We’re just going to leave this here.
Now, let’s be clear about something: making comments about the body of a person you don’t know well or at all is inappropriate. It is an especially volatile no-no when it’s a woman’s body that is being discussed. As women, we are constantly being judged and scrutinized for our weight and body type. So, I do understand the gist of what this writer is trying to say.
This essay is completely tone deaf.
I try to imagine what it’s like to be overweight, to strive to be skinny. I know I can never really understand. I know I can’t. And I can surmise that the people who see every day as a struggle to pare down their figure will feel angry with me. Probably infuriated. Perhaps to them, I am reacting incorrectly. To them, I am feeling shame at the very words they would interpret as compliments.
I see. So, overweight women probably yearn to be objectified, is that it? You know. Cuz they’re overweight. They must all hate themselves and their bodies and be desperate for compliments. This essay reeks of the infamous xoJane post from the white woman who noticed there were no black people in her yoga class.
I am inherently lucky. I know I am. I don’t need to exercise multiple days a week. I don’t have to agonize over counting calories. For sure, I’d rather be too thin instead of weighing too much. My struggle does not compare with theirs. When I want to eat brie, I eat brie. If I’m passing by the 24-hour donut place, I’ll order a Nutella cronut. I can see how this might make someone angry.
Still, I wish that people didn’t have something to say about it, so often. I’ve been out to dinner, and the waitress has said, in front of a table of new friends, clearing up every plate but mine, “You’re a tiny thing. I’ll leave your food longer because you need to eat. You need some meat on those bones.”
I’ve gone to a yoga class, space allegedly free of judgment, and someone commented, “She’s too skinny.”
When I moved to L.A. and saw a new general doctor, he asked me twice if I’ve struggled with eating disorders, staring at me with a skeptical eye. I defensively showed him photos of my family, skinny like me. “See? Genetics,” I said.
Last week, I rode in an Uber, and for the entire 20-minute ride, the driver asked me personal questions about my eating habits, exercise, if I am on diet pills (I am not). She was determined to find out what my secret is. In college, boys have said, “I’m afraid to touch you because I might break you.”
I can’t be the only one who thinks at least some of these things never happened, right? Like, who is making such an obnoxious comment like, “She’s too skinny” within ear shot of the person about whom they are speaking?
She’s trying to make her life sound like a struggle. And you know what? I’m sure to some degree, it is. I don’t doubt that people say stupid things about how she must have a fast metabolism or how they wish they could eat what they want. But if you’re trying to compare that to how people who are not conventionally slender are treated by society, you are breathlessly self-absorbed. Overweight people are ostracized. They are demonized. They are humiliated. That’s not something you see happening to slender people.
You know what else is total bullshit? Guys are given more leeway when it comes to weight. They’re “husky.” We’re “fat.” Men can carry around an extra ten to twenty pounds or even more and nobody blinks. Their extra weight doesn’t hinder their dating prospects the way a woman’s extra weight does. We’re considered failures and rejected for not meeting and adhering to a standard. Guys? Aww, they just have beer bellies. Aren’t they cute?
Still, I’ve been denied a health insurance plan because a computer decided I am underweight. I’ve been denied acting parts because I look too much like a girl, not curvy like a woman. I’ve been denied respect because I don’t weigh as much as I “should.”
Okay but…I assure you that people who are deemed overweight are marginalized exponentially more than she is. She fails to even address that point. That’s why this essay comes off as navel gazing wrapped in a humblebrag.
I want to finish by saying that – in my opinion – skinny-shaming isn’t really a thing. Stop trying to make fetch happen, okay?
What about you…do you think skinny shaming is a thing?