To the Thin Women of the World – I’m Sorry

I am just going to get this out of the way – I am not at my ideal BMI. I have to shop in the Plus section of the stores most of the time. Ok, I’ll just go ahead and say it. I am … Fat. (Ouch, that was hard.)

But that is no excuse for how I have treated you, thin women.

Weight is not a competition. There is no “WIN” in comparing myself to you.

More importantly, it is not your fault that I am fat. I apologize for all the times that I have said horrible things to you because you are thin.

My Apology to Thin Women for the Hateful things we say.

I never noticed this phenomenon until I caught myself saying it to a woman I had only met an hour or so earlier. There she was at the photo shoot, slender and with the most perfect abs I have ever seen, telling me how she had a 14 month old baby. I simply had to ask, “Oh, please tell me that you work out all the time!?”

I saw her cringe a little. She was almost apologetic as she told me no, she was just built that way. She had not worked out after the baby.

That was the moment that it happened. I felt the thickness of the words about to tumble out of my mouth. I managed to catch them in time, but the silence was awkward. It was obvious that I was about to say something. She looked puzzled.

I looked at the ground for a moment, and then I looked her in the eye.

“I just have to apologize, because what I almost said? It was that I hate you. That is not right. You don’t deserve that.”

She looked back at me, “It is ok. Thank you. You would be shocked at some of the things people say to me.”

As she told me some of those things, we both stood there and cried together.

I should have been shocked, but I wasn’t because I’m sure I have said them at some point as well to a thin woman. Completely oblivious to the pain I was causing her in hearing them. It was all about my pain, my shame of hating myself and my own body.

“Oh, you’re cold? Well … maybe you should eat a cheeseburger. Or a cookie. Put on some weight.”

“You have 5 pounds to lose? Hah! That is NOTHING! Be glad you’re so thin.”

“You’re so thin, I could snap you like a twig!”

And the worst one of all, “You’re so thin … I hate you.”

When did this become OK?!? At what point did we decide that we are allowed to look another woman in the eye and tell her that we hated her? Or that she should gain weight and doesn’t have a right to have body-image issues because she is thin?

Thin shaming is just as bad for women’s body image as fat shaming. Both are wrong.

Over the past few years, I’ve talked to a number of other thin women about this topic. It is something that they are experiencing on a regular basis. Some have told me their stories about how they thought it would change when they grew up, how they never expected that it would continue in to adulthood. How in ways, it is worse now because they can no longer excuse it is a playground taunt.

Everyone wants to be thin, but we vilify the women that actually ARE.

We make them outcasts. Women bond over how much we hate our bodies, the latest diet that we are on, how we will simply never have thigh gap. If you’re thin? We act as if you have no right to be a part of the tribe. You have hit it. You reached the goal we all desperately long to attain, if only we would make the life changes to get there.

So many of the messages today about being body positive are actually talking about accepting your PLUS size body. Embrace the Curves. Eff your beauty standards. Love me as I am!!! No one should say that they are fat. Love yourself no matter what your size. Stop hating your body.

But here is the reality: if we are talking about being body positive, thin women are a part of this conversation as well. Love yourself at any size? At any size means at a size 00 or a size 30.

Tearing down another woman is fighting the wrong battle. - ChristineTremoulet.comWe do not get to exclude them in this conversation. Thin women have every right to struggle with the same issues. Being Body Positive can not have a size tag attached to it.

It is time that we stop attacking the thin women of the world. Tearing another woman down is fighting the wrong battle.

I will never again tell another woman that I hate her because of how thin she is, how fabulous her hair is, how wonderful her life may be compared to mine. It is time we pull this hateful language from our vocabulary.

I would like to be the first in line to say it:

To the thin women, I AM SORRY. I see you, and I hear you, and I embrace you – exactly as you are. Come, join the conversation. Be a part of the circle. You have every right to be here.

My apology to the thin women of the world. I see you, and I hear you. Come join the conversation. You deserve to be a part of it.

126 Comments

  1. Roshni on April 2, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    As a woman who’s built slim size, I felt a lot of relief reading this post!! I wanted such a post written for a long time but I felt it shouldn’t be me writing it! Thank you! 🙂



  2. Leslie on April 2, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    This was a really great post. I’m blessed with a pretty high metabolism and I work out regularly and watch what I eat. Post-baby, it’s been more difficult. Women often give back-handed compliments. I want to say, “Dude! I just killed myself at the gym and I’m logging every calorie. I WORK at this because it’s important to me.” But instead I giggle uncomfortably and say “Erm… Thanks.”
    We all have our priorities and places we want to spend our energy. Judging is just a waste. Let’s channel our energy into owning who we are. If we love it, great. If we don’t, change it. But for the moment, it’s what you’ve got.



