In my life I’ve had many occasions to hear how different women and girls talk about their weight and body image. Not because I’m special but because we all talk about this kind of thing a lot. We’ve all witnessed the post-ice-cream meltdowns of a normal girl who considers herself a chubby failure. There are a plethora of books out there, both love and hate, about how obese people feel about themselves. Recently we’ve been hearing more along the lines of the body-acceptance movement, which I think is a welcome change. But you know who we don’t hear from very often? Naturally very thin girls.
Confession time: When I see an extraordinarily thin girl my first thought is eating disorder. Having lived it myself, I kind of pride myself on my ability to spot the behaviors from a mile away. But sometimes I’m wrong. There is a small segment of the population that is naturally uber-skinny. I’m not one of them and so I think I have a hard time understanding them. Plus there’s always the jealousy.
About a century ago, super skinny gals were not the sexy ideal that they are now. Take this ad from the early 1900s:
For most of humankind’s history, thin girls have tried everything to gain weight. So perhaps it is only fair that they have come into their own now. Although I do think it is a case of people just wanting whatever is rare. In a society where food is scarce, Rubenesque women are idolized while in our society where food is a plague, thin is the ideal.
However, I do not think that there are as many naturally thin girls as claim to be. If by some twist of events chubby suddenly got cool I bet you’d see half of Hollywood balloon overnight, platitudes of “I eat cheeseburgers all day and never seem to gain weight, waaaah!” completely forgotten.
So what does a thin girl think of herself in our warped society? Check out this account. I must admit I’m torn. On one hand I want to smack her silly for her snottiness and tone of superiority. The way she treats her poor little sister is atrocious. And yet… she’s fifteen. If my fifteen-year-old thoughts became blog fodder I probably wouldn’t have a friend left in the world.
She does make some interesting observations. I was surprised by her perception of persecution by her peers. And that she refuses to wear miniskirts or shorts in public because she thinks they make her look anorexic. I have to admit that a small part of me still smells eating disorder on her, even if she won’t admit it (“I actually am only able to eat a smallish amount at a time […] I hate feeling full”). It’s all a little too reminiscent of Elyse Sewell on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 1 and all of her whining about being mis-labeled anorexic while she did things like only eat one bowl of oatmeal a day. (Back before I gave up TV I was an ANTM junkie. I’m so ashamed.)
So my question is this: is this really how skinny girls think?