Student experience: “Skinny was never skinny enough”

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Humanity Hallows Issue 5 Out Now
Pick up your copy on campus or read online

By Rachel Cook

My eating disorder developed when I was about 16 or 17 and, at first, it was more about controlling something in my life, but quickly became a fixation with my weight. Due to body standards in society, as my weight dropped, I thought I could finally achieve the ‘model like figure’ I wanted. However, all the experience did was add to my insecurities because nothing was good enough: skinny was never skinny enough and nothing felt like I was in control enough, even when I was near death. It’s a trap. I was completely trapped in my own head, a head that was feeding me lie after lie and making me hate myself.

This problem with body image meant that I lost all self-worth in every other aspect of myself. Nothing else mattered, so I neglected many good things in order to focus on my body which, quite frankly, would never bring me any positivity anyway! I want to spread the message that excessively tying to lose weight and change yourself does not make you happy; we are all so different but so beautiful as we are and that is a fact. It is NOT as simple as lose weight, feel beautiful like a model; an eating disorder is dangerous, exhausting and life-sucking, yet these models make it look so easy and glamorous. The truth is, eating disorder or not, trying to constantly change ourselves to be something we see in the media will bring us NOTHING good.

We all have body insecurities that have come about since body standards became the way they are. The media has a massive responsibility to make a change, considering the amount of people it reaches. Everyday we are bombarded by false, unrealistic ideas of what we ‘should’ look like. Even ‘plus size’ campaigns I have seen use size 12 models. What kind of message is it sending if a perfectly beautiful and healthy size 12 or 14 is seen as ‘wrong’ or ‘fat’? It also angers me now that I was even able to go into an adult clothing store and find things that fitted me. At a weight that was, quite frankly, near death, I should not have been able to walk into an adult shop and find a pair of jeans that fit, as if I was perfectly normal and okay. Let alone models with this body size being displayed all over the world. Now, severely underweight people are being led to believe they are okay, yet healthy bodies are promoted as ‘plus size’. That is just awful and it has to change.

Rachel, 21, is from South West London and currently studying Graphic Design. She enjoys all things arty, quirky coffee shops, and is a new-found foodie! Follow Rachel for support on eating disorders at @boobsn0tbones.

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