Stop Forcing the Skinny Greek to Eat More

Stop Forcing the Skinny Greek to Eat More

I recently read a fantastic article on Huffpost Women entitled ‘Stop making the thin girl ugly’ by blogger Jenni Chiu and felt compelled to add my thoughts, particularly after the Easter break when food and weight has been such a big topic.

In today’s increasingly narcissistic, paranoid society, derogatory comments about a person’s weight seem to be common place and it’s high time that more emphasis was put on body acceptance and healthy attitudes towards our appearance.

I have always been naturally slim, so have all the rest of the members of my family. As a child I spent a lot of time playing outdoors, I was involved in lots of different sports and was fed a healthy Mediterranean diet with the odd McDonald’s here and there. I used to be a competitive swimmer during my teenage years and went through a stage of eating lots of rubbish at university. I am not a gym fanatic, in fact I only recently started taking BodyBalance classes (a mixture of Yoga and Pilates) in order to become more socially active and balance my mind more than anything else – although I do feel much more flexible and can now get into a swan position without looking like I’ve broken a bone.

I wouldn’t define myself as skinny but growing up I was definitely viewed as a thin girl – the terms skinny and thin are often used derogatively; being described as slim seems to have far less negative connotations.

When I was seven years old I remember an older girl in my ballet class exclaiming how anorexic I was and laughing at me along with the other students who decided to join in – even though some of them were also skinny.

Of course, I also remember incidents at school when people made fun of the podgy kids and I guess you could brush all this off as immature childish antics, BUT the strange thing is, as I grew up I found that less people were inclined to comment on those with curves, yet thought it was ok to comment on those without.

One woman I once worked for commented, “You look so thin have you lost weight?” This was only a week after I had interviewed with her when I had been wearing a slightly more colourful outfit. Any fashionista knows that wearing all black can slimline the figure, but I wasn’t sure if she was trying to suggest that I had looked much bigger the week before. Quite why this woman who I barely knew felt the need to comment on my appearance I will never know.

Being Greek has subjected me to further skinny-bashing from unrelated relatives. Greeks are extremely fond of their food and will attempt to spread their gluttonous passion. On one of our annual family holidays to Greece, a completely random woman asked my father if we were too poor to eat as we were all so skinny. He replied that she must be very rich. For obvious reasons.

Greek relatives STILL ask me if I am a vegetarian. A person who is naturally slim is not considered normal and therefore must be a non-meat eater. While this is more of a cultural thing rather than a media-influenced topic, I still consider it to be unacceptable. In fact rarely have I heard any of my Greek relations comment on the more heavier-set of the family. It is considered impolite to do so.

I find it shocking how people feel that they can berate a thin person for being skinny and unhealthy but many wouldn’t dare comment on a fuller figured person. Presumptuous statements like “You obviously don’t eat that much” and “You must work out all the time” are so ignorant. I would never dream of saying to a curvier person “You clearly overeat and don’t work out”. What gives anybody the right to make an unjustified statement about a person’s appearance?

A woman once commented on my mother’s lithe figure telling her, “Oh you won’t look like that after you’ve had children”. In fact my mum had just given birth to my younger sister only a few months earlier and replied “Actually, I’ve had two”. Touche.

I am also not a fan of the term real woman – whatever that may be. A real woman is a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and is healthy and happy.

Having had some experience in the modelling industry I quite agree that it does favour a certain body type and this is not acceptable. However, while attitudes are changing and plus size models, for example, are now being lauded and praised, (and quite rightly so), naturally thin girls are facing a backlash.

I wrote my medical law dissertation on anorexia and it is a terribly controlling condition that is not helped by the diet-crazed fanatics and politically-correct health officials who are damaging young minds. At the same time, obesity is becoming a widespread problem fuelled by drink and junk food.

Personally, I think viewing images of people who have been surgically enhanced to such an extent that they no longer resemble a normal human being is just as damaging as the obese and anorexic extremes. I would rather see a healthy thin girl with a natural bust, or a fuller figured woman, or someone in between, than a fake Barbie doll with crazy proportions.

Rather than making assumptions about a persons lifestyle based on their body type, we should strive for body acceptance. We need to teach impressionable youngsters that whatever your size, being happy and healthy is the most important thing.

