Most of us are guilty of looking at models, especially the women, and either passing snap judgements on their bodies, or envying their 'natural' ability to stay thin, while the rest of us struggle to keep our bodies in shame. We rarely stop to think about the struggles, pressures and panic that the subjects of our unbridled envy must face, every time their bodies shows signs of change, given that their livelihood depends on looking desirable and measuring up against the demanding and ever-rising bar of beauty. Yesterday, American supermodel Gigi Hadid, used social media to shine a powerful spotlight on the importance of loving your body - in all sizes - while lambasting body-shamers.
In a series of tweets, Gigi spoke about being diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease after making her debut as a model at the age of 17, and how the condition led to inflammation and water retention, which resulted in unthinking critics calling her "too big for the industry.
For those of you so determined to come up w why my body has changed over the years, you may not know that when I started @ 17 I was not yet diagnosed w/Hashimoto’s disease; those of u who called me “too big for the industry” were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that.— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) February 11, 2018
Gigi also came forth to talk, with brutal honesty, about needing medication to deal with her condition and the symptoms she had to battle with, during her treatment.
Over the last few years I’ve been properly medicated to help symptoms including those, as well as extreme fatigue, metabolism issues, body’s ability to retain heat, etc ... I was also part of a holistic medical trial that helped my thyroid levels balance out.— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) February 11, 2018
And finally, she spoke about loving and accepting your body, regardless of its size, allowing it to grow and mature with age, and an entreaty to people to be kinder to each other - on social media, and in life.
Although stress & excessive travel can also affect the body, I have always eaten the same, my body just handles it differently now that my health is better. I may be “too skinny” for u, honestly this skinny isn’t what I want to be, but I feel healthier internally and (cont)— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) February 11, 2018
(cont) am still learning and growing with my body everyday, as everyone is.— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) February 11, 2018
I will not further explain the way my body looks, just as anyone, with a body type that doesnt suit ur “beauty” expectation, shouldnt have to. Not to judge others, but drugs are not my thing, stop putting me in that box just because u dont understand the way my body has matured.— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) February 11, 2018
Please, as social media users & human beings in general, learn to have more empathy for others and know that you never really know the whole story. Use your energy to lift those that you admire rather than be cruel to those u don’t.— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) February 11, 2018
Gigi's honest acknowledgement of her health issues and complete acceptance of her body clearly resonated with thousands of social media users, across the world. At the time of writing this article, her tweets had been liked almost 400,000 times and retweeted over 100,000 times, cumulatively.
Thousands of supportive and encouraging comments poured in too, some from celebrities, but most from men and women who had struggled with similar health or body image issues.
Can’t wait to see you in Milan. Sorry you too have to explain something so ridiculous to people. Love to you. Love to the people who try to tear down others also because they are just people who haven’t had the spiritual growth that needs to occur to love and accept one another.— Ruby Rose (@RubyRose) February 12, 2018
Ditto...Well, except I’m not a supermodel so there’s that small difference😉😉 Thank you for sharing @GiGiHadid I’ve never heard someone be so open about it and nail exactly how I feel. Thanks again, gorgeous girl ❤️— Rachael O'Brien (@rachaelnobrien) February 12, 2018
Couldn’t agree more— Celine Farach (@CelineFarach) February 12, 2018
Gigi , thank you for this ! I have suffered from Hashimotos disease as well- the human body is a complex yet beautiful thing, it’s unfortunate that people feel the need to remain so fixated on it. Love and good energy to you. Hope this raises awareness about thyroid conditions— lil p (@pkiwi93) February 12, 2018
Please don't waste ur time with explanations, dumb people will not understand and ur friends don't need it. They know u. Use ur time enjoying all the beutifull things u have in your life thanks to your hard work 💜— Rosarito (@oshimartelli) February 12, 2018
@GiGiHadid I have Hashimoto’s and had my thyroid removed as part of my treatment. It is one of the toughest to manage. You’re gorgeous outside, but you are someone to respect and appreciate on the inside too. I have a young daughter and I want her to have you to look up to. ♥️— lisa (@icanbeaforce) February 12, 2018
Instead of explaining how your body isn’t what they are saying, tell them who you are! Your a beautiful, smart, talented young woman! Tell those haters your proud of your body, because it kills people who throw hate, when we stay positive, and happy! #LotsOfLoveHere— Rachelle Wilfong (@WilfongRachelle) February 12, 2018
For those not in the know, Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune condition in which the patient's immune system turns against its own tissues, attacking the thyroid gland located at the base of the neck, below the Adam's apple. Inflammation from the disorder often leads to hypothyroidism (when the thyroid gland does not make enough hormones to suffice the body).
While we love Gigi's blunt takedown of body-shamers and nastiness on the Internet, the most empowering part of her tweetstorm was, arguably, this sentence: "I will not further explain the way my body looks..."
We hope more models, actresses and even regular women around the world take a leaf out of Gigi's book of body-positivity and saying a firm 'no', every time someone asks demeaning, belittling questions about their weight or size.