This One’s for My Skinny Sisters.

Via on May 23, 2014

scrawny sistas

I am a size zero.

I am as active and inactive as anyone else.

There are stretches where I don’t use my body and other days where I find myself on my mat twice a day.

My metabolism is on steroids: I burn through sugar faster than a tub of Ben and Jerry’s in the hands of a woman watching chick flick re-runs after a break up.

I have never shoved my finger down my throat, or been on a diet.

I have tried to gain weight through certain parts of my life—feeling self conscious of my weight and envious of women with beautiful full hips. I tried protein shakes, lifting weights—but saw little changes in my body weight. I became more muscular and fit, but my thin ass stuck around.

Some days I steam kale and eat like my body is a temple and other days I eat popcorn for dinner. I eat whatever I want, when I want and feel good about it.

I’m just little.

I used a picture of my back for the feature image of my last article “A Take No Shit List For Your Well Being.”

A woman commented on the article saying,

“Wouldn’t it be even better if the picture were of a person more realistic? This size zero blow dried super tan model just turns me right off the content.”

I was the size zero in that photograph.

The day I took the image holding my hands powerfully above me amongst mountain peaks I had hiked 24 kms into a valley in Jasper National Park to camp in the bush. I hadn’t showered, I was sweating, I was greasy from bug dope and covered in dirt. Nothing was blow dried or airbrushed. The article was about standing in our power—and in that image I was gloriously basking in my own.

I am also not a model. I am a real breathing woman that walks amongst this earth beside all of you.

Size zeros are real women too. Models, for that matter, are real women to.

I understand that our world might be sick of media shoving glorified, thin, air brushed models down our throats, but is the solution to throw all skinny women under a bus because they don’t have hips to hold on to?

We are the reason skinny women splatter front pages of magazines. So instead of spiting fire at a woman because she gets paid to be photographed or has a Thumbelina waist, why not revolt against the seeds we planted that grew into an existence of a world obsessed with exploiting women and body image.

In her article “The Beauty Myth,” Naomi Wolf reported that, “thirty-three thousand women told American researchers they would rather lose ten to fifteen pounds than achieve any other goal.”

Through repeated images of excessively thin women in media, advertisement, and modeling, thinness has become associated with not only beauty, but happiness and success.

From my skinny ass to yours: that’s horrendous bollocks.

If we want to radically shift our world we need to begin stepping over body image—trivial measurements of our worth and beauty, and relentlessly love ourselves.

“Authentic self-love is crazy sexy, whatever your body looks like.” ~ Bryan Reeves

We live in a world where we are quick to judge a woman by what the label on her pants say.

A woman’s “realness” and divinity has diddly squat to do with her waist size.

I want skinny to stop being idolized by the world and I also want women to stop throwing it under the bus.

I want us to all love our juicy souls and fleshy bodies and ride the bus together free of compare, resent and judgements.

The solution isn’t to pass a thin woman on the street and tell her to “eat something.”

I have been self conscious of my body for most of my life. I tip toe and refrain from saying it out loud, because people get offended that someone who’s “skinny” could struggle with body image.

Yes, “size zeroes” have issues with self acceptance and body image too. You won’t automatically be at home in your body when you shrink your waist—that’s not how it works.

We all have to love the crap out of ourselves every damn day.

I get flack about my weight all the time. This summer I had a man walk beside me after a delicious, stretchy yoga class as I basked in the sun drinking coffee and remark,

“Jesus, gain some weight.”

I have people make jokes at the expense of my size on a weekly basis. When I suggest eating a big ol’ greasy burger with poutine at the restaurant I serve at, people scoff and say, “sure, like you eat the likes of those.” They laugh, naïve that what they are doing is in fact misplaced and even abusive.

When I was younger, the girls on my volleyball team laughed at my skinny, knobby knees and flat chest. My nickname was “twiggy.”

I hated my body.

I will never forget the older boys at school who sneered and laughed and bullied me growing up because I was skinny—the ones who inspired my self esteem to build some nasty beliefs about myself that I am still undoing.

I will never forget the women who came up to me in a shopping mall when I was 14 and put their hands around my ankles, measuring the size of my legs and shrieking disgustedly at my size.

I wonder if they would have done the same if I was a 300 pound woman?

There seems to be an awful lot of light on bullying of people who swing to one side of the scale—but what about the other?

