Misconceptions about the ‘skinny’ figure and womanhood

A few weeks ago I went out to eat at Panera Bread with my sister Amanda, my boyfriend and a few other friends, and while in line to order food, these two young women (that looked like they were probably in their late teens—early 20s) and another lady, (who I presumed to be their mom, or the mom of one of the girls at least) were in line behind us.

I hadn’t given much thought to these women until out of the blue one of the girls pointed at my sister Amanda and began to laugh at her for looking like a “friggin’ stick.”

The mom and the other girl then proceeded to make mocking comments about her and another friend of ours, who had walked right by them, (who happens to also be a tall and thin girl) and then all of us girls together as we walked to our table.

These women ended up sitting across from us, and every once in awhile, they would point us out and laugh about us, particularly singling out Amanda since she was closest to them.

Part of me was in denial of everything I was hearing, and tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but as time went on, it became clear that these women were acting like bullies.

Every part of me wanted to go up and confront them over their insensitive remarks, but I refrained.

I was too upset to think of anything to say, to be honest. I did not want to come off just as graceless and mean-spirited as they were.

In retrospect, I wish I could have at least said something.

It’s ridiculous to shame a woman for the way she looks, no matter how she looks, but I especially don’t understand how there seems to be this increasing attitude that thinner women don’t count as “real women”; that they must think that they are better than everybody else and, therefore, probably deserve to be publicly shamed for the way they look.

I see this attitude more and more, not just from weird experiences and interactions in person, but on social media posts, TV, in music, videos, memes and in the comment sections of articles.

Celebrity women that fall under the category of being “skinny” are bullied for being a poor representation of women.

I’ve seen some comments go as far as saying, “If you’re a skinny woman, you are responsible for any girl that has an eating disorder or self-esteem issues.” Not every thin woman has complete control over her genetics, body structure and metabolism. I’ve also seen “you don’t count in this conversation, because you’ve never struggled with your body image,”— what a ridiculous and
dangerous misconception.

The problem is assuming that being a skinny girl means you have never felt insecure, ugly, or wish you looked different. Is it really hard to believe that some women in the world don’t starve themselves to look thin, that they have a higher metabolism, are, in fact healthy, and *here’s the zinger* can actually feel really insecure about being thin?

I have a good sense of humor, so I don’t usually take offense when people that barely know me take jabs at me for being on the skinny side, or tell me that I need to eat.

But when I see another woman being teased about it, especially when that other woman is a sister or a friend, it makes me feel really bad and see it from a different perspective.

Last semester, one of my fellow classmates made a remark to the effect of, “I’m glad that the girls they used were real women,” after watching a snippet of a music video in class. A lot of people joined in and agreed.

I can understand what her point was, but I still feel that the wording of “real women” is a terrible choice of words.

Being curvy is beautiful, but so is being thin, and the truth is that a “real woman” should be able to uplift and encourage any woman, while feeling confident in her own skin, no matter what her body type is.

I too want to see diverse representations of women, but diversity does not mean excluding or degrading a specific body type in the process. I read a quote recently that said, “Girls compete with one another, women empower each other” and it really resonated with me, because it is very true.

May we as women learn how to maintain a sense of self-respect and dignity for ourselves, without tearing each other down.

Rachel Read
Staff Reporter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Be the first to comment on "Misconceptions about the ‘skinny’ figure and womanhood"

Leave a Reply