The Skinny on The Skinnies
Yesterday Ari and I hit the supermarket to buy, amongst other things, eucalyptus oil, nail polish remover, soda stream syrup and 2 king size cherry ripes for $3. As we headed past the checkouts, one of the gossip mags caught our eye. It had a few ladies on the front of it, all sporting super bony frames and bikinis. It was one of those ‘GONE TOO FAR?’ kinda cover stories featuring jutting hip bones and prominent ribs. It named several paparazzied ladies and tagged them with their particular skinny raison d’etre.
Ari and I stared at the cover together. And then I made my judgement. Out it came.
‘That’s sad, isn’t it? I think there’s a lot of pressure to be skinny if you are on TV…’
Ari listened and nodded thoughtfully (he is nearly 12.) We walked away and I actually DID feel really sad. I hoped that the skinny ladies were the ‘I can’t help it. It’s just the way I am’ kind and not the ‘No thank you. I don’t do food’ kind. I made the judgement that the degree of thinness equated to a degree of misery or health for the ladies in question. And maybe it did. But I don’t KNOW them, do I? Who am I to feel sad about it, really?! And why do I feel it’s okay to look at their bodies and feel pity? Or maybe that is okay? Do you do this too?
It’s my maternal instinct, I think. I see all those bones and I want to say ‘You’re too skinny! Have another plate of lasagna!’ Or some such. (Note that old adage ‘She needs a pie!’) I make assumptions. I worry. Pies come to mind. I want to FIX it. Probably it is none of my business and I should look away. Possibly there is not always something to be fixed. Maybe, quite often, there is. But who am I to make that call? And why am I defining the person by the body? It’s not good. I shouldn’t do that.
As we checked out our groceries, two girls picked up the same magazine and stared at the cover for a long time. ‘Disgusting!’ spat one of them. The other agreed and they put the magazine back and walked away, shaking their heads. It was a pretty venomous display. It made me feel sadder for the ladies on the magazine.
What I want to know is, why do we judge these women? Why do some of us feel so sad for them? Or, at the extreme end of the scale, disgusted by them? Why do some of us feel that we KNOW they are miserable, unhealthy etc.
I am totally guilty of this. And the supermarket girls I observed yesterday were guilty of not only judging, but displaying a complete lack of empathy, too. (Disgusting these cover girls are not. They are people, trying their best, like us, despite the whole fame and fortune ball and chain.)
If I dig a bit deeper, I am the first to admit that I am NOT skinny. I’m not. I have been skinny in the past, but now I am not. I find skinny a quite impossible thing, to be honest. But it’s not that I’m viewing these skinnies from a jealous, body envy point of view. Something in me is sure that this super bony version of skinny deserves my sympathy. I’m body judging, and I should stop it. I need to see past the body shape and think of the person. I’m going to do that from now on. I’m going to give myself a slap and remember that there’s a real, valuable, ace person within the body, whatever the shape and it’s not up to me to cast judgments. Especially if I don’t even KNOW the person in question.
How about YOU? Are you tsking at the thin ladies like I am? Are you worrying when you see photos like those on the magazine I saw yesterday? Are you assuming you know what these women are all about? And is that okay? Or is that completely out of order? Help me out? Tell me how you see it?
PS :: Super adorable image is via Miss Fancypants (We didn’t want to run any tabloid shots of celebs in bikinis! A cute happy fashion shot seemed like a better idea!)
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