Skinny bashing: Why my hips don’t lie

I shall bravely go where no chubby chick has gone before: into the teeny tiny abyss – wait, can an abyss be tiny? – of Skinny Town. Actually, probably lots of women have traveled from Fatville to Skinny Town – repeatedly. Most women who have had any issues with food, or a pregnancy, or an illness, or a stressful time, or a depression, or started or quit an intense exercise program, or aged, or were born, have experienced some weight fluctuation. Some of us may have experienced massive weight gains and losses in our lives. I’m one of those people. But, as thin as I got, I would never, ever have described myself as “skinny.” Even at my thinnest, I had a frame that was … let’s see, what’s the word? Curvy? Hmmm, I guess I could go with curvy. My tits and ass might change sizes a bit, depending on my weight, but I know now that one song remains the same: my lips don’t lie. (Thank you, Shakira, for that tidbit of luscious poetry).

At my thinnest, I wore a 34B bra. Blouses and free-flowing frocks, I could wear the smallest women’s sizes (or sometimes even a little girls’ large). But pants? Oh hell no. I never got below a size 6 – which for those of you who don’t know, is tiny in Normalville, acceptable but kinda still disgusting in LA, and PLUS-SIZED in the modeling world. But the reason I could never buy smaller pants? HIPS. I remember being fitted for a costume once, and my heart raced as the tape measure went around my hips. Oh no… I was starving. I could hear my stomach growling. I’d run at least three miles that day. I could reach down and feel the pelvic bone jutting from my flesh, and yet… the seamstress measured me, look confused, and measured me again. “What?” I said, in a blind panic. She was surprised. She thought I was so “tiny” and yet my hips… wait for it… measured 39 1/2 inches. Yup, for those of you who aren’t too good at math, that’s half an inch shy of 40 inches. My hips are so big I’m even too much woman for Sir Mix-A-Lot (“36-24-36? Only if she’s 5’3”).

But at that moment, I realized something. No matter how much I exercised, or how little I ate, I could never actually starve away my pelvic bone. And I could still hear men say things to me like, “I like curves on a woman.” Or my extra-special favorite: “I like a woman with a little meat on her bones.” Yea, you never get tired of hearing that one. And that goes for all of us. Because trust me, the skinny chicks hear it too. But men say it to put them down; to make them feel less womanly. To denigrate them.

So I think it’s time we got a few things straight AND curvy. I’ve been seeing a lot of crap on Facebook (it comes in waves and was all over the place about a month ago) with images and messages that are high-fiving the curvy chicks. “When did THIS become hotter than THIS?” (With pictures of current Hollywood bods that are very close to skeletal and vintage pin-up shots of Betty, Jayne, Marilyn and Liz). Or with similar types of photos with a similar caption “Fuck Hollywood. THIS (curvy) is hotter than THIS (thin).”

Now to be clear, just as I defended us “bigger”girls and braced myself for the criticism of “fat is unhealthy” I do also realize that starving yourself to the point of emaciation is unhealthy. Yes, as a former member of the ED (eating disorder) community, I have a better shot at identifying someone with an eating disorder than the average person who has not had one. But to reiterate my previous point that you can’t always tell by a person’s body whether or not they’re “healthy,” I will say that the body can carry clues but there is something in a person’s attitude that gives them away. Women who are starving themselves are harried, frightened, living on the edge, terrified of losing control and it is almost as if you can smell the pheromones of fading flesh oozing from their pores. Even women who are “recovered” I can usually spot. I recognize the scars.

That being said, I can usually tell something else about a woman: whether or not she is operating in her “natural” body type. I am not criticizing any woman if she works really hard to stay in shape, or if she eats a little indulgently and carries a few extra pounds because of it. All I’m saying is: we have a natural body type.

Humans are very varied. Height, hair color, hair texture, eye color and skin color are just a few of the things that make up the package. What about more subtle things? How fast does your hair grow? Does it grow? Did it already fall out? Do you have big feet even though you’re short? Small hands even though you’re tall? Are you naturally muscular? What about the inside? Is your metabolism fast or slow? Are you genetically predisposed to cancer? To diabetes? The list is endless. And of the things on that list, there is only so much we can change. We are taught we can change almost all of it now. Dye your hair, get a hair transplant, a boob job, a face lift, work out harder, gain muscle, lose fat, ward off cancer, get a lap band, hell you can even get surgery now to make yourself TALLER. Seriously. Painful, expensive surgery, so you can be a little taller. (Not A LOT taller motherfucker, only a LITTLE taller). So, because we can change so much about ourselves, we can all strive toward the same ideal:


Should be easy enough, right? Tell us, oh great media whores, what the “ideal” is, and what things we can do and more importantly, buy to reach it, and we will all be fucking perfect. Only the ideal changes, doesn’t it?

