“I hate women who say they can eat whatever they want, because I don’t relate to that at all.” ~ Drew Barrymore
That’s a quote I read on Twitter yesterday morning from the actress’s latest interview with Bon Appetit magazine.
Well, Ms. Barrymore, you caught me on a bad day. I’m sorry life’s not fair, but to say that you hate women because of things they cannot control is like saying you hate black people. Or children with Down’s Syndrome. Because you “don’t relate to that.”
I know Ms. Barrymore probably said that quote with that adorable giggle of hers, and I can imagine the journalist laughing along with her at the unfairness of life. I don’t think she had malicious intent to put down women who have quick metabolisms. But imagine if I were the one being interviewed by Bon Appetit, and I said the following.
“I hate women who can’t eat whatever they want, because I don’t relate to that at all.”
What scathing reactions would come my way. I expected to find some sort of backlash for Ms. Barrymore’s insensitive comment, but all I see on Twitter and in the article’s comment’s section is praise. One person even wrote that women who say they can eat whatever they want are “usually lying anyway.”
I can eat whatever I want, and I’m not lying. (With the exception of melons, because I’m allergic to them.)
Somone has to stand up for the naturally thin women out there who are getting hated for their genes. So here I am, doing that. I know a lot of people are going to roll their eyes and think, Please, spare us. But I’m tired of the double standards in weight commentary. Why is it okay for someone to say to me, “Wow, you’re soooo skinny, you should eat a burger or something.” (This has happened.)
What if I replied, “Wow, you’re soooo fat, you should stop eating burgers or something.” (This has never happened.)
Why is it socially acceptable for people to try and make skinny girls feel bad about their weight, but not the other way around?
I’ve heard so many girls express their hatred toward another girl simply because she is thin and chowing down on a pizza. I’ve been this girl they’re talking about so many times, you’d think I’d be used to it, but it still hurts.
“She must be bulimic,” they say.
“She’s rubbing it in our faces,” they say.
“I hate her,” they say.
They don’t say, “I hate that life is unfair.”
Or, “I hate that I can’t eat whatever I want without gaining weight.”
Or, “I’m resentful of the fact that her matabolism is faster than mine.”
No. They express hatred for individuals who have done nothing but eat.
A message to those girls who hate the naturally thin: You hate yourself, if you didn’t know that already. And you hate the society you live in where you are made to feel ugly for not being a size zero. Despite your rude comments, I sympathize with you. But you need to realize that you directly contribute to that unfair standard of beauty by spreading hatred for girls who happen to fit into it. If you want all shapes and sizes to be considered beautiful, you need to include the ones who are naturally thin.
I’m so sick of hearing all this preach about “real women have curves.” That implies that if a woman doesn’t have curves, she’s not “real.” Shut the fuck up about it already, because this pissing contest about who’s real and who’s not, about who’s okay to hate publically and who’s not, is doing absolutely nothing to help anyone’s case. It’s not okay to hate on fat people, and it’s not okay to hate on skinny people. It’s not okay to put down women who are more than a size four, and not okay to put down women who are less than size four. Every living woman is a real woman. How does this simple, obvious fact need reminding?
I am not naive enough to say, “Why can’t we all just be considered real and beautiful?” I know why: because, throughout history, society dictates what’s beautiful and it evolves with the time and place. I haven’t heard of a culture anywhere where everyone is considered beautiful. In Japan, millions of dollars are spent on skin bleaching. In Mauritania, girls are force-fed to scar their skin with stretch marks. In France, women are desperate to rid themselves of cellulite. In Burma, it’s considered attractive for a woman to have an unnaturally enlongated neck by way of brass coils. Clearly, every society has a different aesthetic ideal women are pressured to fit into.
But who makes up society? We do. The media is always being blamed for making girls feel like they need to look anorexic to be considered beautiful, but who keeps this standard in business? We do, otherwise we’d refuse to buy the weight loss products, the cellulite creams, the tanning lotions, the liposuction, etc. There’s no way the entertainment and advertising industries will ever get it right, because the problem is not solely theirs; the problem is also your’s and mine. Masses demanded more diverse casting, touting that overweight women should be considered sexy, too. But when the cosmetic company Dove made campaigns full of “real women,” that wasn’t good enough for many people because they said that while Dove included plump girls, they also sent the subliminal message that it was only okay to be plump if you have no cellulite and you’re proportionately heavy.
Then there’s American Apparel. My hat is off to this brand for including women of many different shapes and sizes in their advertising. And their models, purportedly real life employees of the company, don’t look photoshopped (even if they are)! They have stretch marks next to their tan lines. They have acne scars. They have armpit rash. They have dimples on their butts. They have no thigh gap. They’re short and tall, curvaceous and wraith-like. Few can argue that American Apparel doesn’t hire a diverse mix of models, but then the company got flack for “hypersexualizing” them. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I like the sex factor. I think it’s refreshing to see someone besides a skinny girl with fake breasts arch her back in an ad, as though that’s the only figure allowed to pose sexily. I like seeing a big bootied, 5’2”, jiggly-armed chick flaunt her inner porn star, too, razor burn and all. I think American Apparel has done more than any other fashion brand to show off the sex appeal of a stunning variety of women.
But now we’re getting into a different topic, that of hypersexualizing. Back to being naturally thin and why it’s not okay to hate on girls who can eat whatever they want.
I was recently asked on a red carpet what I do to stay so fit. Much to my shame, I lied and said I worked out. The truth is, I’ve never had to work out to stay slender. Nor do I starve myself. I eat whatever I want and I stop when I’m full. But I knew that if I said that, all I’d get was the hate that women like Drew Barrymore are spreading. So I chickened out of being honest and made something up.
There are plenty of other women I know are also naturally thin, and they’re just as tired of putting up with hatred, too. Why should we be pressured into apologizing and lying for our bodies’ natural forms? No one should have to, whether they fit into society’s current standards of beauty or not. As an American woman who is naturally underweight, I happened to be born into a society that glorifies my boniness, but then hates me for it when they find out I don’t starve myself to look that way. The message is, “Look like you have an eating disorder, and we’ll love you for it, but we’ll hate you if you don’t actually have one.” That’s fucked up. The hatred of women who are naturally thin is unjust, unwarranted, and cruel. You’re no better than a racist when you vocalize hatred for things people were born with.
I daydream of a day when a group of girls who don’t know each other will eat pizza together, and no one will give anyone else a dirty look for being fat and gleefully stuffing their face, or for being skinny and going up for seconds. Pizza party! And Drew, I’d love to have you there, because I think you’re really cool. But only if you promise not to hate me while I reach for a third slice of pepperoni.