Skinny shaming is the name, not cool is the game. A few weeks ago I was announced as one of Women’s Running Magazine’s newest bloggers. I was excited to partner with them and be able to share my journey as a professional runner, new mom, coach, and business owner. It was to be a “transparent” series where I share parts of my journey that some women are afraid to talk about. Open, honest and realistic. My first blog was released along with a picture of me in my Oiselle uniform. Hours later a few comments were left on a FB page that read as followed: “This picture is sick and you are destroying your body. She is not a role model for women and our young girls.” Ouch!
Social media is a tricky platform. In some ways it allows us to connect with strangers, share our stories, and stay abreast with the latest news. In other ways it’s a shield for us to hide behind and criticize strangers, tear people down without having to be present in human form. Imagine some of the things you have posted or read other’s post and tell me whether you’d have the courage or balls to say that to a person’s face? My guess is not a chance. Well the comments I received did in fact hurt. We’re all human beings behind those computer screens with feelings. Looking at a picture and deciding to judge a person’s character based on that photo I feel is wrong. I believe we are all entitled to opinions but being openly critical of someone without knowing them I feel is wrong and mean.
In an attempt to defend myself in a situation that doesn’t really deserve a defense I will explain why I feel being a skinny athlete isn’t a bad thing and should not be criticized. How you look and how you live are two very different things. I run for a living, so that means training at a very high level and being fit is what my job is all about. It is not about my appearance of skinniness that is just a product of the environment in which I operate in. I don’t count my daily caloric intake but am very aware it is a massive intake compared to the sedentary person. If my intake didn’t match my energy output I would be constantly losing weight and most likely not be getting my menstrual cycle. A few months ago I wrote a blog about weight and periods as a female athlete in our sport. I shared my personal story and received so much positive feedback. I had several people comment “what a great role model, every highschool girl should read this.” That was my intention. To show young girls who run it’s not about how fast you run, it’s about doing it while maintaining a healthy female system and positive body image of yourself. Yet on my Women’s Running blog I was the one shamed for being skinny and not a role model. My definition of healthiness as a female runner is preserving your fertility by getting a regular period and protecting your bones. I’ve gotten my period every month for the last 5 years and recently given birth to a 9 lb baby. Yeah I’m skinny, but most importantly I’m healthy, I work hard to be, and I’m damn proud of it.
Special thanks to some friends of mine who encouraged me to share how I felt.