A friend of mine told me the other day her nine year old sibling is constantly bullied at school and wears baggy-sleeved shirts in shame of his body. His teacher even brought up that he was “too skinny” in front of his whole class. Allowing and encouraging a class full of fragile, thirsty minds to hear his idiocy and carry on treating others abusively.

After a self growth course this year, a woman approached me and thanked me for sharing my struggle for self acceptance and love about my size zero skinny ass; previously she had had no idea that thin women got bullied too. She had been on the other end of the getting-made-fun-of weight spectrum and was shocked to hear me speak of my own path of accepting and loving my own body.

This just in: we all have to walk a journey to self love and acceptance.

We all have insecurities and parts of our bodies we might feel ashamed of or wish were just a little big bigger or smaller.

We all must face discrimination, assumptions, judgements and deal with other people’s opinions of our shells.

We are dealt genetic cards at birth and show up in all shapes and sizes. Some of us have petite bums, some of us have asses to hold on to, some of us are dealt pancakes, some of us get tits that inspire other women to take fat of their ass and sew it to their chests. We are all so damn perfect and worthy of walking this planet free from harassment.

So unless we figure out a way to turn back time and negotiate our genetics with the universe, I get double A boobs and this skinny ass.

And all of it is just a shell—like wrapping paper tossed aside on Christmas morning to uncover the juicy and sweetest parts of our souls.

I still get in fights with my self esteem from time to time, but I am ferociously learning to take myself as I am and to love myself up—in all my phenomenal skinny glory.

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.” ~ Sophia Loren

The first step in disintegrating body image discrimination is connecting with our own raw hearts before we speak. The solution is being able to see women in all shapes and sizes and refrain from making unjustified assumptions on their diets.

The solution is not to wonder how much she eats and if when she gets up to pee halfway through her meal if she is going to shove her finger down her throat in the company of a toilet.

Skinny is not superior. It’s just another measurement floating around in the genetic universe.

Our souls, our beauty, and our brilliance is not measured by something as trivial as our waist size or our exteriors.

“Size does not make a difference—we cannot take our bodies with us into eternity.”-Thomas Voelker

The solution is to just really love each other, exactly as we are.

I am writing today to say all bodies are beautiful, but I am speaking specifically to speak to my scrawny sisters—those of you who get flack all the damn time—and are too afraid to speak out against outrageous, malicious comments, opinions and jokes because you are “lucky” to be little.

You are extraordinary in all your skinny glory; you are magnificent in all your Thumbelina smallness. I love all hundred and five pounds of each of your size zero asses—don’t spend a moment in shame when faced with other’s disposable opinions of your exterior.

And to those of you who poke fun at my slim sisters, my brosistas, or myself—with preconceived misconceptions that your imposed opinions are somehow justified—hear me roar.

I will not stand for your harassment. I will not cower down from your inappropriate stares at my lanky legs and knobby knees, I will not bend over and take your foolish, atrocious assumptions on what my body “should” look like. I will not shove my head in the sand and be assaulted by your blatant ignorance.

My skinny, healthy ass is marvelous as it is.

And so is yours.

So let’s all get on the damn bus together and build a world that isn’t measured by the width of our hips.

Let’s build one that is measured by the walloping, insurmountable beauty within our hearts and the undeniable succulence of our souls.

More love—less of everything else.

authors own (skinny ass)

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” ~ William Shakespeare

 

Relephant Reads! 

> Why I’d Rather be a Skinny B**** 

Can We Retire the Phrase “Real Women,” Please?

Skinny Love: Skin & Bones.

 

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Editor: Renée Picard

Images: courtesy of Janne Robinson

About Janne Robinson

Janne Robinson is currently residing on the Sunshine Coast, BC learning to cut kindling with her teeth and make friends with the black bears in the woods. You can find her coordinating fundraisers for Veterinarians Without Borders, stretching her soul in yoga, skinny dipping with glee in the moonlight and getting dirty in her garden. She loves Billie Holiday, the smell of freshly cut cedar and whiskys that sway their hips when they walk and know what they are doing. You can connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Please also visit and connect with her Facebook writer's page.

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287 Responses to “This One’s for My Skinny Sisters.”

