Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kiss My Thin @$$!

No, I don’t drink Slim-Fast. No, I don’t eat diet bars. No, I’m not anorexic. Or bulimic. Or vegetarian. I’m a carnivore. I love meat. I don’t like fruits and vegetables so much. I love food – especially filet mignon, roast potatoes with herbs, chicken fajitas, etc. As I write this, I’m eating 3 pre-packaged egg rolls for lunch. (Yes, they’ve been heated up.) My current favorite snack: Tostitos with salsa or queso dip.

So, why then, do people feel the need to comment on the fact that I’m thin? If you saw an overweight woman walking down the street or coming into a store, you wouldn’t say, “wow, look how fat you are!” Would you? And yet, I get variations of the following comments:

“You’re SO thin!”
“I wish I was as skinny as you. You’re so lucky!”

Yes, I’m thin. Thankyouverymuchforpointingouttheobvioustome, ma’am.

But let me point this out right back at you:

Any time you comment on my size, you make me über self-conscious. Why is this society so hell-bent on complimenting and rewarding those who are ultra-thin? I consider myself healthily thin. I may be at the bottom end of the appropriate weight for my size (which is a range of about 10 pounds), but I’m not underweight. I have as difficult a time gaining weight as many people have losing weight – we all know it’s metabolism-related. I was blessed—or cursed—with a high metabolism. Whatever the reason, I’m thin. If I were eight inches taller and a lot prettier, I might qualify to be a model. Or would I?

Recently, the modeling world was turned upside-down. In September 2006, the Spanish Association of Fashion Designers, who organize fashion week in Madrid, banned models with a body mass index (BMI) of 18 or below. The United Nations’ health experts recommend a BMI between 18.5 and 25 (source: BBC.co.uk, Sept. 13, 2006).

According to CNN, “Madrid's regional government, which sponsors the show and imposed restrictions, said it did not blame designers and models for anorexia. It said the fashion industry had a responsibility to portray healthy body images” (Sept. 13, 2006). Thirty percent (30%) of the models who showed up for the fashion week were not allowed to participate. Well, that took care of the starving models, but…

Far be it for a model to gain weight! Oh, the horror! Such actions should not be tolerated! Models must simply be “perfectly” thin – no more and now, no less.

Last month, former supermodel Tyra Banks was lambasted in the media for gaining weight, and for being 5’10” and weighing 161 pounds. Good lord! If that’s fat, then I’m not thin – I’m simply bones covered with a bit of skin. I’m proud of her for basically telling the world to “kiss her fat ass” if they had a problem with it.

As a society, we project images of beauty and perfection to teens and tweens. Who exactly determines that 5’8” and a BMI of 18 is representative of stunning beauty? Who determines that being a bit on the curvy and meaty side is just simply not acceptable? Who made it possible for women of all ages, heights and sizes to walk down the street and state the obvious to me?

Time to go eat some leftover hunan beef. Mmmm!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Think you're Popeye? :)

Or was IamwhoIam taken?

W.F.T. said...

I guess people comment on your thinness because they think, "Surely, that is more socially sanctioned than commenting on the fatness of anyone." They are wrong, of course.

Then, there are those who are wistful of your metabolism, and therefore, feel they are being complimentary or flattering. To those, I say, "Be careful what you wish for. There are unique problems associated with a high, or too-high, metabolism too."

They, too, can kiss my big butt! ;)

Big-Butt Belle

DC Deafie said...

Thank you, Belle! :) It's nice to see that someone else "gets it."

Cheers!

The View from Dupont said...

Agreed - the worst for me is when my mom starts in on the "oh honey - are you eating? You should be eating more" when I visit... So frustrating!

MinusWatcher said...

As an Overweight American (lardius yankeeus) with a non-UN-sanctioned BMI of 26.0, I would like to thank you for your kindly call for social tolerance of all shapes and sizes. I think we can agree that everybody (except the shiftless Irish) has the right to conduct his or her own affairs and to walk around with as much flesh as seems expedient.

I would like to suggest a different line of thinking on the whole 'projected images of beauty' thing, however. I think that everybody can agree that the magazine/tv depiction of bone-thin beauties can lead to poor body image and various dangerous behavior on the part of young women. What is less well examined is ... why?

Consider the images which adolescent boys are presented with as role models of behavior and masculinity. No thirteen-year-old wants to be a Calvin Klein model, certainly - but he does want to be LeBron James. And you know what? He's never gonna be. He's not tall enough. He's probably too fat, and he's certainly not strong or fast or well-coordinated enough.

So both Little Johnny and Little Suzie are aspiring to unrealistic ideals here. And it's certainly the case that some Little Johnnies will end up hurting themselves - steroids in HS gyms are sadly neither a new nor an uncommon phenomenon. But for some reason, that kind of unhealthy image fixation appears (to this researcher, who thought about it for a few minutes) to be largely confined to the realm of the female.

Which makes me wonder.

Maybe the issue isn't *what* we're teaching kids, but *how*? Both boys and girls are shown unrealistic ideals of perfection, but it's primarily the girls whose self esteem and bodily well-being are sacrificed to the pursuit. It's not hard to find a boy who'll wear LeBron's jersey, spend hours on the court practicing his fadeaway, and then go home to eat Cheetos and play video games. Why is Cosmo so much harder to put down? Why, in a word, do girls want it so much more?

Anonymous said...

I know what your talking about. I've been "the skinny girl" since the first day of school in kindergarden. My sister and I are very skinny because we both have a high metabolism. I think that it's hereditary because I've seen pics of my mom and grandmother when they were young and they were very thin too.

I am Hindu and I don't eat meat because of my religion. People think that my sister and I are skinny because we are vegetarians. That may have a part to do with it, but I know that's not the only reason because I have many cousins who are vegetarians and are not skinny at all.

I wish everyone would stop pointing out my skinniness because it makes me feel insecure. I know my sister feels the same way.