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Sweet article on "skinny girls"

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/string-bean-is-not-a-compliment/?_r=0

 

Quote:
 

 Years later, my aunts, who were never skinny, marveled at the collective slenderness of their progeny. They called me a beanpole, and I took it for what it was — a loving compliment accessorized with envy.

Now, there’s my 10-year-old daughter, who is sobbing hysterically. Her eyelids are swollen because she doesn’t like the way any of her pants look on her. She’s looking for a pair that fits her well. She’s looking for a miracle. But this is not about the pants.

“I look like a freak,” she says. “Everybody says so. A skinny freak. I hate being skinny.” It all spills out of her now: people tease her about her body. They call her string bean and toothpick. Beanpole.

post #2 of 7

Thanks for the article. :)  This topic came up at one point where various family members were talking about my niece being skinny, and I was trying to reassure her that she wasn't too skinny, and you would have thought I'd have taken a big poop in the middle of the room.

 

Quote:
 The men who affectionately tease my daughter for being skinny know better than to tease a girl for being overweight, so in that regard we’ve made progress. Maybe we’re halfway down that long road to enlightenment.

 

It's great that people aren't affectionately teasing girls for being overweight but that is most likely because they don't think teasing a girl for being underweight is a negative thing in the same way they think that being overweight is.  And adults do tease and censure children for being overweight, so I don't understand why the author of the article believes that we are even halfway down the road to enlightenment.

Which isn't to say that teasing children for their body size is in any way acceptable or worse when it happens to fat kids vs. skinny kids. But there is so much more negativity around being fat, and as a society we are spending so much money and energy on policing children's bodies. I think the flip side of this is telling skinny children that they are not trustworthy and may have a mental disorder because they are thin.

 

The last time I took my children to the doctor, one was too fat and one had lost too much weight, so I was supposed to bring them both back for weight checks.  I am not supposed to let my fat child gain any weight, nor let my thin child lose weight.  Both of these things did indeed occur, and I haven't been back to the doctor since.  The PA told my thinner daughter that "she didn't trust her" for the reason that she had lost weight over the previous year.

post #3 of 7

I've always been skinny.  I was constantly teased in school.  Where I lived and grew up calling someone skinny was considered an insult. 

 

I hated it when Sir Mix a lot came out with song Baby got Back.

None of the boys wanted to date me because I didn't have a big butt.  She's cute, they'd say about me, but she needs to gain about 20 pounds.

 

As a teen I remember having a crush on a boy.  He told a girl to tell me in front of a group of kids how he would never date me because I was too skinny.  His words were "He didn't want to hurt my feelings but he was afraid he'd break my skinny little twat."  Everyone laughed.  It was the most embarrassing thing ever.  Stuff like that happened many times to me as a teen, where I was rejected by a boy because I was too skinny.

 

There was not one woman in my church over the age of 30 that was not overweight.

"I used to be skinny just like you" they'd tell me, "and then I had kids."  It was like they were cursing me.  Whenever someone said to me "Gosh you're so skinny." it was said with a tone of loathing in their voice.  Like they hated me for being skinny.  "You need to put some meat on those bones." they'd tell me.

 

I have a hard time find clothes that fit me.  Seriously, go into Ross or TJ Maxx and see how many dresses there are in size 2.  There are two exactly.  There are four dresses in a size 4 and maybe eight in a size 6.  And forget about finding size 2 pants in Walmart.  You have to go to the expensive stores to find my size.  I have to do a lot of my clothes shopping online.

 

After I had my first child I was still a size zero.  My husband complained that I wasn't gaining weight.  "I thought you would gain weight after you had your first child, like every other woman does." he said.   He'd grab at the pants I was wearing and say with disgust  "Look at these pants falling off you."  (He's my exhusband now).

