I, along with many others, just spent fifteen minutes of my day waiting in a line that stretched from the cash register all the way back to the entrance. Not being a “regular,” I wondered what the appeal was, and why Starbucks has turned into a massively successful worldwide brand. Sparked with curiosity, I couldn’t help but listen to orders placed as I creeped up the line. I watched as each woman stepped forward with her phone in hand to scan and pay. Then, I heard these lengthy, detailed, and mastered orders all beginning with the word, “SKINNY.”
Not being a regular Starbucks consumer, I became intrigued. What is a “Skinny” drink? Was I missing out on something that could make me skinny? If I didn’t order a drink including the word, “Skinny,” would I be drinking a “fat” one? So, I did what I always do when I want to find something out. I pulled out my phone, and searched, “What is a skinny drink at Starbucks?” I read, “Nonfat, sugar-free, and no whip.”
You’re probably wondering what my point is, just like I wondered where Tracy Morrison was going with her letter to Nordstrom.
I had an eating disorder thirteen years ago when I was a sophomore in college. I was anorexic. I starved myself. I refused to eat or drink anything that wasn’t fat-free, nonfat, or sugar-free. Sure, I got “skinny.” But I was far from healthy. My initial attempt to be conscious of my food and drink intake turned into a sick obsession. I was influenced not only by media’s constant portrayal of beauty through thinness, but by diets that people around me were implementing in their daily lives.
The word “skinny” instantly gives people an image of a thin, curve less, flat stomach, and no touching of the inner thighs kind of body. Just like the pillow at Nordstrom implied sleep can make you skinny, referring to a kind of drink as “skinny” is further contributing to this awful epidemic of poor body image and overwhelming number of eating disorders. I know, personally, when it was my turn to place an order, I felt nothing but guilt when I contemplated getting anything other than “skinny.” Was I the fat girl because I wasn’t adding “skinny” to the beginning of my drink order? Can’t we call it something other than “skinny?”
Nordstrom: Thank you for listening and accepting responsibility for the pillow statement. Taking it off the shelves was a positive step forward in acknowledging society’s skewed view on beauty. I am sorry that Tracy Morrison had to experience this with her daughter, but I know her encounter with that pillow will result in helping millions of other girls.
Tracy Morrison: Thank you for sharing your story, experience at Nordstrom, and delivering such a powerful message regarding body image and eating disorders. My mission when I publicized my struggles, and continued obstacles, was to emphasize that beauty is far more than body shape. I achieved “skinny.” But, as a result, I became depressed, fatigued, withdrawn, and unhealthy. I appreciated your piece and letter to Nordstrom more than you can imagine, and I promise to pass it along.
My hope is that more people like Tracy speak up, share their personal battles, and spread an extremely important message to encourage positive body image and the true definition of beauty, unrelated to being “skinny.” We are all different. We are born with unique figures. Let’s embrace them, love them, and take care of them so that we can be our utmost happiest and healthiest.