Recently, I had an article run about wearing a bikini freely for the first time in 8 years. I wrote about the process of it and tips for someone if they wish to wear a swimsuit but are suffering with the same body image dysmorphia that continue to plague my daily existence- 2 years in recovery from an eating disorder.
People, I’ve found, are often not honest enough about this process- that there’s this long, snaking route in recovery in which you have to learn to respect your body after you’ve done heinous things to it. The years of fighting and learning to accept this body- the time you’ve spent growing weary of your own self-hatred.
Anyway, this article ran with my body on display. It’s liberating. Now that my half naked bikini bod is out there on the web, it allows me to stop hiding behind the self-absorbed “fear” of what people *might* think about my shape and figure.
It’s been mostly well-received with the audience- however, there’s a notable amount of “thin-shaming” comments and it continues to plague me. Why? Shouldn’t I be relieved that people aren’t saying cruel remarks about my body? The truth is I am to some extent. But it’s incredibly shorthanded and discouraging to read people’s notion of what “can” and “cannot be” body image struggle.
One commenter wrote “How disappointing. This girl is skinny,” and a slew of comments she’d wished to see in a ‘real’ bikini woman instead of me. Another commenter wrote that I was “seeking attention,” and another said “This is gross. She’s thin.”
Fat-shaming is not acceptable, but I must reiterate tonight that neither is Thin-shame. It is NOT acceptable as women to put “standards” on eating disorders. It is hypocritical and culturally fucked up- and yet on it happens everywhere.
I spent 8 years on the side-lines of my life. 8 years sitting on boats sweating through my clothes with my legs sticking to leather seats because I was too anxious to live. These comments are firstly shallow, but also strive to discredit my 8-year struggle in and out of treatment as though it isn’t a “valid” enough experience with eating disorders.
Do women realize the hypocrisy of their words when they do this? That when a commenter writes “but this girl is thin, show me a real woman” what she really is saying is that larger people should, in fact, be the ones to worry about wearing their bare skin on a beach. It perplexes me and it is a slight on all bodies.
Is it easier to be “thin-shamed”? Sure. Culturally, it is. But it’s unacceptable that people feel like it’s okay to comment freely about a persons weight in ANY circumstance. I didn’t write that article for people to comment on my weight (though of course I knew it’d happen), I didn’t write this article for reassurance. Yes, my naked-ish body is out there- but nobody reading that article knows the crevices of it like I do. None of them can see the stretch marks I continue to manage, the acne scars around my chin, or the skin I wish I could heal from sun damage.
I wrote that article for the millions of women/men who are also sitting on the sidelines of their own existence. For the people that hide behind towels and miss out on their lives just as I have missed out on mine. I am biologically thinner, yes, but that does not make me tone. I am a “real woman” too with the same body insecurity as anyone else, and I write honestly and openly in order to weave others together through the same experiences- not to have other women turn on each other and discredit that experience- and I will continue to take the podium for ALL women- of ALL types- who have suffered with eating disorders and the struggle to recover from them.