  3. Raeme on April 2, 2015 at 6:18 PM

    Love this. Coming from a “skinny” woman – don’t be jealous of my waist line – it comes with it’s own issues (like anemia and being protein-intolerant – go figure!) It also comes with short stature that leaves people wondering if I’m 16. You’re welcome to experience that on a daily basis. I’d happily trade my waist line for whatever was available to never have to experience that again.



  4. Stacey on April 3, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    Wow! Awesome post. It’s not okay to “fat-shame”, but it’s also not okay to “skinny-shame”.



  5. Eydie Stumpf on April 3, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    You’re right, it’s not okay to vilify people of any size – I just wish that when a size 2 is talking to me about her “rolls”, that she takes into consideration that she’s making me feel even worse about myself. Just sayin’. Sure, I could do something about my weight – and I’m always “working” on it.

    No, I don’t know how a size 2 feels about her rolls —- but she has no idea how I feel about mine either. Different feelings for different women.



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  7. Tricia Bennett on August 9, 2016 at 12:21 AM

    Did it start in the 80s? “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” ~ Kelly LeBrock



  8. Donavan Freberg on August 9, 2016 at 12:41 AM

    It’s all projection. Men do it too, in different but equally couched and hurtful ways. It’s shame and low self-esteem. Someone who has a strongly fortified ego (not narcissism, but a true sense of self-worth and a deeply instilled sense of honor around themselves) could never “hate another person for being pretty”. And I think, “why are you so gorgeous omg” is really, “I secretly feel ugly, and I have never really liked myself, so I will pretend to compliment you as I destroy my own value.” This is dark, mucky, yucky work and it is so perfectly human. But to grow up, and move into our destiny, we have no choice but to work through it or we go to our graves never knowing what it feels like to wake up and love ourselves, fully, without conditions or excuses. Some take a lifetime to get there, or don’t ever get there. We can do it in an instant, but it takes tremendous vulnerability to take off the heavy armor of resentment, which is so easy to put on and feels like a straightjacket once we do. The key is in our pockets, but our pockets are as deep as our habits. Hard, hard, work. But we can help each other. We must. A rising tide raises all boats. <3



  9. Brenda Thompson on August 9, 2016 at 12:42 AM

    Your post is spot on. As a teen I had a metabolism that would not stop. And being 6 ft. tall by age 16 to boot was not so great. I was so skinny I got called names like toothpick and pencil. People wondered if I was ill. I ate so much and could not gain weight. It was so hard! As an adult now (and I’d say after kids and just getting older), my metabolism has slowed down. But I still try to exercise at least 3-5x per week. Why? Because I like the way I feel after I do that. And more importantly, while I was “blessed” with the genes that help keep me thin, I was also “blessed” with hereditary high cholesterol. My mom had a heart attack at age 51 and is 5′ 4″ and about 130 lbs and walks at least 4 miles a day. Not the picture of a heart patient. Scared the heck out of us (she survived BTW–that was a couple of decades ago!) So the point is you just never really know the whole story unless you ask. And then really listen. And then just understand we all probably have our own hangups about body image that we need to get over.



  10. Sky Simone Gates on August 9, 2016 at 1:16 AM

    It’s no different to people who call things they think are “cool” – “wicked” – they use “i hate you” as a trendy way of saying “omg i want your couch” or “omg I want your body” etc. I don’t like ironic speak or sarcasm.. too many sarcastic people have popular followings and from my experience most sarcastic people just spread hate



  11. Donavan Freberg on August 9, 2016 at 1:19 AM

    I’ve been watching “Stranger Things”, and remembering the days before irony. Sky, I agree. Irony is the new cool and it’s so hard and mean. I don’t like it.



  12. Brenda Thompson on August 9, 2016 at 1:21 AM

    I think the problem when it comes to body comments especially, you never truly know where it’s coming from–actual admiration or veiled hate. In my experience, those that make the comments have their own insecurities otherwise it wouldn’t even come up.



  13. Amanda Ward Dengler on August 9, 2016 at 3:06 AM

    I love this! Thank you!! It’s a sad problem, and I rarely feel like I have the freedom to address it since that would seem to invite more of the same hurtful comments and attitudes. I think I’m getting better at my “everyone is different” response though. I have always received random rude comments about my weight, but it was about 5-6 years ago I started to notice the mass “thin shaming,” with the “whales vs mermaids” and “strong is the new skinny” viral social media posts. Well y’all, this is the way God made me.



