Sunday, April 26, 2009

Against 'naturally thin'

Having made the case against 'natural beauty', I'm going to attempt the same with regards to the concept of 'naturally thin,' a subset of the category already discussed, but one that poses its own set of problems.


Every women-oriented thread about fashion models, once it passes the 'she should eat a cheeseburger' stage and the 'eating disorders are no laughing matter' one, includes someone pointing out that for all we know, many of these models are 'naturally thin.' Some people are just built that way! Who are we to judge?

This brings up the question: what is 'naturally thin,' anyway? Sometimes it's presented as including all thinness resulting from healthy or moderate measures (salad versus fries with dinner, yes; cocaine and bulimia, no). But, as it's usually understood, 'naturally thin' refers to any and all thinness not the result of intentional dieting or weight-maintenance. A woman who is naturally thin, the thinking goes, simply can't gain weight. Even if she wanted to. But why would she, now that even those famous pockets of the world where fat was considered desirable are giving way to pro-thinness norms? Which brings us to the problem.

So, here's my theory: despite the popularity of the expression, there are almost no 'naturally thin' women walking around these days. Moreover, the expression, 'naturally thin', misused in 99% of cases, should be abandoned, because it does more harm than good. Here's why:

1) There is no such thing as 'natural' food consumption in our society.

The 'naturally thin' woman is thin despite her 'natural' approach to food - eating what she wants, when she wants, without intentional restriction. A 'natural' approach to food is free of neurosis - no binge-eating out of anxiety, but also no choosing the salad over the fries if the fries appeal to you more. Alas, if you have an uncomplicated, eat-when-you're-hungry attitude towards food, you're far more likely to be overweight, given the availability of food today, not to mention the existence of foods specifically engineered to be extra-tasty and extra-fattening, than were your equally non-neurotic predecessors. A healthy attitude does not necessarily, in this case, lead to physical health, and only rarely leads to thinness. Making a conscious choice to eat foods marketed as 'natural' (or Pollan/Waters/Bittman-approved) might have some advantages, but it is not eating 'naturally'. What would natural even be, anyway? What people ate in 1850? Cavemen? Where would we draw the line?

2) The 'naturally' emaciated are often naturally not-big, but are rarely naturally as thin as they appear before you.

This is to answer the question re: models, the one so preoccupying women everywhere. My point here isn't that models would be average-sized if it weren't for eating disorders, or that all women, if they didn't watch what they ate, would be overweight. There are certainly women who, eating only pastries, are small. Call these women the naturally not-big. But 'naturally thin'? It's been known to happen, but above, oh, age 11, there's not a lot of it going around. Yes, models are young, but not that young. They look prepubescent not because they are in fifth grade - in most cases, they're not - but because they are paid to take their naturally tall and thin bodies (remember, I admitted that some women are naturally thin, just exceedingly few, but models are among those few) over the border into emaciated. Of all models, there are, again, surely some who are just 'like that', but if the level of salad-and-cigarette consumption by this demographic around Union Square West is any indication, that's not the usual situation. Point being, it's not that models aren't naturally thin, or that we're all just one eating disorder away from looking like a model (we're not), it's that they aren't, generally speaking, naturally that thin.

3) Much like 'natural' beauty generally, 'natural' thinness is used to describe the opposite.

Just as various allegedly subtle shades of eyeshadow and the like are marketed as 'naturals', Google "naturally thin", and you'll find a wide array of diet books and websites with that title. Which seems strange, given that by definition, 'natural' thinness can't be gotten from a diet book. What these programs appear to have in common is that they are all being marketed as alternatives to diets. Given that diets are rarely referred to as such by those selling them, this is unsurprising. But the programs promising "natural" svelteness go further. And, as with the makeup-free Elle France cover, the decision to switch from calling diets 'diets' to calling them 'anti-diets' gets called heroic by those incapable of realizing that nothing has changed. "Thank god. I am so tired of dieting books!," writes one commenter... who goes on to list two diet books she likes, and a third she intends to buy.

