I’m a Skinny Yogi, I’m a Real Woman & I’m Not Anorexic.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Oct 12, 2013
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Jennifer White

Okay, real women have curves—it’s true. Most people aren’t going to argue with that.

We nearly all have breasts—whether small or extra-large—and we all have hips, rear ends, etc, etc, but you know what? I barely weigh a buck-fifteen—and that’s okay.

Because real women are sometimes thin too.

And real women have skin folds and stretch marks and yada yada yada.

I am so sick of women arguing over whether “real” women are heavy or tiny.

Here’s the deal: I was watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast with my daughter earlier and let me just say that I’ll admit to being annoyed.

Not slightly annoyed or mildly agitated but Belle was full-on giving me a headache—and I’m alright with princesses. I’m down with glass slippers and temporary comas. Still, there’s only so much that a lady can take.

Example: Belle is “different” and “a most peculiar mademoiselle”—because she reads.

The future princess is a bookworm and that makes her a unique female. Um, okay. Moving on.

Belle is also traditionally beautiful (read: traditionally slender).

In short, I watch movies and read books with my toddler and obviously I notice that there’s a stereotypical look for women to have. For Godsakes, I remember reading Seventeen magazine and thinking that the girls were gorgeous—and I proceeded to be anorexic for years to follow.

So, yeah, I’m a skinny yogi and I’m not anorexic—now. But I used to be, and let me tell you that judging women by appearances is never okay, be it small or large.

Because not all women are overweight. I’m sorry but we’re not. Simple fact.

And not all ladies that practice yoga are either two ends of an opposing spectrum—anorexic and teensy or overweight and “normal.” And since when was the opposite of starving yourself being obese?

You know, I’m expecting a lot of horrid responses from this—I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the barrage. Yet the thing is, why is it acceptable to degrade women of smaller proportions—calling them eating disordered and, essentially, not even “real” women—and it’s not okay to simply say that women come in all shapes and sizes, including  but not limited to extra small?

And here’s the deal too: yes, I used to be anorexic—but that was an emotional problem. It had nothing to do, really, with my shape or size. It had to do with not wanting to own my emotions and deal with becoming a woman—because women do have curves.

Real women do have butts and breasts and maybe even little rolls in their armpits. We also have responsibilities, feelings, thoughts and dreams and it’s not always easy to grow up. At the same time, just because your parts are bigger than mine doesn’t mean you’re healthier, more of a grown woman or better in any way—just like I’m not better either.

And women will not stop being criticized, compared or defined until we stop defining ourselves first.

So, go ahead: own your curves and your real-woman ass. It’s awesome—for real. I, too, am fabulous with my miniature bosom and scrawny arms—and I’m still strong. You are too.

Muscles, skin, bones, fat—they make up both of us, regardless of what size jeans and bras we wear.

So, yes, please, rock on with your bad self—I will also. I work hard to feel good about who I am, inside and out, and I know you do too.

I’m merely offering that we consider that the opposite of a “real” woman isn’t necessarily a skinny one.

No, come to think of it, the opposite of a real woman is a phony one—and I’m being genuine in my body, like you are in yours.

And let’s agree to disagree, or better still, let’s agree that a woman isn’t determined by something as inconsequential as facts—and figures.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise


65,732 views

About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.

Comments

100 Responses to “I’m a Skinny Yogi, I’m a Real Woman & I’m Not Anorexic.”

  1. Sarah says:

    This is a good one Jen!

  2. Lacy says:

    I have found that conversations of this nature eventually devolve and comments like this pop up. The 'don't hate me because I'm beautiful' refrain has no place in this mostly productive thread.

  3. amphibi1yogini says:

    Thank you, Robin. Strong may be the new skinny. NOT. Strong is the new strong.
    As a physically weaker person due to chronic disease now (plus the management of same), imho and experience, skinny just is….

    And self-righteous is always ugly and never in fashion …

  4. Lori says:

    Thanks, Jennifer! I was a skinny teenager, but life and my age have made me about 30 lbs over what I consider my "ideal" weight. I'm still working on it and I suppose I always will. I fall in a funny category where I am not fat or thin, so I get comments from every end of the spectrum. I once joined a weight management group and a heavier woman than me asked why I was in the group. I told her "I know I look like some people's AFTER'' picture, but I'm my 'BEFORE' picture. The most important thing is that we strive to be healthy, and that comes in all shapes and sizes.

