Body blah, blah, blah.
To be honest, I’ve been over this topic for years—years, I tell you!—as I sit on the opposite side of the fence, a side that rarely gets addressed. When it does get brought to the forefront, it’s often with disdain and an “I wish I had your problem” slant.
Yes, I’m underweight.
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Due to health issues that involve OCD and depression, I’ve been underweight for a decade and would pay large sums of money to release myself from my OCD prison and gain a quick 30 lbs. (And thank you for the offer, but no, I will not be able to take any of the weight you’re desperately trying to lose.)
The common assumption that these behaviors stem from a place of vanity and dissatisfaction with a physical ideal is the very reason I’ve always refrained from classifying my OCD as anything directly related to food and exercise, as it’s so much more complex than that.
I really couldn’t care less what is classified as “beauty,” and not fitting some socially (unattainable) ideal has no bearing on how I think of myself, because regardless of my weight, I think I’m a pretty cool person.
And although it doesn’t thrill me to share convoluted background information, it’s important to know in relation to the fact that while “shaming” women for being a little overweight is looked upon as cruel, the flip side of the coin is rarely discussed.
In trying to push acceptance of people who are of “normal” weight and size—in other words, not naturally thin—the reassurance is thrown out that “men don’t like stick thin women” and “thin is unattractive.” And of course, the classic “real women have curves.”
Well, thank you for that.
I’m going to add that real women also have opinions, and I believe that being told to “go eat a pizza” or that “thin isn’t in” and shaming thin women for their body shape is no different than shaming larger women for their body shape—“go eat a salad!”—yet the former is overlooked and often accepted.
Yes, “real” women do often have curves and I understand that a lot of women—big and small—do have body image issues and seek out reassurance and external validation. There are others—myself included—who have health issues that cause these to happen. Please know I’m not dismissing that at all.
But although I have issues, I do not have curves. This does not make me any less of a “real” woman.
In my humble opinion, real women have confidence.
Real women have a focus on health and not perfection.
Real women have compassion—toward themselves and toward others.
If curves are part of the package, more power to you. But at the end of the day, real women don’t care.
Image © istockphoto.com/DanComaniciu