Comic Shows That Some People Value Thinness Even When It Means Someone Is Extremely Sick

September 28th 2016

Laura Donovan

An artist is gaining attention on Tumblr for her comic illustrating the societal tendency to value thinness — no matter the circumstances.

Illustrator Miriam Caldwell's comic opens by saying she lost a ton of weight when she had an illness, which is unidentified in the comic. Though she got thinner due to being sick, people praised her for slimming down, a response she found peculiar because the body they were complimenting was not healthy, and it was not the body of a happy person either:

Miriam Caldwell Tumblr

When Caldwell started recovering from her illness, she also began to gain weight. She was happy to see that she had rosy cheeks, stronger legs, and a soft stomach.

Miriam Caldwell Tumblr

In her comic, she argues that society has sent women the message that being thin is the ultimate physical marker of success, even though this is in direct contrast with her noted experiences with being thin. She wraps up by saying "health comes in lots of sizes," and that there is more to being beautiful than fitting society's standard of thinness.

Caldwell told Upworthy in an email that she hopes her comic can "move the focus back to how we feel rather than how we look."

Since it was posted in February, her comic has been shared more than 400,000 times on Tumblr:


Shifting to focus on how we feel rather than how we look.

Eating disorders impact many Americans. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a significant eating disorder during their lifetime. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states on its website that eating disorders and other mental illnesses can also go hand in hand.

"Many people with anorexia also have coexisting psychiatric and physical illnesses, including depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, substance abuse, cardiovascular and neurological complications, and impaired physical development," the website states, noting that "people with bulimia often have coexisting psychological illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse problems."

Two years ago, writer Kylie McConville wrote in a piece for Elite Daily that women should know that they are so much more than their body type:

"Maybe you like the way you look. Your body is not food for someone else's thought, or a falsification of the love and respect you treat yourself with. You are much more than abs and hips and waist, cup sizes and busts, Apple Bottom jeans and crop tops."

[H/T Upworthy]