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Skinny girls have feelings too!

So…something has really been on my mind lately and I feel compelled to at least be able to express my side of this particular issue.

Honestly, I understand that weight is a touchy subject for most women, regardless of their actual size. And…this DOES include skinny girls. I’m not trying to be insensitive, but hey: skinny women have their array of issues to deal with as well. However, I feel like it is hard for them to express these grievances at times (at least, in my opinion).

Ok: hear me out on this one. Lets examine some hypothetical scenarios and statements.

  • An individual who has some extra pounds on them is told by someone that “it looks like you should really eat a salad…”
  • A skinny individual is told by someone that “it looks like you need to go eat a cheeseburger…”

Think about these scenarios for a moment, then consider these questions:

  • How are these statements any different? Both of them are comments that allude to an individuals’ physical appearance, and suggest that something needs to be done to change how they look (whether it be losing weight or gaining weight).
  • Which comment would someone be more likely to get upset about if they overheard it? My guess/my opinion from personal experience is that the “salad” comment would make an onlooker upset much more so than the “cheeseburger” comment. Why is it that we might be more shocked and appalled to hear the salad statement said to someone than the cheeseburger one?

Honestly, I can only speak for myself, but I get the feeling that most people who make comments to slender women about them “needing to eat something” don’t realize that they are saying something detrimental. Maybe it is insecurity. Maybe it is ignorance…I’m not sure. Maybe these people think that by telling a skinny girl that she looks like she needs to eat something fattening it will somehow boost that girl’s confidence and self worth? Hm…that might be a stretch.

Well, I’d like to say this: telling me that I “look hungry” or that “I need to eat a cheeseburger” is NOT a roundabout way of giving me (or another skinny woman) a compliment. Essentially, you are telling me that something about my appearance doesn’t look right, and that I need to do something about it. I can say from personal experience that it does hurt to hear those words directed at me, regardless of if they were meant to intentionally hurt my feelings or if they were said without much contemplation.

I don’t care what shape or size you are: when someone makes a comment suggesting that you need to change your appearance in some way IT HURTS YOUR FEELINGS.

What if someone told you that “it really looks like you need a haircut?” Or what if someone told you that “your outfit is looking a little outdated?” I’m pretty sure that it would sting the average person at least a little bit to hear something like that.

Here is my truth; I am comfortable with my body image. Yes, I am skinny, but that isn’t because I starve myself or go about self-harming methods to achieve it. Just because someone is slender does not mean that they don’t eat. However, I am mindful of what I eat (I consume lots of fresh fruit, veggies, and protein, and avoid fried/fattening foods when I can), and I exercise regularly. Do I eat like an “average” American? Absolutely not. I can honestly say that I haven’t been to a fast food restaurant in over a year (I actually can’t remember the last time). But, when I go out to a restaurant with Justin, you better believe that I am ripping of some hunks of bread from the bread basket. And…I eat dessert every night. Yes, you read that right: EVERY NIGHT. My life is incomplete without ice cream.

In the end, everyone has the right to feel secure about his or her body, and when someone tells you that you look too skinny (or too fat), it takes the wind out of your sails! Just because you are skinny does not make you impervious to weight-related comments.

Annnnd I’m off my soapbox.

So, I want to know…where do we go from here? Do I just leave it at: be proud of who you are and how you look, and don’t let others dictate your self-image? Or, is it more complicated than that? Do you think that there is a bit of a double standard when it comes to weight-related comments? Have you ever felt insecurities rise after someone made a statement about your appearance? What are your thoughts on this particular issue?


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  • Oh wow. I love this post! I am thin too and get so sick of all the comments I get. I eat healthy and exercise and people actually criticize me for it! People will look at my lunch and tell me I need to eat a “real” meal. When I go out to lunch with coworkers and they all order a huge plate of pasta and I get grilled chicken with veggies they say, “You need to EAT!” If I talk about working out people assume I am trying to lose weight. I exercise because I want to live a healthy lifestyle!

    I had a friend that used to make fun of me all the time. She would ask me what we had for dinner and laugh at me when I said grilled fish and veggies. She just had a baby and needed to lose weight so she has been coming to me for help on how to eat healthy. She says she feels so much better now that she has developed healthy eating habits. She doesn’t make fun of me anymore!

    Also, I eat dessert every night too.

  • This is a sticky subject for me because growing up I was a twig. I was a ballerina who worked out 6 days a week and at 10 years old I once ate an entire Papa Johns large pizza. In one sitting. By myself. When I got to high school, however, I traded my slippers in for the gym and used my flexibility and power to become a varsity gymnast (among other sports). This means during my biggest growth spurt (I was late at this puberty thing) I was working out 6 days a week doing back-flips and pull-ups.

    Needless to say I live a fairly healthy lifestyle of well balanced and yet delicious meals and we participate in some sort of physical activity every day and I am a perfect size 6. (Seriously, I can wear a size 6 or smaller from any company.) I also happen to teeter at about 145 pounds. Looking at me, you’d expect me to be perfectly happy with my “weight” or body image. Instead, I look in the mirror and see an almost 150 pound whale.

