior to another. Skinny, fat, tall, short; Girls are always wishing they were shaped differently. I have never forgotten some of the comments made about my body from a very young age. Girls are raised to think there is something wrong with them, and that is so far from the truth. Let’s fight the stigmas. Let’s end body shaming.