A friend’s user picture proudly declared “Skinny girls are for wimps”. I clicked through to take a closer look at it and it showed an image of a beautiful woman, unselfconsciously dressed in what looked like lingerie, and yes, her arms were a little flabby, and she had a bit of a tummy, but she had that look in her eye that spoke not only volumes, but entire libraries, of a promise that would be fulfilled, if only you would just ‘come hither’. I thought she was gorgeous.
The words bothered me, though. Skinny girls are for wimps.
It is typical of the world that we live in, the sort of world that would chastise a skinny girl for saying the same of a fat girl. Actually, no. You can’t even call a larger woman a fat girl any more. It isn’t PC, and forget PC, it isn’t nice. It’s horribly cruel to sit there and feel superior to someone just because they’re larger than you are. I never have, but I have friends who do it. I know people who would use the word ‘fat’ as an insult. I know people who won’t be your friend if you aren’t in a certain weight class. I know people who will, automatically, judge you for looking a certain way. But I’ve never been one of them.
What I am, though, is a former skinny girl. I survived a vile eating disorder that broke me when I was a teenager, and as a young adult I used to yo-yo so much that weighing myself was a process fraught with nerves and misery. PCOS caused my weight to go up and then the remnants of my eating disorder caused it to go down, and in the middle of it all my poor body was suspended like a leaf in the wind. I’m better now; my weight is stable, and I’m no longer skinny and I’m not fat. I’m somewhere in the middle of it all, and for once, the middle is a good place to be.
The automatic assumption that just because one is skinny one’s life is perfect, though, is something everyone needs to reconsider and wipe out of their minds with a branding iron that is hot enough to sear the truth onto the insides of the eyelids of people. The truth, the complete and honest truth of it all is that when I was skinny I was in a bad place. I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t healthy, and I hated the sight of myself in the mirror. For me, thin was never in.
I think the problem is that everyone needs to feel superior to someone else. Larger women do it by branding skinny women as unsubstantial. We aren’t real women. We’re only for wimps, whoever they are. We’re not worth much, because all we are is plastic and cigarettes, packaged neatly in skinny jeans that flaunts the pertness of our assets. And a lot of thin women shrug all of this off as jealousy, and envy, and revel in their own superiority of being a certain size and strut around confident that at least their clothes don’t have to be bought at a special store. Thin women buy their confidence off the racks, in the smallest possible size, and large women buy theirs in stores that flaunt their curves and their credentials as real women.
A real woman is something that I can’t be, apparently. I just don’t have the credentials.
You know what the sad thing is? We’re all women. Real or unreal, large or skinny, lost or found, happy or sad, confident or self doubting, and we all want the same things, more or less. Love, belonging, acceptance, success, and hope for a future that is hopefully just a little bit nicer, just a little more sunny, and just a little bit better than today.
Skinny women have feelings too.