Tag Archives: skinny

Even Skinny Girls Deserve Compassion

As you may or may not know, I began yoga teacher training a few weeks ago. This is part of an ongoing “plan” (I wish it were as organized as a plan) to diversify my income, learn more about yoga, give back to the yoga community I love so dearly, and get way more OkCupid responses (because seriously, dudes go nuts for yoga teachers… they think we’re super bendy.)

It was only on the first day of training that I realized, OMG, I’m going to be teaching beginners…. Somewhere along the line I had let this small fact slip away. I had envisioned myself designing killer sequences and deep, thought-provoking themes. I didn’t so much visualize the part where I’d be teaching people for whom “square hips” doesn’t mean anything, for whom “mountain pose” and “chair pose” are new concepts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super pumped for the challenge, it’s just a different challenge than the one I’d been planning for in my head.

Part of training is observing other teachers as they teach the beginner sequence. In one such observation, I became supremely focused on one Barbie-like girl in the back who, in full make-up, was seriously struggling. Instead of feeling compassion or observing the teacher’s directions aimed at helping her, I felt a little thrill. It’s embarrassing, but sometimes when I see thin people struggle with exercise, I gloat.

As a non-thin person, I routinely face assumptions about my exercise habits that are patently false, and I’m regularly reminded about how little we can tell about someone’s fitness and wellness just by looking. So, this week for Role/Reboot, I wrote about my own struggle to be a little less judgmental, a little compassionate, and give the same benefit of the doubt to the skinnies as I expect given to to me.

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Related Post: Obesity is a problem, so is body-shaming.

Related Post: On wrinkles and love your body day!

2 Comments

Filed under Body Image, Republished!, Sports

Body Positive

New piece up at Role/Reboot this morning on why body positivity, an idea I’m 100% in favor of, doesn’t jibe with all this “real women have curves” b.s. While I agree that fat people face discrimination, harassment and scorn, and that that needs to stop immediately, disputing the “realness” of other women (thin, muscular, flat-chested, trans, etc) is the wrong way to get there.

Relatedly, I have a new favorite line on this subject from Germaine Greer: “The body reasonably healthy and clean is the body beautiful.”

Related Post: My Role/Reboot piece on period sex.

Related Post: How the internet ad culture creates some seriously mixed messages.

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Filed under Body Image, Republished!

Guest Post: Telling Someone to Eat More Is Just as Rude as Telling Someone to Eat Less

Image: Lezparados Paradise (http://lezparadosparadise.tumblr.com)

Remember that awesome guest post from Kate about Cosmo, kink, and sexual honesty? She’s back! I’ve been writing about body image a lot lately, and how much I hate comments that begin with “real women have…” The bulk of this commentary is directed towards women with “less ideal” bodies, as if to make them feel better about themselves. Kate wrote a great response about how women who have traditionally “ideal” bodies still have good reason to resent the body scrutiny.

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I’m 5’6’’ and I weigh 130 pounds on a good day. I end up being a size 2 or 4, depending on where I shop, and I’ve been told I have the elusive combo of a flat stomach and sizable boobs. I like who I am physically. I feel that I am healthy and beautiful.  All of these measures are, of course, subjective, and determined by where and when we live. A century ago, for example, I would probably not have been looked at in such a positive light, as my hips are pretty narrow–not good for child-bearing, you know.

These days, there’s a lot of awareness about how we need to have more realistic depictions in the media for girls (and boys) to look up to and I definitely agree. I think that many young adults have unreasonable visions of what they should look like as they’re growing up. I know I did. I felt my boobs were too big, or my thighs too wide, and I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin until after college when I learned how to use clothes to accentuate the parts of me that I feel are the best.

Now that I’m older, and I’ve learned how to dress well and carry myself with confidence, I get a lot of comments about my figure. I get it at work, where people tell me to eat more. I get it at home, from my family, who say I’m too “skinny.” While some people might view those as compliments, or just jealousy, I don’t think it’s polite or even necessary. If I ever told somebody they were a little too chubby around their waistline or that they should eat less, that would be ridiculously inappropriate. Why is it okay because I’m a size 4? When I do try to dissuade comments of that sort, I’m told to either let it roll of my back, or be flattered.