4) Of those who are indeed naturally very thin, 'naturally' as in, without intentionally restricting calories, there's a good chance what's keeping them that way isn't something you'd want.

Dire poverty, stomach ailments, life-threatening illnesses, serious drug habits, or an inability to eat enough when depressed (depressed, in this case, about something non-weight-related), these are not things anyone looking for a way to shed those last ten pounds is signing up for.

5) As with other forms of 'natural' beauty, 'natural' thinness is about a posture of effortlessness, not about an actual lack of effort.

No one wants to be 'that woman' at lunch, admitting that she's ordered a salad because she doesn't like the way her hips spill out over her jeans. Which is why so many extremely thin women claim they are 'naturally' the way they are, as thought the basic calories in - calories burnt formula does not apply to them. Thus the clichéd interview with a model, in which she makes a point to eat, say, a cheeseburger, so that the interviewer can comment on how genetically blessed this woman must be. Yet very thin women often do eat tiny amounts, even openly so, for reasons they attribute to health (convenient allergies to all densely caloric and tasty foods, perhaps alongside a 'fitness'-inspired daily 20-mile run) or to morality ('I'm not eating this cake, not because it's fattening, but because eating animal products hurts the environment!'). It never comes as an immense surprise when someone with a thinner-than-model physique turns out to be a vegan. (I am, however, always shocked to see vegans who are any size other than emaciated. What, other than Camembert, are these people consuming?) Women in Category #5 thus pretend to be in Category #4, thin despite their best efforts otherwise, leading to some, but not many, truly ambiguous cases. Further confusing matters, 'naturalness'-wise, there are women thin for reasons of health or poverty who still watch what they eat for getting fat. But, the thinking goes, you're allowed to be particular about food, but only if it's for a cause more noble than your attempt to go from a 4 to a 2. (A hint: the quickest way to go down a dress size is to try something on at H&M, then go try on a similar item at the Gap. Much better than worrying all waking hours about your weight.)

If I'm against 'naturally thin', it's not quite for the same reasons as I came down on 'natural beauty'. Here it's really about the fact that the myth of 'naturally thin' both dangerously ignores the inordinate amount of time and energy women waste on weight-related fussing, something that we really should address, and at the same time valorizes a total lack of concern about what we put into our bodies, as though a 'natural' approach is a sign of superiority, the model who eats cheeseburgers winning out over the cheeseburger-eating woman of normal size, as well as the salad-eating model. Because, if this makes any sense, we should care what we eat, just, you know, not too much.


Not-a- Generic-User-ID said...

"Yet very thin women often do eat tiny amounts, even openly so, for reasons they attribute to health ... or to morality ('I'm not eating this cake, not because it's fattening, but because eating animal products hurts the environment!'). It never comes as an immense surprise when someone with a thinner-than-model physique turns out to be a vegan. "

Its worth noting that animal products DO actually hurt the environment, and the conditions that most animals are raised in ARE actually very cruel.

If someone is vegan for thinness /health reasons (and pretty much all the longitudinal studies do show it to be more healthy)and the morality issue is just a cover, its still more moral; so you shouldn't treat category 5 like its a bad thing.

Amber said...

I don't think vegans eat cheese.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


What you've mentioned here is just a variant of the classic diet-versus-eating-disorder dilemma: for many people, watching what they eat is not only reasonable, but a good idea. Putting too much emphasis on the small minority who are too thin, the thinking goes, can cause us to ignore that the real problem in this country is people being overweight. I'm not sure I agree with this line of thought, however, since even if very few women have actual eating disorders, the number dieting unnecessarily is probably quite large.

So, onto veganism: Being vegan is good for health and the environment. Being anorexic, however, is bad for health (obviously), more bad than being vegan is good. All disordered eating, its vegan and non-vegan variants, is good for the environment, insofar as someone eating next to nothing is not having the typical American meat consumption. But the bad here clearly outweighs, so to speak, the good.

