Thinspiration

Robin Wells

Robin is an actor and a languages enthusiast, freshly-graduated from the University of London. He spends a fair amount of time in the YouTube community, and recently made the documentary 'Coming Out, Going On' for National Coming Out Day 2012.

Tape Measure

I used to have quite a few issues with the word ‘thinspiration’. To me it conjured up images of men and women pinning up pictures of models with ridiculously good physiques (whether natural or, more likely, photoshopped), giving themselves an unrealistic goal to strive for. This would lead to some abusing their own bodies through anorexia and the like in their quest to be thinner.

I have always been against the promotion of just ONE acceptable body type. If you were to somehow enter my mind, and go through the files of all the guys I have ever found attractive, a lot of them would not conform to that which society (and tumblr) tells us is beautiful.

I was very righteous in this belief. Even when the societal conditioning which I would be working against (sorry, been doing a lot of queer theory recently) sometimes got the better of me and tried to tell me that no, that guy is not attractive, I would make sure my mind was open, because who the hell was I to discriminate against someone when I’m discriminated against anyway?

This attitude is still with me, yet something has happened recently which has tested my conviction somewhat. In the last twelve months, I’ve done something which, in all honesty, I’ve never done before. I’ve put on weight.

Now, I’m pretty sure that half the people reading this just rolled their eyes and thought something along the lines of “Cry me a fucking river, Robin…”, but please hear me out. I’ve never felt that my physique was anything to write home about, but one advantage I did have was that I didn’t easily put on weight. However, after a year in Germany (the land of beer and sausage) as well as a few other unglamorous contributing factors, I’ve gotten somewhat bigger than I was 18 months ago.

My friends and family whom I’ve casually mentioned this to have all said to me “Don’t be ridiculous, Rob, there’s nothing of you!” but unfortunately the fact can’t be escaped that I’ve jumped three jeans sizes in the last year.

I was going round the shops with my boyfriend not long ago, and I went to try on an absolutely gorgeous pair of dark blue trousers in the size that I usually had. Now with men’s jeans – depending on the cut – there is usually a LOT of wiggle room in terms of size. All of my jeans are the original waist size I had, even if my waist is not – and believe me, it isn’t. I got out the tape measure and everything! However, these trousers have no ‘give’ whatsoever.

For the first time in my life I was looking into the mirror and staring back at me was the most fabulous muffin top I had ever seen. Still, I bought the trousers, explaining to my boyfriend that they were “something to strive for”, and the other night when I put them on to go out, I actually referred to them as my “thinspiration” trousers!

As soon as I said it, I realised how easy it had been for me to sit at my computer and preach about accepting yourself no matter what size you are, when I had never experienced it first-hand. I never understood how, with all the great role models of a larger size around nowadays, people with bigger bodies couldn’t feel better about themselves. And then it affected me – even though I only put on a minimal amount.

So I’ll go to the gym and get fitter – to be healthier, as well as to feel better about myself. But that doesn’t mean that I have to like the fact that I feel I need to.