  5. Alex says:

    Thank you for writing this article, it was a breath of fresh air for me. I am 24, overweight my entire life, and obese according to my BMI–after losing about 60 pounds. My whole family is obese, and one of my mother's favourite tirades is talking about those "stick people" who "aren't real". I know this comes from a sense of hopelessness about her own weight, but it still makes me feel sick inside, to know that there are people–who are close to me, who directly affect my life–who judge so harshly based on looks. I want to lose more weight (though it's on the back burner for now), but I don't want to have to deal with an endless stream of commentary and judgment. I'm sorry you are subject to it as well. I hope you get more cake in the future.

    … On the plus side, this article has cemented my decision to subscribe to ElephantJournal. So, well done! ; )

  6. Emily says:

    I wasn't going to comment on this article at all, because I think your argument has validity and I respect that. However, your reply above brings up a very sensitive point: "heavy" vs "thin." Can you honestly say one of those terms is not pejorative? I am a yoga teacher, and because of emotional eating due to a bunch of crap that happened with my son after his birth, I am now overweight. This doesn't make me, or any other woman who eats emotionally, less than in any way. I know that I am also strong, trying to eat more mindfully, and more biologically tended towards gaining in the tummy. We all have our issues to deal with, i.e. "all sides of the same fucked-up coin." It's the truth!

  7. Honestly? You're talking semantics.

  8. Again, this is semantics.

  9. Alex, your comment is the most thoughtful, kind, honest and inspiring one I have ever received. Thank you.
    Would it help you to know, on a different more personal note, that I have certainly not always been "skinny" and that in real life I have never went around describing myself as such? This article's goal was merely to point out that we are all real and living in our own authenticity, however different that may be.
    I was absolutely a chubby little girl. I was picked on and called names for this, not for being a "skinny" kid. I understand both ends of this spectrum more than most.
    At 24 you have the wisdom and personal insight that many people, regardless of age, never achieve. You will be fine, no matter what the scale or charts tell you.
    From my heart to yours, here's a tip, and one that prompted me to write this article in the first place:
    I have weighed (on doctors' scales, because I don't own one) the same for almost ten years. Even after giving birth, my body gravitates here. The only way that I am able to achieve what I find to be my "natural" state is by acceptance. Talk with yourself and to yourself gently, lovingly, and without judgment: like you would a beloved and tender child or your very best friend.
    On another separate note, your comment inspired an article that I submitted this morning.

    Thanks again.

  10. Robin says:

    I agree that we should not use the phrase "real women," bit you do realize, I'm sure, that Lane Bryant is a store for women who have difficulty finding clothing in any other clothing stores for women, right? Have you considered that perhaps the ad is to validate the only women who perhaps do *not* feel like real women? I can't tell you how many times I've left a shop in tears and feeling like a freak because I can't find clothing to fit my size 14 body. If Lane Bryant wants my business and catches my attention by stating that I, *too*, am a real woman — well fine. The fact that you can go into most shops and find something that actually fits you is your validation. While I agree that we should all support each other, it would be disingenuous to say that "thin privilege" doesn't exist and that for the most part, heavier women have a rougher go at it when it comes to societal acceptance. That being said, I would stand up for anyone who is being dissed for their body size, big or small.

  11. Robin says:

    Indeed it is. "Semantics" means the meaning of a word. The definition of "overweight" is "above a weight considered normal or desirable." If this is not your intention, as a writer, perhaps you can choose a different word to more accurately convey your intention. Otherwise, it leaves one wondering if while you are protesting the idea that larger women are called "real" at the expense of thinner women. Or perhaps you are struggling with a bias towards larger women.

    As I commented above, "thin privilege" is alive and well in our society. To deny that is to deny the suffering of most larger women. I agree with you that the term "real women" is offensive (and the argument has already been extensively played out in the blogosphere), but it was intended as push-back against the very real stigma that *all* women suffer from.

