This extra post is my belated contribution to August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest. (Unfortunately, I was unable to post yesterday.)
For most of my adulthood, I have been a size 4 or below. Wait! Don’t stop reading yet. Please hang in here with me.
I remember when I finally passed 100 pounds on the scale, between my junior and senior years of high school.
I didn’t remain there, though. I recently picked up a journal I kept during my first pregnancy, in which I wrote about starting my journey toward motherhood at all of 99 pounds. (Don’t worry; I gained a healthy 32 pounds.)
But much of my adult life I’ve been the “skinny girl.”
I have long advocated that we need to stop putting forth unrealistic ideals about women that include eating-disordered models and plastic surgery as a foregone conclusion. I loathed it when people slammed Alicia Silverstone for her body when she played Batgirl back in 1996. (I thought she looked awesome). I hate that half of the magazines prominently displayed at the grocery checkout chronicle the ups-and-downs of celebrities’ weight or feature covers with models who have been airbrushed into comical proportions.
I wish we would stress health. An unrealistic ideal woman is not healthy. She is quite possibly a size 12 starving herself to be a size 2.
However, some women really are size 2. That’s their body structure, build, and reasonable weight. And being the skinny girl in the room ain’t always the picnic you think it is.
What you don’t know about the naturally skinny girl in the room (one or more of the following are true):
- She’s still shopping for bras in the girls’ section, desperately hoping someday that her buds will become breasts.
- Her family or friends keep interrogating her about anorexia and bulimia, even though they’ve seen her eat and never once had any reason to believe she’s gagged herself.
- She gets “complimented” with comments like these: “You’re so thin, one of these days a big wind might just up and blow you away” (Like being compared to a tumbleweed is good?). “I could fit you in one of my thighs” (What does one say to that?). “You’re so skinny, I can see your bones” (No, you can’t! That’s my belt buckle).
- She struggles to find clothes that fit. Maybe the runway models have access to size 0 and size 2 fashions, but they are much harder to find in real stores. And forget shopping in the misses department. Her butt couldn’t fill a ramekin, much less a made-for-a-woman pair of pants.
- No one ever thinks she can lift anything or do any task that requires strength.
- She feels guilty eating in front of people who hate her for being a skinny girl.
As a woman, there are various challenges with being various sizes. I don’t know what it’s like to be a size 12, but some of you don’t know what it’s like to be a size 2. And before you start saying, “I only wish I had your problem,” I’d like to call on us women to stop the comparisons altogether.
The funny thing about my skinny self then (not quite so skinny now) is that my weight never played much into how I felt about my health. I knew I was eating enough and getting enough exercise. But it did play into how beautiful I felt. And I didn’t feel beautiful because I didn’t look like the women I aspired to be.
Beauty is not about comparison. It’s not about wishing you were that airbrushed model; discovering how to lose 10 pounds from some actress with a nanny, a dietitian, and a personal trainer; or even hating the skinny girl.
What does it matter if one woman is size 0 and another 16? They can both be absolutely beautiful in their own right.
Beauty is more about confidence. The way you see your body, the way you treat your body, the way you carry your body shows that you either know you’re beautiful…or haven’t figured that out yet. Appreciating who you uniquely are is the first step to being confident about your own beauty.
am was the “skinny girl.” I’ve long since realized that I’m not ever going to have curves like Selma Hayek or Sofia Vergara. And that’s okay. I can still be beautiful…as just little ‘ol me.
What do you think? What makes a woman beautiful? Have you struggled with comparing? And if you did a Beauty of a Woman Blogfest post, please share the link below!