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.
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.
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.