This is What the Skinny Girl Says

Today I wore a red belt around my waste. Perhaps that showed off how skinny I am. Or something. Because a girl said to me, “Emily, you are so skinny!”

“What?” I gasped, almost meanly. “You are just as skinny as I am.”

It turns out that she meant “you are so skinny” as a complement, just like if you would say “you have nice eyes.”

The truth is, usually when people tell me I am skinny they are doing it in a way which implies that they themselves are fat.

I HATE that.

I feel like people say “I’m fat” because they want others to say “you’re not fat.” Every once in a while I  just give in and say those words, but I hate doing it because I feel like I’m just encouraging their behavior.

The truth is, I DON’T CARE HOW SKINNY OR FAT YOU ARE SO SHUT UP. Is that a mean thing to say? I don’t say it. But I think it.

“You’re so skinny.” They say it almost accusingly, like it’s my fault. Or with a sigh, like they are jealous. Or something, something which reflects back on themselves and how fat they are.

I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes they are fat. Sometimes they’re not. Usually they’re slightly over a healthy weight, but I’m slightly under a healthy weight so I don’t really get the point of choosing my body over theirs.

I don’t envy fat people, because I know that they have a lot of health problems due to their weight. I do, however, envy healthy strong people.

I mean sure, I’m skinny. So what? Have you ever stopped to consider why I’m so skinny?

  1. I have a terrible immune system and get sick a lot, which makes one loose weight.
  2. I forget to eat. That has the bad habit of making me suddenly weak at school or work, which is never a good idea.
Or the consequences of being skinny?
  1. I never felt the need to eat healthy, because I knew that bad foods wouldn’t make me fat. Thus, I became extremely unhealthy and sick all the time.
  2. I never felt the need to exercise, for similar reasons. Thus I am a wimp.
Now that I think about it, the skinniness and the unhealthiness is kind of a chicken-and-egg thing. I’m not sure which caused the other, but I know they play off of each other.
For the record, I am grateful enough for my skinniness. I guess it looks nice, the way nice eyes look nice. I guess there are a lot of health risks associated with being overweight that I don’t have to deal with. Obviously, God gave me this body, and this is the body he wants me to have.
But seriously? I don’t get why my weight is such a big deal to others. I mean sure, being skinny and healthy generally makes one more attractive, but I have a missing tooth and a bump on my eyelid and am generally no more attractive than the next girl.
And hello, besides that, why would I possibly care if you’re a bit overweight? Or a lot overweight? Or whatever? How could this possibly affect our relationship one iota?
I mean, unless you wanted to take and aerobics class with me, because we both wanted to be healthier. Anyone want to take an aerobics class with me? And, like, pay for it? Hee hee.
Yes, I know I am ranting. Yes, I know that I do not understand what it is like to feel fat because  I have never felt fat. I have no idea how hard it is. It doesn’t feel hard to me because I haven’t been there.
I am posting this from the skinny girl perspective. The perspective of the girl who looked in her health textbook to see if she had a healthy weight, and realized she was half a pound too skinny to even be on the chart. This is my perspective.
If you hold up my dress and say, “wow, I could never fit into this. Emily, you are so skinny.”
If you say, “well, maybe I could do that if I was as slender as you are.”
Maybe you are meaning it as a compliment. I find it hurtful. It is like you are hating your own body, and it’s my fault, just because I’m accidentally skinny.
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9 responses to “This is What the Skinny Girl Says

  1. Emily, I totally agree. I’ve dealt with that, although not as much in the past few years as I’ve gained some weight (but I don’t think I’m skinny or fat; I’m a normal size and I’m fine with that). I also hate getting “You’re so tall!” or “I hate being short” or “I hate you, you’re so tall.” As if I have any control whatsoever about how tall I am or how short you are! I won’t apologize for something God decided eons ago, and I can’t control it, and I like being tall, but I don’t think less of people because they are short. Although I may “look down” on them (pun intended)…

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  2. I can’t tell you how much I like this post!!!! AMEN and AMEEEEN! I finally just started saying, “This is just the way God made me!!” when they start going down that road…

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  3. Yes, exactly. I have a little sister who’s really skinny and do you know how hard it is to find cloths that actually fit? It’s crazy! I’m in the middle and I’m ok with that. I don’t get sick as often and I handle cold a lot better… There are advantages to both things and God made everyone the way they are, we need to learn to be ok with that. I had a friend who used to say she was fat just to hear me tell her she wasn’t. I loved her for who she was not for her clothing size. You’re right, it’s annoying. Really enjoyed this post.

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  4. I know just how you feel! I am skinny but I was just born that way. Plus I work out a lot at cheer and dance. I hate it when my friends say your so skinny. It makes me feel like i should gain weight or something.