    I would hope that being stigmatized for being thin, would make one more sensitive to the plight of larger women, who, I would argue, deal with body stigma more frequently (did you know that some clowns declared it #fatshamingweek on twitter last week? Ouch.). Anecdotally, it is rare that I hear my skinny friends say that they want to gain weight, but my normal-sized friends won't shut up about wanting to lose weight!

    While you feel that larger women want to be made to feel better at the expense of thinner women, I would argue that we just want to feel like we are beautiful, too. We don't hear it enough. Pick up a copy of any magazine or watch any movie if you don't understand what I mean.

  12. I prefer the terms, "gravitationally enhanced" for those who do a little better in the weight department on, say, Earth's moon's gravitational field … and "gravitationally slighted" for the opposite …

    Yes! Shows MY bias …

    Yes. REally! Overweight ?… over WHOSE weight …?

  13. Wow, is it THAT bad these days? In the 1970s, size 14 used to be a fairly popular goal size … I was above a size 20 only briefly … at age 24, and then was mostly around the size 18-20 area … Lane Bryant had been my store for years, until I was told about a better store: Ashley Stewart …

  14. Chrystal says:

    It's amazing to me that in todays world it's perfectly "fine" to degrade a thin woman by saying she isn't feminine enough to have "real curves" but people better not call a curvy woman fat or overweight. I do have to admit, being a little chubby myself, that many of the woman who are like, "only real men like curves" are over weight and it's often unhealthy. Regardless, we're ALL real women, stop with the curves bullsh!t. I've been extremely thin, and I was just as much of a real woman then as I am now with a little extra meat on my bones. I just can't believe that people weight shame thin women but think that no one better dare to weight shame extra weight, because it's "something to be proud of." Most of the women who are thin work very hard, and have a lot of self control, to be thin. Most of the women who are "curvy" don't work for their size at all. They eat whatever they want and think they should have more pride than a thin woman.

    Anyway, this is a great post, and I completely agree with you.

  15. JustAverage says:

    I am naturally quite slender, I eat fatty things, never had an eating disorder, etc. I'm active, but have gone months without working out and notice no changes except muscle tone. I have stayed the same weight basically as I was in Highschool…I'm 38. It is more common than you think. I do take it as a slight when people tell me "You need to eat!", etc.

  16. Wow hear you roar! Good for you! I agree with Robin.. We all want to exist where ever we are and we get tired of the flak from both ends.. you beeing too skinny, and me being suggested I need to quit eating junk food. That maybe I am just happy the way I am and have no medical health concerns to worry about but not to say I am trying to prove a point.

    It took me to be curvy yoga instructor to even know that both spectrum is misconcieved. Even in my advocating to love ourselves and each other where we are, I have learned to choose words that doesn't body shame anyone. I think many who has posted here and you yourself have instead of advocating against body shaming seen it as an attack. '

    It gets old from both ends of the stories. Hopefully we can all question why are we like this towards one another, own up our own stabs at others. It seems this day we are debating who is better than the other, rather than existing and knowing we are all going through something.

    Thank you for sharing your story..maybe we can jump on the band wagon to end body shaming of all shapes and sizes rather than DEFENSIVE hear me roar.

  17. Emily says:

    THANK YOU! I am thin and one of my friends posted something on facebook about real women having curves. It hurt me. Why is this ok? It's not.

  18. Emily says:

    Holy crap, RUDE. MEAN AND RUDE. There just isn't any other way to describe that comment.

  19. Emily says:

    SO true. I'm glad someone finally wrote about this, I've been thinking these thoughts for years.

  20. cequall says:

    I have to be honest and say that the article sounded a little on the "defensive" to me. I've been all of the above…from eating disordered, to thin, to heavier and thin again. Having experienced all I have to say that the societal norm is much more strongly weighted to derogatory comments for heavier women and almost exclusively praising to very thin women. And perhaps I've just been fortunate to NOT have experienced the snotty comments about thinness…but rather the many compliments..no matter how thin and "ill" I was. With that said…unkind comments to anyone are uncalled for and we need so much more love and support for one another.

  21. kaya10 says:

    oh me too… I am skinny. Always have been. I've been told I am "emaciated" (hardly) and people have no problem telling me to eat more. Anyone who knows me, knows I eat like a horse! Love food and do not have a problem….yet it is perfectly acceptable to comment on my body. Can you imagine someone finding it ok to tell a heavy person to stop eating so much?