    So, yes I agree that people should really watch what they say because I hear that “wow that girl is fat, she must weigh like 150 pounds” having no idea what I struggle with when I look at the (stupid Publix!) scale.

  • I totally agree with you. Any kind of jab at someone’s self image is destructive. My hair dresser told me the other day “looks like your ready for a trim” and it could be her just wanting my money but either way… it’s not cool. I’m with ya girl.

  • Perhaps it has everything to do with our own personal confidence levels. This post reminds me of the time a friend of mine was getting on the T in Boston and a larger girl determined she was in the way and shouted, “get outta my way, you skinny bitch!”. My friend just turned to me and grinned from ear to ear and said, “she called me skinny!”.

    If my friend had enough confidence in herself that she was neither too fat nor too skinny, the ‘skinny’ part of that comment would have brushed off her shoulder…which isn’t to say the comment was appropriate…

    It is an unfortunate truth that our world will never be one where every comment is uplifting to every person…so maybe the responsibility lies within us to be confident in who we are.

    • I definitely think you have a point here! Haha, if I were your friend, I think I would have taken offense to the “bitch” part of the comment than the “skinny!” 😉

      I guess with me…its easy to brush off a comment about me being skinny (since I usually kind of feel like its a compliment)…but when someone tells me I need to “eat a cheeseburger” it bugs me. I can say with confidence that I feel secure with my self image. Actually, I think I possibly look the best I ever have. Its possible that my ears perk up a bit more when comments like these are made because I just have strong feelings about this particular subject…

  • i like this spot. people say i am skinny and need to eat. well… then they dont know me well. i eat. all. of. the. time. and its usually too much! i tell people i hide myself well. i am 5’5″ and weigh anywhere from 119-124. i on the other know i am slim… but i have my areas of “really….” it does suck when people just assume either that A. “you are SO skinny” or B. “you really should eat more often” UGH… but really, i think about every single thing i eat… half the time i feel bad about HOW MUCH I EAT. TMI…. thanks for posting this, i like knowing i am not the only one out there that HATES hearing the phrase “eat a burger, would ya!!” xo -A

  • I have to work hard to keep from gaining weight. Not as hard as some do, but I do pay special attention to my portions, and I try to exercise when I have time. I have struggled with this since becoming a teenager, and as a result I’ve never been what people would call ‘overweight’. I think the worst thing for me is when I skip a dessert or refrain from taking ‘seconds’, and someone tells me “you don’t LOOK like you need to diet”. Sure, it’s some sort of compliment, but it doesn’t help me any. So I guess I understand. Even though I wish I was naturally skinny (man… I wish I ‘needed’ to eat a cheeseburger, hahaha). I wish people would just leave weight ALONE. Everyone has their issues.

    • Oh yes…the pressure to have seconds at dinner! I never understand that train of thought. So…because I am the one who needs to be on a diet the least, therefore I must eat more than everyone else???

  • I’m with you, girl! In middle school my biggest crush asked me if I was bullimic. Um, no, I’m skinny and that’s offensive. In high school I was eating a bajillion calories a day and still stayed a size 0-2. In college I gained weight, but got really sick at one point, lost about 10 lbs and literally couldn’t gain it back for over a year. Of course the comments of “You’re too skinny” and “Emily, you need to eat” never ended. Again, I’m skinny and you’re being offensive.

    I would NEVER, EVER say “You know, so-and-so, you really might want to limit how much beer you’re drinking and cut back on those late-night pizza runs. Your muffin top is rapidly expanding!”

    I’m pretty confident in my body (we all have that one thing we’d love to change, though) so I try to laugh it off. I know when people say things like that they’re usually showing their own insecurities.

  • Great post Katie! In high school I lost a ton of weight in a short amount of time, while I was eating anything I could get my hands on. Why? Because there was something medically wrong with me. My Mom has been on a diet for a long as I can remember and barely looses a lb. Why? Because there is something medically wrong. I never make comments to anyone regarding their weight (regardless of how skinny or fat they) because you never know what is going on. Also, it;s none of my business how little or much someone eats. Just like I don’t ask people when they are having children… it’s none of my business.

  • I agree, however I do see where the confusion comes from.

    From a personal perspective, I agree with you; a rude comment is a rude comment is a rude comment, and essentially are all the same.

    However, the hard truth is that “being skinny” has become a social “necessity” in the media (note: I say “in the media” – not because I personally believe this, far from it!) How many times do you see or hear news and lifestyle stories titled, “How to Get Larger Thighs!” or “How to Expand Your Waistline”… never.

    It’s always weight loss plans, counting calories, etc. to be “the best you” possible. Of course health is a very important thing, but I know LOTS of overweight people who are tremendously happy; and LOTS of thin people with health problems. Skinny & healthy, skinny & happy, heavy & unhealthy, heavy & unhappy – they are not mutually exclusive.

    It doesn’t make it right, but it’s a social stigma which has made people believe that saying things like “go eat a cheeseburger” to a thin person is acceptable and okay to joke about, only because being thin is “the way to be” – saying “go eat a salad” to a large person has become more hurtful because it is seen as an immediate insult – only because being larger is “NOT the way to be”.