 

It seems all of my female co-workers have PHD in losing weight.  Point to any piece of food and they could rattle off how many calories it had.  They spend their days discussing the latest diet fad and if it worked for them.  They'd talk about how hard it was for them to lose weight, but the way they talked it was almost like bragging.  "Honey, I could just look at a cake and gain ten pounds."

"No, all I have to do is think about food and I'll gain weight."

 

If I declined eating something they'd whisper behind my back how I was starving myself.  Heck, they'd even say it to my face.  I've even had women tell me they hate me because I'm skinny.

 

It's never been okay to call someone fat, but it's okay to say skinny girls are mean,

real woman have curves and never trust a skinny cook.

 

I'm happy with my body now, but it's taken a long time to get to this point.  We are becoming so obsessed with losing weight and I don't know how to handle it.  One day while waiting in line at the grocery store I noticed every single magazine by the cashier had something on it about losing weight.  I can't watch TV without some commercial coming on about losing weight.


Edited by amber3902 - 9/25/13 at 8:36am
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola View Post

 

It's great that people aren't affectionately teasing girls for being overweight but that is most likely because they don't think teasing a girl for being underweight is a negative thing in the same way they think that being overweight is.  And adults do tease and censure children for being overweight, so I don't understand why the author of the article believes that we are even halfway down the road to enlightenment.

I agree with this. Women of ALL body types are told their body is wrong.  I don't know anyone who's overweight who hasn't had someone try to make them feel ashamed of their weight. People make snide remarks to fat people, especially women, all the time. There's a thread on this forum asking if having overweight children is a sign of abuse- that wouldn't exist if no one thought ill of overweight people.

 

Girls who are skinny are called "beanpole" and accused of anorexia, girls who are fat are called "lard ass" and accused of eating everything in sight. Girls who aren't curvy are called "Flat chested" and told they're ugly, girls with large breasts are called sluts. Our culture revels in making women feel bad about themselves.

post #5 of 7

I was very very thin growing up. I was never teased for being thin at all, in fact I was envied.  (I was 108 pounds at my first OB checkup at age 26, 5'4"). The only part of the thin-ness I was teased for in Jr. High was lack of breast development, which could have happened no matter what body size I was. I have two thin girls and they also have said they have never been teased for it. Commented on yes, but not made to feel bad about it. I think the bigger problem is people being teased for not being model-thin and girls hating their bodies if they start to develop normal womanly curves.

 

*I am now about 20 pounds heavier thanks to age and pregnancies. ;-)

post #6 of 7
Glad this is out there. My DD 12 is a little underweight but finally in the "normal" range thanks to puberty... Once she hit about 8, everyone, family included, were saying things like "don't you feed her enough? She needs to eat meat, she can't live off a vegetarian diet." or suggested I should take her to the dr. I was like, don't you remember how skinny I was at 8?? There were pictures of me in a bathing suit from swim team where I looked like a cartoon character that had straws for legs up to the neck. I am now 5'7" and 140 after 2 kids, wearing a size 8 or 10, and while considered medically thin, there are plenty of shallow people who might consider me a little overweight now.

My DD is 5' and maybe 80 pounds, has had jealous girls call her a "skinny (white) bitch" (including white because she is part Hispanic and gets judged for her light skin and light hair, kids make a lot of assumptions) because of her weight, and has had the hardest time finding pants for the last 3-4 years although she can finally wear a size manufacturers make now thanks to her hips developing, they used to all be too short and baggy in the butt, or worse, crotch. Being skinny AND not having any clothes that fit properly is a particular burden at this age, which only makes it that much more noticeable. Just keep packing in the protein and pray for puberty wink1.gif
post #7 of 7

My daughter is 13, 5'6" and weighs 102 pounds.  She has always been at least 80-90% on her percentile for height and 50-60% for weight.  Her pedi isn't too concerned because she eats regularly and snacks as well.  She had gone shopping with some friends and next to them, she is very scrawny.  I am hoping she gains some weight soon.  I thought she would gain some once puberty hit.  For her, the only thing puberty brought on was moodiness.

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