I’ve gotta tell ya…sometimes I just cannot believe how socially dense we can be in 2018.
I mean, for as politically correct and inclusive our carefully chosen words are…y-i-k-e-s.
Let me back up.
Over the weekend, I took my dad out for his birthday. We went shopping, saw a movie, and went to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.
It was a great day.
But while we were at lunch, I honestly had one of those moments where I was quite taken aback.
For there, plastered across my menu, staring me in the face, was the word “Skinnylicious.” It was their “low calorie” menu.
The good old folks at The Cheesecake Factory thought it was a good idea to remind you of your ultimate life goal of becoming “skinny” right before you have a slice of peanut butter ripple chocolate cheesecake with extra fresh whipped cream.
But sitting there and seeing the word “Skinnylicious,” I literally let out an audible groan.
Are you freaking kidding me?
Come on, Cheesecake Factory, you’re better than that.
This is just wrong on so many levels.
And you may be wondering, okay, what’s so wrong with that -admittedly- clever advertising?
“Skinny” is very problematic word.
Awful, in fact.
As a survivor of severe anorexia that almost cost me my life, I can say with authority, that “skinny” is killing our girls.
As a society, we are obsessed with underweight, “skinny” women. We photoshop gorgeous, already slim models to be thinner, and present this unattainable, computer generated body type as “ideal.” Not skinny? Poor you — you’re not beautiful or desirable.
We’re placing more value on our body size than on the condition of our hearts and soul.
But here comes The Cheesecake Factory saying, “Oh, deprive yourself of what you really want, and settle on this low calorie choice, all in the pursuit of skinny.
They’re making it seem like “Skinny” is the sole purpose of taking care of your body. Why not label it “Healthier Choices?” Or “Lighter Options?” Rather than, Skinnylicious – which communicates that “Skinny” is why you’re eating healthier in the first place. Listen: I’m not against offering healthier food choices at restaurants. I’m all for it. Heaven knows that America needs an intervention in our waistlines. But why bring “skinny” into it?
And yeah, I get it – it’s a clever play on words, and maybe you think I’m overreacting, but “skinny” is a highly emotional word for a lot of people – and dare I say…triggering.
Even as a former anorexic, sitting there this weekend, 10 years recovered, I still read that menu and had to fight with every ounce of me the negative energy and shockwaves that bristled my spine, thanks to that damn “S-word” — skinny.
During my anorexia, I literally was dying to achieve that hallowed title: skinny. And even at 78 pounds, I was never “skinny” enough in my mind. I killed myself with extreme exercise; obsessed about food all the time, yet never eating it. And the only morsels of food I ever would allow myself to eat were always diet foods – low calorie, low this, low that – all to achieve skinny.
“Skinny” landed me at a 3 month stay at an Inpatient Treatment Facility, barely hanging on. And in fact, one of the biggest obstacles you have to overcome in your recovery journey is learning how to eat “regular, full-calorie” foods and meals. I cannot put into words how challenging this was for not just me, but for literally every girl there. There were tears –nay– *breakdowns* TANTRUMS, even – at the eating tables over full calorie foods.
So to see that low calorie menu touted as skinny — it was just an out of touch, slap in the face. Skinnylicious: taunting diners that – by choosing a *gasp* regular “full calorie” meal, that they are, in fact, not skinny. In other words, Choose from the “full calorie” menu, and you’re a fatty! Or, not so discretely suggesting that by eating from the regular menu, you’re letting yourself go.
I remember a few weeks after I got out of inpatient, I went to The Cheesecake Factory with my dad. I still had some substantial weight to gain even after my stay, and yes – I was still very much struggling. Somehow, that night, I managed to eat two slices of cheesecake by myself. And actually enjoyed it. I can still remember. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough one, and Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake.
But it was easily the scariest meal of my life, and I felt so accomplished afterwards.
But had there been a Skinnylicious menu staring me in the face as a still-underweight-and-struggling-anorexia-survivor-trying-to-reclaim-her-life….I woulda been out of there faster than a bat outta hell.
There is more to life than skinny.
And frankly, it’s time we stop worshiping “skinny.”
We lust after it. We envy it. We will destroy anything in our path in order to achieve it…even if that means ourselves.
Skinny is not the be-all-end-all. Skinny does not dictate your worth as a person.
Skinny will never love you.
But God will.
Let’s give our girls something real to hold in high esteem other than skinny: Like women who are kind. Joyful. Generous. Brave. Strong. Smart.
Skinny needs to be burned from our vocabulary.
And Skinnylicious can go crawl in a hole and die for as far as I’m concerned.
Get with the program, Cheesecake Factory.
You may make good sweets, but frankly that idea was dumb as bricks.
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