When I was in the sixth grade, my middle school crush gave me a class picture signed: "To Dana (Sticks with 2 stones)." Never mind that he was calling attention to my blossoming figure. This was the first time in my life that I felt ashamed of being skinny.
I've been thin ever since I stopped drinking Similac milk. (I guess that's where the baby fat went.) And growing up in the Deep South, I was always surrounded by curvier women. Many of these women were a part of my own family, but not once did they make me feel less feminine because I didn't possess a shapely figure. Yet, I continue to face skinny-shaming.
Whether a physician's assistant is forcing me to get an EKG because my weight and height don't correlate with what she's learned in med school, or I'm getting backhanded compliments from juice-crazed fashion insiders for being "so darn skinny," my size is always a hot topic. But what everyone seems to forget is that it's my body, and if I'm healthy, why all the criticism?
I used to blame comedian and actress Mo'Nique for her degrading "skinny bitches" sketch, where she attacked thin women like myself and called us "evil." There was no laughter erupting from my mouth because I knew that her animosity was a reflection of a deeper body image issue. And instead of using comedy as a platform to illustrate why all women should love the weight they're at, she ripped smaller ladies to shreds.
In recent years, there has been an awe-inspiring movement to call out fat-shaming (Jennifer Love Hewitt got real about Hollywood's body critics). However, I feel as though it often comes at the expense of embarrassing skinny women.
On a recent episode of WE TV's new reality show "House of Curves," Bella René creative director Kendra referred to the public relations assistant Kelli as a "skinny little stick figure" and questioned her ability to represent the brand. While her reservations may be warranted, I found her comments quite hurtful and demeaning. With the objective of this Atlanta-based fashion house to "put the positive in plus size and create designs for real women," why not embrace Kelli for exactly who she is? That's really what this is all about.
So I'm taking a stance against skinny-shaming and calling out all the haters. Before you even think about prejudging a woman (no matter her size), think really hard about what it says about you.
Signed, A Proud Knee-Cracker
Meet Our Body Image Heroes
Want more HuffPost Style beauty content? Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram at @HuffPostBeauty. (For everything else check out our main HuffPost Style Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram @HuffPostStyle.) --- Do you have a beauty story idea or tip? Email us at email@example.com. (PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)