An open letter to the woman in my office who likes to tell me how thin I am:
Dear Coworker – you are a lovely person. I know you mean well. You are probably one of the kindest and hardest working people in this entire office. However, for months, every time you see me – all you can say is “you are so thin!”, “you are so tiny!”, “you are disappearing!”, “did you lose weight?”, and “you are wasting away!”
You mean these things as compliments, I know – but I am not taking them this way.
There is a female stereotype that we all want to be thinner. We all poke and prod at lumps of fat on our bodies and want them to disappear. And while yes – we all have insecurities – not all of them consist of wanting to be a smaller size than we are now.
Some people are insecure about the opposite.
I have been thin my whole life. I don’t see this as a problem – anymore. But I definitely have in the past.
Being called “chicken legs,” “skin and bones,” and “boney butt” can be just as insulting as the slew of degrading names attached to those who are overweight. When I was in Junior High, I started wearing lots of rings and bracelets – because I thought my arms and fingers were boney and skeleton-like. I was hiding them.
I am a woman now and clearly my body has changed. But there is still a 13 year old girl inside of me that worries about looking too thin. And when someone tells you – every time they see you – that you are so tiny and wasting away, you start to go home and inspect yourself in the mirror. You start to bring it up to your friends and your boyfriend. You start to question yourself.
So dear Coworker, and ladies everywhere, think before you talk about another woman’s body. In this country (this world?) we are so obsessed with bodies. It’s best to only put out positive energy when concerning others (and also your own!) If you want to compliment someone, and you should, say “you look great!” not “you look thin!”
Please remember – everyone’s insecurities are valid – even when they are different from your own.