The article that got me thinking about what it means to be “skinny”: How The Skinny Bitch Discourse Isolates Women
As I had written in the comments section of that article, I have always been naturally skinny. I’m healthy, having been checked out by doctors (who thought it might be hyperthyroidism, which it’s not) and I eat quite a bit, & constantly throughout the day. Nobody would ever believe it though with one look at me, where I’m not even 100lbs soaking wet.
In high school, I was constantly asked if I was anorexic, ridiculed for my apparent eating disorder. Friends would come to my defense and joke to the mean girls & guys with comebacks like “Have you ever seen her eat?! She finished her lunch and just ate half of my sandwich too!” I was teased (endearingly) that I had a hollow leg, for where the food all goes. You’d think that all of that “mean girl” behaviour would go away once we leave high school, and yet more times than not, I still encounter it with family, strangers and even coworkers. Somehow these people feel the need to ask me if I EVER eat anything, or comment disdainfully to others “Don’t you just HATE how she can eat anything and still look like that?” Why must someone HATE me because I can eat “what I want” and still be slim? Is that a reflection on their own personal body issues? Why try to rope other people into that conversation and imply that they, too, have self image issues.
I’ve said to friends about how it’s hard to find clothes that actually fit properly & nicely, and I’ve gotten sarcastic remarks back like “Oh, boo frickin’ hoo. You should feel lucky you’re so skinny.” Hm. How I should feel? Lucky? Yes, I feel lucky that I am almost 30 and still get mistaken for a teenager. Lucky that I often can’t shop in the “grown up stores” because nothing ever fits properly. Lucky that I often field questions about whether or not I have an eating disorder. Like all things after a while, it gets old.
Just yesterday, I was out for dinner with a group of people from my condo building. Most of them I knew, and a few I didn’t. One woman, whom I’ve never met before, felt comfortable enough to wrinkle her nose, sneer at me and say “Like you’re going to eat all of THAT” when my prosciutto pizza was placed in front of me. I’m sorry, do I know you?? No. You’re making a comment and judging my eating habits based on how skinny I look. The sad part of that was that I let it get to me. At that moment, I was DETERMINED to eat this large pizza to prove her wrong. I was going to over-eat and make myself sick, but I just HAD to prove this woman wrong. To my dismay (and yes, I was disappointed), I could only eat about 2/3 of the 13″ pizza and wasn’t able to get through the whole thing.
This stigma has always been a touchy subject for me since I’ve been teased about it for so many years. That article is a nice change of pace… a differing point of view, where so many articles have been written about people who are overweight vs the ones written about people who are skinny (and not sickly-skinny or dieting-to-want-to-be-skinny.)
I don’t understand what makes it okay for people to feel the urge to say “Wow, don’t you eat??” or “OMG you’re so lucky… you’re SOOOOOO skinny” when nobody would ever say to an obese person “Wow, don’t you ever STOP eating??” or “OMG, life must suck. You’re SOOOOOOO fat.”
Same difference. Neither okay.