woman in black tank top wearing brown cowboy hat

To Whom It May Concern,

I feel like this is long overdue. I never knew that my body type would be the concern of so many people. Growing up, I always knew I stood out. Wearing leggings in grade school because I couldn’t fit into kids’ jeans or pants or skirts. Being told that later on in life I’d care more about my weight so I could get a man.

I developed a terrible relationship with my body and food at a young age and never understood why. Not to mention I wasn’t taken seriously when I tried to get help for that situation — and was told that I didn’t really have a problem. Toxic diet culture and yo-yo dieting to fasting before doing an hour of intensive cardio led me to this. And for what? To please someone else?

I mention these things because they happened to me. These are my experiences, and no one is going to undermine them. During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, I took a lot of time to self-reflect and listen to myself. What I came to learn is that there is nothing wrong with me. Health-wise, I could lose weight, and I’d probably be better off. However, with the amount of weight I would have to lose, I would still be considered “plus-size” and “curvy,” and that’s okay. Plus-size is not an insult and skinny is not a compliment. Weight gain is not an insult and weight loss is not a compliment. My body is not your ground to war on. You don’t get to tell me what my body should look like. I am happy with what my body can do and what it is capable of.

There was a TikTok trend that went around about trying to fight skinny shaming with fat shaming. Fighting fire with fire is never something I stand for. I do believe that there is an unfair advantage between the two. If you are skinny, you have privileges that fat people don’t have. You can get the guy (or girl), you can get the lead role in a musical, you are treated differently — and better — than someone who is fat. The weight stigma that has been created in this world was created by none other than society. It’s about time we really stop and think about who really allowed for the stigma to happen. Sure, media and the fashion industry fueled this ideal, but society is who took this idea and ran with it. And we must do better.

It’s 2021, and we need to learn how to be more accepting and loving of each other. We’re all different. We’re all born different. And that’s totally okay. What’s not okay is judging and hurting someone because they’re not your definition of beautiful. We’ve got a long way to go before we will live in a society that fully accepts one another, but I’m hopeful for that day — and we can start today.

About the author

I am a huge Philadelphia Eagles football fan. Follow Jennifer on Instagram or read more articles from Jennifer on Thought Catalog.

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