In Defence of ‘Stick-Figures’

 What all this fuss about bodies? Who decides what an appropriate or perfect body is anyway? And what is wrong with women who do all sorts of things to ‘keep-in-shape’? Who decided what that shape was anyway? If you’re keeping in ‘shape’ so as to be more attractive to the opposite sex, fine.. by all means, go ahead, get breast implants, a nose job… whatever gets you there. Just don’t give me that crap about “I’m doing it for me“, “I want to feel beautiful“. And stop making other people feel bad about the way they look!

Now that’s off my chest….

I’ve always been slim.

Well, actually, about 10 years ago I was pretty skinny. At that time, growing up in Ghana, I always got the ‘Why are you so skinny?’ question, but not in the admiring tone that one usually hears when this question is asked in an American High school movie.

My mother didn’t care how I looked [mothers, they love their babies just as they are :-)] but my aunts would just not leave me alone. Everyone tried to stuff me with food, milk, eggs, cakes… I still have a sweet-tooth. Thank you aunties!  I ate… I still eat… a lot. They kept wondering where the food went.I have no idea, I mean I was a little tomboy running around, climbing trees and playing football, but I used to spend large chunks of my days reading as well, so where did all the food go?

At that time, I guess the ideal Ghanaian girl had to be plump (or fat),with large breasts, a large ass and shiny skin. I was skinny, flat-chested and my buttocks had less fat than non-fat yoghurt. So, imagine my confusion when whiles watching KTV and Movie Magic I saw scenes from movies where girls would cry themselves to sleep because they were fat or someone told them they had a fat ass! I even remember at one time consoling myself with the thought that all the women who meant anything in the world were built like me, the actresses, singers, women-leaders, activists… That kept me warm on some very cold nights.

I remember a boy in my class in Junior High School asking me if I had had my period. The reason, I didn’t have breasts and you need breasts to have your period, I guess…

Fast forward 6 or 7 years and suddenly, I AM HOT STUFF! The question became “How do you stay so slim?” Again, I had, I have no good answers… All I know is that that is how I am. It was pretty cool for a while to finally have a fashionable body, but soon enough I grew tired of it. There not much fun in taking pride in something you just are. I didn’t climb Mount Kilimanjaro or swim the entire length of the River Volta, all I was was slim. I didn’t even exercise or eat healthy food!

Fast forward 3 or 4 years and the fuss about underweight models and anorexia and other eating disorders. Add that to the new African-is-fashionable craze and allied movements. I remember seeing this artist’s blog. She painted nude images of ‘everyday women’. In her opinion, ‘everyday woman’ didn’t have ‘perfect’ bodies, they had stomachs and thighs and butts. They were not ‘stick figures’ with eating disorders.

Similar thing on the Ghanaian front… A true African beauty is big and beautiful. Skinny isn’t African enough, and if you’re skinny you probably don’t eat enough. Honestly, I think this movement is largely based on big people lashing out. Yet, whilst all this is perfectly understandable, Why the attacks on slim people? Is it necessary? Can’t you love your body, leave me to love my body and just shut up about it. And the slim people are just overdoing it with the retaliation. I’ve had it with the fat jokes on my twitter timeline. And I’ve had it with the ‘A Real African Woman is Well-Endowed’ comments as well. True African beauty? What kind of stupid notion is that? Do a quick image search, start with say.. Ethiopian women, note the body type, faces… then Somali women…. Angolan, Malian, Egyptian, Nigerian… form an impression yet? Take Ghana, the women here have different body sizes and shapes. 

Image  Image  Image   Image

Is there no love for those of us who are like this because, well, we were born this way. What about us naturally slim girls?

And in conclusion, judging from my interaction with men, I’ve come to a conclusion. Most guys I know will moon over particular girls or models or actresses, but when it comes to crunch, THEY WILL HAVE SEX WITH ANYONE. forget the face and body nonsense, Available is the only criteria here… 

And if you’re really doing all this to look attractive to men, common sense indicates that you would want a similarly attractive man who looks after himself to. No? No.

“I see women barely breathing in corsets out with pot-bellied trolls all the time!”

So what’s really the point here?

6 thoughts on “In Defence of ‘Stick-Figures’

  1. Great commentary. I’ve always had a problem with stereotypes of that kind. You’ve turned it on its head. True african woman? What a ludicrous assertion!

  2. You might be interested in this great YouTube vlog video:

    I can totally relate to this post. Another skinny girl I went to college with once said:
    “I hate when people comment on my being skinny! You can insult my weight all you want, but if I even reference someone’s excess weight, I am reprimanded for bullying! Skinny girls have weight and body issues, too!!”
    And I finally realized that I am allowed to ask people not to make these comments.

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