It annoys me when people comment on my weight.
I weigh 8st 2 lbs (114 lbs/52kg): slightly underweight for a 5’8”, 23-year-old man.
Body shaming is not funny. When someone mocks you or makes snide remarks about your weight, it can be hurtful. I should know.
In a survey conducted by Attitude magazine earlier this year of 5,000 gay men, half of the respondents were unhappy with their appearance while 84% of people said they felt under a lot of pressure to have a good body.
Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see this skinny runt covered in tattoos and piercings with very little muscle. I’m not the only one who has been skinny shamed.
Narrow wrists and ankles, thin body and, when I lift my arms, I can see my ribcage sometimes. My brother calls me things like pipe cleaner, snowflake and magic wand.
Body image struggle
I don’t get how I’m not able to put on weight. I live mainly on junk food but even that doesn’t work. Whatever I eat burns up in my stomach when I’m asleep.
I guess my metabolism must be turbo charged. My friends used to say I was like Cassie from Skins: I’m thin, was blond and looked like I never ate.
But in the past, people have asked me to my face if I have an eating disorder and I will admit, I struggle a lot with my body image.
Once on a blind date, the guy I was on a date with asked me if I was anorexic. He said I looked like I hadn’t eaten in days.
I was so irritated and upset, I made an excuse to leave and got out of there as soon as I could. That wasn’t the first time I’d been skinny shamed by men.
I don’t have an eating disorder but not too long ago, I came close. My family have no idea how badly I was struggling.
Something terrible happened to a family member. I was under so much pressure because I was caring for someone, trying to keep up with my school work, and everyone seemed to want something from me. For about four months, I barely ate.
I covered up my hurt and hunger by feigning happiness and sneaking out to go partying. For a little while I went into the whole ‘it’s not like anyone cares’ mindset.
Going out clubbing and not eating was my way of avoiding what was going on. Looking back, it was almost like I was punishing myself for not being strong.
I went whole days without food and lied to my friends and family about my eating. It got to the point where I couldn’t and didn’t want to eat. I was so strung out I felt sick at the thought of food.
At times I had to force myself to eat in front of other people, because I didn’t want to. To this day, I still occasionally feel that way.
When I was out partying, I’d see guys with muscles, nicely dressed and looking flawless. That just made me feel worse about myself. It got to the point where I felt weak and would find myself shaking.
I got counselling and am now eating healthily again but people continue to make remarks about my weight, even my own family.
‘We should be encouraged to embrace ourselves’
Body shaming is wrong: whether you’re big or thin. Constantly looking at people displaying what appear to be perfect torsos on Instagram and other social media doesn’t help.
It needs to stop now otherwise we’ll end up with a generation who hate how they look. We should be encouraged to embrace ourselves.
I am slowly getting more comfortable in my own skin again but like I said, I have those rare moments of doubt and discomfort.
I’m eating better again but my parents often tell me that I’m too skinny and that I don’t eat enough.
If you are struggling with your weight and body image, get help.
The author has chosen to remain anonymous. Need help? Try these helplines for recommendations of charities or non-profits that might be able to support you.