I'm reading Seven Little Australians. It's a famous Australian children's book similar to the British William books and the Jewish All of a Kind Family books.
In the novel, sixteen-year-old Meg is pressured by her slightly older friend to wear a corset. Her friend insists it's of extreme importance for Meg to have a proper sized waist.
Wearing the corset so tightly is painful and dangerous. Still she does it...so she can be pretty enough. Her father, sibling, and stepmothers have no idea Meg is damaging her body in this way. They find out when she collapses and is taken to the doctor.
What women will do to look tiny.....
They'll sacrifice their comfort, enjoyment, and health.
They'll sometimes risk their lives.
Often they suffer silently and secretly.
If they're thin enough there's a chance someone might notice and reach out and help. But what IS thin enough?
And not every person torturing themselves for a good body is skin and bones. Some of them are only a bit slim. Some have an average weight. Some may even be overweight.
Women of various sizes are struggling to achieve or maintain a body that is acceptable to our society.
What can we do?
Maybe a good start would be too stop judging women on their size. Maybe we should stop complimenting people on losing weight, because we can't know if they're doing it in a healthy way. And who knows....it could be something like cancer that's making them thin.
I think maybe if we see someone that's very fat or very thin we can guess it's very likely that they're struggling with something....either emotional or medical. And we should have compassion for them.