I am not in possession of what would be called a "perfect" body. Then again, I doubt anyone is. I'm not morbidly obese, and I'm not waifly skinny. I can sit back, comfortable with my moderate size, and relax. I also get to philosophize about the plights of those to the right and left of me. So I continue...

I've noticed that much of the media place the blame of most eating disorders on the slight figures of today's models. Granted, most of these models probably do have at least one, if not numerous, dysfunctional eating manners. It's the models or the actresses or the musicians who are just naturally skinny that I feel sympathy for. I'm sure they must endure horrible personal blame for what society has told them, and what they may have come to believe, is their fault--the ruin of the public's self-image and the mental problems of uncountable people. There are people who simply cannot be fat unless they compromise their healthy eating habits and succomb to the wiles of the fast food and junk food that dominates our society.

These people don't have a voice in the media. When a person in showbusiness is thin, many pass the judgement of "anorexic" or "bullemic" instantly without thinking that the person might just be skinny. A double standard exists--I've heard image counselors on popular television shows and in various publications state that no matter how hard they try, some people are just not genetically able to be skinny. This is true, but it works both ways. I know people who could eat constantly everyday of their lives and not gain a pound. That's just the way their metabolism is.

Never assume that just because someone does not have the same problems you have their life is instantly better.

You say that models, actresses, and musicians that are naturally skinny get unfairly labelled as anorexic and bad influences which is probably true, but many of the actresses and musicians are not naturally skinny. Jennifer Aniston who is riding the stick thin look lately used to weigh 30 pounds more than she currently does. She lost the weight, and lo and behold, her career took off. The only way to succeed the 99.9% of the cases in the entertainment field is to be underweight no matter how much talent that you possess because of the fat phobia prevalent in our society. The same magazines that decry anorexia and poor body image in teenagers in a three page article have an eight page fashion spread later that features a model who's 5'9 and weighs 109 pounds, so my whole problem with the media labelling celebrities as anorexic is the hypocrisy of it all.

I do feel sympathy for extremely skinny entertainers (or any other skinny people) who are labeled anorexic when they are in fact healthy. But would an entertainment industry filled with healthy people who are naturally super-slim really be any better? We'd still have huge numbers of people anchoring their self-perception on a tiny subpopulation with the genetic programming to have this unusual body type, as well as the time to work developing it. Most people would still have to be anorexic to look like that, and so the damage would be nearly the same.

note: I don't mean to place all blame for eating disorders on the media; there are obviously biochemical and evolutionary factors as well, and the media only represent a portion of the social contributions in play.
I thought I would add a node from the point of view of a naturally skinny person - that person being me.

I'm 5'9 and I weigh 115 pounds. When I forget to eat my weight drops to 110 or lower.

I wire the world, thin, jagged, like electricity. Like a radio antenna. My feet stick out like boats on the bottom of a ship mast. My head bobs like a buoy on an anchor chain. My ribs could be played like an uneven xylophone. My neck is long. My breasts are close to nonexistent. My hipbones could cause mass destruction when I jut them forward. I often joke about killing people with them.

And I must say, honey, that growing up with a physique like this is no easier than growing up overweight.

There is, for example, the matter of bra size. This world celebrates big boobs. Breast implants, anyone? I never entered a Victoria's Secret as a teenager, not so much because I didn't like lingerie, but because my breasts did not exist to them. The nicest bras don't come in 32A. In fact, I wore a 'nearly A' for years. How's that for self-esteem-inducing?

There is the notion of being 'womanly'. Many claim that the model physique is 'ugly' and 'disgusting' when compared to what women are 'supposed to look like'. That would be, I assume, large hips, large breasts, tapering legs, rosy cheeks, and no bones in sight. Well, I thought. So much for being a woman. In fact, my boyish figure contributed somewhat to a gender identity crisis I went through in my late teens (in addition to not fitting any girly stereotypes or relating to women at all). I couldn't deal with romance, sex, relationships, or anything else involving love, because I just couldn't handle the idea of being 'the woman'.

There is the societal bias towards losing weight. I work at a bookstore, and you can imagine the amount of men and women buying diet books that come my way. Occasionally I'll get one who asks for advice. Never having read a diet book, I say something like, "I'm sorry, I can't really say."

The reaction is always one of disdain. "Oh, I guess you don't have to worry about dieting, do you?"

"Actually," I say, honestly, "I have trouble keeping weight on."

"Oh, you POOR thing." Sardonic. No sympathy, or even a touch of kindness.

Can you imagine the reaction if I said something similarly sarcastic to a person trying to lose weight? It would be considered incredibly rude. Taboo, even. Why the double standard?

When I started paying attention to fashion, I was affirmed for the first time in my life. Here was a group of women who were not only accepted for their thinness, but celebrated for it. I discovered that I can wear clothes well. I saw symbols of sexy on figures similar to mine. I came across brand advertisements, men and women on display, models without curves being the center of attention.

Fashion gave me physical confidence. People who blame fashion models for eating disorders are looking for a scapegoat, because the figure type is arbitrary - the real problem lies within.

Being skinny all my life (which, granted, hasn't been that long, in terms of relativity),
i just love all the comments.
I am five feet eight inches, my average weight is 100 pounds, but if I skip a day or two,
it could plummet to 85 (done it before).
Light-hearted ones from friends don't bother me-
joking that if i stand behind a 4" thick pole, i disappear,
calling me a 'skinny bitch'-
that doesn't bother me.
When i'm eating a burger and someone asks me if i ever eat,
when my stepsister calls me anorexic because i don't eat the salad after polishing off a plate of scalloped potatoes, stuffing, and hollandaise sauce (yeah, not eating the salad makes me an anorexic- that makes alot of sense),
when someone tells me they'd think i was hot if I was 30 pounds heavier,
when people ask if my hipbones ever cut anyone,
when perfect strangers think they have the authority to comment on my size,
YEAH, THAT BOTHERS ME.

My experiences as a male, 5'11" and 115lb (neither anorexic nor bulimic,) haven't been as bad as most people here. I did get called names in elementary school, and occasionally in middle school, but once I got fed up with the muscular bastards in PE in high school calling me weak I challenged any who thought they were strong to do chin-ups against me. Three of 'em responded; their best was six and I did nineteen.

They left me alone - if you're a thin male and are getting called weak, this is probably a good tactic to try. Why it works: You, if you do any exercise at all, have a decent amount of muscle but very little fat. This makes the ratio of body weight to arm strength a lot lower, and you are able to do more.

I tend to wear very baggy clothing to compensate for it, and I eat a lot (not specifically to gain weight, I just like eating) of high calorie foods.

I still get called 'gay' a lot though, because evidently gay males tend toward anorexia. (Note to those who say "Gay is just an insult, you probably have some habits." Nope, the insults generally go along the lines of "skinny fag")

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