For women, it can often seem like nothing is more important than being skinny. Our culture is riddled with unfair beauty ideals and sexist double standards that keep women constantly thinking about their appearance instead of, you know, important things.
The constant pursuit of “perfection” can often be damaging to young women’s bodies and mental health. That’s why body-positive activists and the occasional model who isn’t rail-thin can be so important. They challenge the idea that being skinny is the most important thing a woman can do.
Body-positive model Khrystyana knows a thing or two about keeping up appearances. Recently, she opened up on Instagram about the daily struggle she faced being a skinny model, the toll it took on her mental health, and how much happier she is being fat:
In 2013 I thought I wasn’t small enough to be a fashion model and technically i have never been small enough. Even back then with all the dietary suffering and daily long hours at the gym I was at 37.5 hip size, a bit too thick. Was I happy? Absolutely not. I did not care about my happiness nor mental health, it was all about getting the next gig. I found myself depressed going through identity crisis. I gained more weight, hated myself more and more until I had no more energy left within me to hate anything. But exhaustion was somehow freeing. Freeing from thoughts. Blank brained, I looked at this newer but older me. No more striking judgments. Why? Why should we ever wreck ourselves? For career? parental approvals? romances? or fame? Why did I? Why would you ever? TRUST the NOWEST you, trust that this is deserving of all your love. It really does.
Along with the caption, she shared this before and after photo of her looking a lot happier in her own skin:
Khrystyana also shared her thoughts on the word “fat,” and how she doesn’t shy away from it or treat it as an insult. “It’s like they try to bully you by calling you ‘Beautiful.’ YES . You can use your power to turn what’s meant to be negative into something positive. Call me crazy, but I’ve tried it. I’ve been called ‘fat this’ and ‘fat that,’ and I thanked them genuinely. Their faces were priceless.”
Being skinny doesn’t mean being happy. That should be needless to say, but there’s still work to do to combat our potentially harmful ideas of beauty. Being comfortable, confident, and happy with who you are is so much more important than a number on a scale.