[We’re all about celebrating a positive body image here at CollegeCandy and many of our readers claim the same thing. However we’ve noticed that while many commentors are quick to jump to the defense of curvy women, they’re even quicker to accuse skinny women of having an eating disorder. This is one (skinny) CollegeCandy writer’s reaction.]
I always hated the day when we would watch movies involving a girl with an eating disorder in middle school and high school. Suddenly people would be leaning back in their chairs and furrowing their brows at me. I could never escape their concerned glances, the way they watched me eat my salad I had packed that day. Sometimes I’d even hear them whisper to each other about how I was unhealthy. Usually I would react by rolling my eyes and getting the greasiest pizza slice the cafeteria had to offer. This wouldn’t stop them from shaking their heads when I headed to the bathroom after lunch.
In middle school I weighed around seventy pounds so people assumed I had an eating disorder. They didn’t realize I was a year younger than most kids in my grade (I’m a September baby) and hadn’t developed as much as the other girls. They also didn’t consider the fact that I had been doing ballet since I was around four years old every day after school. I didn’t have an eating disorder, I just wasn’t growing yet.
As a freshman in high school, I was a size zero and weighed around ninety eight pounds. I had no hips and no boobs to speak of, so I thought I looked normal. Apparently that still wasn’t enough for people. My classmates didn’t understand that I was suffering from low self-esteem, but not enough to make me starve myself or throw up after eating.
To say I have never had low self-esteem would be a lie; I did struggle with my body. When I finally grew from a size zero to a size five in two years because my body finally developed was hard on me. I was only (and still am) one hundred and fifteen pounds, but that was a difficult adjustment for me. No, I was no longer the small girl, and many girls are smaller than me. So for a few years in high school I no longer had people monitoring my every move in the school cafeteria after videos shown in P.E.
Then I got to college, and when I began to work out both in between classes and at night some of my friends became concerned. They watched me eating smaller meals and there came that look again. I wasn’t starving myself; I was just trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Yes, I admittedly went through a period my senior year in high school where I would skip some meals because I felt fat, but my mother quickly noticed and got me back on the right track. It never developed into an eating disorder, and when I told my friends not to worry – that it was a short-lived (as in two weeks) phase – they just wouldn’t let it go. Finally, after my friends in college spent more and more time around me, they began to realize that I didn’t have an eating disorder just because I’m thin.
A thin woman can be just as healthy as a woman with a little meat on her bones, and just because I’m skinny doesn’t mean I have an eating disorder. I am five foot four. I weigh one hundred and fifteen pounds. I eat more than three times a day and I wear extra small tops. I am very confident with my body image. I never count calories, I eat meat, and I will take a bucket of fried chicken and a large sweet tea over salad and water any day. It would be a lie to say I have never had a problem with my body image – what woman doesn’t? – but I’ve never been anorexic or bulimic.
Just as some women naturally have curves, some are just born thin. Both ends of the spectrum are judged constantly. You are either too skinny or too fat, and in both cases everyone watches you while you eat. So my question is: what makes a woman “healthy”? What is it going to take for people to stop worrying about you just because of your weight? Without knowing my lifestyle, it isn’t really fair to make an assumption about my health. Just because I’m thin doesn’t mean I’m not healthy, either, because I do eat healthy for the most part, and I work out every week. This is just who I am and I’m sick of being the subject of whispers between girls.
You may not realize it, but sometimes the “skinny” girls feel just as uncomfortable as those women shunned for their curves. Let’s do everyone a favor and stop focusing so much on weight and let everyone, regardless of their size, just be.