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Toothpick

A month ago, I did a canvas painting called “Toothpick.” In the painting was a naked girl facing a mirror, taking a picture of herself with her phone’s camera. The inspiration for that artwork was my body.

I was told that I would look prettier if I grew more fat and gained a bit more weight.

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Apparently, today’s universe is brainwashed into thinking that it won’t hurt if you compared someone to a stick, because as long as that someone is slim, he or she is not supposed to complain about it.

And if they do, they’re immediately considered ungrateful brats who invalidate the feelings of the plus-sized.

Speaking up about this has always held me back, because I know that there are those who will tell me that I should just be thankful I’m skinny.

Well, I’m writing this down because people need to realize that skinny-shaming is just as horrible as fat-shaming. They both radiate the same sense of negativity, discouragement and self-loathing.

Someone once called me “toothpick girl.” Sure, my body is fairly similar to the composition of a toothpick — short and thin. But that doesn’t mean I enjoy being called one.

That doesn’t mean I can be picked around to play with, to stick in between your teeth when you have to remove the morsel of the food you just ate, and to throw me away right after.

A disposable, fragile little stick is not what I am, and my size does not give you a free pass to call me names.

A lot of people are great in telling me that I should start eating rice, fruits and vegetables — as if I don’t. Having a thin body doesn’t mean that my meals are any less what everyone else consumes. It doesn’t mean vegetables are out of my plate. It doesn’t mean that I starve myself.

Although some comments like “You should eat more” are borne out of concern, they somehow often sound like an insult. I know for a fact that thin people like me eat just like anyone else. We eat enough until we’re full — you know, until our stomachs can no longer take it.

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It’s already difficult to love your own body when you stare in the mirror, but it’s even more difficult to love it when getting asked the questions: “Do you even eat?” “Do your parents feed you?”

This generation is so obsessed with body positivity that when they’re pulling someone up, they don’t realize how much they’re pushing somebody else down.

“Real women have curves.” No. Curvy women are just as beautiful as skinny women. And both body types are the reality of women. Let’s try to remember that we’re in the same team here — we don’t need to put others down.

So, don’t be that person singing to popular songs that are supposed to promote body positivity, but that actually reek of skinny-shaming. Songs like “Anaconda” and “All About That Bass” tell you to love your body, but will also say “skinny bitches.” Stop listening to songs that tell you that your body is beautiful as long as a man is attracted to it.

It takes a lot of courage and time for individuals like me to love our own body. It takes so much work and effort to brush
off the thought that we’re ugly, that we don’t fit into today’s
societal standards.

I’ve learned to love myself bit by bit through the years by gradually accepting the fact that I am thin. I’ve tried to gain weight, but it just won’t happen, and that’s okay. I’m still
trying anyway.

So here’s to all the thin ones out there. Let our skin be comfortable with our lovely, little bones, because this is who we are. What we are is beautiful.

And here’s to all the body-shamers. I hope you won’t be the one to ruin someone’s day by insulting them about their size and weight, no matter how big or how small. I hope you stop being the kind of person who would wreck the years of growth and self-love we’ve tried to build for ourselves.

* * *

Janylle Chelsea “Jyll” B. Flores, 20, is from Tarlac City.

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TAGS: being thin, body shaming, Janylle Chelsea B. Flores, Toothpick, Young Blood
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