The Skinny is an R29 original dark comedy series that follows feminist wannabe YouTube star Jessie (Jessie Kahnweiler) as she explores love, life, and friendship in L.A. — while struggling with bulimia.
According to a 2015 Refinery29 study, 80% of millennial women avoid activities because they're self-conscious about their bodies. Imagine all the things you haven't tried (and might actually like) because of this. Tons of beach trips cancelled. All the pick-up soccer unattended. Spa trips — not a thing.
Where does this come from? When you're a kid, you aren't worried about having a bikini body. You just want to have fun and figure out what your body can do. Somewhere along the way, we base our actions on what we can't do. You become more aware of your relationship to your body as well as your body's relationship to the outside world. Whether it's magazine covers touting thigh gaps or when you're grandpa teases you about your baby fat, those insecurities start to form and weigh in on major decisions of how you walk around in the world.
These thoughts affect us, determine how we live our lives, and in some cases, cause major self-esteem issues and bodily harm. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), approximately 80% of bulimia nervosa patients are female. Whether they come from peers, family, or the media, we need to start having conversations about how we talk about bodies and start looking at the things we can do, not what we can't.
How do we solve this problem? Instead of always portraying women as perfect two-dimensional characters, we should focus on telling strong stories that show complexity, flaws, and the humanity of women and simultaneously move away from ideals of female perfection in the media.
Jessie Kahnweiler, creator, writer, director, and star of The Skinny, chats with preteens and adult women about their relationships with their bodies and what they wish they had known while growing up that could have prevented years of self harm.