But you're right - I have no idea, outside of ample anecdotal evidence, how often veganism is used as a cover for eating disorders/disordered eating, or of what percentage of vegans are the sort of vegan I describe. For those who do actually need to lose weight, veganism is a way to do so while also helping the environment (see: Mark Bittman's famous pre-dinner veganism). For those who don't, it's a way to provide an aura of respectability to self-destructive and vain behavior.

Finally, a small point. You wrote:

"If someone is vegan for thinness /health reasons (and pretty much all the longitudinal studies do show it to be more healthy)and the morality issue is just a cover, its still more moral"

There is, as I explained in the post, a difference between being vegan in order to be healthy (or thinner, if overweight, which comes to the same thing) and being vegan in order to be a size zero.


Did I say vegans ate cheese? To me, the most salient thing about them is that they do not. My question was, or was meant to be, how, without eating cheese, a person could maintain any weight other than a very, very low one.

PG said...


You said, (I am, however, always shocked to see vegans who are any size other than emaciated. What, other than Camembert, are these people consuming?)Unless it's the type of vegan who has gone into full B12-deprived dementia and refuses to eat sugar because something in the processing involves an animal product, a vegan can quite easily be larger than emaciated. Your own body converts glucose and fructose to fat if the sugar isn't quickly burned off, and someone who isn't eating much protein or fat is likely to substitute in a lot of carbs to be able to feel full. This is what you'll often see with vegans whose livelihoods don't depend on staying thin; they don't have a strong enough reason to deprive themselves of feeling satiated, so they'll eat until they feel full (like most of us do).

Moreover, many of the vegan options in non-home environments (workplaces, schools, shopping malls, etc.) will be high in sugar to compensate for lack of flavor from animal fats, and this is what the vegan will end up eating unless she can devote quite a lot of time to thinking about and preparing food. Maybe I just know the wrong vegans (the ones I know are all acquaintances from law school or law firm work, so as highly-educated people who spend a lot of time thinking about right and wrong, perhaps are disproportionately likely to have chosen veganism as an ethical matter), but they don't seem to be any more emaciated than the general population.

Matt said...

I agree that "natural" in this context (and many others) is a dubious adjective, service more to commend than to describe.

When I was younger (into my early to mid 20's) I could barely gain weight if I wanted to, though. My father was even more this way. I ate a pretty fair amount, lots of it consisting of junk. I certainly didn't eat less than I wanted or to restrict my diet in any special way. I was just young, with a fairly high metabolism, and quite active (but not as part of any special plan or anything- I just liked moving around a lot. So, I didn't gain weight. That was lucky, and doesn't apply to me now, but might have been thought to be "natural" in the sense of "not do to effort or artifice".

On vegans, lots of the ones I've known have eaten a lot of bread products (not very yummy bread products, for the most part), and it's not too hard to get lots of calories that easily lead one to gain weight that way, at least for some people.

For most people, though, learning to stop eating when they are not hungry, and not eat out of boredom (my biggest problem, these days), isn't super hard, and if one does that much trouble is avoided. Since it involves training it's probably best not thought of as "natural", though.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


The Camembert remark was intended as somewhat tongue-in-cheek - if I personally were to give up cheese, I'd lose a great deal of weight, but of course that's not true of, say, people who dislike cheese. Still, while I agree that sugar can be added to compensate for animal fat and whatnot, the fact of the matter is, many foods people really like contain eggs, milk, etc., and eliminating those foods will, for many people, lead to weight loss. My point is not that it's physically impossible for a vegan to be other than emaciated, but that 'vegan' makes for a very effective weight-loss diet, and is indeed used as such by people who do actually need to lose weight. (Let's not enter into the question of whether someone can be both obese and healthy - I'm assuming, for the sake of this post, that there is such a thing as health-motivated weight loss.)