  1. Shannon says:

    Maddie,

    Yes, you are right. It is a mental illness. I am a size zero and have been my life. I have been accused of doing those things even though I have never and will never. It is unfair to judge anyone period. The point she was trying to make is it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like: Love yourself. That is the important thing. I was so upset about my weight for so long. If I could just gain 10-15 pounds I would be happy….It never happened. However, with my growing older I have learned to love my body regardless. I am sure no offense was meant to be made by that comment. Having said that, I have been asked if I had done that before. That is always the first thing that comes to peoples minds when they look at me. It shouldn’t be the first things that comes to mind though. We all value how we look to much. The important thing is that we are happy with ourselves and that no one else can be the judge of our beauty, but ourselves. Great post. I could relate to what you said fully!

  2. JeanMarie says:

    Amen!
    Although my naughty body learned how to hold onto curves when I broke 25, I was a stick until then. Now I am commiserating with you re: women On the The other end sneering. It's not easy on either end if the spectrum. Can't we all just celebrate that we are women and forget about the esthetics?

  3. Emily says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting this article. While I read over negative comments that bully my body type as being unreal and un-relatable to a plus size woman’s struggles I applaud you for posting this. Growing up, my natural body type has been underweight according to the pediatricians. My whole family was like this. I am 20 years old and am a size zero at 103 pounds. I eat three meals a day and exercise at least once a week. Besides the jokes about my small boobs and skinny legs, I am usually comfortable in my body until someone hugs me and tells me I need to eat a cheeseburger. I eat plenty, thanks. I have noticed this going around facebook posted by friends in the similar situation, and it makes me feel like a real human when I see I am not the only one who feels this way. Screw all the people who say it’s not a “real” problem because yes it is. You can’t say you look unhealthy to me when I’m a 16 year old girl running xcountry eating 5 meals a day to gain weight because skinny shaming is “in.” Thanks to the haters, I hated my body you all envied. I’m thankful I have come to a point where I am thankful for my body, and don’t want to be anyone else. Peace

  4. csdandelion says:

    Hi Janne,
    First of all I would like to thank you for all of the writing you do. You are incredibly talented. I also want to share bit of my journey with you. I am also from Sherwood Park . I was always average size, never chubby but decided I wanted to be thinner; to fit the "perfect" thin ideal. I thought it would make my life easier. To me, your body represented everything I strived for; everything I was killing myself for. To me, you are perfect. I realize we all struggle with self-esteem issues, but I could use some words of guidance from someone who to me you were perfect. You and your skinny sisters were what I was starving myself for and had to be hospitalized for and would have died to look like. I know this is my struggle and I don't intend for this to come across as from anywhere but love. I struggle daily to derogate the "thin ideal" that is presented in the media. I know it is what is inside that counts and try to practice self-love but every day is a struggle. I would do anything to look like you. I suffer dissonance when I read your words, as I try to love my body and feel nothing but love towards people like yourself who have naturally thin bodies but still am consumed by incredible jealously and desire to be a size 0.

  5. M C says:

    All too familiar, and I am here to tell you, “things never change”. I was always the “skinny girl”. (absolutely familial) Looking back at my high school yearbook, many of my friends’ comments started with, “stick woman ” or “hey bird legs”. It was always ok to say, “you are SO skinny!”. (as if it would be acceptable to say to someone, you are SO fat!”) My mom would make me full fat ice cream milkshakes with Tiger’s Milk protein and a raw egg for breakfast. I ate all of the junk food, and as much as I wanted of it, that none of my friends would dare consume. I was “envied” that I could wear a crochet string bikini, but poked fun at in a miniskirt, because of my “chicken legs”. I was married, at 24, 5’9″, weighing 115 lbs. (ironically, my husband had first noticed me on the tennis courts, BECAUSE of those chicken legs! ;) Well, time marches on, and history does repeat itself. One of my daughters suffered bullying (including the new age “cyber bullying”) in middle school, and was often asked about her bulimia and/or anorexia. It was, of course, a difficult and hurtful time, however I was able to relate to her situation and she (we) got through it. (Interestingly, her twin sister had to deal with just the opposite bullying…..girls can be so mean. :/ ) My children are thriving, empathetic, young adult college students and I am now a middle aged woman, dealing with trying to maintain a “healthy” weight. Luckily, I DO have those “skinny genes”, though no skinny jeans, which makes it easier for me to manage my weight.

    Take heart, skinny girls, and ALWAYS consider how what you say may affect others.