Making comments about anyone’s body type is, in the long run, very against what we should be trying to accomplish as a culture. Our obsession with cementing the “you’re beautiful just the way you are” view needs to extend to everybody, not just those who don’t possess the “ideal” of the moment.  I should be able to be just as proud of my physical appearance as somebody who has bigger hips or is taller or has some little love handles.  And I should be able to just be who I am, no comments necessary, thanks.

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Related Post: Amber Rose, Media Takeout and “good thick” vs. “bad thick.”

Related Post: If we buy into this idea of “ideals” at all (which we don’t), they aren’t necessarily what you were expecting!

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Filed under Body Image, Guest Posts

“Fat Habits” and “Skinny Solutions”

MSNBC has a super annoying list called “7 ‘Fat Habits’ That Keep You Fat.” First of all, let’s congratulate them on the witty title…. I mean damn… that is some professional shit right there.

Funny...the called it "Today Health" not "Today Thin"....

Second, let’s take a closer look at the list. The tips are not bad and I don’t doubt that they are nutritionist-approved. It recommends that you eat at the table, not while standing. No screens during mealtimes. Plate it, don’t munch from the bag. This all sounds like smart, easy, logical ways to approach “becoming a more mindful eater.”

The only part I take issue with (and I only take issue because it is so damn pervasive), is that each of these habits is labeled “Fat Habit” and the response is labeled “Skinny Solution.”

We’ve talked about this before. Skinny is not the same as healthy, and fat does not automatically equate with unhealthy. “Healthy” absolutely has to be a more robust measure than a number on a scale. I’m not suggesting weight isn’t a component, only that it is one of many and arguably not the bottom line.Telling people they have to be skinny in order to be healthy is not productive, and it might discourage people who do want to make changes but don’t see the “skinny” moniker as attainable.

How hard would it have been for MSNBC to rework this piece with the bad habits labeled “unhealthy” and the good habits labeled “healthier?” Being a more mindful eater is probably valuable advice to huge swaths of the population (self included), but why do we have to go fat-shaming while we’re at it?

Related Post: This woman is a great example…. she runs 50Ks and she’s not a toothpick.

Related Post: Ugh… but discriminating against thin people is also not the answer. Tell it to this yoga studio.

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Filed under Body Image, Media

“Curvy”/”Skinny”: Sex Drive vs. Confidence

Whether you’re into online dating or not, the OKCupid Blog OkTrends should be on everybody’s must-read list. OkTrends makes up for its sparse posting schedule with amazing content analyzing the messages, preferences, habits and opinions of 1,000,000+ users. Among the latest charts to come from this goldmine of human behavior:

First, clarifying our terms: Green represents women who self-identify as “skinny” (note: this is distinctive from “thin,” a different self-reported category), and yellow is the self-identified “curvy” group (distinct from “a little extra” or “full-figured”). Yellow is a bigger dot to reflect the larger pool of women.

This graph correlates sex-drive and self-confidence across time for these two groups of women:

  • At 18: Skinny women have slightly above average self-confidence, but slightly below average sex drive, while curvy women are exactly the reverse, slightly low self-esteem, slightly high sex drive.
  • At 30: Both groups are reasonably self-confident, but the sex-drive of the curvy women is twice as high.
  • At 40: Curvy women are more confident with higher sex drives, a stasis that remains until both groups’ sex drives tank by 60.

Does this mean that curvy women are better in bed or like sex more? No. As OkTrends points out, “Curvy, as a word, has the strongest sensual overtones of all our self-descriptions. So we’re getting a little insight into the real-world implications of a label.” So basically, it comes down to choosing your label. Women who pick “curvy” among the myriad of similar labels will likely also have above-average sex drives. We’ve got correlation but not causation.

Here’s my theory: There’s evidence that links self-esteem and body confidence to better/more satisfying sex. This makes intuitive sense to me, fewer body hang-ups = willingness to look silly = open to experimentation  = higher likelihood of enjoyment = wanting to do it more. I think the selection of “curvy” over the other label choices and higher sex drive are both consequences of the a third variable… basic body confidence.

Related Post: More linguistic play around the “plus size” demographic. Thanks Tyra!

Related Post: See, body confidence is hot as hell!

Related Post: More thoughts on online dating. Who pays? And does it matter? (yes)

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Filed under Body Image, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex