Thursday, April 21, 2016

Secrets of the Skinny Bitch

I'm 5' 4",  I weigh around 132 pounds on the scale. I can comfortably fit into a pair of size 4 skinny jeans and I ordered my wedding dress in a size 6 (no alteration necessary).  I usually order my race t-shirts in an XS and a few times they have still been too big.  I might not have the figure of a runway model, but I think we can agree that I qualify on some level as skinny.  In fact, I've always been this way.

Lot of presumptions are made about women based on their size, most of them are wrong.  Here's what people don't know about being skinny.

Skinny isn't Healthy.  While I've always been thin, I haven't always been healthy.  I've gone years without doing any real exercise, I've lived off of a fast food diet and I think of mac-n-cheese as a food group.  In high school I had a significant health concern that lead to me having a hard time eating normal food, and yes, I got thinner, but not exactly healthier.

Skinny isn't Bitchy.  I've spent more time being teased than teasing.  In fact, the mean things I've said have been largely out of ignorance and not out of intention.  In a few cases, I've been bullied by someone who was significantly larger than me.  In highschool, my friends thought it acceptable joke about me being anorexic (I was not), but clearly not something to treat casually.  Side note: there is this idea that women with leadership qualities are also bitchy... but that is not what I'm talking about here.

Skinny isn't Perfection.  My life has had a ton of ups and downs.  I've struggled through heartache, not feeling good enough, not accepting myself, worrying if anyone likes me.  It's taken me a long time to know how to make real friends... or find real friends, one of the two.  My first marriage, career and house all failed on some level.

Skinny isn't Dumb.  My hair is blond too by the way... though it's getting darker naturally, and I'm also starting to dye it darker.  Can we just be done with that Skinny Blonde Bimbo stereotype?  Do I really need to explain this one?  Well...  case and point:  I have my bachelors in both Engineering and Math, I scored above the 90th percentile on the GRE, yet every fall I have to work through several of my students surprise as I once again have to prove, that yes, an attractive women is allowed to teach math.

Skinny isn't Anything.  It's not anything I worked for, it's not a moral I've maintained, it's not something I obsessed over by counting calories or punishing myself for eating cheese.  It hasn't fixed my love life, though perhaps at times made it difficult, longer explanation needed.

Skinny is just privilege.  Shopping has been easier, as my size is usually carried at stores, but that is not a cake walk either.   There are still issues with how things fit and not necessarily being model proportions. People assume I'm healthy, that I exercise and eat right, even when I often don't.  Also, I don't know how to lose weight, because I never really have.

My point is that the only thing we can conclude about someone's size is that.  As a skinny person the hurtful assumption are much less hurtful to me as they are to the people who aren't thin.  Getting to a certain size is not a magic life fix, and the only things that might improve are purely a result of poorly we treat larger people, which I don't think should be the case in the first place.  Can we work to make it that way?