  6. Mae says:

    So I love this article! I am a "fat" girl. Like I don't mean curvy. I mean fat! And have been for most of my life, however I am very lucky to be able to say that I have rarely been bullied for it, honestly in the 14 years that I have been overweight I can think of 5 times that someone (outside of my family) has commented negatively on my weight. And 4 of those 5 comments came from girls who were very near my size or bigger.
    Most of my friends are thin, a lot of them have been trying for years to put on weight and I've had to watch them go through more crap as a thin girl than I have as an overweight one. So I know first hand that prejudices and bullying happens to any type of person. And although I have always been jealous of their body size, I've also always known that that is a problem with me, in my brain, and there is nothing they or anyone else could do about it.
    Okay now the actually reason I came here, sorry I got a little side tracked there, I want to know from some of you thin girls, your view on "thin privilege". From my view it is a real thing, people are more apt to give a skinny person a job over a fat person, assuming they are both equally qualified etc… But like I said that is not the person applying for the jobs fault, and I would never degrade someone for "winning" against me even if I knew for a fact that they won because they were smaller than me. However I want to know if my view is skewed, if as a larger person I have been trained to believe thin privilege is real. Anyway. Not trying to upset anyone, just looking for honest feedback and opinions. :)

  7. Heather says:

    I’m 5’2 and a size zero. I’m little whatever. But this article is silly… #whitegirlproblems #firstworldproblems

    • Kaitlyn says:

      So either you have perfect proportions and were never bullied, or you have skin of steel. Either way congrats! And don't be negative about a wonderfully written article about a true problem with women's self esteem issues.

    • R. says:

      Hi Heather
      We all have our issues… what seems like an issue to one person is not to another one.
      It is great if you accept your body. Well done! But maybe it is a bit shallow to say the article is "silly" just because you can't relate.

  8. D says:

    When I was anorexic many years ago, I was regularly sneered at and insulted. I was even followed home once by a gang of teenagers trying to freak me out for some reason. I recall when I was once working in a store, a man came in, looked me up and down and said — please eat, you could be a beautiful woman. I’ve had grown men walk behind me saying they’d never fuck me because they’re not gay and into 12 year old boys. I’d never fuck them either but who’s counting?! Its very interesting how when YOUR body represents something someone else finds unusual or rare, suddenly the onlooker assumes that they have the right to express their distaste in the most offensive way they can imagine and i dont know, perhaps you’ll thank them for it??! Either they think someone so unusual can’t be affected by their abuse negatively or that that abuse is somehow justified and I would say they think giving it makes them righteous. Everyone who ever assaulted me like that always seemed, well, dimentedly proud of themselves. I am no longer anorexic but I am still small framed and reminded of it often in conversation. When I get a negative comment I try to defend myself with that same pride I notice in my attackers. I work hard to stay in good shape, my shape. If people don’t like that shape they can go fuck themselves. (Pardon my language)

  9. Kaitlyn Burrell says:

    Amen! People don’t believe me when I tell them I was bullied as a child. They think I’m just looking to bring attention to the fact that I am thin. I have come to terms with my body, and that not all people appreciated it. However, I still feel as if my larger friends don’t appreciate me trying to relate to them with their own struggles with body imagine and comments from strangers. My struggle may not be exactly the same, however I do feel that I can relate. It’s amazing how the rest of the world does not think this is a problem, thank you for shedding light on this problem! It’s not ok to accuse someone of an eating disorder and/or comment on their weight EVER. I wish I could protect all those naive innocent young girls in high school girls that are currently going through this type of bullying. However I do appreciate you asking people to take the first step to end this issue!

  10. Douglas says:

    I didn’t know skinny people get this much shit from others. I was on the other side of things. In the 6th grade I was 6’2 221 pounds.I print much resented small or skinny people because I caught shit from everyone for being freaky big and suffered from dozens of ridiculous nick names. I would like to say I’m sorry to the small people that I’ve hated for most of my life. I didn’t realize you guys had it just as bad.

  11. Laura says:

    I found the way you dealt with eating disorders extremely offensive and rude. You don't get to pick and choose what kind of stigma you want to break down.
    Secondly, saying that society shames thin people is like saying you there is such thing as white racism.
    Although, being white (and quite thin! this is coming from someone in your shoes), I have felt discriminated against occasionally and in some cases very hurt by being called things such as 'white trash', but that doesn't make white racism exist, when the huge underlying problem that has been doing on for centuries is racism perpetrated by white people to other races.
    Similarly, although you have felt hurt for being thin, your body type is what is glorified by society. If you feel hurt for having the desirable body type, imagine how awful people feel who have not hit the genetic jackpot (or what society determines it to be).
    I agree that the main problem is the media's objectification of women's bodies, however, society does not shame thin people, it praises and glorifies them. I think this article could have been a lot better written if it outlined that, instead of the false idea that society bullies those who are thin.

