I'll say it first: I am skinny.
Stick thin, with bones more visible than average. I get questions about modeling often. "Do you model? No? You should! You're so skinny!" I won't lie, usually I don't mind the positive remarks. At least, I believe most people mean it in a complimentary way. However, why is "skinny" really a compliment? Who decided that being skinny is more beautiful than being fat? Body weight is extremely hard to change, so why does society translate comments on weight into "thin" compliments and fat insults?
I've been thin my entire life. Both my mother and father passed down DNA to me that made me genetically predisposed to having a small figure. While growing up, I received compliments about my body often, even though I never understood why I should be praised for something that I was born with. I was never complimented for my intelligence, sense of humor, determination or strength. Most compliments that I received, even today, are directed only towards the things I was born with instead of my character. I've always much rather receive praise on something that I've built or worked hard to have. Those are the type of compliments that mean the most.
It is common to think that people who have a small figure are perfect or the most-liked by their peers. I wish I could tell you that that was the case. Just like compliments, I've also received many insults. Anyone who is skinny have heard these phrases all too often.
"Do you even eat?"
"Are you anorexic?"
"Girl you need to eat more!"
"You're just skin and bones!"
"You look like a twig; I could break you too easily!"
I could go on, but I'd rather address another question that skinny people receive all the time: "How much do you weigh?" Here we go, a question that NO ONE feels comfortable answering. I don't get why some people think it's okay to ask a skinny person that question, when it's downright rude to ask a fat person. Just avoid the question; it's not that hard.
The modeling question, although a friendly remark, can also be annoying. No, I don't model and no, I do not want to model. Why? Because the world doesn't need another skinny, blonde person on the cover of a magazine. I grew up in a diverse community, and I'm a strong advocate for inclusion. A model is suppose to reach to a widespread, diverse audience, much like the one we have in the United States. That's why modeling agencies need a wider variety of models, including minorities and plus-sized people. Also, I don't want a little girl to look up to me and say "I want to look just like her!" or hate her body and herself because she is not as naturally small as me. I would rather have a plus-sized model than myself.
Stop shaming others for something they can't control. Start complimenting people for their accomplishments and the things they're actually proud about. It's 2018 and diversity is celebrated more now than ever before. Let's finally move past this age-old debate about body weight and start celebrating the beauty of how different we are!
Because the things that define us are the things that make us beautiful.