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Why Skinny Isn’t Beautiful

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Being skinny is not as ideal as it seems to a layman, read on to find out more.

From what society dictates- petite bodies, thin waists, skinny legs have been considered desirable. But even after spending eighteen years in this skinny body, it is safe to say that I have never felt beautiful. A common misconception among people is to generalise this concept of beauty. Beauty exists on a spectrum, we all perceive people and how they look differently. While there is a majority and minority perspective it is unfair to dismiss the problems of either.

The concept of skinny shaming refers to criticising people’s bodies for being too thin or underweight. People often talk about fat-shaming, but skinny-shaming is often invisible to many people. The reasons for this are obvious and understood. Being skinny does, to an extent, come as a privilege which is something one cannot deny. But the problem arises when we refuse to acknowledge skinny-shaming which could affect an individual’s mental and physical health, esteem and confidence, daily functioning and so on.

Today in pop-culture ‘thicc’ and ‘big booty’ has been popularised and equated to ‘looking like a snacc’ to spread love to all sizes, negative connotations have now been attached to those who do not look that way. Beyond song lyrics being offensive, such as in Anaconda by Nicki Minaj, to people who are skinny, several instances of antagonising thin people also arise.

A few weeks ago, I almost fainted in a mall, instead of helping me two elderly women pointed at me publicly and assumed “I had not been eating to become skinny like Instagram models”. Several remarks and comments become a part of our lives especially in Indian households and even by strangers, where skinny girls are told to eat more to give birth to healthy babies or to look good in their wedding dress. Most people are in fact ignorant to the concept of metabolism and oblivious to the idea of body issues.

Jokes on skinny people are endless. From “Arrey, hawa chal rahi hai kuch pakad lo, udd jaogi” to “I can hold your entire wrist with two fingers” to even “Don’t worry, not all boys like curvy girls”.  Being compared to sticks, scales, children in Africa are all experiences we face in school. Seeing other boys and girls become older looking and here you are still fitting into a t-shirt you bought in class nine.

Image credits: BodyLoveByEmily
Image credits: BodyLoveByEmily

The craze to become skinny has reached many highs- models eating once a day to exercising endlessly to even surviving on napkins. But it is normal to feel isolated in a place where curves are pedestalised and complaining is out of question. On the first idea, several body issues also arise out of being too skinny such as- on wearing jeans, people commenting how super skinny your legs are, wearing loose clothes, several failed attempts at highlighting your ‘shape’, staring at yourself in the mirror and hoping you were bigger in places by just a few inches. Being disappointed at not finding how-to-gain-weight-apps, trying mom’s nuskas of eating papaya, mango and what not, only to see no change and feel unhappy.

On the second idea, thin people are not even allowed to feel bad about themselves. Any dissatisfaction is dismissed with a “You are so lucky you are skinny” and every hurtful comment is hidden under the garb of “It was just a compliment ya”. These people are not even allowed to speak out about their experiences of facing body insecurities.

Skinny isn’t just beautiful. Skinny, fat, hourglass, pear, apple, fork and whatever other body category we are forced into are all appealing and attractive. No one has been a bigger critique of us than we are of ourselves, we cannot mold ourselves into what society dictates next but can try to accept ourselves. To those who love you, you will be cherished. Being big or small will never define you as a person, only what you make of yourself.

Image credits: Kali Kardia Apparel

Shivani Dadhwal

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