Body shaming also hurtful, cruel for those of us who are thin

by | Oct 24, 2014 | Opinion


Alejandra Fretes
Assistant News Editor

 One of my most shocking moments occurred at a wedding, of all places, when a woman suggested that I should “eat something.” She implied that I looked malnourished and was “too thin.” Thankfully a friend overheard the ignorant suggestion and came to my immediate defense, saying, “she eats more than I do!”

It’s difficult for me to understand why some people feel entitled to offer advice or ask perfect strangers very personal questions regarding their eating habits or weight. have received many questions regarding my weight, body type and why I choose to eat healthy. I’ve never been so alarmed. Is a woman not allowed to eat well because of the health benefits? Does munching on veggies imply having a problem? Because one doesn’t indulge in fast-foods daily, is that wrong?

For nearly 10 years I was a competitive swimmer. An athlete. Dedicating free time to practices and weekends to competitions. Participating in sports leaves a lasting impression on most athletes for the rest of their lives. Having been taught healthy eating habits throughout my adolescence and teen years, it’s a discipline that has managed to carry on into adulthood.

My parents are in their early fifties and certainly don’t look it. They make extremely conscious decisions when it comes to the food that is prepared and served at home, and they both exercise often. My father is tall, lean and has an extremely fast metabolism. My mother is curvaceous, yet petite and looks no older than 45.

Taking those factors into account, along with healthy eating habits and exercising regularly, I’ve managed to maintain a healthy height to weight ratio. I’m sure a significant amount of my physical appearance is genetics as well. However, some opinionated individuals do not agree based on their initial impression of my physical appearance.

Strangers, specifically women, although there have been a few men who have made negative comments, have questioned, “do you even eat?” or “why are YOU watching your weight?” They are presuming that my healthy food choices have no effect, and that my leanness must be attributed to an eating disorder. These comments are extremely difficult to handle at times. It leaves people feeling as if their perception of self isn’t good enough, and that the countless hours spent swimming or running and eating well are actually negative.

There appears to be a massive double standard when it comes to harmful comments towards people’s weight. It’s socially acceptable to call “thin” people out on their eating habits, yet it’s offensive when it’s brought up to a larger person.

It’s often stated that “real women have curves,” but how curvy does a women have to be to be considered real? Am I not a real woman because I’m not as curvaceous as Marilyn Monroe or Pamela Anderson? Comments like these not only offend, but they genuinely hurt. It’s beyond insulting to not only question a woman’s physical appearance but also base her femininity on her breast or hip size.

Body shaming, regardless of your size, is extremely cruel. A woman’s size should not be anyone’s concern but her own. Concern for someone’s size is a delicate issue that should be dealt with discretely and not publicized for all to hear.

A woman’s beauty is so much more than just her physical appearance. It’s the way we make you laugh, our intelligence, the smell of our hair. Placing emphasis on our sizes makes us feel like it’s the most and only important quality a woman can possess, and that’s not right.