In my twenties I was living the age that perfection loves to hang out with. I’d dress up in a low-rise skirt and show the world what a gymnast’s line was all about. Then I’d get together with a few friends and paint the town neon pink. Wrinkles were a fallacy and grey hair was too far away to be real. Inevitably, if I didn’t bother to hide my body under 50 shades of baggy fabric, I’d hear the words, “You’re so slim. I hate you.”
In part, it was intended as a compliment, but it couldn’t mask the resentment that was behind it. I wondered, over and over, what would happen if I reversed the comment and replied, “You’re overweight. I hate you.” It wasn’t a statement I would ever have thought acceptable. I struggled to understand why such opinions were seen as okay as long as they referred to the slim rather than the under or overweight. I knew that one day, my years would catch up to me. I’d gain extra pounds and my premenopausal hormones would redistribute my weight. It hasn’t happened. I’m still slim. Shoot me.
A recent blog post listed all the reasons that you wouldn’t want to date a slim woman. ‘Insulting’ is too generous a word for it. Admittedly, around the same time a post popped up that insulted obesity equally much, but the latter view is expressed far more seldomly and is seen as unacceptable. Society deems it okay to denigrate thinness, discriminatory and hateful to denigrate the overweight.
Slim women are often described as not being real women. They are described as people nobody would want to enter a dungeon or bed with, because who wants a body that can’t be held onto?
If it became as acceptable to treat the overweight and obese as it is to berate the thin, we would hear statements like this and think nothing of them:
- Who would you rather fuck? A fat woman or a real woman?
- You’re too fat. Somebody needs to stop feeding you.
The list is too distasteful and hate-filled to finish. There are people in the world who say things like that all the time, but their attitudes are challenged. Their statements are known to be so far outside the lines of ‘acceptable’ that those who speak them are confronted in anger. Not so with slim women: Say, “She’s thin. Somebody needs to feed her,” and you will be treated as someone who has a healthy attitude towards beauty and eating. That’s a fallacy.
Slim-hatred goes hand-in-hand with the denigration of the underweight, who are often called “adolescent” and “ugly.” Facebook photographs have infinite threads that are more insulting than those attached to any other body type on the web. Those who have anorexia are suffering from a severe psychiatric illness. Insulting their bodies is the same as insulting the bald head of a cancer patient. Both diseases are potentially fatal. The fact that we don’t want them on the covers of magazines where they teach youngsters to starve themselves does not give us permission to insult the global anorexia population. That behaviour is ablest in the extreme.
I am told I have good genes and am fortunate that I don’t have to battle with an overly active appetite. Luck is defined as something that is brought on by chance rather than through one’s own actions, so good fortune has nothing to do with the size of my hips. I eat when I’m hungry. I stop when I’m full. As someone who has shifted between enough medications to kill a herd of elephants, I’ve also dealt with a horse’s appetite and a sluggish metabolism. My response is to continue eating as I did before, even when it’s difficult. There is no luck involved in being slim. I am also one of those lucky people who struggles daily to maintain my recovery from an eating disorder. Battles with food are a habit, not a stranger. I am not lucky. I just work hard to keep my relationship with food and exercise healthy. For that reason, I am slim. Shoot me.
I have put years of therapy and hard work into accepting my body. I’ve made progress, but I am still far from kind to myself. To those who say, “I hate you” and “eat something” and “real women have curves” I have this reply:
I am a real woman.
I’m slim. Stop shooting me.