Every single day I scroll through Instagram and I see pretty much picture perfect girls on Instagram. Their comments will be filled with stuff like "skinny mini," "U look great bb," and "wow so tiny."
I am aware that there a healthy, naturally skinny girls out there. However, one thing that college students love to ignore is the fact that one in five college women have been affected by an eating disorder, yet everyone loves to pretend that they do not exist.
Eating disorders are becoming entirely too common because of what America has defined as "healthy." We look at Victoria's Secret models and assume that is what every girl is supposed to look like that. We look at incredibly skinny girls and assume that is what being "in shape" is. This is the reason why I believe that eating disorder statistic is so high. People assume that if they are heavier than the celebrities that you see on tv, then you aren't "beautiful."
People with eating disorders (and yes, it is a disorder, not a choice) focus basically their entire day around food and not gaining weight. In some cases, it is all that they think about. Sometimes if they eat too much they literally feel as if they have to get it out of their system somehow in some way. That can be anywhere from forcing themselves to vomit or taking laxatives and getting it out that way. They can look at themselves in the mirror and see a bigger person than what everyone else sees. It can literally completely consume a person's life.
One in five people is one hell of a statistic. This means that if you are in a class with fifteen college women, three of them probably have been affected by an eating disorder or currently have one. Look at all the girls that you see on Instagram. You have no idea if they aren't eating. You have no idea if they are forcing themselves to throw up because society is telling them that they look good. Most eating disorders start innocent but end up becoming an addiction.
The worst thing that you can do to a person with an eating disorder is to tell them that they look "so skinny" or "so great" when they just lost a lot of weight. Yes, a lot of the time people do not know that a person had an eating disorder. Yes, skinny is a compliment. What happens, though, is that if the person does have one, they start to feel as if they only look good when they are that little. They start seeing themselves get smaller and it becomes an addiction. It becomes easy. They think that they look "healthy" but in reality, they are not. Society thinks that they look "healthy" because that is what we were taught that healthy is supposed to look like.
Now obviously, not every skinny girl has an eating disorder. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference, so here are some of the many signs that may help you be able to tell if someone has one:
She eats large amounts of food but doesn't ever really seem to gain weight.
She suddenly loses weight extremely quickly. (2 pounds a week is normal with proper diet and exercise.)
She seems to be counting calories or is "not hungry" when you go out to eat.
She blacks out quickly every time she drinks. (Using calories for alcohol instead of food.)
She goes to the gym a lot more than most people do, yet she isn't really getting muscular.
She starts to withdraw from social situations that she used to love to go to.
She seems down in the dumps all the time. (Irritable, depressed, moody, anxious.)
She hasn't had a period but isn't pregnant.
She is constantly saying that she is fat.
She goes to the bathroom immediately after eating a large meal.
Moral of the story is someone's beauty should never be defined by the weight on the scale. You truly never know if someone is going through an eating disorder. Next time you think about making a comment about how skinny someone is, maybe try and make a comment about how pretty her hair looks, or how she has a really pretty smile. Until we recognize the fact that so many girls suffer from this awful disease, nothing is going to change. Every 62 minutes, someone dies because of an eating disorder. Let's stop pretending like this isn't a problem.