BY: KASSANDRA THOMAS
(Gainesville, Ga.) -Today, a friend said to me, “My boyfriend says you look anorexic.”
My lanky father stands at 6’5″ and weighs around 225 pounds. Needless to say, at my own 5’10” and 130 pounds, I did not pick this body for myself. It was given to me– passed down to me through this cool scientific thing called genetics. I am skinny.
While I am extremely passionate about hiking and eating fruit regularly, I typically am not the healthiest girl. My best friend told me that life is to short to pass up Taco Bell, and I live by her words. I do not exercise to have the body that I do. I am skinny.
Despite these key facts, I am tormented by the words of others regarding my weight. Whether it be the verbal envy of close friends or the under-the-breath snide remarks of strangers, I cannot escape the harsh judgment of others. What a tough life, right? Here I am complaining about being skinny.
But it’s not that at all.
While it can be frustrating, my biggest issue is not being judged. My issue is that other women feel they have to judge me because of the pressure they are under from society to be thin.
The pressure to be thin has created a body image epidemic worldwide. According to DoSomething.org, “‘Body image’ is the way that someone perceives their body and assumes that others perceive them. This image is often affected by family, friends, social pressure and the media.”
Being a college woman, I have experienced these pressures from the media first hand and seen how this pressure affects the women around me as well.
“Body image is closely linked to self-esteem. Low self-esteem in adolescents can lead to eating disorders, early sexual activity, substance use and suicidal thoughts,” the U.S. Department of Health Services states.
I personally know seven women between the ages of 17 and 23 that developed an eating disorder and an additional four women in the same age range who were medicated on account of suicidal thoughts related to body image issues.
This is not surprising considering that 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.
And sadly, of all the individuals suffering from an eating disorder, only 10% will seek professional help.
Eating disorders are not to be taken lightly, and not all skinny people are anorexic.
As a society, we should be working together to inform one another on body image and eating disorders. The better informed we are, the more people we can save from deadly disorders like these.
Furthermore, we should be building each other up, not body shaming one another for the unique bodies we were given.
If you are concerned that your friend or acquaintance is suffering from body image issues and/or an eating disorder, don’t sit back and watch. Help.