I am fully aware that I run the risk of ridicule (and possible hostility) for typing this post.
So, here’s my public service announcement for the day: calling someone skinny is not a complement (unless of course you are on a weight loss program… at which point you might consider “skinny” a term of endearment). Being skinny means you’re unattractively thin. Gaunt. Emaciated. Scrawny. Think about it: would you ever walk up to someone and say, “Ooh, girl… you are wearing that dress! Lookin’ good, with your scrawny lil self!” Doesn’t sound too endearing, does it?
I have been called skinny most of my life. From being called a No. 2 pencil throughout my school days, to the Target cashier exclaiming, “Oh, you skinny b*!#%” while ringing me up (I’ll address that in another post), to the neighbor who had the nerve to jokingly ask if I had HIV… I’ve heard it all. Not to mention the number of folks who casually hint that I must be anorexic. Give me a break, people! I know we live in a country where nearly 70% of adults 20 and over are either overweight or obese, but come on! Just because I don’t look like most of America doesn’t mean I’m sick. And for the record, just because someone is their ideal weight doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Shoot, you can be obese and highly malnourished!
While it’s obvious that I’m thin, I have never considered myself to be an unattractively thin woman. I may be slim (slender, lean), but I am not skinny. My bones are not protruding. I am not underweight. I am naturally thin. That’s all. Like most women who are naturally thin, I am not anorexic. I don’t skip meals in an attempt to lose weight. I eat cake and ice cream just like everyone else. I even have cellulite and jiggly parts- probably from the gluttonous amounts of cake, ice cream, and other fatty foods I’ve consumed during most of my pre-health-conscious life (I haven’t “arrived” yet but I’m definitely making progress in this area!). When I work out, it’s to tighten, tone, and build muscle- not burn fat and look skinny. If I go to the gym 3-4 times a week, it’s not because I’m obsessed with being thin- it’s because I’m determined to be flexible, strong, and fit. I’m trying to take better care of my body, that’s all. Losing weight is never my goal or desire.
And while I’m ranting, let me also say this: Being slim doesn’t mean I was born to model or that I’m “better” than you or that I think I’m better than you. It doesn’t mean I have perfectly sculpted abs, or that I don’t have to watch what I eat… we must all watch what we eat in order to be healthy- not thin- healthy. Being slim doesn’t mean I’m weak (physically, mentally, or emotionally)… I can probably handle more weight than most assume. I do not possess- nor am I in pursuit- of the thigh gap. And just because I’m not voluptuous doesn’t mean I’m not a “real” woman. Oh, and I don’t need to come over so you can feed me and fatten me up. I have plenty of my own fat. No need to be greedy for more!
Although I would love to be about 7 pounds heavier (to regain the weight I lost earlier this year from race training), I am not ashamed of my size like I used to be. In middle school, I would wear several layers of clothes just to appear a little more “normal.” I’m so over that now. I’m slim. Slender. Gracefully thin. And I’m cool with that. I’m a 5’7″ size 0 and I’m building my way back up to size 2. That’s my normal. If me being comfortable with my size makes you uncomfortable, that’s not my problem. There’s nothing wrong with being larger, but I want to be what’s right for me. Being healthy is what matters. That applies to weight as well as self-esteem. And at the end of the day it’s not about the size of your dress, but how fabulously you dress your size. 😀
I’m sure some will view this as pure semantics and that’s understandable. But skinny is not a complement (in case you missed the whole point of this post). It’s really an insult. I’m just giving you the skinny on what annoys us naturally thin women. Slim and thin? Cool. Skinny? Not so much.
So, to all the culprits of this contempt, the next time you fix your lips to call someone a skinny anything, ask yourself this: would you be OK with them calling you a ____________ somebody (fill in the blank with your favorite insult)? I rest my case. 😉