  14. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:08 AM

    Everyone wants to be thin – but we vilify people who actually are. It is *horrible* – whenever I hear it, I stop people. It just angers me.



  15. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:11 AM

    That is the one thing I’ve learned over the years – everyone hates something about their body. Photography women was such a healing experience for me because I learned that. As I showed other women their beauty, I was able to find my own.

    I’m glad your mom survived the heart attack! That is a whole other conversation – how heart disease on women doesn’t look like you expect it to look. Your mom’s story isn’t that uncommon at all, yet we perpetuate myths of what a heart patient is supposed to look like. I think it costs some people their life.



  16. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:15 AM

    “The key is in our pockets, but our pockets are as deep as our habits.” That is the most eloquent way of stating it that I’ve ever heard. YES. I also think it is a life’s work – it has an ebb & flow to it, some days better than others. Some times. It makes me sad to see people that don’t love themselves – and use these negative statements to tear themselves down even more.



  17. Charlaine Williams on August 9, 2016 at 3:20 AM

    I never really thought about this being a negative thing. I read all the comments and I can understand that point of view, it just never even crossed my mind as anything but a compliment. A silly sorority girl type compliment, but nothing nefarious. Interesting how people see things through different lenses.



  18. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:23 AM

    It wasn’t until I almost said it to a client’s face in response to her being thin that it hit me. How would I feel if someone looked at me and said, “I hate you…” I don’t think I’d hear anything after that. She looked so full of shame as she told me she was thin naturally, that she didn’t work out. She was steeling herself for that response. I saw the pain in her eyes. I’ve tried to never say it again.



  19. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:24 AM

    So many people messaged me after that blog post, thanking me. Telling me how that comment hurts them. Especially if they were teased for being thin as a child, or if their thinness is tied to a health issue.



  20. Charlaine Williams on August 9, 2016 at 3:27 AM

    I was always a super skinny kid. But I guess I was just lucky enough to not pick up any body shaming issues, or I just had enough I was embarrassed about without being too skinny bothering me. Haha. ????



  21. Sky Simone Gates on August 9, 2016 at 3:29 AM

    Actually Christine Tremoulet you know what? I think it largely stems from what Australians call “Tall Poppy Syndrome” – the term comes from the fact that if a poppy grows taller than other poppies, the other poppies will kill it.. People don’t like seeing others achieve.. Ok people like you do.. but a lot of people don’t… I’ve had other photographer friends basically tell me “I don’t want to hear about your weddings because I’m not getting bookings” – Even my own mum told me she didn’t want to hear about me travelling because she never got to travel 🙁 it’s sad…



  22. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 4:40 AM

    I teach about the Tall Poppy Syndrome all the time. 😀



  23. Haley Lynn Gray on August 9, 2016 at 12:07 AM

    Omg. That just drives me bonkers.



  24. Stacie Kurt Jensen on August 9, 2016 at 3:17 PM

    Agreed that It doesn’t mean “I hate you” in the sense of negative. It’s not meant to be taken literal.



  25. Stacie Kurt Jensen on August 9, 2016 at 3:19 PM

    I don’t think it’s meant to be literal.



  26. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:25 PM

    Even if it isn’t meant to be literal, not everyone wants it said to them.



  27. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    Yes, it may not be literal … How would you feel if you were body shamed regularly and that was said to you often? It would suck.



  28. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    I’d prefer to compliment people with a compliment.



  29. Stacie Kurt Jensen on August 9, 2016 at 3:30 PM

    Christine Tremoulet no I honestly don’t take it literal when it is said to me. I’m just someone it doesn’t bother because I don’t take it negative. How many times do you hear omg I’m going to kill him – in a teasing manner. Not to be taken as a death threat. I’m just someone who doesn’t take a phrase serious if not intended to be.



  30. Elaine Mesker-Garcia on August 9, 2016 at 3:32 PM

    Of course it’s not literal but hate is such a strong word and has such a negative connotation. There is enough hate in this world and so many more other word choices… How about simply saying – you are beautiful. You are talented. You are so smart. And while we are at it, don’t demean yourself.



  31. Stacie Kurt Jensen on August 9, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    Some people have thick skin. Some don’t. Some this wouldn’t bother. Some it will. I was never bothered by it because it didn’t mean negative. They aren’t spreading hate though, let’s not get to literal for a phrase that doesn’t even mean hate.



  32. Elaine Mesker-Garcia on August 9, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    Stacie – I have a thick skin too and it doesn’t bother me but as you said, it can bother some people so why not simply be more careful of what we say? Is that rally a bad thing? Not sure why so much resistance and rationalizing on why it’s ok to continue to use the word hate as a positive term.



