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: http://www.retronaut.co/2011/11/vintage-weight-gain-ads/. 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.