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14 Comments

  1. 10th May 2014 / 9:21 am

    hahaha yeah here it is like a tradition mothers are forcing their kids to eat more than they can

  2. Elise McCune
    9th May 2014 / 10:17 pm

    Reblogged this on what elise wrote and commented:
    Great Article

  3. 29th April 2014 / 6:08 am

    hahaha, you’ve made my mornin’, pretty young lady! 🙂 your awesome post has reminded me of my 5 years spent in Houston, Texas… I used to teach at 2 highschools where there were cookies and “chemical” cupcakes(LOL!) – everywhere… all my US colleagues would snack several times/day, not me which was unthinkable, out of question for them… 🙂 I do agree with your conclusion:”being happy and healthy is the most important thing.” – yep, it does make sense… stay healthy, take care and try to be as happy as possible! 🙂 cheers, Mélanie

  4. 28th April 2014 / 11:12 pm

    Hmmm … From my own point of view, Ekaterina, I can remember only insults aimed at we fatties – never at kids who were thin (or just slim). And as to why anyone would believe that being vegetarian would make you thin … IF ONLY ! I’ve been vego for several years now; and I know for a fact that weight will append itself to me just as readily now as ever it did when I was an omnivore. I’ve never (of course) been able to comprehend anorexia; but I’m prepared to admit that it must be terrible … even if sometimes I wish my image of myself would bring it on …

    • 29th April 2014 / 6:51 am

      Unfortunately Margaret it seems that in today’s society insults can be aimed at anyone for anything…but thankfully there are still some people who choose to compliment rather than negatively comment.

  5. MM Jaye
    28th April 2014 / 3:57 pm

    Congratulations, Ekaterina, on pushing this issue forward. I’m of average weight, but what you’d call “pear-shaped” (small breasts, thin waist, flaring hips). I never got grief from my peers, but I did get a lot from my mother. I shouldn’t wear short tops, I shouldn’t wear tight pants, I shouldn’t go out without tying my track suit jumper tied around my waist… I’ve always weighed around 110 pounds but felt more miserable than an obese person. It took me years to accept my body, and now that I’m raising a daughter, I’ve vowed to help her embrace whoever she becomes. That’s the biggest gift a parent can offer his child.

    • 28th April 2014 / 4:08 pm

      Good for you Maria! You are a beautiful person inside and out and no doubt your daughter is the same 🙂

  6. 28th April 2014 / 3:09 pm

    I completely and uttterly agree with every word. Ben goes to school with a girl who is a semi professional gymnast (12 years old) so she’s always been slim and fit and bendy, everything you’d expect, and recently she was called anorexic. It broke my heart. Why are kids at that age saying things like that? Where do they get it from?? I have to say, for all of my life time of body related issues, I was very glad when I gave birth to a boy, in the hope that he wouldn’t go through what I went through, although there’s just as much pressure on boys and men now too! I find it all quite upsetting 🙁

    • 28th April 2014 / 3:16 pm

      Sadly I think some of the parents probably comment too and perhaps that filters down to the kids! Even my teachers used to make comments! I was lucky that while I found being called ‘skinny bean’ etc annoying, I don’t remember being too bothered about my looks or weight until I got much older. It’s very very sad how really young children now feel that they have to go on diets or put on weight etc.

      • 28th April 2014 / 3:19 pm

        Completely. I know my issues came from all of the comments and attitudes I heard at home 🙁 my son doesn’t experience those things!! It’s the throwaway thoughtless comments that do the most damage x

  7. 28th April 2014 / 1:37 pm

    What a great post Ekaterina. I have never had the problem of being on the slim side of life. If I try really hard, walk miles every day and eat nothing but soup or salad or months on end I can just about get to average weight. I don’t publicly judge anyone who personally from my point of view appears to be slimmer nor those heavier than I.

    What I have experience of though is that there is always someone ready to put the boot in. Slim people do say thinks to heavier people and heavy people do snipe at slim ones too. I’ve had it from both sides as some naturally slim people don’t appreciate I can be so much bigger than them even though I eat little or no junk food whilst they eat doughnuts and chocolate all day long in the office and can’t believe that a fatty doesn’t want to. You can almost here them say “But you’re fat”! Similarly on those times when I am at what would be a societal average weight you I have noticed that you get really strange looks and smarmy comments from people who were the size I used to be not realising the battle it was too get thin.

    Really unless it is a compliment, if everyone kept their opinions to themselves most people would be a lot happier. Currently I am 1 stone off my lowest weight but also 4 off my highest and the good news for me is that it back on a downwards trend!

    Wow, the “secrets” I write on your blog comments!

    • 28th April 2014 / 1:44 pm

      I agree Stephen. People should keep their opinions to themselves and make sure they themselves are happy and healthy! There is a huge difference between a dear friend or relative trying to make you aware of your health and some random stranger making catty remarks. And please do keep the secrets coming! 🙂

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