Because veganism lends itself to weight-loss, many women looking to be a tiny size - for personal or professional reasons - use the health and moral aspects of veganism as a cover for their main motivation, namely extreme thinness. These aren't the vegans you've met, it seems; of the vegans I've met, many fall into this category, some don't, and some I couldn't say for sure. And, of course, there are women motivated both to be thin and to help animals/the environment. How much they care about one versus the other is hard to pin down as a general rule.


What you're describing, the ability to eat tons and not gain weight, is probably a whole lot more common among men than women, for biological reasons. But it would also be more common among young men than young women because even women with the metabolism you describe are, from a very young age, initiated in the world of watching one's weight, such that a 'natural' size two will, for years, be trying to stay a size zero. However naturally thin a woman is, there's almost always an unnatural, thinner point where she'd set her ideal.

PG said...

"many foods people really like contain eggs, milk, etc., and eliminating those foods will, for many people, lead to weight loss."

Yes, at least at first if that's a break from how they normally eat. My mom lost a lot of weight on the Atkins Diet, because rice is the bulk of what Indians eat and she was a vegetarian for religious reasons, so once she cut carbs there wasn't a whole lot left for her to eat, period. Indian snacks and desserts are carb-heavy, too.

But the people I've seen who have been vegans for years and have fully substituted toward the animal-product-free foods to replace the snacks and desserts they used to eat aren't going to be eating any less than the rest of us. In that way, vegan is really no different than Atkins or anything else -- if it's a big enough lifestyle change, you'll be stuck eating less because you just don't know/like foods that can substitute for what you used to eat.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

"In that way, vegan is really no different than Atkins or anything else -- if it's a big enough lifestyle change, you'll be stuck eating less because you just don't know/like foods that can substitute for what you used to eat."

That's true. But my point is not that veganism is a better weight-loss method than, say, Atkins. It's that it sounds more noble to say 'I'm a vegan' than to say 'I'm on Atkins', because the latter is explicitly about weight-loss, whereas the former could be about saving the environment, the treatment of animals, etc.

Withywindle said...

I was 133 1/2 pounds and almost 6 foot 2 when I was eighteen years old, and that was after half a semester of living on chocolate. Many years later and many pounds heavier, I want that remembered for posterity.

Anonymous said...

I am a vegan and i find your argument that ALL vegans are emaciated very offensive. I'm within the healthy range/ just on the cusp of underweight, I exercise, and I don't eat animal products. So what:? I'm not emaciated. I look fine.

And eating animal products DOES harm the environment. get your facts straight.

It sounds like you have some serious body image issues that make you over compensate so much by insulting all other ways of eating besides your own...

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

"I am a vegan and i find your argument that ALL vegans are emaciated very offensive"

Then you are a vegan who sure didn't read my post, or comments. I specifically said, at least once, that NOT all vegans are underweight. Read the thing before hurling insults, dear vegan.

Anonymous said...

My work group is largely middle-aged, there are 20 of us. Most of us are either tubby, or tubby-struggling-to-be-less, or very abstemious eaters. And we have one woman who is 42, looks 30, weighs about 100 lbs, is 5'3", bounced back to her swell figure after each of her two children, and eats what everyone else eats when the group goes out to lunch. So, there she is.

And our vegan is one of our youngest people - he has been vegan for fifteen years, is a mesomorph, and eats a lot of avocado-and-tomato sandwiches.


Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

So for this particular woman, lunch may well be the main (or only) meal of the day. That's all your story illustrates.

You really can't go by what people eat for lunch, compared with how large they are, as solid evidence of their metabolisms. We like to assume we know what people eat by what they eat when we see them, but we don't. And even going by what people eat when you're around them - how often do you notice who finishes their food and who does not? While we might notice what someone orders, how often do we think about how much of it they actually eat, except in very obvious picking-at-one's-food situations?

Anonymous said...