  22. Laura Blues says:

    I found this article truly wonderful. Contrarily to most of these comments, I have never been thin; not overweight either, but very, very curvy. I have always struggled to fin pretty bras in my 36 F size (all the most beautiful ones come only up to C cup and sometimes not even that) and most of the nice trendy clothes do not come in my size. My teenage years were hard, because I obviously lacked the maturity to like my curves; instead, I suffered not being able to wear the pretty things that most of my friends could. I hid my body, ashamed of it, even though I never developed any sort of eating disorder. Afterwards, I developed this judgmental pride of my body. It wasn't only to enjoy showing off (yes, bragging) my full cleavage or tight jeans, it was also, indeed, feeling that I was healthier, prettier and sexier than the skinny women who have been "in fashion" for so many years. I used to say in a diminishing manner "a model type body" and to characterize it as "pre-teen boy body". I am sure that I am not the only woman with my kind of shape who developed this negative reaction as a response to the opposite trend telling us that we are "too fat". Nonetheless, I want to now apologize to you and to all the skinny women that I have looked down on for the past years and I also want to tell you how reading this has made me learn something important about myself, that I intend to change now and forever. You are so right. You are beautiful and so am I.

  23. ebb says:

    Hey Emily, I'm also Emily–and I totally agree with you, semantic or not 😉 Thank you for commenting–

  24. ebb says:

    Okay, okay, I'll bite. Because I haven't seen another comment similar:

    Yes! I am a thin woman who is obsessed with being thin, (but also obsessed with being healthy and strong and living a long and healthful life). I eat loads of coconut oil and avocados, but if I notice a couple pounds weight gain (totally and completely natural, chill the fuck out Em, you are not paid to be skinny like a model), I make sure to scale back on food and work out more because there is a part of myself that subscribes to society's insanely unachievable beauty standard. But there is also a part of myself that knows it's much harder to pop-up quickly on a surfboard with just a few extra pounds (thank God there is a balance).

    I have work to do, but I have noticed a lot of progress in my healing of this: I continually admire (and find quite beautiful) women who are more curvy than me; they inspire me to think myself beautiful too When I do gain weight (and I do, I assure you: I have to eat right and exercise in order to stay thin, am not a totally natural thin person, and sometimes I binge eat and sit around all day), I am learning to look at myself naked in the mirror and love the extra weight. It is less teenage-girlish and more womanly. It's like admiring someone else. If I don't personalize my body to myself, I have no problem with it. It's because of societal brainwashing that I still associate my value as a woman in part with how well I fit into society's unachievable beauty ideal….I know I will grow out of this.

    So, yes, definitely so many naturally super-high metabolism women out there–I imagine that comes with problems of its own–and definitely many women like myself who put effort in to stay thin. Indeed, many sides of the same coin.

  25. BayAreaGal says:

    Thank you for writing this! I am so tired of naturally petite, thin women getting hated on. This is my body type. This is the body type of some of the women on my mom's side. I do not starve myself, and I'm the furthest from eating "clean". I watch what I eat, but allow myself chocolate chip cookies daily. I have a pooch on my lower stomach because I just do. I don't lose sleep about it. I am about 100 lbs, give or take, and I have untoned parts and stretch marks. At 46, I really don't give a rats ass. Actually I have a rats ass. I have been bullied, accused of anorexia, and have been called Karen Carpenter. I consider myslef a beginner at yoga, and I am not very bendy. I have the tightest hamstrings West of the Mississippi. I don't do cardio because I hate it, bit I also don't want to burn calories. I want to retain the ass I have, so it doesn't look like a complete pancake. Again , I don't lose sleep over it. I just wish people would get off the asses of thin folks. We did not make the awful stereotypes the media shows. We have been walking on egg shells when Facebook posts make their rounds of "real women have curves". Sorry, I have mini curves, no ass, and chicken legs . . but that's okay. There's enough room on the planet for everyone.

  26. Laura, wow. This comment—and your ability to engage with a differing perspective—are wonderfully astounding. Thank you for both.

