Skinny is beautiful, but beautiful is not skinny

The two are not synonymous with one another

Hot. Thigh gap. Big boobs. Perfect skin. White teeth. Nice butt. Flat stomach. Collarbones. Tiny ankles. Sexy.

We’ve all seen Barbie. We’ve all also seen the articles and statistics that tell us if Barbie were a real person, she’d be walking on all fours, with half a liver, on the verge of death. But we’ve all still dreamed of being Barbie.

We dream of it not because we love her tiny waist or her tanned skin, but because we grew up with people telling us she was beautiful, and we wanted to be beautiful too.

Female doll with tape measure around waist, portrait

When I open the explore page on my Instagram, my feed fills with pictures of beautiful celebrities. They’re skinny, with flawless makeup, large boobs, flat stomachs, nice asses, and long thin legs. I could scroll through those accounts for hours looking at skinny beautiful person after skinny beautiful person, and it wouldn’t take long before I started overanalyzing every inch of my body.

Over the last six months, my Instagram explore feed has begun to change. It still features beautiful women, but now those women come in more that one size; they look like real women. They wear normal sizes, have cellulite, and imperfect proportions, and they are beautiful.

Walked down the runway with my thighs touching and the world didn't end ?

A photo posted by JESS KING (@jessraeking) on Nov 28, 2016 at 1:29pm PST

We have begun to realize that slender is beautiful, but beautiful is not slender, and this distinction is changing the world we live in.

The body positivity movement has tremendously boosted confidence in women across the world – Dove launched its campaign “I’m no Angel,” featuring beautiful women of all sizes, Arie advertising with retouch-free photos, and Sports Illustrated featured Ashley Graham on the cover of their swimsuit edition this past year.


College women have recognized the power of this movement, and are especially passionate about it in light of the recent election. As one of my friends said, “body positivity was meaningful in the past, and it is definitely meaningful now, the words of the president-elect can perpetuate negative ideas so a movement that promotes self-love and body positivity is all the more important as he transitions into office.

“Accepting your body is the first step to health. It’s important to recognize that every body has different needs.”

Another woman I spoke to said, “I run marathons, and a lot of female athletes feel pressured to restrict their food while performing at high levels which is just not healthy in any form of the word. It’s so incredibly important to make sure the messages to women emphasize this. We need to treat our bodies with the love and respect they deserve.”

Young women have the power to drive the world’s changing ideas of beauty forward. There will always be those who feel threatened by this power, and those who cling to a limited idea of beauty, but those people are becoming the minority. Beauty is no longer a one-dimensional concept, and everyone from fashion bloggers and college kids, to multimillion dollar companies such as Dove and Sports Illustrated recognize that.


Thousands of people, women and men alike, have seen the power and freedom that comes from accepting, loving, and glorifying the female body regardless of its size, and we love ourselves too much to allow the comments of one fat-shamer, or even thousands of fat-shamers to have any sort of power.

William & Mary: College of William and Mary