(NOTE: Edited for clarity. Thanks for the feedback, commenters.)
Years ago, I was a squeamish gym locker room user. I absolutely adore my gym specifically because it is a marvelous melting pot of ages, fitness levels, cultures, and body shapes and I’ve been going there for so long I feel like part of a big, happy, sweaty family. But my locker room hosts a surprisingly large number of folks who walk around really, really naked a whole lot of the time. They blow-dry naked and sit on the benches talking with their gal-pals naked and walk from the shower to the locker area proudly, unabashedly naked. As my friend Miller puts it, most gym-goers are “striders or hiders.” I’m a hider. Surrounded by striders.
Originally posted 2014-09-10 06:42:34.
There is a lot of fat fear floating around in the world right now. A LOT. That fear generates bullying, prejudice, policing, and judgment from sources both expected and unexpected, and it is a fear that is both socially sanctioned and systemically encouraged. Since I don’t believe that weight is the sole factor in determining health, and since I believe that the health of others is none of my business, I write and speak out frequently about the issues surrounding fat fear and hatred.
It was recently brought to my attention that I don’t spend much time examining the other side of the coin. Fat girls get teased, told they need to go on diets, inundated with hurtful comments about their shape and size. Skinny girls also get teased, told they’ve got eating disorders, inundated with hurtful comments about their shape and size. The world loves to criticize big bodies, and the eagerness to do so seems to be very much on the rise. But the world can be pretty keen to wag fingers at little bodies, too. Think about how many “she needs a sandwich” comments you’ve heard in the past few weeks. Contemplate how dismissive the “real women have curves” rhetoric could feel to someone who lacks those curves. Consider how quickly people jump to judgment upon seeing a prominent collarbone or set of slender arms. Women who are naturally thin can become targets for brutal body snarking, as The Waves described in her guest post on what it’s like to be a model. And while certain thin bodies receive social privileges, there is often an undercurrent of anger and judgment even as those privileges are doled out.
Originally posted 2012-07-23 06:47:09.
Reader Alison e-mailed me this request:
As a slender woman, I always feel extremely uncomfortable when friends tell me that a) I am so skinny and b) they really need to lose weight. I hear this from beautiful women of every shape and size, who in my mind do not need to change a thing to be healthy and lovely the way they are. Also I do nothing to be slender, so it is not a compliment on anything I have personally worked for. I want to encourage friends that are trying to improve their health, but want them to remove from their heads an ideal of themselves that is just 10 pounds skinnier. A simple “you are beautiful the way you are, but if you want to feel healthier, then great,” does not seem to work to get women to stop calling themselves fat! Any suggestions are appreciated!
Originally posted 2013-06-13 06:49:47.