    I don’t think it’s right, but I do see where the roots of these issues arise. Media, media, and more media.

    • Good point. The media certainly has a big part to play in this, and I totally agree with you that it is probably the root from which these issues arise in the first place. We’re inundated with diet plans, pills, etc. in which to decrease your size…and less emphasis seems to be placed on a well balanced, healthy diet. The amount of processed foods that the average person consumes is probably mind boggling. If only we focused on being healthy and happy, rather than focusing on someone’s overall size.

  • Well, you know where I stand on this. I feel like thin people, regardless of whether or not they are naturally that way or because they work their asses off to be that way, or because they eat right and exercise, or are sick, have to all but apologize to everyone else for being so. Or explain it. Or defend it. And I’m sick of it. If you don’t like it, tough. Not your body, not your problem. My size isn’t an affront I’ve afflicted upon you, it’s not to point out yours or say yours is wrong, it’s just MINE. My size. My body. If you don’t want me criticizing yours, don’t criticize mine.

    I used to go with the flow on the “skinny bitch” comments I got from friends or coworkers, or the comments about what I was eating for lunch but I’ve started to get angry. It’s not right, it’s not fair, it’s not their business. I’m pretty sure NO ONE would find it acceptable, funny or a compliment, if like you said, it was said to them, but in the reverse.

    I’ll not apologize or defend my weight, because I work HARD for it.

    • Amen. So so true: I do feel at times that I have to apologize or explain why/how I am skinny. Why should I have to defend myself?

      AND oh my goodness YES I feel the same way when I hear this “real women” on fashion runways talk. Yes, I understand that I might be in the minority, but still…

      And what about vanity sizing? Seriously…there are some stores that are terrible with this. It used to be that 0 didn’t exist…but now some stores have 00’s, XXS’s, and so on. In comparison to men’s sizing…which hasn’t changed. Why don’t we size our pants/skirts/etc based on measurements? Justin wears the same size pants everywhere because it is based on his measurements…but I could go from a 00 in one store to a 0 in the next, to being unable to find anything that will fit me without alterations. Where is the consistency?

  • Sorry, one more thing, then I promise I’ll get off of my soapbox!

    The Today Show posted an article on their Facebook page stating that “real” size women will finally get to see clothes on the fashion runways. So….I’m fake? I’m not “real”? I’m not a “real size”? They sell my size in stores…so I’m pretty sure it’s real. I’m tired of the implication that because I’m smaller than the average American woman (by statistics) that I’m not, in fact, “real.”


    As an overweight girl, it really made me think. NO ONE would say to my face that I need to maybe not eat lunch.

    The media and magazines and TV put such a spotlight and focus on being skinny. Why do they want girls to be thin but then tear them down so openly!? It’s hypocritical.

    I will definitely take from this the double standard and think about the comments I make! Even if it’s not meant rudely, pointing out someone’s weight – high or low – can be offensive, and is always rude.

    I love you for posting this 🙂 <3

  • I’m a little late responding to this because I forgot to come back to the post after clearing it from my Reader! Anyway, I so appreciate you putting this out there. Weight is such a touchy subject. It irks me to no end to hear comments about eating more or people saying they should “go on the Emily diet”. I am 5’2″ and under 100 pounds. Not because I don’t eat. I exercise and I try to eat (semi) healthy. And I am proud of my HEALTHY, strong, capable body.

  • Wow, I had been looking forward to this post since I saw the teaser on twitter, and then just now got around to reading it! (Sorry about that!) I can totally relate to this post, as I’ve been “Skinny Mini, String Bean, Rail, Teeny Tiny, Stick Figure, Little One, Beanpole, etc.” all my life. I’ve been blessed/cursed with a very high metabolism, and up until this point of my life, I’ve always been able to eat what I want and maintain a consistent weight. The main thing that’s changed as I’ve gotten older is that I need to exercise regularly to keep toned (especially since I no longer have regular cheerleading and dance regimens).

    The worst comment I’ve ever gotten is, “Look at her. She has to be anorexic.” That gem was in middle school. Yeah, I wasn’t awkward and insecure enough then, thanks. Even so little as a year ago, a lady I work with was talking about “how cute and little” I was, and she literally walked up to me and grabbed my waist for emphasis! In the workplace. You know, the place where I work. Is that crazy or what? I always get these questions, too: “Do you eat?” “Won’t you have seconds?” “Are you sure you’re not hungry?” “Are you skinnier?”

    Most times it doesn’t hurt my feelings, because I’m proud of my body, but sometimes it’s downright annoying because I know I would never say or do anything like that to anyone! I guess some people are just lacking the filter that should come installed in everyone. Just sayin’.

  • I have never really thought about it that way but I totally agree with you. I think most people say it because they are insecure about themselves and jealous and don’t even think about how it might hurt the person. I will definitely make sure to not make comments to anyone about their weight from now on 🙂

  • Good point. I said that to my friend, and then I felt bad about it. She works out a lot and eats really healthy, and really, saying that says more about how I feel about myself. Not her.

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