    Societal norms have more than contributed to your defensiveness about your body, and I don't think apologies are necessary. However, discovering that you deserve to be truly proud to be in the body you inhabit—no defensiveness required—is an extremely liberating realization (and one I can also relate to). Congratulations and enjoy your new-found freedom.

  27. tessatito says:

    Far from offending or outraged, I adored this article. Thank you for translating how I feel. I am a naturally tall, thin woman and recovering bulimic. I am tired of being a brunt of criticism or passive aggressive compliments that are really cutting about my size. Just a I do not judge overweight or obese women, I ask to be afforded the same respect. No I'm not throwing up after meals, yes I eat often and well, I eat sweets, I enjoy exercise and take care of myself.

  28. carol says:

    As a thin person, I've been subjected to this my entire life. I will never forget the lunchroom with a co-worker 20 years ago, who said to my face across the table full of people, "I hate you, you're so skinny". I was speechless. Oddly, she was also a friend. I can't imagine ever saying that to anyone, no matter what their size. If someone would have said "I hate you, you're so fat" to a co-worker, hr would have been all over it.

  29. lindsay says:

    hey, thinner people are demoralized and judged, too. to their faces. if you want examples, let me know. i do not judge larger people, i dont really even care what they look like, but plenty of people have felt the freedom to comment on my body and assume i am gifted this magic metabolism when #1 my body is NONE of their business and #2 like you wrote above, they know jack about my life or experiences.

    we ALL struggle and we are ALL judged. Trust me.

  30. Jody says:

    Thank you for this post. I am a five foot height, barely-a-buck-five weight if im lucky to cross that line, and i get hated on so much from other women. I love my yogic body which i have created and maintained with hard work, but no one on the street would know how much i have broken the causal chain of weight distress and chronic disease in my family. But regardless, discrimination against ANY weight size is just a waste of time.

  31. Maria Laura Aguayo says:

    You have no idea how much I appreciate your article. I’ve always been skinny, I’ve never had to watch what I eat but I do eat as healthy as I can, and I am grateful for that, but you wouldn’t believe all the crap I took growing up, I heard it all. For some insane reason people think it’s ok to make fun of the skinny girls when it is as wrong as calling somebody names for being fat. It is NEVER ok to judge.

  32. Juniper says:

    Thank you for this article!
    I've been naturally thin all my life, and no matter how much I eat (i LOVE organic, grass-fed whipping cream and butter and eat large quantities daily), I can't seem to get any curvier. Most of the women I see in mainstream media–large or small–still seem to have substantial breasts, which can make a narrow woman like myself feel inadequate. I love the rest of my body (I have a fantastic butt!), and I'm learning to be more confident about my breasts, but it can be hard to get past the concept that ''real women MUST have curves.'' I know that the most important thing is that I'm happy and healthy, no matter what anyone else thinks of my body. Power and love to ALL the world's women; no matter our shapes, sizes, chromosomes, or decorations, WE ARE ALL REAL.

  33. carole elaine says:

    Great. You’re skinny. Naturally. Most women are not so ‘fortunate’.

    I, too, am naturally thin, not skinny. If I eat fairly well (with a focus on non processed local food) and practice yoga 5-7 times a week, I am also fit. In our fucked up society, I am ‘lucky’. I’ve been skinny-skinny -in high school then I was also obsessed with food and exercise. Not fun.

    Do I ever point out to my heavier friends who go on walks with me, dine with me, yoga with me…basically live similar lifestyles but carry 20-40 more lbs on their frames? No.

    Because I know I am fortunate in today’s society. I am lucky to have to do less and maintain society’s preferred shape from not trying too hard. I don’t need to shout it from the rooftops and blogosphere.

    My friends would be deeply offended if I touted my ‘natural skinny’ over their shapes. I care that my friends are mentally, physically and emotionally well.

    Here’s your gold star for being skinny ⭐️. There are so many more important issues to discuss. Why another ‘Oh poor me I’m skinny and it’s not my fault’ articles, elephant? As a thin girl, I think it’s bragging and showing off to emphasize my size. I am LUCKY, so are you. My heavier, fit friends who take excellent care of their well-being are tired of hearing your skinny comments.

