Following a routine check up at her college medical centre, the last thing student Frances Chan, 21, expected was to be kicked out of Yale University for being to thin! But threatened she was.
The Ivy leagure university has since agreed to keep Chan on as a student but, as Chan found out, it wasn't the first time Yale had tried to reprimand a student for having a low BMI despite (as Chan insists) it being nothing but genetic. Welfare is one thing, but since when has someone's weight been public property? Since when has it been OK to skinny-bash?
Kate Wills knows the feeling and last month wrote a powerful yet humorous piece on why it's not OK to skinny-bash people like her, either. She was, to put it bluntly, just born what way. We got hundreds of positive letters in response. Here, Kate explains why she felt the need to articulate it...
'I wasn’t convinced that I should write an article about my experiences of being naturally thin. Firstly because I feel there’s way too much written about women’s bodies and I didn’t want to add to that, but also because I was scared I’d come across as arrogant or whiney and not dissimilar to a certain columnist who claimed it was hard being beautiful, so in built is our notion that thin equals ideal (even though I know first-hand that’s not the case). A lot of friends advised me not to write it, saying “No-one will feel sorry for you, because being skinny is better than being fat.” But I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, I just wanted to make people realise that thin people get judged too, and that slim-shaming is no less hurtful than any other kind of bullying.
Keira Knightley at Chanel [Getty] who was later skinny-bashed
So I was massively relieved to see the feedback, both from fellow slim jims who’d experienced similar experiences, and from larger women who said the article made them realise it was the same as being fat-tist and no-one has the right to comment on anyone else’s weight. I’m as guilty as anyone of making snap judgments based on someone’s size, but I hope this piece might make everyone think twice before they presume that a very thin person has an eating disorder or isn’t healthy. Or at the very least, that I won’t have to discuss my metabolism with strangers next time I tuck into a burger.'