Not so long ago, I came across vintage weight gain ads. If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth checking out: I posted it on Facebook, and got a lot of comments about how great it was that “curvy” was making a “comeback.” And it’s so great, right? Also, men love curvy women! Right? Sometimes? This ad’s first headline is “Men wouldn’t look at me when I was skinny!” Now, I actually posted the ads to make a point, quite different from the point “curvy is awesome – skinny sucks.” The point I wanted to make was this: Misogyny has been around a while, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Women suck if they’re too skinny, and they suck if they’re too fat.

Now, I throw around the word “misogyny” a lot. I think it’s pretty clear that it’s rampant.  For the most part, it seems that men in power (and men not in power) quite often, really HATE women. But it doesn’t end there. You see, the definition of misogyny is quite simple: the hatred of women or girls. So it isn’t just men who hate women. Women hate women too. It’s often pointed out that women are their own worst enemy. We let jealousy, and competitiveness and pettiness and insecurity bring down our Self, and our fellow Goddesses. And why? Because someone decided that curvy or thin, or tall or petite, or blond or brunette, or girl-next-door or exotic is “sexy”? And who is someone? The media? Hollywood movies? Victoria’s Secret? Some man? Which man? Any man? I mean, seriously, who the fuck is in charge of this shit anyway?

Every time we buy into the idea of an “ideal” we lose touch with the Goddess, The Feminine Mystique, and with our own humanity. 

Curvy is not better than thin. Thin is not better than curvy. Nothing is “better.” It just IS. I make an effort not to rag on fat people.  Sure, when I hate someone, I find myself saying things like “fat ass” or “skinny bitch” but I really do try. I try not to jump on the Kim Kardashian has a giant butt bandwagon. I mock her because she comes across as a shallow, stupid, vacuous, ridiculous media whore with no discernible talent. I don’t care how big her ass is. If she was totally awesome, and my BFF, I would think her butt was beautiful.

I’m working really hard now on not “skinny bashing” either. It’s hard not to. I’m jealous of thin women. And, it’s hard not to look at these emaciated actresses (who didn’t used to be that skinny) and not think they have an eating disorder. Maybe they do. Shit, how could they not? They are under a tremendous pressure to remain rail thin. Hell, if the average woman who isn’t modeling lingerie, appearing in a romantic comedy as America’s sweetheart or being constantly interviewed about her fitness and diet secrets feels a tremendous pressure to remain thin, what must these women in the spotlight be going through? God, I can actually feel compassion toward them sometimes. When I’m not getting caught up in my stupid female jealousy.

And what about those women you know personally? The naturally thin ones. Come on, we’ve all known a few. Maybe you’re one of them. My jealousy used to eat me alive. (Or maybe that was my starvation diet). I wanted to be thin so bad I could hardly stand to look at thin people. But then, I’ve known a few, and guess what? They suffer too. Thin isn’t necessarily the free pass to happiness we chubsters want to believe it is.

Just as fat people have to hear about how it is “their fault” that they are fat, because they are lazy weak piggies who eat everything in the cupboard, thin people get asked how they do it. What’s your secret? Do you eat? Are you anorexic? How do you you stay in shape? Hell, I get asked about my thin friends. “How does she do it?” It’s pretty simple I say. She’s thin. But how? She’s thin. She’s made that way. I’m not saying she doesn’t take care of herself, but I could match her bite for bite, do the exact same exercise, for the exact same time, and guess what? She’d still be thinner than me. The only way I might win the thin contest is if I were to suffer some debilitating disease at the same time she got pregnant with octuplets. And even then, I’d still have that giant pelvic bone to contend with. Ooh! Maybe I could carry the octuplets for her, nestled in my giant pelvis. But I digress.

My point is this: I have a naturally thin friend, and she happens to be one of the best people I’ve ever known. A true goddess. A life-saver. A fortress. And she has one of  the most beautiful bodies I’ve ever seen in real life. And you know what? Men have said shitty things to her too. Men have put her down for not being “curvy.” And she has narrow hips. I envied them for years, until I learned to accept my hips for what they are – wide. Our hips don’t lie. They are made up of bone and flesh and our own genetic maps.

