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 woman 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 woman 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 you: 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 women 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, insourmountable 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.

 

Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

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.

601,001 views

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

  1. Kim says:

    Fabulous article – I have experienced almost everything you have written about. I don't know how many times i've been called anorexic or told I look 16 (i'm approaching 30).

    I've finally been able to put on some weight, I have tried on/off since I was about 14 to gain weight and nothing worked.. What finally worked? My metabolism slowing down as i've started to get a bit older. I'm now 5'6" and 115lbs, the most i've ever weighed. Thank you for writing this article

  2. Rhiannon says:

    i agree with you! But at the end of the day woman are judged left right and center! You said at one point "I wonder if someone would have done that to a 300 pound woman." Well no. But they would say things like
    "loose weight" and
    "ugly fat ass!" Big woman get judged just like skinny woman and skinny woman get judged just like big woman! None of us get it worse than the other! I think media is to blame not woman! When your skinny you blame big curvy woman for being sexy, but when your big you blame skinny woman for being unhealthy! I think there is a size that we all should be and that is healthy! I think none of us woman are to blame! Its media! By the way i'm on the plus size! And I do tend to think that its good for bigger sizes to be introduced to the media! Not because bigger is better! But because models are skinny! Full stop! Models and media tell the society to be skinny! Thats why big woman get annoyed! Because media are always saying be skinny be skinny!! Thats not right! Thats why big woman get annoyed! I think woman should be less judgemental and more understanding towards each other! Girl instantly judge other girls on there appearance! I think we need to see the good in each other really and stop going on about the appearance of each other! xxx Feel sorry for you though! I got bullied to, I have had many hardships in life and im only 15! Yes very young but thats ho cruel people are! Walk tall and proud girls!! Whatever size you are! xx

  3. christine says:

    Just read this, and am so glad someone has put it in writing. I still feel like I have to make excuses or apologize to people for being tall and thin, including parents an in-laws who tell me I need to put on weight and tell strangers what size I take when others comment. Good night, I'm 36 with three kids…why do people think it's fine to comment, and why does it still bother me?!?!? Spot on that the slightest inking of someone being "overweight" and everyone needs to be supersensitive, but flip the coin and comments can freely fly. Kudos to this post.

  4. menelia says:

    I can so relate to this article. I am the same size, and the number of comments people make about my body each week is, well, high. Especially in the work-place. I feel the same way, sort of incredulous and sad that people feel okay making comments to my face. Like the guy who biked past me in the park and yelled: EAT FOOD, into my face as he passed. I'm constantly being told what I should be eating, being nicknamed based on my size or catching men at work talking (negatively) about my size behind my back. I had a client at work tell me I was "hardly 2 shadows". I'm not THAT small. I have boobs, I have thighs. I'm so sick of my body size being brought into conversations or arena where it is not at all relevant. I am capable of feeling just as unsexy as the next woman – clearly my lack of ass, thickness is not to the liking of many, and the (proclaimed) jealousy of others. The bottom line for me is that everyone needs to step back and consider the appropriateness of commenting on a woman's body like we live in an obligation to look like… well, we can never hit that mark, right? Were always going to be "too" something. So fuck off, commenters. Why do you body shame another person?

  5. Leslie says:

    LOVE this!! Thank you thank you for sharing… ALL the freaking time I get "asked" why I work out, why I eat healthy- to just eat the freaking ice cream- and you know what- sometimes I do- but I ENJOY working out and being active, I LIKE healthy food. so yay- and I will never forget being weighed in 4th grade before I could go down a water slide on a class trip, and not weighing enough and having to walk down the stairs while all my classmates went down the slide. Humiliating for sure……
    Just now · Like

  6. Jen says:

    Skinny women and fat women and all the women in between are upset about body image issues. When are we going to stop pinning the issue on our weight and admit that we're upset about objectification?

  7. Jessi says:

    Someone made a comment about your picture basically saying that you were a thin, super tan, airbrushed looking model with pretty styled hair when in reality you were a greasy sweaty mess? How rude! Don’t let someone ever talk to you like that!

  8. satchitananda says:

    Thank you. It's ALL written in here, what a great article. Me myself had been, and still fighting with everything of the above, and beginning to gain self-confidence and self-love finally, for the first time in my life… Blessings

  9. Lauren says:

    Wow never have I related so much to something written about a woman's body! I am in the same boat as you and so happy that your article is being shared! I will be continuing to share with my skinny ass friends as well!

  10. Lindsey says:

    Thank you. Just …. Thank you. I’ve heard those comments my entire life as well. It’s so awesome to have someone stand up for the tiny women of the world!

  11. Stephanie says:

    Having spent time at each end of this “debate” I absolutely understand where is everyone is coming from BUT I definitely have endured more critism and had fewer positive body-image reinforcements being overweight. I mean you can look at television and print advertisement and get the gist of it. Lets stop with the back and forth.

  12. Jane says:

    I'm sorry, but your "persecution" is a lot less intense than someone who's fat and black. You get to be a pretty, skinny white lady. Don't even pretend you know what it's like to be targeted. Get over yourself.