It's certainly possible that she would eat for show at coworker lunches, but it seems unlikely: she has a family at home, this is just a job, her main focus is elsewhere. Why should she work hard to impress us in this way? I think she's just enviable, hit the jackpot on metabolism/build. dave.s.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

It doesn't have to mean she's trying to impress - for instance, I tend to eat very little for lunch and a large (as in, family's worth of pasta, plus vegetables, cheese...) dinner (and often breakfast), not to prove anything, but because when I'm busy/stressed I don't eat as much as when I have time/am relaxed.

That said, there is such a thing as eating to impress. Which is why single women are advised to stay slim, but to eat a lot on dates. It's to show men a) that they're low-maintenance, and b) that they're 'naturally' thin, which is basically a claim about future thinness, what the man can expect once the woman isn't on best-first-date behavior. But I agree that it's unlikely a thin woman you work with would take this attitude while lunching with coworkers!

Ponder Stibbons said...

This doesn't really refute your generalization in point 5), since it may be that most women who are thin are that way because they make considerable efforts to stay thin. But I, and a few other women I know, were pretty much 'effortlessly' thin in periods of our post-pubescent lives due to having physically active lifestyles. I would distinguish our cases from those who are physically active because they make themselves work out to lose weight. In my case, I simply had a lot of hobbies that involved physical activity. Weight loss was not a consideration at all. I could eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. I don't know if one should call this 'natural', but some (perhaps a very small minority of) women do stay thin not because they are aiming to do that, but because it's a side effect of other aspects of their lifestyle (and the metabolism generated by said lifestyle). And, unlike the causes of thinness you mention in 4), this is a way of being unintentionally thin that isn't obviously something you wouldn't want. I am, in fact, pretty glad that I have a 'natural' liking for outdoor activities, since I get the health benefits that come with exercise without feeling that my physical activities are chores that I'm performing for some other ultimate prupose.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

"But I, and a few other women I know, were pretty much 'effortlessly' thin in periods of our post-pubescent lives due to having physically active lifestyles."

I see where you're going with this, and you could certainly be an exception, but in my experience, most high school age and over girls and women are well aware of the possibility of exercise for weight loss or maintenance, and do not have the unselfconscious relationship to working out that you describe, even if they did at the start of their interest in whichever sport(s). On my high school track team, for example, some girls joined out of a genuine love of running, some because it added Structure and Order to our lives, some because elite colleges demand that you do a sport... but many, including members of the above-mentioned categories, joined because running every day is a near-guarantee you won't get fat. Of course, the running-as-weight-loss strategy meant that some girls tried to join who truly couldn't run (including some heavy smokers!), but who were very preoccupied with thinness. But even for those on the team for other reasons as well, and who were genuinely good at the sport, this was, I would imagine in many/most cases, a motivation. I think everyone was sufficiently aware of this that the "unintentionally thin" few, once alerted to the the thinness-running connection, were unlikely to have the 'pure' sort of relationship to the activity you describe. Then again, there are always exceptions, and from what you describe, it sounds like you were/are one.

Anonymous said...

"So, here's my theory: despite the popularity of the expression, there are almost no 'naturally thin' women walking around these days."

I am a 33 year old woman who has never been over 115 lbs. in my entire life. I have never had an eating disorder, have never dieted, always gotten moderate to sometimes no exercise. I eat what i want when i want and I don't dwell and obsess over such petty issues. So if I am not NATURALLY THIN, what am i?

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


Did you miss the part of my post (part of the part you quote) where I write that "almost no" women are this way? I never said none. What I do take issue with, however, is your assertion that you "don't dwell and obsess over such petty issues" - if you are indeed naturally thin, as you claim, it's not that you're too intellectually-minded or whatever to worry about weight, it's that you'll be thin regardless, so there's no point.

Anonymous said...