We, as women, need to stop putting each other’s bodies down. Skinny bashing isn’t any “cooler” than fat bashing – no matter how many glamorous shots of Marilyn you put up to justify it. Making a woman feel like she is “less” of a woman because she has narrow hips or tiny tits or an itty-bitty booty is just as bad as making her feel like “less” of a woman if those lady parts are bigger. It’s fucking ridiculous. We can’t win for losing – or for gaining. It’s all a way of keeping us down. Men do it every time they tell us we are a little too thick, or a little too thin for their taste, and we shouldn’t buy into it. Fuck them. Most of those assholes would fuck every last one of us anyway, fat or thin, and not call the next day either.

I am glad that “curvy” is making a “comeback” in a way. I have worked really hard to accept my body as it is, as it was, and as it will be, regardless of the weight I’m operating at, and it’s a challenge every day. It would be fucking awesome if I didn’t have to just do it all on my own. If other people thought I was sexy too. It feels good to be told you’re sexy. We all want that. I want that. But I want to feel comfortable in my own skin too. My being sexy doesn’t need to mean that other women aren’t sexy. Ladies, our sexiness isn’t mutually exclusive. It’s mutually inclusive. The fact that we are so varied is what makes each and every one of us that much hotter. If we were all exactly the same, none of us could be the hottest. Because we’re different, in a way, we can all be the hottest.

So, Goddesses, just so you know, I plan on being really, really sexy most of the time. But I promise not to do it at YOUR expense.

And fellas, if you’re reading this, (which I doubt you are): BEWARE. If we women ever stop wasting our energy on bullshit jealousy of each other, we will most assuredly have the strength to take over the world. So, stay on our good side.

As Long As She’s Healthy

Well, last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and it’s appalling that Her Body Politic didn’t blog about it. But… what can I say? Lately, my life has been taken up by other things: unrelenting grief, pain, loss, tidal waves of violent hysteria and feelings and thoughts so dark that I wonder if I will ever be able to share them with another human being. Enough of that.

Here’s what I wanted to write last week:

“As long as she’s healthy.”

I’ve seen this phrase more and more recently, and it’s starting to get on my fucking already rattled nerves. Now granted, I know that because of the stress I’m under, and the pain I’m in, there’s a good chance that I am just a giant bitch. I’m willing to accept that. I’d apologize for it… but fuck that. I’m sick to death of apologizing for shit that I didn’t do, wouldn’t do, haven’t done, or have had done to me by other people. This is an epidemic among women, and certainly chronic in my case. How many times have I said, “I’m sorry,” when I had nothing to be sorry for? Countless times.

If you get a chance, check out “The Body is Not an Apology” on Facebook. I dig this page, because at first I was like, “What? What does that even mean?” And then I realized… how long I lived my life, constantly apologizing, for being me. I apologized for “being fat” (whether I was or not isn’t even the point) by starving myself, devaluing myself, and carrying around a belief that the bigger I was, the less of a person I was, and that the rules were different for me. Every human being needs food to survive. Period. If you don’t eat, or receive any nourishment, eventually, you will die. There are no exceptions. I believed I was an exception. That every morsel of food I put in my mouth was a sign of my weakness; that I should be able to survive without sustenance, where others could not.

I believed that the outside mattered most, what I looked like could tell you exactly who I was. If I am fat, I am weak, unhealthy, and lazy. If I am thin, I am strong, healthy and motivated.

I can post pictures (and I probably will at some point) of myself, “healthy” (translate: “thin”). And I can assure you that when the picture was taken, I was mentally ill and most likely starving – physically and emotionally.

I can also show you pictures of myself “unhealthy” (translate: “fat”). And I can assure you that I have come leaps and bounds in terms of my mental, physical and emotional health. The sadness I’m experiencing in my life is directly related to grief and loss and has virtually nothing to do with the way I look.

I recently saw a picture of a woman in a very challenging yoga pose (on the page I mentioned above; see below). It’s a very cool photo. She is completely nude, balanced on one knee and the tips of her fingers. The caption read something about the “lines and curves” of the human body. Her body? Large. The picture? Beautiful, artistic. You can imagine the onslaught of pose


One of them of course being “as long as she’s healthy.” I’m SO FUCKING SICK of hearing this phrase. People say it about Adele. “As long as she’s healthy.” She’s a fucking singer ass-face, not a bikini model, and further more it’s her business if she wants to wear a bikini. And the woman in this photo above? She posed for a fucking picture. It’s art. Who cares what she ate or if she runs on a treadmill? It’s art. She’s not advertising some weight loss pill or exercise equipment and claiming to “be healthy,” she’s posing for a goddamn picture. And even if she were promoting a “healthy lifestyle” and you think she isn’t healthy, how about this plan? Think for yourself, dumb-ass. You decide what’s healthy for you, let her decide it for her.

