What is Beautiful

Did anyone else see the blog post in which anonymous blogger, Skinny Girl, bashes Kate Upton, calling her “thick”, “vulgar”, and a “squishy brick”?

Yeah, Kate Upton.

Kate Upton, Sports Illustrated Cover Model. Kate Upton, dougie extraordinaire. Kate Upton, every male’s fantasy.

Before reading this article on HelloGiggles which brought issue to my attention, I’d never heard the word “thinspiration.” I didn’t know what a “pro-ana” website was.

I advise you not to google the term “thinspiration” to define it. You’ll come across images you’d rather not see, trust me. Basically, thinspiration, or “thinspo” for short, is a term used to refer to images or phrases meant to motivate someone to stay skinny. Be it a photo of a skin-and-bones girl or an artsy portrayal of the phrase “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” thinspiration comes in many forms.

Pro-anorexic, or “pro-ana” websites are sites which “feature thinspiration but also endorse behaviors typically associated with eating disorders, sharing tips for starving, vomiting, or abusing laxatives. Some sites claim to provide a safe, non-judgmental haven for those suffering from eating disorders, while others seek to spin disordered behaviors into positive lifestyle choices” (source).

Skinny Gossip

The blog in question, Skinny Gossip, received quite a bit of attention after posting the above mentioned article about Kate Upton. There has been quite a bit of controversy in response to the post including a thread on reddit. The blog’s writer, Skinny Girl, says the post called for someone to “stop her” and it worked: “that thread resulted in Anonymous hitting me with a DDoS attack, forcing me to change web hosts” (source). Can’t say I feel that bad, honestly.

Skinny Girl responded to her critics with this post detailing some changes she plans to make for the website.

She plans on editing the “Starving Tips of the Day,” because apparently, upon further reflection, some of them crossed the line. Perhaps, “Compete with yourself; test your willpower by making a delicious meal for your boyfriend. Serve it to him and everything — see if you can eat none of it!” was a little much.

Or there’s this enlightening tip:

Or my personal favorite: “Pay close attention to other girl’s bodies. Pick them apart — try to find faults even with the best bodies. Then apply these high standards to yourself.”

I read through Skinny Girl’s posts feeling slightly nauseated. She spends most of her time bashing beautiful celebrities for being fat.

I actually spent my commute to work fuming over the absurdity of this blog. Skinny Girl attempted to defend herself in her most recent post. She tries to say that her blog is simply a support forum for girls who want to get/stay skinny. So you support girls trying to be skinny by hating on thin celebrities you think are fat? Skinny Girl says it’s unfair to judge her community or assume they are all anorexic. Honey, come on, you are giving girls starvation tips! What kind of message are you sending!? And who are you, really, to preach about not judging people?

Unattainable Standards

This appalling blog points to, in my mind, a larger issue.

No one seems to love themselves anymore. Beautiful girls saying they just want to lose five pounds. Girls comparing themselves to size 0 models and being forever dissatisfied with their appearance. Healthy girls pinching at their bellies and bemoaning their “love-handles.”

What scares me the most is that girls look at “thinspirational” images and really and truly believe that they can look  like that.

First off, those images are probably photoshopped. Every media image is these days. It’s not a fair comparison at all. Girls are comparing themselves to something unattainable.

The other problem is skinny is not always feasible. You see a girl with wide hips, naturally wide, beautiful hips, but she wants to be a size zero. She is never going to be able to attain that and she’s only going to disappoint herself if she sets that as her goal.

The other day I was watching Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. There was this gorgeous girl, she’d lost a ton of weight for her wedding and was there to get her wedding dress. She tried on dress after dress (all of which were really stunning), but she just didn’t seem to be satisfied. Finally, she broke down in the dressing room telling her stylist she just thought the dresses “didn’t look right” on her. That she had “expected them to look how they did on the models” and that she didn’t have the body to wear the types of dresses she liked. I wanted to cry for this girl. She was beautiful, she was about to get married and she’d lost like forty pounds or something. But no matter how much everyone told her that she looked great, she just couldn’t see herself the way others did.

I found myself angry at the media. Angry at models. Angry at advertisers. Angry at the fashion industry as a whole. Angry at websites like Skinny Gossip. Angry at any girl who’d ever bullied another girl for the way she looked. Angry at a society who’s inflicted upon us this standard of unrealistic perfection that every girl seems to be held to.

You know what is really beautiful?

Healthy.

Healthy is beautiful. Eat well. Three square meals, or maybe five little ones, healthy snacks, a treat once in a while. Work in some exercise a few times a week. Feel good, feel healthy. Have hair that is shiny, skin that is clear and soft…be happy and be radiant.

Maybe your healthy is skinny. Maybe your healthy is curvy. Maybe you’ve got hips, maybe you’ve got long legs, maybe you’re short, maybe you’re tall, maybe you’ve got huge boobs, maybe you have small boobs, it doesn’t matter.

When you are healthy, you are beautiful.

Society tells us that skinny = healthy, but it doesn’t. Everyone’s healthy is different. Stop trying to be skinny. Stop trying to be curvy. Stop trying to be anything you aren’t. Love your body. Love the way you feel when you know you’re treating yourself right. Your body will love you back for keeping it nourished, for keeping it active and strong, and for treating it well. We get one body in this life of ours, embrace it.

Eating disorders are not lifestyle choices, they are mental disorders that if left untreated can cause serious health problems or could even be life-threatening. For treatment referrals, information, and support, you can always contact the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.

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About MMM

Resolving to write in 2011!
This entry was posted in Food, Health, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What is Beautiful

  1. paul says:

    This is an incredibly thoughtful, intelligent and profonely compehensive response to a very troubling nationwide, dare I say international, problem. Your analysis is amazing: demonstrating really well thought out steams of consciousness that reveal insight. I LOVE your definition of healthy. As a young woman who is emerging into adult professionlism I am so impressed with your writing, your commitment to good health, and your obvious balanced and successful self awareness. And, as always, your sensitive commitment to others. AMAZING piece of writing.
    love dad

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