Growing up in nineties, as a skinny, tall girl with a pretty face, wasn’t as glamorous as you might expect these days.
It seems like I’m in a generation that is on some sort of breaking point. I was in the last generation that pledged allegiance to Tito (our dear departed dictator) and became a Pioneer (basically forcing children to wear a silly hat and stand still while everyone’s taking picture). And in my teens I was in the last wave in being mocked for being too skinny. Generations that followed us were already obsessed with their curves and feared that they are too fat.
I was aware of that new wave even then when they called me different names to mock my scrawny figure. Super models still looked feminine enough, but ordinary models became thinner and thinner. I loved to watch fashion in those days, like we watched videos on MTV, I loved the clothes. I don’t watch fashion shows anymore, last that I’ve seen made me afraid, all I could see was a potential for fractured bones all around wondering how no one is seeing the horror of famine under that shiny clothes. Women on the runway just looked fragile.
Coming across an article about model Rosie Nelson who was told to “slim down to the bone” made me think of those days when I was young and skinny like her and no one was mocking me for being slim anymore. When the mocking of my body stopped I was upset because my friends were started to be mocked for not being skinny, and were showing signs of shame and sorrow.
Maybe that breaking point made me aware of changing standards for beauty, and harshness that was presented against women who didn’t fit the standard, regardless of how fleeting that standard might be. I ran around explaining to my friends in which times which standard of beauty was applied and showing pictures of Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe became a standard, and I even found myself evoking baroque beauties for looking at plus sized woman as beautiful.
For myself I tried to gain some weight for my sake, just to be stronger, to feel better, not to depend on my next meal for strength (I can’t describe how hungry I could be in matter of minutes) but I didn’t gain nothing until my first pregnancy.
Now in my post-pregnancy body I’m receiving other end of that stick. Now I’m not skinny enough, to put it mildly. But, as in my teens when I laughed at those who tried to shame me (I never really cared for looks anyway), I’m not really bothered by that stick. For me that stick is made of cotton, it only tickles my centers for laughter or discussion. I’m really pleased with my looks now, and am happy to say that I’m much stronger, and more balanced. I love my reflection in the mirror.
But I still worry for those who care about looks, who feel that stick as a baseball bat, as for those which work depends on being skinny. Being size eight is challenging enough, I can vouch for that, but thought of being thinner (for tall women, I’m aware that smaller women have different volumes) than that it’s just scary.
I’m glad regulations are being made in fashion industry, maybe someday I’ll be able to enjoy a good runway again. Till then I wish you to eat well and balanced and to embrace your reflection in the mirror no matter on which side of current fashion stick are you. Don’t be lured into thinking that just because you’re a woman, you should be treated and valued by your looks.