The reason this phrase – “as long as she’s healthy” – bothers me is two-fold:

First: when you condescendingly say “as long as she’s healthy,” I believe it carries the implication that she’s not. If a woman has a “great body” – in other words, she fits into the narrow idea our culture has of a great body – she is assumed to be healthy. I’m sure some people have used this annoying phrase to describe super-thin women too, but mostly I’ve heard it specifically in reference to a woman who is not thin. I feel it necessary to repeat something I posted in one of my earlier blogs: YOU CANNOT TELL BY LOOKING AT A PERSON WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE “HEALTHY.” If their body is dead, they are no longer breathing and their flesh is starting to decompose, maybe then could you say something about what’s going on. “Oh shit, that motherfucker is DEAD.” If they are coughing up blood, you can see that they have a pretty severe gunshot wound, and their flesh is turning necrotic, you may be able to hazard a guess that they are a little “unhealthy.” If they approach you and say, “please for the love of god help me, I’m so unhealthy!,” you may get the idea that they are “unhealthy.” But if they are thin, fat, or anywhere in between, and that is your only criteria for judgment, you don’t know shit about their “health.”

Second: Maybe, just maybe, the person you’re saying this about, isn’t healthy. Okay, so fucking what? You don’t fucking know her. She’s a stranger. Maybe it’s none of your goddamn business what she does. Maybe she’s got a giant ass and she had two cans of Reddi-Whip for breakfast, and she’s happy with that. Shut the fuck up and worry about your own health. She’s not your personal trainer or your nutritionist? Don’t fucking worry about what she’s eating or if she exercises. If you love and care about someone, and they are doing something to harm themselves – starving, overeating, binge-drinking, smoking, shooting heroin into their eye sockets – then, okay, you have a personal relationship with that person, and you say, “hey I’m worried about you because…” and you fucking talk about it. But if you don’t know the person: it’s none of your business.

So, now for the onslaught of “obesity” rants. People feel like they need to butt in on all kinds of shit people do. Oh my god, obesity is an epidemic, second-hand smoke kills, drinking is bad, teen pregnancy is on the rise, fast food is disgusting, sugar = Satan. They spout all kinds of statistics about how many deaths per year are caused by these social diseases and addictions we have, and that it’s costing taxpayers bazillions of dollars in medical costs. Employers are losing money because we are taking too many sick days to smoke cigarettes and eat Big Macs and we are calling in fat to work.

Oh. My. God. There is a line between “educating the public” about the dangers of something, and “banning and ranting,” and I believe we’ve crossed it. When we rant about the ills of something, and possibly try to ban it, a few things happen. First of all, we desire it that much more.

Example: I hate Big Macs. They are disgusting. When I say I never eat them, I mean, I NEVER fucking eat them. But if I knew they were going to be banned? If someone told me I couldn’t have one? I can tell you I’d be running out to get one so fast that I’d burn all the calories it has getting to it. Vilifying something often makes it that much more appealing.

Next, we set something up as bad, we feel bad when we do it, and we also judge one another for doing it. “Oh gross, can you believe how much sugar she eats? That’s disgusting.” Because of my struggle with my weight, I used to feel (and I still fight this one) that if I ate something “bad” I should apologize for it. “I’m just really craving garlic bread, I don’t know why. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Is it PMS?” Yet a skinny person has every right to down an entire sheet cake, and she doesn’t need to apologize for shit? Well, that sucks.

I eat a lot more spinach than I do cake, but if I want to eat cake, I want to do it without judgment. I don’t want some asshole telling me that I’m unhealthy.

Let us eat cake. If we want to.

Let us be judged by the content of our character, and not by the size of our jeans… or the size of our genes.

And if you think genes don’t make a difference, try walking a mile in my metabolism.

And when you are wondering whether or not someone is “healthy,” remember that even if you could judge their physical health by looking at them, do you really think you can judge their mental, emotional, and spiritual health by looking at them? And do you really think these things are less important than physical health, or that they’re not ALL CONNECTED? If you don’t realize how connected they all are, then you aren’t “healthy” either. And even if someone tells you how “healthy” she is, and you think she looks great and has a winning smile, remember: people with eating disorders are very good liars.

I agree that the Body should never be an apology, and I know that sometimes the body is a lie. It tells ignorant people all kinds of things about the owner of it that are simply untrue.

My body is a truth. A truth of everything I have put it through, good or bad, up to this point. Only I really know that truth, and sometimes even I can get a little fuzzy on that, so the last thing I need is anyone else confusing the issue.