Cruising around on Instagram tonight I noticed a gf of mine had hash tagged "skinny". Now I know I went on a bit of a rant a few weeks ago about how I was appalled at the negative images I'd seen on the Internet but I don't think I had even scratched the surface of the real issue here.
It's everywhere and I'm afraid it's going to become an epidemic.
After spending just a few minutes exploring different hash tags and users, I fell deeper into the rabbit hole called thinspo. This disgusting word is used by young girls and women as a reference to what they desperately wished they looked like. The word literally is derived from "thin inspiration". The images are all of women with impossibly tiny, unhealthy frames sporting catch phrases such as "food feels good for a minute, but thin feels good forever". This is not a healthy way for women to be looking at their bodies or their relationship with food!
Literally these sites and images paint food to be the enemy, with diets limiting your body to only 100 calories a day (the average human body should consume around 4000 calories a day). I feel so sorry for these girls that all they think about all day, every day is how they can make the gap between their legs wider, how to make their hip bones stick out more and how they can be the envy of all their friends.
I literally felt sick after reading some of the slogans on these pictures, but anyone who stands up to the thinspo girls is shut down with a swift "you must be fat if you think thin is bad" mentality.
I'm not saying I want everyone to be overweight, because we all know obesity is taking over our country as we speak, but why is there no healthy alternative? Why is there only extreme versions of our human form? What happened to being healthy? Being over weight can cause a plethora of health problems and is proven to raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, but being under weight and malnutritioned will kill you just the same, bones become brittle and brake, eyes become discoloured, organs shut down, and eventually the body starves to death. So why are young girls trying to aspire to this?
I wonder what would happen if a malnutritioned child was shown a picture of this, how would they feel that something they are so desperate for is simply being thrown away for the sake of "beauty". I wonder what would happen if one of these thinspo representatives ever had the chance to meet a disadvantaged child in a third world country, would they gush over the starving child's collar bones and protruding rib cage? Or is this what it takes to knock some sense into these young waifs? The below images might be shocking and upsetting but I think it's important for everyone to understand the degree to which this thinspo disease is spreading through the youth.
I understand 100% what's going through these young girls heads because I've been there myself. I wasn't the tiniest girl when I entered high school and I felt the pressure to shape up my appearance to fit in with a cooler group then the one I was in. I remember when my mum told me I was going to get braces for the first time, I cried and cried because I didn't want to be the fat girl with braces. So I made sure I wasn't, I worked out and ate next to nothing. I threw up my dinners in a bid to keep my calorie intake down and I often fainted as a result of a lack of food. Once I'd slimmed down and gotten into the group I so desperately wanted to be a part of I eased up on the craziness, but I always made sure I never ended up back at that weight.
It hit me again after school when my high school sweetheart dumped me for another girl. The only thought in my head was that he left me because I wasn't pretty enough and the vicious cycle started all over again. Worse this time because I was old enough to drink my worries away. Months of alcohol and substance abuse left me with a trimmer body but I was literally digging myself an early grave. Lucky for me my parents saw what I was doing to myself and intervened to get me back on the right track.
Then I met a guy I thought was the best thing that had ever happened to me and I settled down. A year into the relationship and I had put a fair bit of weight on (very common with young girls) and he told me he would dump me if I didn't loose the weight. Not wanting to loose my "prince charming" I agreed that my appearance had gotten out of hand and I would clean up my act immediately. I went on a shake diet, teamed with weight loss pills and a heavy gym routine but I was miserable and the pills made me completely unstable. Not only was I not loosing the weight but my emotions were uncontrollable and I just couldn't keep it up. I begged him to give me more time to try and loose it in a healthy way but our relationship was never the same. I became a smoker to suppress my appetite and I always felt pressured to not eat around him. I would exercise as much as I could (even though i hated it) just to prove that I was trying, in a desperate hope that he would love me. Eventually I got to an acceptable weight but he had told me he would never marry me out of fear of what would happen to me if we had children, or if I just got too comfortable. The resentment built up to braking point and I ended the relationship abruptly. I don't blame him for what happened, because I aloud him to think treating me that way was ok, I just hope he learnt his lesson with me, and I pray any of his future relationships don't have to go through the same thing.
I hate my body sometimes even now, but i know that there is no point in doing so, it gets you no where. These days I handle it better, I'm in a loving relationship with an amazing person, so when I'm feeling down or a little rounder than I want to be, we go for a jog along the river and he tells me he will love me no matter what. I never feel like I have to look a certain way for him to love me, I keep myself fit because I WANT to look and feel amazing, so I enjoy the love he gives me.
So heres my plee to you, if you're a thinspo girl, or you know someone who is, give them a hug, tell them they are beautiful and perfect and that starving themselves is not the answer. It's the problem.
Girls (and guys) don't get to the stage of utter disspear about their bodies for no reason, somewhere along the way they've been put down, abused and told they weren't good enough, what they need is reassurance that they are worth it and that their life is just waiting for them to live it.
Stop with the obsession for perfection, no ones perfect, life is not a competition of who can be the thinnest or prettiest, trust me, once your gone no one is going to judge you and remember that you had a good or bad body. No one actually cares about that, what people want in life is someone that can make them laugh, someone with a true heart, someone who made everyone's life happier by simply being a part of it. That's a hard ask when all you do is moan about how you hate your body and wish you were 10kgs lighter.
When my gfs bitch to me about how they hate their bodies I don't join in because that just feeds the self hate, I tell them to stop being ridiculous and that as long as their healthy they should be happy with what they have. I love them for the people they are, not for their dress size or gym routine. Don't be ungrateful for what your mumma gave you! Go forth and be healthy pretty girls! Eat apples and cookies and go for a run with your friends, but whatever you do,
DON'T tell yourself your not good enough,
DON'T tell yourself your not aloud to eat such and such, and whatever you do,
DON'T HATE YOURSELF!!
There is only one of you ever made so try and be the best you there is.