Improperly Using The #StrongNotSkinny
I understand that one point of this hashtag was to influence women with eating disorders and anorexia to keep fighting on their journey to becoming healthy. But, what I think is that the reasoning behind using the word 'strong' was not defined well enough. I have seen many, MANY posts on instagram of girls showing how they gained muscle - the 'before and after' photos. What I see wrong with this image is actually shameful to those who are born skinny... they are NATURALLY thin and are healthy and confident in themselves. "Strong Not Skinny" to me sounds like a clothing 'trend' that everyone should hop on. The use of this hashtag has gone out of control. What I mean, is that a lot of these 'before and after' photos are of bikini competitors. In what world is it realistic to look like this? This takes months of restrictive diets, almost everyday spent in the gym, feeling tired all the time and slowly shutting your body down. All to step on stage for a few short minutes and be judged on how your body looks.
Strong is not just a measurement of how you look. Having confidence, a positive mental mindset and being in tune with your emotions is what really makes you strong. Being strong mentally is far much more powerful in meaning to me than it is physically. Everyday we are given the chance to use and improve our strengths, whether that be to become better at a sport, improve our health, be able to gain the weight back, to be a happier person and not worry so much about the little things. In simple terms: to be confident in who you are and how you look.
The main reasons why I think the hashtag is a horrible way to show progress in someone's mental space is because it is more focused on LOOKING strong:
- It implies a problem with being skinny. Being shamed on for your natural body shape is painful and just does not make any sense. Who said you can't naturally be thin, happy and healthy?
- This is yet ANOTHER unrealistic beauty standard that we should live up too because of how much light is shed upon it. Okay, being strong physically is a lot better than starving yourself thin - but, are we now measuring our worth based on our strength to the physical eye? This hashtag has replaced the old beauty standard of being of thin with becoming muscular. Everyone has their own fitness goals and routines, not every single one of us needs to be working on our PR. When you search this hashtag, you see these photos of lean individuals who are extreme dieting. But, if this hashtag was to show strength, why does it not show individuals of different shapes.
#StrongNotSkinny is just another comparison, an additional body type of you needing to be one or the other... so, if your not skinny, do you need to look aesthetically to be strong? No.
With that said, stop using the damn hashtag.