It seems that you'll need to argue with me somehow, and I did see the "almost no" part, but just for the other "naturally thins" out there who might feel strange self doubt after reading this:
I'm a 40 year old five foot five inch woman. My weight has been between 107 and 117 for the last 25 years except for my two pregnancies, the second of which brought me up to 160. The weight came off in 2 months and I ate a ton to make sure I was an effective nurser. I don't exercise, I eat what and when I want. I'll eat big macs, pizzas (whole pizzas) and am a 'carboholic'. I eat more than my husband does. Admittedly I don't really have a taste for sugar and don't like soda either. I'd have to conclude that I'm naturally thin. I always have been.

Anonymous said...

You should read this you meanie
thin people. real thin people and lots of them.

Anonymous said...

You are extremely ignorant, naturally thin people DO exist. Just because you may not identify with this crieria certainly does not mean that it does not exist.

Erin said...

I think it's funny how any article that addresses weight AT ALL (whether talking about the thin, the heavy, or anything in between) always draws extremely harsh and personally attacking comments. "You are extremely ignorant," "you meanie," "It sounds like you have some serious body image issues"... I also think it's funny that her opinions (which she is not claiming as fact, but as her opinion) are pretty moderate (I mean, she says that there are some naturally thin women. In nearly every point of her article, she basically says, "this isn't true of every case." What exactly is the necessity of attacking this author?

And I feel that I should probably add (just so I don't also get attacked with people saying that I'm just saying this because I also have body issues) that I am not "naturally" skinny. I am also not obese or even overweight. I work to maintain my figure, thank you very much. And I also agree that some people are naturally thin, but the term is used in inappropriate cases all the time.

Anonymous said...

I'm naturally thin; I've gained about 5 lbs. every single year of my life and didn't hit 100 lbs. until after high school. I'm now 36 and weigh exactly the same as I did when I was 19. I eat many small deals during the day, mostly because I don't like stuffing myself or the feeling of being full. I don't watch calories or on any diet. I'm a carnivore. I don't do drugs. I'm overall healthy and my cholesterol is very good as are other levels like glucose. Yet I don't actively monitor what I eat. I'm not sure if I have high metabolism, but one thing I do notice is that I eat my food slowly. I also don't get normal hunger pains until maybe after a day or so of not eating much like when I'm really busy. I put almost no effort into maintaining my figure and yet I'm still thin; it's very hard for me to gain weight. I have a very good sense if I'm instinctively going to underweight because I know the exact point of pounds (110) where I'm going to start to feel ill. Right now my weight is between 115-120 pounds and i'm 5'5" - it's been exactly that range since I was 19. I have wondered if it means that something else is going on but so far, there doesn't appear to be anything wrong.

Unknown said...

Up until the age of 26 my weight was 99lbs at 5'3.5". My nicknae was greedy hog because of how big my appetite was. People would laugh at the enormous amounts of food I ate. This was never for show. Let me tell you. My nickname was greedy hog or greedy pig, at home, at school, and anywhere else I went. I ate fairly healthy but never strict healthy just half way. My favorite foods were mac and cheese and lasagna. I have was never a drug user and was never sick. The fact is that a small percentage of women have been lucky enough to have a super fast metabolism. Any other words some people just got it like that. Some people just got it going on like that.

GiaFox said...

I'm sorry, but your blog's BS. It's your opinion nonetheless.

You come here denying that naturally thin women exist, but you have tons of examples out there. I'm sure you know yourself that what you said above isn't true. Not all of it.

These women are called NATURALLY thin for a REASON.

I sort of feel insulted by your blog, because I'm one of those naturally thin women.

I indulge in my cravings, eat whenever and whatever and I can attest I never gain weight as a result of that, as you said that whoever has this free habit of eating whenever feeling hungry, eat, get overweight. Like I said, we're called naturally thin for a damn reason.

I don't need someone like you and tell me to my face that everything's BS and that I'm not what I obviously It's like you'd have the real thing in front of your eyes, but you'd deny it still.

Get a grip.


GiaFox said...

You come here denying that naturally thin women don't exist*

Anonymous said...