  33. Stacie Kurt Jensen on August 9, 2016 at 3:39 PM

    Elaine Mesker-Garcia there is no resistance here. At all. Why would a stated opinion that is opposite of another be considered resistant. It’s just another side of the coin. To have one opinion you must respect an opposite one. So all should just agree to be non resistant?



  34. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:46 PM

    Stacie Kurt Jensen I was suspended once at a job for that phrase. So … I try to avoid the “I’ll kill you” type of language as well. Yes, a co-worker felt that I threatened her life and complained to management.



  35. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:46 PM

    Words matter.



  36. Stacie Kurt Jensen on August 9, 2016 at 3:49 PM

    Christine Tremoulet I don’t run around saying either of those statements. I simple am giving another opinion to an opinion. It didn’t bother me when said. I took no offense to it and didn’t take it literal. I understand the phrases meaning and it had no negative affect on me.



  37. Christine Tremoulet on August 9, 2016 at 3:51 PM

    Right. We’ve all agreed that not everyone is hurt by it. It is still a terribly negative thing to say, and you never know who WILL be hurt by it.



  38. Emily Jean Smith on August 9, 2016 at 4:17 PM

    Almost typed this as a reply to Stacie Kurt Jensen, but decided since replies often don’t get read I should post it as a regular comment.

    As the skinny chick that this has been said to, yes it is hurtful. It doesn’t feel like a compliment at all. It feels like they are telling me I should somehow feel responsible and guilty for their own body issues. It also seems to insinuate that just because I’m thin I shouldn’t have body issues. I was jsut as equally self conscious of my flat chest and complete lack of hips as some girls are of their extra fluff. I don’t hate them for their great ass and I don’t want to be hated for my smaller waistline. Even if the word “hate” is used in jest, we all know there is an element of truth to every joke.



  39. Stacie Kurt Jensen on August 9, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    I appreciate and value your feelings. In no way would that ever be ok for you to feel shamed. My opinion simply meant it isn’t hurtful to all. Some don’t take it as hateful. Some take it for what it’s meant, a phrase, another way to say “I would kill to have that body” but knowing darn well you wouldn’t actually “kill” to have it. I wasn’t bothered by people saying that when I grew up thin. Just another side to the story.



  40. Emily Jean Smith on August 9, 2016 at 4:27 PM

    I agree, definitely not all. There are enough that are hurt though that we should be careful about how we say things.



  41. Mary Alice Curtiss on April 25, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    I am 61 and still hated on. At about age 25, I figured out that my “bean pole” body was good for something– running. For many years, I enjoyed not feeling like a freak around my running girl friends who were also trim. But I have kind of lost all of them as they stopped running. I never stopped and run alone now. The worst thing another woman once asked me at this all female party was: Does your husband like your body like that? That remark still affects me nearly thirty years later. I have gotten just about every thin insult you can name. Today, I got invited to a book club meeting for women in their sixties. I went, and as always, I was the thinnest. I dressed nicely but comfortably in something noone will remember, next to no makeup, and no flashy jewlery. I don’t even dye my hair. I just keep my grey locks nicely shaped. I hope they give me a chance. I just want friends my own age. I have the same worries most women do. I am mostly frumpy most of the time because I don’t think about my looks except when I am going to be around a group of women. I never have understood why my smallness is such a big deal for other women. I don’t care what you weigh. I don’t care what you have on. I don’t care what you eat or don’t eat. It is none of my business. Unless you are extremely large, I don’t even notice because I am looking in your eyes. All I care about is the person you are. I love intelligent women with a great sense of humor who like to do stuff. What’s your passion? I just want to like you for you and hopefully find a friend who sees me the same way.



  42. Christine on April 25, 2017 at 9:02 PM

    Oh Mary Alice, your comment has me in tears. You sound like such a fantastic woman, and I hope that your book club went well. It is amazing the words that stick with us for years – 30 years is a long time to be carrying around what some other woman said. I hope that someday you feel that you can dress in the outfit that everyone will remember, makeup if you want to wear it, and flashy jewelry. I hope that someday you are free from the other women making such a big deal about you. THANK YOU for sharing this, for sharing your story, for sharing your HEART. Thank you, thank you. This is all that any of us want in life – to be seen, to be heard, to be loved.

    I see you. I hear you. You have a wonderful way with words, and I so want to know more about you.



  43. Kay on April 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM

    Your so awesome!! Glad I found this article. I was skinny shamed all through high school and college and still 15 years and 4 kids later, still get the name calling and mean glares:(
    I still feel self conscious in large groups of women because I’m thin and tall.
    Thank you for the encouraging words!!



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