I come from a family of slender-figured women.
The females in my family have small breasts, tiny curves and a tiny bum and are sometimes tall, but are usually of an average height.
As a result, I grew up as a skinny girl, up until my mid-twenties when a high metabolism was no longer on my side and I had to work to keep excess body fat at bay. I looked skinny during my phase with weight gain, with hardly anyone noticing the change in my body.
Being skinny was never an issue when I was younger, but in my teen years and mid-twenties, when all the girls around me had big boobs, curves and a bum booming from their back-sides, it seemed that I was left behind and everyone around me had an issue with it.
I became the butt of skinny jokes with people likening me to a starving child, and holding my hand on windy day for fear that I’d be blown away. I thought that this was merely teenagers being the horrible people that they are during the adolescent phase, until I became an adult and the big deal with being skinny continued.
As an adult, the nastiness from people, both men and women (funny enough they were from my social circles), seemed to escalate. Now that I was a woman, being skinny meant that I was not pretty enough as being curvy was seen as a symbol of real femininity and beauty. I was not wealthy enough because of the perception that if you’re big boned, thick, whatever you want to call it, you’re affluent and important.
I was being body shamed for failing to meet society’s expectations of feminine beauty. I was unable to measure up to supposed body ideals, and that made me the perfect candidate for bullying because I was the unacceptable “other”.
The experience of being “the other” played with my mind by eroding my self-esteem and a positive self-image, and to remedy the situation, I turned to over-eating to fatten myself up, with a detrimental effect on my health.
I had to learn that I wasn’t the problem, but rather that the very roots of sexism and patriarchal ideals of the perfect woman were the causes of this whole madness. Keeping women focused on frivolous things such as appearance takes away our power as we learn to believe that we are not enough, and I had to get rid of that mindset. My significance and femininity shouldn’t be reduced to the size of curves, bum and breasts.
And a perfect body is a healthy body as per the advice of a doctor and not the size of curves, breasts and buttocks.
So body shamers, y’all can shut up now and get on the healthy body bandwagon.
In the words of Keri Hilson, don’t hate ‘cause I’m beautiful. My skinny figure is perfect and beautiful.
*image from The Odyssey Online.