First of all, at no point in your blog have you included any reliable sources or legitimate case studies to prove your position, you have only stated what you have observed in only a few girls. Not of what you said is fact-based. You have only stated your OPINION.

It makes me wonder what generalizations you make about other people. If you see a thin girl do you think "Oh my, she must not eat" or "she's probably a runner or goes to the gym because she is anorexic" or "they are a skinny vegan which means they probably are hiding an eating disorder". You probably have ran into a lot of girls that are incredibly body conscious and have low self-esteems and tried dieting and developed eating disorders, but it's quite bitchy to assume that a majority of thin girls are thin because they are unhealthy eaters.

Let me say, I'm totally against how the media pushes thinness on women and often times fuller figured women are given a hard time. It is truly disgusting to me, but guess what? Thin women DO exist and we get bullied for our thinness too. We would love to have curvy bodies just to be considered real women like those "real women have curves" campaigns. Do you find this shocking? Well, welcome to the real world, Phoebe. Not all of us skinny girls have eating disorders. Some of us like to eat large steaks and hell, some of us dance or going running and even work out at the gym, no, not to lose weight, but to get more muscle definition to get mean girls like yourself off our cases.

You are really rude to assume that most thin girls are starving themselves. You are better off exploring ways to empower ALL women regardless of their body shape and to learn to love themselves. Attacking thin women is the wrong way to go about it. And yes, you did attack us.

Anonymous said...

Also, I'd like to note that when I said "Some of us like to eat large steaks and hell, some of us dance or going running and even work out at the gym, no, not to lose weight, but to get more muscle definition to get mean girls like yourself off our cases." I didn't mean that its all for show or to prove a point. I eat healthy and workout because it makes me feel good, not because I feel I could lose weight. If my doctor says my thinness is healthy, then hell, I am healthy. If you want to call me anorexic, go ahead.

If you still believe no naturally skinny women exist and how rude people can be to us, may I refer you to a blog post:

natalie keyser said...

Being a model myself, I would just like to say something. I am 19 years old. I've been modeling for 5 years now. My name is natalie keyser. You can look me up! I'm currently with elite models in new york.
I guess I am the "exception" because I have always been naturally thin. Before I started modeling, I was always lanky and tall. And even now, I am thin and 6'0. I swim for exercise, about 3 times a week and eat whatever I want. Honestly. And I am NOT bulimic. I'd just like to say, I've seen very few dangerously thin models who do not eat. I've met thousands of models and I think it's extremely insulting that the media portrays us as being anorexic. I realize we are thin. Yet if people would look more into the industry and go to our agencies with us every day and talk with us rather then assume, then the modeling industry would be a lot more respected today.

Being looked at every day, and hearing "you're so skinny" or "you're so tall," it's okay, but for me to come to you and say "you're fat" or "you're so short" it's insulting. If people would take the time to look into our industry and see truths instead of assumptions, maybe they would see that it's not all perfection. And maybe I could have more self-confidence and self-esteem like every one else on this planet. We are human too. And maybe all we want is respect.

Please, learn the truth before you judge.

Unknown said...

Hey hey! I'm naturally thin! All these assumptions... Just plain rude! I don't call other girls fat out of respect and I expect the same back, so no "ew you're so skinny go eat a cheeseburger". I like bacon burgers. Get it right!
Both of my parents were thin in their teens and youngin' years so I'm just the product of that. I came out taller than my mom because of my dad's genetics. I'm 5'6" and half asian half white. I'm also very active, which probably attributes to me burning off all the food I eat. I live on a farm so I do alot of walking and working around the property.
I'm NOT a veggie or a vegan either. I cannot live without bacon, sorry!
Do I want to be a model though? Most definitely! I want to be an alternative model! I do NOT want to be the symbol of eating disorders but the symbol of happiness and self-confidence. Women with confidence are sexy! :D

Anonymous said...

