I fought with myself hard over writing this, because some might point out that as someone who is openly in relapse of eating disorder I probably aren’t the best to talk. But I want to get a point across, and hopefully some people will hear it.
We need to stop telling skinny people to “go eat something” and calling them “anorexic”.
Anorexia does not equal skinny.
Skinny does not equal anorexic.
Telling skinny people to quote “eat something” isn’t a show of genuine concern, it is a show of ignorance and prejudice. An assumption that skinny is unhealthy, unnatural, unreal. It helps no one.
For certain it doesn’t help those actually struggling with eating disorder to differentiate their worth from their weight or their deserving of putting fuel into their bodies.
So why do people keep feeling justified to say it to people?
As a relapsed anorexic, I’m not skinny. Skinny has nothing to do with my illness, control and self-esteem have everything to do with my illness.
Skinny people exist, in the same way plus sized people exist. Skinny people can be perfectly healthy, just like overweight people can be perfectly healthy.
All too often the body positive movement allows the insinuation that skinny people are the figment of photoshopped magazine covers and starving models. Far too often.
No body type is any more or less real; more or less valid; more or less healthy.
If you are genuinely concerned about someone having an eating disorder then visit B-Eat (UK) or NEDA (US). Educate yourself, recognise the real signs (wearing baggy clothes, increased sensitivity to cold, changes in breathe smell, fuzzy tongue, etc. – all of which go far beyond weight and size). Be supportive, don’t tell someone to “eat a hamburger”, tell them they’re beautiful no matter what. People with eating disorders know that eating something is a healthy and normal thing to do, we don’t need the reminder. What we don’t see in our illness is that we are beautiful and loved no matter what. That’s what we need reminding of.