So, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve not been well lately (but am doing better now!). I was on the slim side before, but now I’ve dropped two dress sizes and am skinnier than some models. Responses have broadly fallen into two camps. There are those who look at my face and are alarmed. (It’s a bit disconcerting – I don’t look that bad, do I?!) Then there are those who look at my body and are envious.
Dear fellow people, I feel like crap, and most of my clothes don’t fit. This is not something for which you should pine.
I’ve had the experience of telling someone how hard I’m finding this experience, how unpleasant it’s been, only to be met with envy. You’re so lucky. There is something truly terrible about a culture that so values thinness that it robs people of common compassion. Of course, usually the lack of compassion is directed in quite the other direction, involving shaming, bullying, and otherwise dehumanising people seen as too fat. It’s all part of the same cycle of reducing people to their bodies, and reducing what those bodies can mean.
I’ve always been a pretty lucky person in that I’ve loved my body and thought it looked good. I never was in the habit of weighing myself – I don’t own a scale – and I had no great desire to be a drastically different shape. Getting skinnier was not a goal of mine, because I knew that thinner didn’t mean better, and amazing women come in all shapes and sizes. It’s this old and hard won appreciation for all kinds of bodies, and my own specifically, that is rendering me sad and speechless at the responses I’m getting now. Because it’s not really about me, is it? It’s about a projected ideal that we’re taught to crave even to our own destruction.
It’s ultimately a lack of self-love that is rendering people unable to see past a supposedly ideal form to the friend who is struggling. We as a society need to place people above body types, and fellow feeling above harmful goals.