How to Make a Skinny Girl Feel Fat8:00 AM
I had never felt fat until today.
My sophomore year of college, the school nurse told me to eat more carbs, even if that meant grabbing an ice cream after every meal. I was teetering close to below normal weight for my BMI. It was kind of a badge of pride for me, hitting the scales around 110 pounds every time. I didn't even have to work out. (I also never ate anything because of a busy lifestyle and a picky palette.) It made me excited to fit into size two dresses. My biggest accomplishment? No overwhelming body image issues -- just a few days here and there where I felt weird and off and ugly. Normal stuff.
Then two people mentioned in passing how skinny minny I was compared to my younger years. And they weren't talking about my two-year-old self with thunder thighs. They meant my freshman year in college.
I scrolled through my freshman year photos. I looked younger, yes. Maybe a little rounder in the face? A little stouter in the waist? That haircut and dumpy outfit didn't help. Yikes. But I couldn't see any huge difference.
It troubled me that my current body was so close to my chub-chub freshman body. Didn't I lose the freshman fifteen instead of gain it? But come to think of it, I did get stuck in my friend's size two dress and almost split the seams shimmying it off. And I did notice a slightly significant drop in weight once I started dancing full-time sophomore year.
I was fat? Really? I knew I looked awkward and frumpy in my younger years, but chubby? Gosh. Say it isn't so.
It feels so shameful to hear that label attached to my body. I heard the shame in my sister's voice every time she "joked" about being fat. "You're not fat," I kept telling her. "You're just tall and have really petite sisters." When she kept repeating the same "jokes," I wanted to slap her with medical statistics about what it actually meant to be overweight and how dangerous it would be for a tall girl to weigh like a ten-year-old and did it even matter, anyway?
This is what troubles me: Even if I was five pounds heavier two years ago and met the vague standard of "chubby," I know for certain I was a healthy five pounds heavier. I was an undistracted five pounds heavier, unworried by obsessively working out or eating more carbs to stay alive.
It's disturbing that "fat" is now a measure of beauty instead of a measure of health. And that's how to make a skinny girl feel fat -- use "chubby" as a beauty term, not a health term. Make the normal little belly bulge and a round face and curves something abnormal and unattractive. Make a size four noteworthy for not being a size two. Make it something worth mentioning, something worth celebrating, that a skinny girl dropped a few pounds of teenage fat -- and that makes her cuter.
I dislike being evaluated, rated, and categorized based on physical features. So what if I was a little chubby in the face two years ago? Did that make me any less valuable? Did that diminish my personality, my education, and my passion? It didn't.
The impact of my weight on my attractiveness doesn't matter because beauty doesn't factor into worth. I'm not a pageant queen or a candidate for Xerxes' harem, so beauty shouldn't affect my success in life. Just because I'm a woman does not mean that I submit myself to a beauty rating system. Yet I feel coerced into playing this pageant game that rates beauty with an objective, part-by-part measuring stick.
When I told my boyfriend that I "felt fat" based on these recent comments, he immediately told me, "What? You're not fat. And you're pretty."
Those words felt hollow -- not because I didn't believe that he saw me as beautiful and skinny. It's just that his opinion -- his opinion -- does not change my objective rating on the beauty scale that the world uses. As long as I played the pageant game, I would equate beauty with worth -- and the skinnier the better.
So I said, "Stop. No. Tell me I'm smart or something" -- something that mattered. Something that I cared about being. Something that I knew I objectively was. Something that wasn't clouded with a twisted measuring stick. I was loved. I was cute. I was funny. I was a good student. I was caring. I was passionate.
And that's how a skinny girl stopped feeling fat -- because five pounds, gained or lost, doesn't make a bit of difference to who I am.
Photo Credz: Livingly