  34. Katie says:

    I agree with you. But I have a few thoughts about why some women fear thin women, and even though I wish this wasn’t the case (because it would be amazing if we were all enlightened in the arena of body love)…I think it makes sense. I think that as long as comparing and self-denigration are around, women are going to feel superior/inferior to one another in order to mediate shame and discomfort (which is kind of what you said, and I agree ☺). The best thing we can do in the face of women harming other women is to spread the word of love: acceptance and loving-kindness to ourselves and to others. And I think that is what you are doing when you write an article like the one above. It’s very honest. What I understand from my personal experience with women who have eating disorders is that some women (who also happen to meet societal standards for beauty – i.e. thin) do sometimes hide behind culturally supported excuses (e.g. health) in order to deny that they have eating disorders. Some don't, but some do. Most women I know do not do this in order to punish other women into believing that a thin ideal is superior, that's just the sad by-product of the situation. On the other hand, some women do get something out of their “superior” body causing an inferiorating (is that a word?) effect because it makes up for their own shame. I’ll explain…they push themselves to become as close to their personal approximation of what a “perfect body” means and looks like, and then they use it as a battle sheild to compensate for their shame (shame that comes from family, society, trauma, the shame/pain list is endless…). Putting a body image (ones own or another type) on a pedestal is not a compassionate thing to do to oneself or another, but it is an undeniable part of an eating disorder. It's a numbing mechanism, it's a shadow, it's a part of a process, but it doesn’t make them any less deserving of love and compassion. I’ve known several women who struggle with this very thing and I have felt honored to be in the presence of witnessing them own that they struggle with narcissism. Its much easier to say that you struggle with an eating disorder and shame than it is to say that you struggle with an eating disorder and narcissism, because people aren’t willing to be very compassionate about the latter! People are uncomfortable with women who are in this stage of their emotional growth because they use societal beauty norms as a shield, and that’s threatening to others. And when the masses are afraid, they generalize. It’s a rule (sort of). So…then if you physically happen to meet beauty-norm standards, and you’re faced with someone who has grown up in relationship to someone who struggled with narcissism and an eating disorder, then you might assume that other thin women are narcissistic. Which is totally not fair, but since humans learn through association…its actually quite (disappointingly) natural for the person to believe such a thing. But it depends on the life experience of who is looking/judging, and the state of their awareness about what it means to collude with one’s own judgments, and the state of their willingness to be in the presence of various forms of human pain (shame/narcissism) without being reactive to those forms and calling them good or bad.

    So I have one more thing…eating disorders do have to do with emotional dysregulation…unsafe emotions…and attachment, and family systems, and dissociation…and the body. We just like to think (once we know the ED is rooted in having to do with emotions) that it doesn't have as much to do with the body image because society still stigmatizes eating disorders as being superficial. And that angers us because to live in one is anything but superficial, it is profoundly painful. But, part of having an eating disorder is being addicted to ruminating about the way the body feels and appears (etc.) because the profound is too murky and painful to touch, and then once we've worked through it, sometimes we don’t want to own that parts of us went to that superficial place. But its true. I really believe its true and its deserving of compassion and acceptance. The body becomes a mask instead of a sacred place of living and growing, and you can’t process the pain that comes with recovery and then say that you never used your body as a mask in the first place. Or that the body-mask-using wasn't a horribly painful part of the process. It has very much to do with the body, its entirely embodied. The parts of the self who long for whatever physical form they needed (perhaps even superficial and all) were relevant in the process of coming out of an eating disorder, and its not real to say that they were not as significant. And this makes yoga such a healing practice, because a yoga practice can command body love and awareness.

  35. Alex says:

    You lost me when you said you were anorexic. Sorry but obviously you are not the role model for saying skinny is good. My sister is skinny yet she never had an eating disorder.

    I respect the fact that you overcame your obstacle but I really don’t think it’s your place to right an article like this.