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  5. I know EXACTLY how you feel. I remember the first time it happened to me – I was 11 -had recently moved to a new area and a girl says to me ” I don’t want to sit beside you – you make me look fat” That certainly did a lot for my self image ! Plus I wondered at how sensitive people could be ( at the time I was dealing with the fact that I might not live past 20) But I know what you mean about “forgetting to eat”. I had a landlady years ago who would ask when I came home from someplace ” What did you eat?” I had to stop and think “well I left a bit hungry – I vaguely remember putting food in my mouth and chewing so i must have ate.” Literally I did not remember! Ask me what I talked about to the person next to me – where they were from or interesting stories they had to tell. Thats probably why I have a problem with cooking -because you have to plan ahead what you will eat and when and what you like to eat.

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  6. I like this post except for the assumption that “overweight” people have health problems. I happen to know a lot of “overweight” people who are incredible healthy, strong, athletic, exercise, and hardworkers. The mentality of the world today that when you are overweight your are unhealthy is just wrong. I personally am overweight, but my last checkup at the doctors declared me to be very healthy. She told me that I have the health of most teens. Sorry I’ll get off my soap box. What is more annoying that what you mentioned above is when thin people fuss about how fat they are in front of a person who is twice their size.

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    • Donna- I wrote about the health risks of being overweight because of what I was taught in my health class about clogged arteries and such things. Did your doctor actually tell you that you were overweight, or did you just assume that you were because you weren’t as skinny as other people? “Overweight” means “weighing more than is healthy,” and thus I am fairly certain that all overweight people have some degree of health risk due to their extra weight. However, when I asked my mom if she was overweight she said yes, but when I looked at the chart in my health textbook it said she was of a normal weight.
      My assumption would be that the “overweight” people you know are either not actually overweight, or not overweight enough to have very serious or visible health defects. In any case, I am not an expert on this subject at all, I’m just going off of what I learned in one term off community college health class. :-S

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  7. No, actually I know some people who are seriously overweight, and yet they excersise daily live and eat healthily, and have low blood sugar, low blood pressure, low cholesterol, etc. Some doctors and scientist today assume that unless you are not overweight and this is according to certain standards which don’t calculate muscle and bone weight, etc. According to recent studies it’s actually accessive sugar not fat that clogs your arteries. I have seen very skinny people who eat way more unhealthy than these overweight people, and excersise less. Sometimes it’s just different metabolisms. Sometimes people are just built bigger. Granted there are overweight people out there who are very unhealthy. But I have known people in my lifetime that have lived long and healthy lives that would be considered hugely overweight by today’s standards. Sorry, for stepping on my soap box here. But I get so tired of people judging others as unhealthy because of there appearance. I also get tired of a biased cultural agenda that promotes certain body types as healthy or unhealthy in the name of science. 🙂 Ok I’ll get off my soap box now. Like I said enjoyed your post.

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  8. Reading this post (it was my first time on your blog) made me sad and a little bit angry. I suppose coming from the opposite end of the weight spectrum, it hadn’t occurred to me that it would bother a thin person so much to be told they were thin. Which I suppose also makes me rather hypocritical for thinking you didn’t really consider my perspective, since I never considered yours. I think you’re right that often when people say “you’re so skinny”, it is a reflection on them. But I don’t think they mean it to be hurtful-as if they would blame you for having a body they don’t have. They might just mean it as a sincere compliment, or they might mean it in the way that a girl raised on Anne of Green Gables would say “You live in a castle with a four-floor library and have blueberry scones every day for tea, after which you go find a book and skip off to a nearby sun-filled meadow beside a burbling brook to read”- in a kind of desperate, awed tone. Which is almost definitely jealousy and indicative of a host of other unhealthy emotions having nothing to do with you or your weight. But the fact is that if I am unhealthy because I had an eating disorder and am overweight, and you are unhealthy because you have a poor immune system and are underweight, you are still the one who society will consider to be attractive, and while it might not directly affect my relationships, particularly with other girls, the resultant low self-esteem (which is partly one’s own problem and can’t be blamed on society at large, even if society at large seems to consider it their life’s mission to tell one that one is too large and therefore unattractive) does affect my perception of reality, and by extension all of my interactions with other people. Being skinny may be a “so what?” kind of thing to you, like if someone told me I had brown hair, and I would be like “yes, and your point is..?”. But imagine if someone with blond hair said that to you, when blond hair was considered really unattractive (not to mention, as you point out, unhealthy). You have doubt whether it’s a compliment when someone says you’re so skinny, but if someone came up to me and said “you’re so FAT”, there wouldn’t be any doubt that it wasn’t. Anyway, I guess what I’ve been trying, very verbosely, to say, is that that next time you feel like saying I DON’T CARE HOW SKINNY OR FAT YOU ARE SO SHUT UP, you might think that while you don’t care and that says good things about your character, they obviously do and it’s not kind to belittle people’s pain. And thank you for also showing me that sometimes being skinny can be just as painful.

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