Ok this is a bunch of shit. I am naturally extremely skinny. And its due to a high metabolism, NOT a stomach problem or depression or any of the other crap you said. You don't know how hard it is for me to have everyone I meet asking omg are u anorexic? Or you're so skinny do u ever eat? Wtf?? Would you walk up to an overweight person and say, you're so fat, do u ever stop eating?? Its essentially the same thing. I do everything I can to gain weight and can't. I'll say this as nicely as possible: GO F*CK YOURSELF!!

Anonymous said...

I'm naturally thin, and not in a way that i choose salad over fries. Not only that I'm slim, I'm actually a bit underweight. And I'm 20, not 11. I just can eat whenever I want whatever I want and I eat a lot. And although there are not many cases like me, there a quite a few of us, excpecially in Europe where we generally have healthier food, and less obese people. So don't generalise please. I've grown up hating my self because of propaganda that I'm not a real woman because I don't have layers of fat on me. It's hateful and plain idiotic to consider obese people healthier than someone like me joust because you don't like the way I look. Medically I'm healthier.
And evolutionary looking, thin, fit people have better chances of surviving.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my late 30s, am a research scientist, a lesbian, and an ardent feminist, moonlight for a feminist zine that promotes body positivity (at any size) and have never been bigger than a UK size 6 (a US 0-2). I eat chocolate and doughnuts and pasta and pizza all the time. I just have a very tiny skeletal system and a very high metabolism. I find it very misogynistic to write a screed basically saying, "oh well no one's naturally thin, all those thin bitches are just lying and secretly anorexic." You sound like a jealous twelve-year-old 'mean girl.' I hope since you've written this you've matured somewhat and have developed enough confidence in your own body to not need to attack other women.

Anonymous said...

I am naturally thin and tall and was a model when I was younger. Both my parents are the same and were also models. I am naturally 5'7" 108lbs. I have struggled with trying to gain weight healthily to avoid being called anorexic since I was a young girl. I have cancer in my family and so I never eat junk food and only eat organic food especially meat. I was vegetarian for a while. I even have gone on sugar cleanses for months at a time. No matter what my diet I have remained at 108lbs. This is my natural, healthy weight. I don't get sick, I have a child, I do yoga for fun and health, I eat treats when I feel like it but I am healthy. Naturally thin is rare but does exist. Many models and celebrities fit into this category. It doesn't mean they are depriving themselves or unhealthy.

Anonymous said...

You know what, you make a compelling argument. Next time I finish a large meatlovers' pizza and a box of cinnastix by myself, I'll remember to note that my entire life is a complete sham.

Anonymous said...

Oh btw, genetics play a significantly larger role in weight gain and distribution than any of the points you made in this rant you fucking turd.
What did you get in biology class, a fucking 2?

Anonymous said...

"Oh btw, genetics play a significantly larger role in weight gain and distribution than any of the points you made in this rant you fucking turd.
What did you get in biology class, a fucking 2?

Sup, fucking anonymous. Genetics play a role in fat distribution, not weight gain, unless you have a genetic disease. You're the fucking idiot.

??? said...

First of all, is 2 even a grade? Second of all, genetics do play a role in fat distribution, but they don't play a role in weight gain unless you have a genetic disease. Third, what's with all the swearing?

Nobody is trying to offend you, call you fat, or call you too skinny. Usually people who are underweight Are suffering from something undesirable. They may not, but either way, it isn't good for your body.

Just-a-Friend said...

Actually to be honest, almost all the people people who are naturally thin, weigh very little because they're short, don't gain weight eating a lot because there's something not functioning right in their body, eat until they don't feel hungry but really don't consume enough nutrients, or are as part of a disease. Sorry to burst your bubble. I'm not trying to offend anyone. If you really are naturally extremely thin, even if you feel fine, you probably should get yourself checked out. This isn't about body image, just basic health. I was extremely thin, but it didn't turn out too healthy. Now I'm at a healthy weight, and am fine, and feel a lot better! I'm sorry if you feel bad about yourself or are bullied, but this isn't what this is about.