Allow me to preface this with a brief explanation about myself.
I’m tiny. I’m a weight class below the itsy bitsy spider. I’m short and thin, I’ve always been short and thin, and going by my eating habits and family I’ll probably always be short and thin.
In actual numbers, I’m 5’4 and I hover between 85 and 95 pounds. I’ve never once in my life broken 100. I’ve tried.
I don’t have an eating disorder of any kind. I never have. No matter how much I eat, I never get any larger. No matter how much I sit around on my mysteriously round but small ass, I never get any larger. This is the way my body is built. I have no advice on how to achieve this kind of body because I have no idea how I did it. I just am.
I’m asked sometimes, and in order not to sound like a complete asshole (“be born thin?”), I offer the easiest answer: exercise. I don’t do it all that often because I’m lazy, but that seems to be the general good advice for losing weight, right? At the least, it can’t hurt. (As opposed to dieting, which absolutely can.)
I’m so painfully aware of how my own body is built that I don’t find fault in anyone else’s. Maybe it’s the way they were built or maybe it’s their fault. I have no way of knowing. I have no reason to care. It’s their body, and not my responsibility or business.
By complete coincidence, my shape resembles this society’s ideal to a degree. Enough of a degree that it elicits concern for my health. I’m often told to “go eat a sandwich.” A group that I very much love knew me as “Twiggy” for a while when they couldn’t remember my name.
For anyone who’s never been thin and may not think about this end of the body size spectrum, these are shockingly similar to, respectively, “put down the ice cream” and “fatso.” The comments come from the same line of thinking. But because I’m the ideal, right, it’s not hurtful somehow.
The internet has a lot to say about a wide variety of topics. Body positivity is one. I’m a huge advocate for it. (See what I did there?) Everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin, and not be made to feel ashamed because of the arbitrary shape of their hips.
If you’re on the large end of the spectrum, I want you to feel more comfortable. From the bottom of my heart, I do. I want you to look in the mirror and find the things you see that are beautiful, and I want them to be numerous. Finding them in myself did wonders for my personal happiness. Not just confidence: happiness. I want everyone to feel that.
Including myself and people my size.
Years ago, a friend posted a meme to Facebook. It was years ago and a stupid meme, but I remember every word of it.
“Love women with curves and tattoos,” it said, “because no one wants a stick with no imagination.”
I wouldn’t think I’d need to explain why that was branded on my self worth, but the fact that a friend posted it in the first place suggests I probably should.
Insult #1: According to this meme, not having a tattoo means you have no imagination.
Insult #2: I’m not a woman. I’m a stick.
Insult #3: Because of the choices I made about what happens to my body, and the arbitrary shape of that body, no one wants me.
I politely pointed out that her meme was hurtful, and she said she never meant to hurt me, but sometimes she would be posting things like this, and maybe I should unfollow her if I didn’t want to see them. Which was not the point I was making.
Here’s another example I saw the other day.
“Curvy women are beautiful,” said this meme. “Bones are for dogs; meat is for men.”
Insult #1: The second half of the meme implies that the first part includes an understood “only” and should be heard as: “Only curvy women are beautiful.”
Insult #2: …I’m sorry, I can’t find another way to put this. “Bones are for dogs” is hurtful enough without finding a new way to say it.
I politely asked him not to spread things like this because we shouldn’t lift up some by standing them atop of others. He did not take it down. Far more people liked the meme than liked my criticism of it. He did not even respond.
I will never understand why spreading hatred of other groups is supposed to spread love for your own.