I’ve been wanting to write this for a while.
In fact, I probably should have done so before letting myself get to this point where I’m frantically slapping the keys on my laptop, getting riled up at the very thought of this topic. So, apologies in advance for the shoddy piece of online literature you’re probably about to embark on…
In short, I’m fed up.
I have a question: why are we all obsessed with being thin? Why is it, that if you’re not a size eight, you’re not happy? Why is it that skinny is stylish and having curves brings you shame? For men, the general rule is the bigger the better. For women, it is the opposite – well, when it comes to dress sizes, at least.
I’d like to think I’m not completely stupid. I have a university degree, can string a sentence together (sometimes even in French, when I’ve had a few) and can confidently point to Ukraine on a map (thanks, Will).
And yet, sometimes, I let a very stupid belief get the better of me.
A belief that being skinny is the be all and end all.
Every day I hear a remark somewhere along the lines of “I’d give anything to be her size!” when quipping about a totally unrealistic body type, of someone who is certainly nowhere near the average women’s dress size.
Yes, weight loss can be empowering, rewarding, and healthy, in some cases. But from women who skip two out of their three meals a day, to the women who see every spare minute of their time as an opportunity for calorie combustion, there’s a real problem here.
This obsession with thinness needs to stop.
Nothing I have or haven’t achieved in my life has been drive by weight. I have a boyfriend, a family and friends who couldn’t give a monkey’s if I were a size eight. All they want for me is to be happy, healthy, successful and a good person.
Do I wake up every morning loving my body? Certainly not. In fact, there are plenty of days when ignoring the slew of facetuned Instagram snaps that greet me every. single. time I open that app feels harder than I’d like it to.
But the truth is: I’m a UK size 12 (sometimes a 10 depending on which shop I’m in), my thighs touch, and I adore a glass of wine pretty much most evenings. I’ve also run a half marathon, can deadlift 80kg and am an ambassador for not one but two fabulous fitness programs in Dubai. I’m strong, I’m fit and I’m not an XS.
I know that some of you are probably rolling your eyes at this, given my career choice. I’m very aware that one of the primary drivers of these (unrealistic) ideals boils down to our visual diet from the media – don’t worry, the irony is not lost on me. But it’s time we stopped reducing ourselves and start putting things into perspective. Our bodies are more than just a flat stomachs, protruding hip bones and thigh gaps. They’re about big hearts, healthy lungs, and powerful brains.
Why do you need to be skinny?
The short answer is, you don’t.