    • Lauren says:

      Right?!? Thank you

    • B says:

      So, you’re saying because people have said worse things to you that its alright for you to continue the cycle. This is not a competition for who is suffering most. She’s saying LOVE yourself no matter what shape, size, or COLOR you are. You think being a “pretty skinny white lady” means life is easier and that worse things have not been done to that type of person? How about you get over your close-minded self and realize that you saying that only perpetuates the discrimination. The issues will not go away any time soon in our current world but it sounds to me like you need to change the way you think. Learn to empathize, learn to agree that other people have a hard time as well. Some peoples’ situations or experiences may be worse than others, but the only way it gets better for ANY of us human beings is to not treat others’ bodies, lives, experiences, or whatever like they are any less or more than our own. The only way we can change the world that objectifies us is to change our own thinking first and personally stop objectifying and discriminating against others. YOUR get over yourself and don’t downplay her feelings because you feel pain from your own.

    • KK says:

      You’re kidding, right? The pain of getting harassed, made fun of, ridiculed, looked down upon, laughed at, and mocked is equally as hurtful whether you’re skinny or overweight. Being white or black has nothing to do with it. Body shaming is what the deal is. Why people have to justify being rude (that includes playing that damn race card) on a subject in which the author is sticking up for all women everywhere is beyond me. What is wrong with us, sisters? We need to be lifting each other up and supporting one another, not bringing someone down because of something as irrelevant as race, weight, size, religion, appeal… WHATEVER. We are a human race and we need to start sticking together! Rising above the norm of ridiculing others in order to make ourselves feel better and instead being a support system is what is going to change the world for the better!

  13. Amy says:

    I get it and got it. People will never understand the horrifying things people say to really skinny people got it my whole life. Didn’t gain weight until I was 45 and my thyroid tanked and not working out for 19 years. Now at 47 I could lose about 15 and this little belly is like a foreign appendage to someone who Never weighed over 115 and I am 5’9″. I was very ill and hit 89 pounds and the comments were so unconscious.This angry woman who said get over yourself doesn’t understand and I will say even after the continual barrage of naive mean comments over my weight my whole life and trying to keep weight on, I would rather be thin than over weight. Now I just get OMG you look so much better now lol, like I was some horror show before. I will say I like having some boobs now. Lol it’s really loving yourself and being healthy that is important! But I get it, I really do.

  14. Tracy says:

    Absolutely FABULOUS and long overdue! You ROCK!!!

  15. Torria Stevens says:

    Thank you what a joy to read. I must admit though, there had been times I ran into those skinny women with animosity and then looked at parts of myself that were jiggly. And after a while it occurred to me that I once was one of those skinny ****es – that is before I had my children umpteen years ago. I do, I do still work out and have come to terms with what I cannot do and cannot achieve as far fitness and as afar as liking what I look like. So, here, here! to all women in all kinds of bodies. – Stevie

  16. Sara Star says:

    I think that it is still valuable for you to consider presenting different size, skin tone, and shaped women for photographs in your blog. If a particular image of body is over represented as positive and you have the opportunity and position to present other body types positively, I hope that you will have the inclination to take it up.

    All women's bodies are over scrutinized. No woman's body type escapes school, or work, or whatever unscathed. And internalized body hatred causes women to lash out at each other and their own.

    But the fact remains that thin, white with a tan women are over represented positively as healthy and beautiful. When someone harasses you for your weight, as a thin woman you have more representation supporting you as great the way you are and as ideal.

    If even in some small way, through your blog or other ways, if you could add to presenting other bodies as beautiful too it would go a little ways towards removing the internalized self hatred that leads woman to bite other women over their sizes.

  17. Sarah B says:

    And the taller you are, the worse the skinny comments seem to be. I'm all arms and legs. All skinny. I gave birth to a set of healthy twins and am back to skinny one year later. I've heard all the stupid comments. My thought is wouldn't it be interesting to see if it were socially acceptable to make similar comments of size back to the people who say these rude comments? To have someone say to me, "Oh my goodness, you need to eat something," I'd love to say back, "Maybe you should stop eating so much pie." But oh ho no, that's not socially acceptable to pick on plumper people. Apparently, it's only "acceptable" to pick on skinny people. It's not acceptable to pick on anyone! Thanks Janne for speaking up for all us skinny people!

  18. Cyster says:

    Thank you! I am a naturally tall woman (my parents are 6'2" and 5'10") who was also born with cystic fibrosis, a deadly disease that makes gaining weight extremely difficult. Throughout my life I have either heard "oh you're SO lucky" (because I have a disease that, in addition to having a life expectancy in the 30s is also, coincidentally, responsible for making me skinny? If that's "lucky", I wish I wasn't!) or, especially more recently, "god, you need to gain weight!" Total strangers feel justified asking me if I've eaten that day, or making inappropriate comments about my weight, never even CONSIDERING that they might be rubbing salt in an already very open wound. It's both humiliating and sad that anyone, regardless of size, should feel uncomfortable about being in public because their body doesn't match some made up idealized version of "normal."

    When will we realize that attacking people based on their weight is no more the "solution" to lookism and shallow thinking than drinking a glass of water is the solution to drowning? Beautifully written article.

  19. Sarah says:

    So much love for this. The thing I've never understood as a (naturally) skinny lady is when people comment things like 'look at that skinny b**ch, she must be anorexic' as if it is okay to ridicule someone for this reason. No. Anorexia is a serious mental health disorder, which should be recognised with empathy, not horrible insults.

  20. Jen says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. So powerful! No to body shaming in ALL it's forms!

Leave a Reply