JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - For young women, the label ‘fat’ becomes a frightening specter, especially since teenage appearance is often measured by weight. So it is not surprising that many adolescents experience eating disorders, and even forced to sleep with a starved stomach to get a slim body size.
This is experienced by Blythe Baird, a teenager who was previously and trying as hard as possible to lose weight. Her attempt to lose weight eventually caused Blythe to have an eating disorder at the age of 14.
"Part of the social expectations that fat people need to lose weight to relevant or ideal level," she told the Daily Mercury on Sunday (7/23).
Instead of worrying about Blythe who was losing weight quickly, people around her actually complimented her on being able to lose weight.
"When I lost weight after being considered a fat girl all my life, I noticed how people were attracted to me after losing weight," Blythe said.
She complained that no one was ever worried when she was sick. While Blythe was hungry, she was always encouraged to stick with an unhealthy pattern for weight loss.
"When obese people lose significant weight, we assume they have made a healthy lifestyle adjustment. When slim people lose significant weight, we consider them sick and need medical attention," she said.
Frustration to that cruel double standard prompted Blythe to make a short film titled "When The Fat Girl Gets Skinny".
In her short film, Blythe explained that she became an inspiration for others when she lost weight. The girls would stop her in the hallway to ask what her secret was, and their attention made Blythe fall in love with her illness.
It also makes her more difficult to heal. The praises given to her had actually created a destructive impact.
"It made me feel that I will disappoint people and they will be disappointed with me if I try to recover [(or raise the weight back].Their 'skinny' comment becomes a promise that I have to keep. It's more important to be thin than to restore it, "Blythe said.
Even so, Blythe insisted that she does not accuse those who praised her as the ones responsible for her eating disorder. According to Blythe, this lies in a society that is obsessed with body image.
"I do not blame them, I know most of them have good intentions. No one is trying to hurt me. It's just a product of society. This is the result of how our culture teaches us to admire and celebrate weight loss, regardless of how it can be achieved, "she explained.
So far, Blythe has not been able to cope with her eating disorders even though every day she tries to start eating more regularly.
"We need to remember that skinny is not a compliment, and fat is not an insult," she added.