I picked up my daughter from basketball practice last week, and she plopped in the car and said, “I need to lift weights. My arms are too skinny.”
I looked at her in the rear-view mirror and saw her critiquing herself. “Your arms are perfect. Did someone say something about them, or is this your opinion?”
“No, they are just so small. I hate them.” I could tell she was on the verge of tears as she held her arm up and tugged at her shirt sleeves.
Maybe someone did say something, or maybe she was comparing herself to her teammates, something females are very good at doing unfortunately. After all, this is how the thought, “I am different, therefore I am less than,” creeps in at such a young age.
I have heard people make comments about my daughter’s body: “Does she eat?” “Do you feed her?” “She is too skinny.” While these words are meant to be sarcastic and funny, they are nothing but.
The hypocrisy of speaking about someone’s body for being too thin needs to stop. Why is it okay to say, “Go eat something”? It should be just as unacceptable as saying, “Do you really need to eat that?” I would never think to suggest that a full-figured person cut back on their food intake, so likewise, I take offense when people find it acceptable to discuss my daughter’s body.
Society seems to think commenting on thin bodies is some sort of compliment. That suggesting certain women really need to go get a pizza and eat the whole damn thing is a perfectly acceptable joke. News flash: It’s not. The mean-spirited snickers that come after those words are also unacceptable.
Can we all just agree that commenting on someone’s body is never okay? It’s especially harmful to girls who are still becoming comfortable in their own skin. We have all been there — ask any woman, or man, for that matter.
And while some may feel my stance on this is too firm, it is absolutely not. The standard that women should not be made fun of for their weight or size goes both ways. But there is a double standard at play when it comes to “skinny” people. It’s generally acceptable to tease these women. Whether they work on their body or not, they’re supposed to accept these passive-aggressive quips as compliments. I call bullshit.
When you say something to my daughter about her body because she is thin, it is the same as attacking someone for being overweight. And the implication that in order to be thin you must be starving and suffering is a twisted, harmful way of thinking that needed to end yesterday. I know women who are naturally thin no matter what they eat. There are women who work out because they love their body, and there are those who long for curves. There are women who choose to eat a certain way and live a healthy lifestyle for their mind. For these women, their body is just a result of their lifestyle, and sometimes their genetics, and sometimes a combination of all these factors.
This also means that fucked up phrases like, “Real women have curves,” or “She needs to eat a cheeseburger,” need to go in the shitter. The definition of a “real woman” has nothing to do with her size or physical appearance.
Real women know their worth, no matter what size they are. They eat cheeseburgers, they work out, they are naturally slim, they are voluptuous, they are plus-size, and they love themselves. They have integrity, they are strong, they are kind, but most of all, they absolutely never make snide comments about the body type of another woman.