In my last post, I talked about body posititivity. I spoke to the fact that while we should always make people feel comfortable and confident, we cannot allow this body positivity movement to mold our society into a place where growth and personal improvement is not encouraged. If you would like to check out my thoughts on being truly body positive, go ahead and click here.
However, in this post, I would like to make a record straight that I believe has been wrong for a very long time. The body positivity movement is largely geared towards people of a larger size, or people who have physical disabilities. While this is all good, I believe it makes a large assumption that our entire country has made for a long time.
People who are skinny are not always the ideal body shape, and their body shape is not always something they believe should be celebrated.
In order to illustrate my point, I will offer a current personal story.
I went wedding dress shopping in the winter of 2018. Obviously in order to find the size for my dress, I had to be professionally measured. I stood patiently while this woman took down my measurements of my bust, waist, and hips. She jotted them down on the paper, told them to us, and we went on our merry way.
My measurements played in my head over and over. I had been measured before for musical costumes in high school, but for the first time, I could not get them out of my mind. 32, 23, 36. 32, 23, 36.
32 bust, 23 waist, 36 hips. A measurement I had heard several times, give or take an inch or two. But it stuck. Why?
34 bust, 24 waist, and 34 hips are the ideal measurements for Victoria’s Secret models. Give or take an inch or two.
These measurements have haunted me through my entire life. I have had my beautiful, strong friends comment that they would give anything for my body. That my body makes them feel ugly. That they shouldn’t be at the pool in a bikini with me. Which breaks my heart.
My body is not healthy, and at the time when I was closest to Victoria Secret standards, I had never hated my body more.
Mental illness has made me unhealthy and weak. I went from a decent athlete who loved hiking and being active to someone who struggles to bring the groceries inside. My body is unreliable, and honestly, I think it is ugly most of the time.
Here is the kicker though: this unhealthiness and less-than-ideal body time is easy to hide. Even through my time of being extremely underweight, I have gotten compliments on my body.
“Your body is so cute and rocking”- as my collarbones burn and scream from their prominent position above the visible ridges of my breast bone.
“I wish I had your figure!”- as my ribs stick out so far it hurts to lay on my stomach and my spine protrudes to the point of being bruised from kitchen chairs.
“Skinny girls have it so easy!”- as I struggle with lightheadedness from my body’s inability to support myself.
Am I saying that thin girls have it harder than thicker girls? No. I think that we all have our own battles. However, I feel that my entire life it has been pushed upon me that thin girls have nothing to complain about. Being thin is “ideal”, being thin means you have “model qualities”.
So please, as we work on body positivity, let us not forget that thicker girls are not the only ones who experience heart ache over their bodies. That almost everyone has been made to feel “less than” because of how they look. That every time we fully replace the thinner models with plus sized models, the woman who is chronically underweight walks past the advertisement, head down and heart aching, wondering if she will ever have a body that isn’t childlike, or that will at least support her.
Please, let us get rid of any idea of “ideal” body type, because we all have our own demons, and as people we should work on making every person feel confident and validated, while also allowing them to feel sadness or frustration.
Love everyone and be confident in you.