Skinny. That one word brings forth many opinions, feelings and definitions. I decided to write a post on the topic of skinny when I saw the word posted on Facebook recently. In just one day, three of my friends mentioned the word skinny in some fashion. I rolled my eyes each time I read that word. I tend to be the kind of person that groans when I hear people talk about being skinny. To be honest, I was slightly annoyed by that word and had the intentions of getting on my soap box about the topic in this blog post. However, I decided to change gears completely. I asked my Facebook friends in a status update to tell me what the word skinny means to them. I think instead of jumping on my soap box and giving you my thoughts on skinny, I will share with you some of the responses I got. They are very interesting and very diverse. Of course, I will have to add my two cents along the way. Buckle up! It could be a bumpy ride! I promise I will try to be gentle.
What does the word skinny mean to you?
“happiness,” “comfortable,” “success,” “acceptance,” “attractive,” “better clothes,” “looking good naked and in clothes,” “I like skinny”
All of those responses imply that the word skinny is a good thing. When I see those responses, I am assuming these people want to be skinny. They would be satisfied to be described as skinny. However, I got responses that were completely different:
“weak,” “unhealthy,” “starving,” “sickly,” “unattractive,” “malnourished”
Does anyone want to have those words describe them? No. These responses tell me that the word skinny is a negative thing, something we do not want to attain. I did get many responses that described an actual size such as thin, petite, slim or small body size.
I did get some responses that struck a chord with me. This section of my post is where it can get bumpy.
“It’s a judgement,” “People seem to think its ok to tell someone they are so skinny but not ok to respond with they are so fat,” “Skinny makes me jealous,” “I have been on the receiving end of some ugliness from women JUST because I was thinner,” “Every time someone has called me skinny it has been in a non-complimnetary, critical way,” “Skinny to a skinny person is not a compliment. Skinny to someone who has always been fat is a wonderful compliment.”
Oh boy. Here is where I think that one word can stir up many different emotions. I feel like these responses have uniques stories behind them. We all have different life experiences to bring to the table with this issue. Some of you may have always been labeled as thin or skinny and have gotten negative reactions to your size. I had one friend mention that she was asked in a very public situation if she had an eating disorder. How awful. Who wants to experience that kind of embarrassment? Actually, I have experienced something similar. Since I made exercise a part of my regular routine, I have dropped some weight (not much) but I have replaced a lot of body fat with muscle. I look thinner even though I have not lost a ton of weight. A family member has “joked” with me on two occasions that I have an eating disorder. Since when is an eating disorder a joking matter? NEVER. I wanted to defend myself but I opted to say nothing. It is not worth it to me. In this person’s eyes, I appear to be unhealthy. Yet, in actuality, I am filling my body with mostly clean foods (remember I will never give up chips!) and working hard in the gym on an average of five days a week. I follow a trainer’s guidance. I feel that my trainer is very competent and leading me in a healthy direction. I am in the best shape of my life AFTER having two kids. Doesn’t sound unhealthy to me.
I do very much agree with the one statement that pointed out people seem to think its ok to tell others they are too skinny yet telling others they are fat is wrong. Of course, that is where I feel like our unique experiences come into play. If you have been called skinny in a negative way, you will probably agree with the statement, as well. If you have not been called skinny, you may brush off that statement. And yes, I also agree that skinny can be viewed as a judgment. Who are you to call someone skinny? Is it your business? Most likely not unless you see someone deliberately hurting himself/herself with an actual eating disorder. The point I am trying to make here is that you probably do not know a person’s story. Are all skinny people suffering from eating disorders? No. Are there perfectly healthy people that could be described as skinny? Yes.
Here is why I roll my eyes when I see the word skinny:
WORST. QUOTE. EVER. WHYYYYYYYYY???????? Please excuse me while I go run into a brick wall a few times. I can’t even begin to tell you how irritated I am when I see this quote. One of the responses I got on Facebook ties in with this quote: “But we all use the word skinny to describe someone losing weight. We use it as a positive word. We all want to attain it. We strive to achieve it. We want the flat stomach the thigh gap. The Victoria secret model look. The size we were in high school or the size we all thought we looked best at. What society tells us we should look like. It’s what’s plaster on every magazine. That’s why I wish they would put the average size 8 or 10 on there. These days girls that are 7 are complaining that they are fat and that they can’t eat that or that these shorts make them look fat.” I appreciate her honesty and I commented how I appreciated everyone’s honest answers. But does everyone want the Victoria Secret model look? Do we all strive to achieve it? I do agree that society tells us we should be skinny. Kate Moss tells us skinny feels good. We all want to feel good so…… Society and the media have placed a huge amount of unrealistic stress on all of us. It is no secret that magazines are heavily airbrushed. We see pictures of celebrities and models but THEY DON’T REALLY LOOK LIKE THAT. I have done a photo shoot where my pictures were photoshopped. Let me tell you- it was a beautiful thing. It was amazing to see the difference between the original photo and the edited photo. Blemishes were gone, cellulite was gone, weird skin folds were gone. Do you see any of those things in magazines? NO! What society is telling us is the norm is not actually the norm. So why are we looking up to these people? Rather, why are we looking up to the photos of these people? Unfortunately, young children are looking at these photos and thinking that is the look to be attained. These young children grow up to have a screwed up view on reality and body image. It drives me crazy!
Skinny is a word that is used very casually these days. It is a subjective word as we have seen in the conflicting responses I got on Facebook. How I define the word skinny may be completely different from the next person’s definition. My reaction and feelings to that word will most likely be different, as well. Do I want to be described as skinny? No. Do I want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model with the thigh gap? No. Do I want the flat abs? Sort of. I want abs that have ripped muscles. I watched some of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show on TV last year. Um, I could point out maybe ONE girl that had any muscle definition. ONE. The rest of them were just very thin. And do not get me started on those models. I have read an article about their pre show diet and it is nowhere near healthy. They are also dehydrated to attain those flat abs. It is not reality, people! Instead, I want to be described as strong, fit, ripped and healthy. It is why I go to the gym more days than not going. I do not view exercise as a chore. It is a way of life. I have no intentions of forcing you to adapt to my way of thinking but if I could, I would say forget being skinny. Do not focus on size. Trust me, I used to focus on my size, too. But as I continued my fitness journey, my way of thinking completely flipped. Focus on your health.