When we try and think of body shaming, we usually picture an overweight person being called names or facing flak over being “lazy”. Lately, we have witnessed a motion against this bullying as people with “undesirable” body-types have displayed love towards the person in the mirror. Yet, we tend to ignore how body shaming continues for people with skinny bodies. A self-proclaimed ED (eating disorder) warrior, Megan Jayne Crabbe, has set out to balance out the prevailing notions pertaining to a “normal” body. An anorexia survivor herself, Megan challenges the common misconceptions- being thin isn’t always good and being fat is okay too.
Megan was diagnosed as an anorexic when she was 14. “You see, within 5 years of being on the planet, it was already ingrained in my mind that fat was the worst thing a person could be, and that beautiful (read as ‘thin’), was the best thing a person could be. It’s unsurprising that over the years my insecurities grew into all-consuming demons, and at 14 I was diagnosed with an eating disorder,” she wrote in a post on her blog Bodyposipanda.
“It took me 2 years to claw my way out of anorexia. 2 years, one institutionalisation, one hospitalisation, and countless tears from the family member’s hearts I’d broken along the way. I had chased the holy grail of thin with everything I had, traded in every part of me to end up 65 lbs., barely alive, still worried that people would see my stomach fold as I sat in my hospital bed.” After tripling her weight over a year, she was again pushed into diets. Her weight dangerously fluctuated over the next few years as she tried to fit into the society’s impression of an ideal body.
Thin ≠ Good Body
It is common for one to assume that a person is dieting or are choosing not to eat to get a “perfect body” when they chance upon an underweight person and that is precisely what is wrong with the society today. For starters, being thin doesn’t mean you have a good body. Secondly, it can be just as hard to gain weight as it is to lose it.
What is Anorexia?
Anorexia Nervosa, commonly termed just “anorexia”, is an eating disorder characterised by low body weight. Anorexia can be caused due to genetic or psychological factors and even sociological circumstances can lead to the development of the disorder. Unlike popular belief, situations are not so much in control of an anorexic person. The victim doesn’t feel that they are underweight. Instead, they feel it’s necessary to lose weight which pushes them to eat less. Most don’t even feel the urge to eat. There have even been instances of anorexic people forcing themselves to vomit just to lose more weight. One half of the popular band The Carpenters, Karen Carpenter, lost her life owing to the disorder.
Now 23 years old, Megan strongly advocates body positivity after letting society’s ideal body image get the best of her for over five years. In a recent Instagram post, she shared a transformation image saying, “On the left is me 2 1/2 years ago, just before I found body positivity, and on the right is me today. You’ll probably notice the most obvious thing I’ve gained between these two pictures: weight. But there are so many other things I’ve gained as well. I’ve gained mental freedom. I’ve gained self-love. I’ve gained my life back after so many years of believing that I wasn’t worthy of living it because of how my body looked.”
“I know the world wants you to believe that the less you weigh the happier you’ll be. I know I’m supposed to feel ashamed of this transformation. I’m supposed to vow to lose the weight, I’m supposed to spend my life chasing the body on the left and buying into the idea that I’ll be more valuable once I get there. But I’m not going to do that.”
Megan has faced both sides of body shaming and while it is alright to stay fit and be healthy, it all depends on an individual. Promoting one specific body image and forcing people to fit into it has led to a sharp increase in the number of eating disorder cases worldwide. These disorders mostly affect the more impressionable teenagers who already have trouble figuring out their identities. Let’s learn to accept people the way they are, the way they look, because there’s no reason why they should try and look the way you want them to. To read more about Megan’s transformation story, check out her blog Bodyposipanda.