This I Believe

Nathalie - Lanham, Maryland
Entered on December 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: illness

I strongly believe that not everyone who is skinny should automatically be labeled as anorexic or be blamed for suffering from an eating disorder. I have two younger sisters, ages fifteen and seventeen, who are very skinny. Both of them have come to me on separate occasions to tell me how mean and judgmental their peers are concerning their weight. For instance, my fifteen year old sister told me a story about how her classmate called her a refugee from Ethiopia, suggesting that she was starving herself. Now, all of her friends have given her the nickname Ethiopian refugee. It is unfair that they are labeled and called names for a genetic characteristic they have no control over. My mother was “runway” slim; some of her peers even considered her anorexic in her younger years. She only gained a little weight after her third child! She was skinny even during her pregnancies, so, naturally that gene got passed down to my younger sisters. Indeed, some actresses and models do look malnourished, but this might just be due to their genetic inheritance, as is the case with my sisters.

I am outraged and frustrated that society is so focused on appearance, and that anyone who does not fall under Hollywood’s standards of beauty is alienated and unappreciated. It is not my sisters fault that today’s celebrities really do suffer from eating disorders and have skeletal bodies to show for it. My family and friends closest to my sisters know that they have voracious appetites as do most teenagers. It is only those individuals outside the family and friends circle that comment, insult and criticize my sisters which is really unfair from my perspective. People that are educated in health do know that during puberty females gain a little weight; their hips and breast develop. Maybe my sisters are late bloomers? I was also very skinny when I was their age and after high school was when I started filling out my clothes and gaining weight. Overall, it is evident that now more than ever, the issue of anorexia has plague our society and everyone who is very skinny is assumed to have an eating disorder. This is not always the case because there are females who are truly genetically thin and no matter how much they eat, they will not gain any weight. I strongly believe that people should not be so quick to insult others based on looks alone. My sisters do not have any control over how they look and they should not be called names like ‘sticks’ or ‘Ethiopian refugee’.