  36. Brianne says:

    I disagree with this. I was never anorexic, I'm Ukrainian and I eat like it's my job. I have struggled with keeping on body weight my whole life, I even resorted to eating mayonnaise out of the jar with a spoon when I became a teenager in an effort to gain weight (yes, disgusting I know, but desperate times call for desperate measures). I was bullied so badly in school because I looked like a boy until I was 16, and I literally had no friends in school. (and developed a mental disorder because of all the trauma, which isn't exactly convenient). To say that women that struggle with weight are the only ones that understand real turmoil is ignorant, as my femininity was challenged because of my real, natural body. I hated myself and the way I looked for years and years and years, until I finally caught onto the war that is raging against all women (regardless of appearance or size). There is no context that needs to be taken into consideration other than the fact that women are pitted against each other and dehumanized straight across the board, and this has more to do with the way society perceives our gender than anything. We are held up to an impossible, unnatural standard and we need to unite to support our sisters. We don't all look the same, and we never will. We are all real and we are all women. Nothing else needs to be said.

  37. Brianne says:

    Fucking preach it Jennifer. Jacquie, its pretty ignorant of you to say "I don't know any women like this, they all do this." I'm sorry, I didn't realize I had an eating disorder. Thank you for notifying me. I'm 5'8 and I weigh 125 pounds soaking weight, and I have never been able to get past 130 and that's if I'm eating constantly for weeks. Thanks for doing what kids have done to me my whole life, and alluding to the assumption that I'm doing this to myself. I finally love my body after years of self-hate, thank you very much.

  38. Brianne says:

    As a naturally skinny person, let me tell you that I was so badly bullied in school because of it that I developed a severe social anxiety disorder and another mental disorder on top of it from the trauma and self-loathing that I experienced growing up. There are people hating people from every spectrum, and this is not an assumption. Let's not take attention away from the issue on hand, which is the discrimination of women as a whole.

  39. Brianne says:

    I agree with you, and I congratulate you for being so strong and being able to work past all of your hardships and being able to develop yourself so well. This topic is necessary, however, for women who have not come to this realization and do not have the self-confidence to do so themselves. This article is to bolster us to focus more on ourselves than on society. Not all of us are at the same place, and some need a little nudge and some encouragement. Maybe some of the other ladies don't have Crohn's, but every person has their own different challenges to overcome and have experienced different trauma, so bringing awareness to the oppression against women should not be such an annoying thing.

  40. Brianne says:

    There is such a thing as overweight and underweight. Overweight means over a person's natural healthy body weight, which differs from person to person. Being overweight and underweight can both affect your health negatively. Just like curvy and thin can both be healthy, but not on the same people. Just like if I suddenly grew big boobs and a butt, it wouldn't be proportionate or look good because it wouldn't go with the rest of my body. We're just built differently, but health should be what we're striving for. And for our own sakes, nobody else's.

  41. Brianne says:

    Why does it suddenly discredit her because she used to be anorexic? I don't understand. She didn't say skinny was good, that wasn't the point of this whole article, maybe if you had gotten past the anorexic part…. The whole point is that people need to stop shaming women if they don't fit into one category. Overweight and underweight women. Why is it okay to slam thin people and say they're too skinny, but if I were to start making fat comments about a woman it would be unthinkable. Same shit, different pile. We're being discriminated against for how we look. Her recovery from anorexia has more to do with her realizing this fact, that we are beautiful the way we are. That we don't need to try and be fitter or fatter. That's real liberation.

  42. sarah says:

    We never know the journey that others are on.

    Some are skinny and try to put on weight, some are fat and try to lose weight. Some don't worry about it. You can be skinny and healthy and (contrary to popular opinion) you can be fat and healthy. We need to nourish our bodies, so food is something that we cannot kick (unlike drugs). We can punish our bodies by not feeding them, or try to console ourselves with comfort food. But we can also be naturally on the skinny side or naturally on the fat side. (I am 5'9 and a UK size 16, so very overweight, but also eat a healthy diet and have a daily yoga practise – I have beaten bulimia/anorexia, but had already ruined my metabolism, and have a constant struggle with how I feel about my body. Shame that I have wasted so much energy – and still do – on something so superficial, when my body has generally served me and my three children well! It would help to not be judged constantly and if I could buy yoga or fitness clothes that were not too tight when marked XL. At either end of the spectrum it is as if our bodies are public property!)

    The body that we have in this lifetime is just for this lifetime, it is just a vehicle for us to pursue our lives in.

