Friday, February 17, 2012

SKINNY or FAT

skinny or fat
(found on Pinterest, but wasn’t pinned to original source)
I know this isn’t in my list of usual blog topics, but I’ve been thinking a lot about weight. My weight. I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I remember.  I was never as small as other girls. Never.  Even in kindergarten I was taller and “thicker” than all of the boys and girls in my class.  And at 5 years old, I knew that being bigger, taller, thicker, was not a good thing.

I’ve never felt comfortable in my own body. Never felt good enough, and never felt pretty enough. All because of being fat. I’ve cried many, many times over my weight. I’ve called myself horrible things (disgusting, loser, ugly, cow, whale, fat bitch) and what’s worse, I have made myself believe that I am every last one of those things. That deep down inside, I am ONLY those things. 

I’ve been completely green with jealousy over every skinny, thin, and normal weight person I’ve ever seen.  I’ve been hurt every time someone has made fun of someone because of their weight. I’ve wanted to go off on every woman who has ever complained about being 5 or 10 pounds overweight, or who has complained about having trouble finding clothes that fit because she’s too skinny.

I was searching for hairstyle posts last night and came across a blog I had never seen before. I ended up reading a blog post of hers last night that said she felt it was just as bad to call someone skinny as it was to call someone fat.  “So, is calling someone skinny really acceptable? Or, do you agree with me that it's just as insensitive as calling someone fat?” 

I’ve never been on that side of the spectrum, being too thin.  So honestly, I don’t know how it feels having people walk up to you and say, “oh my gosh, you’re so skinny.” I can only DREAM that someone would one day walk up to me and say that. 

BUT, I do know how it feels for people to make fun of you simply because you’re fat, or to tell you at the age of 10 that you shouldn’t eat that because you need to watch your weight, or to read a comment on a friend’s page saying all fat people should be banned from ever wearing jeggings.   I have seen magazine after magazine post pictures of skinny girls, full body photos, but when there is a plus size girl or woman, they only post pictures of her face.  I’ve heard guys talk about overweight girls like they were trash, scum, and reduce them down to animals they wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Never have I heard a guy say he wouldn’t date, marry, or sleep with a girl because she was too skinny.  

I know that everyone perceives things differently, one person’s feelings won’t be the same as someone else’s. I do know that. But it is really hard for me to… understand, or grasp, the idea that being called skinny is just as insensitive or offensive as calling someone fat. And I guess one of the main reasons I feel that way is because society approves of people being skinny, and they condemn people for being overweight.  And most people use the word skinny to compliment someone. "girl, you look so great! So skinny!" You never hear of the word FAT being used to give someone a compliment. No one ever says, "Girl, you are looking good! Did you gain weight?!" or "Ooh she's so fat, I wanna look just like her!" I don’t know… heavens knows I would rather be on the complete opposite side of the weight spectrum, like my husband, who can literally eat 5 candy bars in one hour and still lose weight.  I wish I could be like him, but I’m not. I won’t ever be like that either. And I don’t think I can really understand that being called skinny is just as hurtful as being called fat. 

Anyway, I know this isn’t my usual blog post, but I would love to know what you think. I would definitely be open to hearing your opinions or experiences on this issue too. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment you could email me too.

5 comments:

Ange said...

Jennifer, This is such a hard thing for anyone because we are all judging ourselves and others on physical body image. I have been very skinny for most of my life. Why do people find it acceptable to call me things such as a skinny bitch, bony butt, chicken butt, asking me what I had to eat today, like water and some crackers, or asking me if I have a tapeworm and that's how I stay skinny? And people asking if you have to go throw up to stay skinny is really just totally offensive.
Really, is this ok just because I may look acceptable to society's standards? Is it ok to call a blonde person a bimbo or dumb blonde because their hair is blonde? I think the point is, it's hurtful no matter what because you are using words to make someone feel bad about themselves, either being too big or too thin. Words said out of disgust towards oneself or others or words said out of jealousy are never nice words. I actually do know a few guys who have said they think some girls are too skinny and bony which they find unattractive. Anyways, I just wanted to post from the opposite side as I didn't really enjoy having the nickname "tapeworm" while in college and it was hurtful even if it was because I was skinny. We are a society need to stop judging ourselves and others based on our physical appearance. Thanks for sharing this today, it's good stuff to think about.

Anonymous said...

I have been overweight since childhood. I have never been skinny. Over the past 10 years, I have be *very* slowly losing weight. While I understand that this is a good thing, and is certainly healthier for me, it has caused some interesting issues with my body image. I don't know what I'm supposed to look like. I don't look like myself in the mirror. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that it is so different that it's almost uncomfortable.

I don't know if you can understand, but, while I am smaller than I was, I am by no means skinny. However, the more weight I lose, the more I hear "Wow, you look great," or "You're getting soooo skinny!"

I appreciate the compliments, but I never thought I looked bad to begin with! And, darn it, I never wanted to be skinny! I just want to be healthy, happy, and able to enjoy my life!

Maybe we should start going around complimenting happy people! "Wow, you look so happy today!" "I love to see you smiling!" Wouldn't that be a better compliment than size or "beauty" based?

And, by the way, my husband has said he would date a girl who was too skinny. ;)

Anonymous said...

oops, that should have read "my husband has said he would *not* date a girl who was too skinny!"

Amanda @ Ninth Street Notions said...

I am a thin person. I always have been. As a child, I was extremely skinny, and it wasn't good. My baby sister, on the other hand, is 10 inches taller and 15 sizes bigger. In my house we grew up knowing that either was just fine, as long as we were healthy. I know that the two of us didn't always feel that way, but through my teenage years I learned that that was true. I definitely feel that way. My friends, though, who are bigger than I am, often tease me because I'm small. They think I don't know what it's like. No, maybe I don't, but I do know that I have to watch my weight very closely because just a small amount of extra weight doesn't feel good - it isn't healthy for ME. I think that "healthy, feel-good" weight is different for everyone. And no, I don't like it when people mock me because I am thin and think I know nothing. What I know is this: (and trust me, I so sincerely believe this to be true) some of us are skinny. Some, like me, are just thin. Some of us are bigger (or, as I like to say, luscious). And if you can be healthy at that weight, that is more beautiful than any societal imposition. Is it difficult to come to terms with that? Yes, I think it's something we all struggle with. But I so hope that one day we all feel that balance.

Dree said...

I was a "chubby" kid, but was never teased by anyone but my mother. Then, I grew (to 5'8"), and have been "thin" ever since. I finally fit my slim shoulders and narrow wrists.

I wouldn't say I am skinny now, but fit. I have been skinny. Skinny doesn't feel good--you get tired running up a flight of stairs. Clothes don't fit. I needed caffeine to have energy. Now I make time for lots of exercise. It keeps me sane.

That said, it really isn't fun seeing your facebook wall full of friends' postings of that pic of 3 women, 1 skinny, 1 fit, 1 curvy (she's not fat)--and all your friends posting "only the one on the right looks good! the other 2 are sick!" I look like the one in the middle. Just older and stretch-marked LOL.