Last year I wrote an open letter for the US website MyBlackMatters entitled ‘Dear Slim Black Girls’. I was shocked at the number of black women who contacted me, letting me know that I wasn’t alone in feeling pressured to gain weight and get curvier.
I have honestly lost count of the amount the times I have been told, ‘Gosh you're nothing but skin and bones’, ‘Rah you're mad skinny’ and my personal favourite ‘Do you actually eat?’. Not that my eating habits are anyone’s business. Nonetheless, it’s always confused me as to why people think it's okay to make snide remarks about my body. No matter what the context or situation, body shaming will always be wrong, but I often ask myself, why did I as a young black girl feel like black women weren’t supposed to be built like me?
Throughout my childhood I was extremely insecure about how thin I was. I always thought I was way too skinny in comparison to a lot of the other black girls around my age who had ‘fat in all the right places’. However, let a thin girl complain about her physique, she is automatically bombarded with comments like: ’What do you have to worry about - you're skinny’. As if being skinny completely eradicates all our adolescent insecurities. I even remember a time when I complained about my how much I loathed my body and one of my then friends had the nerve to take my wrist, and put her fingers around it to prove just how skinny I was.