    • Brittany says:

      I don’t understand how you can still believe that skinny girls are “glorified” as you say. Did you not read a single comment on this post? Or this post at all? Many of the comments include a small snippet of their bullying experience. I have had coworkers tell me to my face that my body type is disgusting. That I’m nothing but bones and how curves look prettier. Oh what wonderful insight. But I’ve been trying since I was in middle school to gain enough weight to break 100lbs. It hasn’t happened yet and I’m half way through college. So just in case you didn’t get to read any of the comments above your comment, this is my bullying experience. I’m so, so sorry that you still believe that all of us skinny people want this. Because it is just as hard to gain weight as it is to lose weight.

  12. Rachelle says:

    Thank you is all I can say.

  13. kandi says:

    I have not always been a big person, I used to be a size 5 and alot of people hated me for it. Now at a size 20 thats twenty not zero, but I am not going to beat myself up about it, I just have to get to a point in my life that I forgive myself. I will never be a size zero, but I know I wont always be a size 20 either………………..I have to be healthy in my head to be healthy in my body………….I loved reading your article!!!!! Thank you for sharing.

  14. Laura says:

    This is so true, very inspiring. Thanks, skinny sister! I'm so sick of explaining myself, people just don't get that you can be naturally very skinny and healthy at the same time

  15. Sarah says:

    thank you

  16. Paulie says:

    Coming from a girl who's extremely overweight, I understand girls my size wanting to feel included in society. However, I will never understand girls my size who skinny shame. We get enough body hate ourselves so there's no need to spread more. Size 0 or size 20, everyone is beautiful in some way!

  17. Ashley says:

    I can speak from both sides of the scale when it comes to being OK with who you are – physically and mentally. I’ve never been near what classifies as ‘overweight’, but I was unhappy with my body in the state that it was and wanted to lose some of the belly bump I had goin on. Through the journey of a healthy relationship gone askew, a devaluing I saw through my job, and not an ideal living situation, stress took its toll on my mind and my body. I shrank from 135lbs down to almost 90lbs (about a size 8 down to a 0). I lost the belly bump I wanted to, but I also lost a hell of a lot more. My clothes became loose, my rings wanted to fall off my fingers, and I could no longer sleep on my side or back without a pillow due to the pain I would feel in my bones after laying on them for so long. I was too skinny for my liking. I was not okay in my new form and became so self conscious of how little I had become. I diminished physically and mentally. I finally understood what my sister didn’t like about being a double zero. Through this discovery I have also learned that the most important thing is being ok with ones self. Through this realization, I’ve felt that this is a topic worth conversing about and sharing with the world. Like everything else, every story has two sides. I believe myself blessed to have experienced both sides and to now know where my comfort zone lies and where I most feel like me. And that’s the most important thing :)

    You can always choose to be nice. So let’s just be nice and embrace who we are and not what we are. We are not the size of the clothes we fit into. We are the minds and hearts of the world. We are spirits in a physical body that comes in all shapes and sizes. We are all beautiful. ♡

  18. Ella says:

    I want to enjoy this author but after reading a few of her pieces I find the message to be hypocritical, when you state so many times over that you are a size zero and make what feels like passive aggressive comments towards larger women or women with eating disorders. All that to say size doesn’t matter? Clearly it does to the author. Articles like this, who seem to preach one thing but after a closer look really perpetuate the issues are a huge disappointment. I read another article where again the author tells us how beautiful she is, a size zero, again and again but yet people are abusive to her… I’m feeling she may be trying to get attention cause this message is clearly very self serving and never seems to include others pain and experiences. She has no clue at all of anyone’s point of view but her own. Which is her prerogative but I can’t listen to it anymore.

  19. Rachel says:

    How liberating! Thank you for this amazing, intelligent and compassionate article.
    I am a size zero, and have been battling between accepting compliments, feeling the envy of other women, feeling inadequate when I see curvy celebs, and feeling embarrassed by skinny shaming.
    I used not to feel like a "real" woman. I am now trying to embrace my sensual feminine goddess, feel good in my own skin. Reading this article is a beautiful step in my journey. Thank you!

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