    Congratulations on finding yourself coming out the other side of your anorexic stage. Well done for making the point that neither end of the spectrum needs judgment, just acceptance.

    May your vehicle serve you well!

    Om Shanti

  43. nosweetme says:

    oh wow. he was being rude for both parties…imagine someone who actually got her piece of cake hearing this…"Okay, so I look like I eat cake all the time?' 😀 he also might have taken different strategy and tried to give you more than others, because "you need to eat more!"…

  44. Anon says:

    What is the correct way to represent women in the arts? Can’t show them skinny or curvy, smart or otherwise. Is it better not to portray women at all?

  45. J. Monet says:

    I love this article (most articles on Elephant, actually!), I forwarded it to my friend. I think all healthy bodies are beautiful! As somebody who's neither skinny nor overweight but has a lot of curves, I hate the concept of "real" women — all women get criticized and scrutinized (and objectified) for everything and anything; everything is either "too big" or "too small," and never JUST RIGHT for each one of US!

    I do want to say one thing with regard to yoga, though. I am relatively new to it (I WISH to one day do that pose as the lovely lady in the photo!), and don't like classes so much, so most of the time rely on videos and articles, etc. Sometimes I do get a little upset that only one type of body is shown practicing in all those materials, namely women who are very slim and thus have smaller "assets." I have a large chest and it can be difficult/uncomfortable to do some of the poses, and it does occasionally make me feel like yoga is a realm of the less curvy, or like many of those poses are unachievable. It would be nice and motivational to see more diversity of yoga practitioners and teachers, with respect to body types.

  46. ohhhhhhhh finallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy someone express my thoughts! 😉 i have not been anorexic, I’m neighter too skin or fat but it BOTHERES ME NO END sometimes when people (usually obese women) can rock up to me and say – u are soo skinny as if I had small pox! I don’t rock up to a woman and say to her – u are sooo fat! ;)))
    Yes there are slim and beautiful women in the magazines – please GO TO A GALLERY with art from before the 20th century – there are plenty of fat and beautiful women there.

    SLIM IS HEALTHY AND PERFECTLY GREAT!

    and women who are beautiful are beautiful – deal with it! 😉 some are prettier than u some less. it’s fine. there are some women who will always mesmerize with their beauty! beauty is a reality…. so – it’s fineeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    and also …………………. I hate it when they associate intelligent with nerdy – it’s fine to be INTELIGENT AND SEXY YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYy

  47. @LowesJane says:

    I agree with this, as a slender person I find that I am hypersensitive to using words like 'diet' and 'eating healthy' around other people for fear that they will assume I have an eating disorder. It's ridiculous that I feel the need to apologise for my genetics. However, I've noticed terms like "thin privilidge " being flung about a lot on body love sites and it honestly makes me furious. What a load of crock. Being thin or slender is one of many body shapes and sizes. It is not a "privilidge" and I feel like that self absorbed women using these terms are further perpetuating this idea that being thin equates to an eating disorder. Privilidge implies that one shape is better than another. Not very "body loving" approach wouldn't you say?

  48. fluffy.. says:

    Overweight is a technical term established for the BMI. A standardised and accepted measurement. Being overweight causes various health problems and adds to the burden on the health system. It is also a fact. If you are overweight, then you need to exercise more and change your diet. Don't object to reality because you are unhappy with it. It is not body shaming. Ask a doctor: it is unhealthy to be overweight.

  49. truth-that-hurts says:

    People with anorexia tend to have incredibly high amounts of self-control. Your ignorance is astounding. If anything, a person who has survived an eating disorder is significantly more knowledgable about health, diet, and emotional well-being compared to the general population. Also, you don't show someone respect by denying their right to speak.

    Your comment only serves to reflect your jealousy. Your sister may be skinny, but you sure aren't. You're probably not even healthy. Your mind sure seems unhealthy. Are you jealous of your sister too? Or still peeved that you have a man's name? In any case, boasting about one other person doesn't validate your argument.

    Having anorexia means a person is severely underweight and has various thoughts and behaviours that impair normal functioning. It can be overcome with a lot of hard work. The author has made significant changes to her life for the benefit of her health.

    If you do not have personal experience with this, then I suggest that you reconsider your place.

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