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Jill Knapp

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Why Are You So Skinny?

Posted: 07/10/2012 2:40 pm

Why are you so skinny? You look emaciated. You should eat more. What's wrong with you?

I'm thin, and I have been thin my whole life. I'm little, small, tiny and every other adjective you can think of to describe a thin person.

Unfortunately I have also been told I'm emaciated, I'm anorexic and I'm unhealthy looking. Women get a lot of flack for being skinny. The worst part is, it hurts and it's ignored.

A lot of people think its okay to make these little digs. They think that since you're commenting on how thin someone in, as opposed to how heavy they are, it's somehow justified. It's somehow the price one pays for being thin.

There is a negative stigma attached to skinny people (it happens to men, too) and for the record, it hurts to be told you look bad. Comments like "Man-orexic" or "Moving Bones" (a comment I saw on someone's picture this morning on Facebook) are somehow acceptable when they are directed at someone on the thin side. Whether you're commenting on someone's weight because they are heavy or because they are too thin, it downright hurts. It's a bullying tactic and it should never be used. It's mean, it's a cheap shot and it lowers someone's self-esteem.

Glamour published the results of a study they conducted about stereotypes attached to women and weight in their June issue. It found thin women were thought of as "conceited or superficial eight times as often as heavy women."

Of course, being bullied because you are heavy is terrible, and people should absolutely be told that what they are doing is wrong. But I want others to know that telling someone they look bad because they are thin is wrong, too. Making someone feel bad about themselves, for any reason, is plain wrong.

A year ago, I had a minor problem with my eye that needed medical attention. I made an appointment with my General Practitioner, who I had been seeing for years because I felt comfortable there. While waiting to be seen by the doctor, a medical assistant (who I had also known for a few years) came out into the waiting room to speak to me. This medical assistant had taken my blood pressure, my weight and height, and other medical information down from me many times. She came up to me, and in front of everyone said "What's wrong with you?"

I was caught off guard by the question. Unsure if I should even talk about my reason for this visit in public, I looked up from my magazine and answered, "My eye has been extremely uncomfortable for a few days now."

She stood there and crossed her arms, as if I had some explaining to do, and said "Not your eye. Why are you so thin? What's wrong with you?"

At this point, all eyes in the waiting room were now on me. The medical assistant told me to come with her. Baffled, I collected my purse and jacket and headed into the exam room. I was mortified and hurt.

I hadn't lost any weight since she had examined me the last time I had been to that office. And when I got her alone, I made sure she knew how much I didn't appreciate her embarrassing me in front of a room full of people. And furthermore, what if there had been something wrong with me? Is that how medical professionals should treat ill patients?

It happens all the time. I have heard many women say they want to lose weight, but would never want to be as skinny as (insert celebrity name here). It's a weird obsession with perfection and frankly, it's extremely difficult to achieve.

Scarlett Johansson has a perfect hourglass shape. She has large breasts, slightly wide hips and a flat stomach. The girl is gorgeous. But how many of us really get to look like that? Most women are heavier or lighter and don't fit into that "perfect" mold.

When Jessica Simpson gained a few pounds, the media attacked her. Why? Who cares! She's still hot.

You're judged if you're too heavy -- you're thought of as "lazy." You're judged if you're too thin, you're thought of as "obsessive." You're "obsessed" with being skinny.

Or maybe you're not called obsessive, maybe you're one of the few who are called "gross," as in, "I can see your bones, that's gross." Well I may be gross, but you're really mean. And me being gross isn't hurting anyone.

I've dated guys who have flat out said to me, "You're so skinny, it's gross." Or, "You have the body of a 12-year-old boy." Yeah, that one stuck with me!

I've even had former friends who have said to me, "I'd never want to be as thin as you, you look sick." Friends have said this! Imagine what people who don't like you would say? And it's said about celebrities too: "Kiera Knightly is gross." Well, I think Kiera Knightly is beautiful.

I have never told someone to loose or gain weight. I don't feel like it's my business and furthermore, I don't want to make someone feel bad about themselves. And of course, It's possible to feel genuine concern for someone. Maybe a loved one has lost a lot of weight recently and you're worried they are ill. Obviously, you should be able to speak to them about it. But there is a difference between showing concern and making someone feel uncomfortable with their own body.

There is a difference between pulling someone to the side and quietly asking them if everything is alright and judging them aggressively in front of a room full of people. Before you comment on someone's weight, it's best to think about how your words may make the person feel.

 
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