The other day, Katie wrote, what turned about to be, a pretty controversial post. Is calling someone “impossibly skinny” just as bad as calling someone “impossibly fat?”
While she took a lot of flack for her post, I, for one, am glad she was brave enough to open the door to this topic. We all know that calling someone fat is beyond rude and insulting. Yet, when someone is thin, how is it any better to comment on the shape and size of her body?
My childhood was not easy (and with the wisdom of adulthood, I’ve learned that no one’s childhood was easy). I was taller than everyone else in my class (which meant I couldn’t peg my jeans in the early 90′s because they were already highwaters—TRAVESTY). I was pudgy. And to top it all off, my sister was a beauty queen.
Even 20 years later, remembering the way the other kids would whisper behind their hands and snicker makes my stomach hurt.
Every night after dinner, I would start to dread the next morning and having to go to school. I suffered through anxiety attacks and stress induced diarrhea (I can’t believe I’m sharing this online). I’d break out in hives. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep. Other nights I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all.
My mom tried, but really how do help your child when she’s crying that she’s a tall, fat, splotchy-skinned freak? She’d tell me constantly that things would get better. When I hit puberty, I’d lose my baby fat. I was just taking longer to develop than everyone else. I’d grow out of the awkward phase.
And she was right. The summer before my freshman year in high school, I shot up several inches. I lost my baby fat. I was thin.
And as soon as school started, so did the new whispers. The ones about me being anorexic.
The other kids were still whispering behind their hands. I still worried myself sick every night.
Would there ever be a time when I could just be me. Without having people judge me or make judgments about me based on what I looked like on the outside?
I finally got to that point in college. I gained enough self-confidence to not care what anyone else said or thought about me. I found myself. And I’m happy with who I am.
I like me.
I am smart. I am loyal. I am strong. I am hard-working. I am stubborn. I am adventurous. I am funny. I am loving. I am your best friend. I am your biggest champion. I am a bookworm. I am a dork. I am a nerd.
And. I am also thin. Or slender if you prefer. But please don’t call me skinny.
I hate that word. I really do. I feel like it has a very negative connotation. And people always have a certain tone in their voice when they use that word. Plus, that has nothing to do with who I AM.
I hear comments all the time about what I look like on the outside. “You can eat whatever you want. You’re skinny.” “Maybe you wouldn’t be so cold if you put some meat on your bones.” “You need to eat more. You’re too skinny.”
Once at the gym, I even had a group of women whisper to their trainer that they wanted to go to another area of the gym, so they wouldn’t have to workout next to me. (That’s right, ladies. I heard you. I have ears like a bat.)
Even my friends comment on my weight. My best gay friend calls me a “skinny bitch.” Often.
People think it’s okay to make comments like this because they believe “skinny” to be some kind of ideal. That’s what society tells us we should be. But even though I’m happy with me, and while I have a much thicker skin these days, these kinds of comments still sting.
And the truth is, I have no control over my weight. It’s all genetics (and IBS).
So how about we just stop defining ourselves and other people by what we see on the outside? Tall girls, short girls, curvy girls, skinny girls. Who the hell cares?! Weight does not define us.
Curvy Girl Guide Contributor, Rachel, is a dreamer disguised as a realist. A boring professional with the soul of an artist. She hasn’t really figured out what she wants to be when she grow up, so for now she’s shooting for being happy. You can read about all the ways she manages to embarrass herself & others on her blog, The Rachel Chronicles: The True and (Un)Amazing Adventures of a Girl & Her Dog.