Skinny on Skinny

OMG, you look so skinny! What have you been doing? You look amazing!”

We all hear it. Whether at work, out to lunch with girlfriends, or walking around the city. “Skinny” has inundated our society and somehow we’ve completely normalized the word and its power. Upon looking in the mirror each morning — if we’re completely honest — there’s some sort of “flaw” we find within ourselves. Most the time, rather than embracing these perceived flaws we compare ourselves to those around us.

How did we get here and why do we care so much about being “skinny”?

Growing up, we’re given phrases like “healthy is better than skinny”, or “we’re all made up of different builds and frames, so try not to compare yourself to another person”, but as we get older, we realize how heavily saturated into our society the word has become. It’s the coveted compliment to receive and, quite honestly, there is something about it that feels so good to hear.

What at the core makes being skinny desirable? Have we severely morphed the word into something that’s both an ultimate compliment and an incredibly unattainable goal? We have articles of clothing named after the word and phrases put behind it, but what’s the proper framework for us to a have balanced perception of ourselves in terms of confidence, apart from the comparison of others?

Have we severely morphed the word into something that’s both an ultimate compliment and an incredibly unattainable goal?

There are many factors we could attribute to our unhealthy obsession with “skinny”. Whether it’s our food choices or the places in which we find creative inspiration — something is always influencing us to be better than we are now.

Fashion is a wonderful tool for self-expression and for presenting ourselves to the world. But, sometimes, this gets twisted when we let it dictate what the world says about us and, subsequently, what we believe about ourselves. There’s a fine line between a healthy respect for fashion and not letting it define you. It would be very easy to feed into what society deems as “trendy,” and source identity from that, but focusing on pop culture will almost always leave you dissatisfied.

Skinny on Skinny

As women who are focused on letting their real selves shine, it’s important we take a step back and own what’s unique about who we are. We have the choice to confidently look in the mirror, realizing our worth and knowing what we stand for. It’s easy to feed into the pressure to be skinny, but what if we started determining our worth in light of our individual beauty, as opposed to its definition by fashion and the media? If we began to shift focus from desiring what society deems as beautiful and started loving our bodies, regardless of how it measures up to a connotation of “skinny”, our framework of beauty might begin to shift.

I encourage you to ask yourself how use of the word skinny affects you. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe “skinny” doesn’t affect you nearly as much as “being skinny” does. Perhaps your body image is healthy, but what do you overhear in conversations around you? If we could change the conversation from “skinny” to discussing more about the root of why we care so much about attaining it, something revolutionary would happen.

That’s not to say the word skinny should be banished from society, or that somehow self-worth and confidence should be boastful, but if we started focusing conversation on intrinsic beauty and worth instead of body size, we can further a revolution that’s based on something deeper than what fashion and culture dictate.

How will you begin shifting your mentality away from skinny and toward ‘I am enough’?

The word “skinny” is over-played. How will you begin shifting your mentality away from skinny and toward “I am enough”? While skinny and worthy are not synonymous, knowing your worth and the beauty you possess is much more rewarding than chasing the world’s definition of beautiful.

What are healthy ways you promote beauty and health in light of our societies obsession with “skinny?”

Image via Taylr Kreutziger



4 comments

  1. This is beautiful Erica- I think I might share it with all my members! xoxoxo

  2. As said above; “if we started focusing conversation on intrinsic beauty and worth instead of body size, we can further a revolution that’s based on something deeper than what fashion and culture dictate.” I have, all my life, been on the opposite side of this “skinny” obsession. I have a thin build and a fast metabolism, it’s just how God made me. Genetics. While I try to eat healthy, I don’t diet and never intentionally stay “skinny”. I actually have always struggled to GAIN some weight and body fat—just as many struggle to keep a healthy weight from the other side. We all are unique, we all have our struggles. With a culture that is obsessed with being thin people tend to focus on my body type. It amazes me how people will walk up to me and say “You’re so thin, do you eat?” (Answer: Yes!! And I eat well!) and I wonder “Would you walk up to someone who was overweight and say ‘You’re so fat! You must eat too much’.???” We MUST, as a culture and society begin to see beauty as UNIQUE to every woman, as something that comes from within, and work to re-direct our focus from our unique physical body shapes and sizes (what a boring world it would be if we all looked exactly the same!) to inner beauty. And celebrate our unique physical differences—not focus on and shame one another for being one way or another. The focus needs to be taken away from the physical (and our own insecurities about ourselves coming out when we comment on others) and instead put on the inner beauty and uniqueness of each one of us. (Something that I very much like about Darling. Keep it up!!)

  3. I have struggled with an eating disorder for three years, and while I’ve been in recovery for two of those years, I still hyper focus on being “skinny.” There are days when I feel great about myself and within hours I’m criticizing my stomach. I think that the healthiest way to address the issue is to focus on giving your body the nutrition it needs (which includes allowing treats!) and developing an exercise routine. I’ve found that since I’ve started a structured weight-lifting regimen, I’m more focused on my muscles than how skinny I am (though there are times when I still struggle). That’s what works for me, but practicing yoga, running and just focusing on being active can work too!

  4. I’ve struggled with body image in my past, and I find part of it has to do with the ideal of losing weight and your pants size number. I think one of the best ways to not think this way and realize that real women come in all shapes sizes and should love themselves as they are.

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