Don’t hate my jeans

… my genes either.

I’m incredibly supportive of nurturing positive body-image among young women but sometimes I start feeling hated for being thin.

I saw this today (please excuse the profanity):

Found on Facebook

Ouch. I don’t particularly look like either of these models, but I own and wear size 0 jeans.

I feel like this approach to trying to tell girls that they’re beautiful is unhealthy. To me, it sends the message that it’s ok to belittle someone for their size if they’re thin. I know that our society isn’t doing a good job of helping women (young or old) feel comfortable in their own skin, but stuff like this makes me uneasy. Is my “friend” who is reposting this online thinking that my thinness is “shit” every time that she sees me? Do the people sharing similar things around think that I’m ugly for not wearing a size 14 like Marilyn Monroe did?

I’ve always been small, to the point that my thyroid activity was tested when I was four because I was smaller than all of the other four-year-old kids. Like most students, I gained weight when I started college. My weight gain was caused by several factors including eating dining hall food, quitting my active job teaching swimming lessons when I moved away to school and general inactivity. I graduated from college about 20 pounds heavier than when I graduated from high school. I wasn’t in poor shape, but I wasn’t as healthy as I should be. Then my pancreas stopped working. I dropped about 30 pounds thanks to the ketoacidosis and was admitted to the hospital weighing under 95 pounds. Now that I’m back into a healthy range I’d like to  be able to remind myself of why my body is wonderful.

I have enough reasons to not like my body and I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t have at least one complaint about her body. My body and I have struggled with each other enough that we don’t need anyone sending the message that it’s wrong/gross/bad to be the size and shape that I am.

The messages that we should be sending are that anyone can be beautiful at any size and that being healthy and happy are more important than the number on your clothing tag.

Related Posts:

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Dressing for success part 2

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About Probably Rachel

PR professional and social media enthusiast, blogging about life, marriage, coffee and type 1 diabetes. You can follow me on Twitter also @ProbablyRachel

Posted on January 24, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Body image/health issues get me all sorts of hot and bothered. I hope that whoever posted the first picture understands that the criticism is on the industry and ideology that pronounces a protruding collar bone as beautiful– not on that girl, and not on skinny people.

    You’re absolutely right: the message we should be sending with these types of viral images is that health and beauty comes in every shape in size.

  2. I don’t think this photo is saying that by being thin you should be criticized for it but take a look at the picture. The woman on the right is clearly thinner than she probably should be. Albeit she is a model and models are notorious for being thin but she could stand to gain a few pounds. Size 0? At least you are healthy. She, not so much.

  3. I agree with Sam above. I see how naturally thin people MIGHT be offended, but take a good look at the picture- are you as grossly thin as that model? There’s a vast difference between thin and TOO thin. The fashion industry and much of Hollywood glorifies emaciated looking women and it’s unhealthy and sad. Many people can be a size 0, 1, 6, 14 etc. and all look different compared to someone else their same size. Your size doesn’t always signify a problem. If you’re very petite, a size 0 may look normal for you. However, a woman who is 5’10” and a size 0 is probably going to look very unhealthy. I have a friend who is 5’9″ and her size is in the double digits but she’s very athletic and is in great shape. The point is, women should be healthy and happy. The model in that picture doesn’t look either of those things, and I think the message here is that women shouldn’t starve themselves or go to extreme measures to be disgustingly thin and unnatural.

  4. I appreciate that you all agree with my main point about the importance of being healthy over a particular size.

    I guess a little more context is important to where I’m coming from. Everyone would agree that it is rude and unacceptable to comment on a woman’s size if it’s larger. But even strangers have felt 100% comfortable telling me that I need to eat more or that I’m too tiny, those comments are often made with judgmental tones. I feel like the commentary on the modeling industry/media’s image has been seeping into commentary on real people who don’t starve themselves.

    Erica, thank you for mentioning size and relation to height. I should have mentioned that in my post. Every body is different and beautiful. People focus too much on size and not enough on health, personality and intelligence.

  5. I agree with you Rachel! I love this post!

  6. As someone who is short but thick, I still agree with you. I do love seeing full figured girls because it does make me feel like I can relate more. However, I’ve been friends with you for ages. Yes, you are naturally small. No, I don’t hate you for it. Maybe a little envy, but that’s just the way you’re built! I know that no matter what I do, I will never be a size 0. And I’m okay with that. Being the healthiest ‘me’ is what’s important. As long as you are healthy, then I don’t care what you look like 🙂 I like ads that have a variety of girls..short, tall, thin, thick, etc. It shows that we shouldn’t all try to keep the same standards, it’s impossible. Honestly, my biggest gripe in modeling is the lack of redheads! I rarely see a redhead with my coloring, and when I was little I was super self-conscious about my hair and freckles. Now that I’m older, I LOVE my hair color because it’s so unique. I get compliments on it all the time and it’s awesome 🙂

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