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The Problem with Skinny Shaming

I’m here to talk about a topic that people always seem to neglect – skinny shaming. I know that we’re taught that being skinny is the media’s ideal definition of beauty. But just like anything else, people will still find things to mock about being thin.

Skinny shaming is just as real as fat shaming; either way, we are ridiculing how someone else looks. No form of body shaming is ever okay or cool.

My story: I have naturally stayed around 95 pounds for my entire life, and I have often been made to feel like there is something wrong with my body type.

There have been plenty of times when I am out with my friends and I order a big meal, only to be hit with comments like, “Must be nice to eat whatever you want.” Suddenly, I’ll feel self-conscious and like I’m hurting others’ feelings by eating a burger, which is ridiculous.

When I’m out shopping with some people who I know are self-conscious of their own bodies, even though they shouldn’t be, I’ll try to hide that I’m pulling an XS off the shelves. If I don’t, I’m often meant with eye rolls or defeated sighs. Again, this just leaves me feeling awful and like I’m responsible for their distress, when they’re actually the ones being unfair to me.

One time, I told a nurse my weight, and she replied, “You need to eat.” I can probably win an eating contest against any of my guy friends. I also had an experience when my doctor asked my mom to leave the room, so she could ask if I had an eating disorder. While it was nice that she was concerned, I didn’t love the assumption. It was one that I had faced my whole life, and I’ve never appreciated that people don’t believe that skinniness can be natural. In fact, many people with eating disorders are not as thin as I am, and there are many more symptoms to look for than just a number on a scale.

I was also bullied for it in middle school. At the time, I told myself that it was just the price to pay for being naturally skinny. At least I could eat whatever I wanted and still look like that, right? I would constantly justify how terrible people spoke to me because society had taught me that since I was skinny, I was a bitch. To defend myself would only make me look like more of a bitch, so I stayed silent.

One boy, again, started a rumor that I was anorexic. Another started a rumor that I was dying (what if I really did have a terminal disease?). Sometimes I’d joke around that I looked like a skeleton, just so people thought that I was laughing along with them.

During a scoliosis test in gym class, my gym teacher had me lift up my shirt so she could measure the curve of my spine. “Oh my god, look at how your bones stick out!” she yelled, almost disgusted. All the other girls around me laughed, and I went to the bathroom to cry.

There were other moments of people making fun of how my bones protrude. A random person once came up to me on the beach to say, “Wow, I can really see your ribs.” I’m sorry, but what if I went up to a random person and said, “Wow, you should really lose a couple pounds.” The double standard drives me crazy.

None of this is being said to complain, but I want to make this point: it took me a while to love and accept my body. The sought-after image of “skinny” is not always an easy answer. That’s why we should all just love whatever body type that we have been given. Be the healthiest version of yourself, but not the healthiest version of anyone else.

Most of all, let’s be kind to one another.

Jenna Puglisi

Monmouth '19

Jenna founded Monmouth's chapter with her co-correspondent and BFF, Christi. Jenna is a senior at Monmouth, studying English with a minor in Public Relations. Her greatest love is writing, which she practices through journalism, poetry, and a personal blog at https://jennapug.com/. When she isn’t writing, you can find her wandering around bookstores, dancing at concerts, and drinking obscene amounts of coffee.
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