This One’s for My Skinny Sisters.

Via Janne Robinson
on May 23, 2014
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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 who walks on this earth beside all of you.

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

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! 

Relephant: enjoy a diet of loving-kindness:

An inspiring woman:

Weight loss, racism, self-acceptance, humor:

> 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

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About Janne Robinson

Janne Robinson is a poet, writer, bushwalker, idealist and animal activist currently residing in Vancouver Island. She cuts kindling with her teeth, eats Bukowski for breakfast and makes the habit of saying the word feminist as much as possible. She surfs naked, pees in the woods, and loves whiskeys that swing their hips when they walk and know what they are doing. Janne's life-work is to be transparent. She makes a living off hanging her dirty and clean laundry out for the world to see. Her mission is to give others permission to also walk and exist with the same transparency. You can connect with her on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. Please also visit and connect with her Facebook writer's page. Check out Janne's website.

Comments

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

  1. Justine says:

    Beautifully written, thank you so much for this.

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Mary Bradley Love this! Thank you!!
    Like · Reply · 1 · about an hour ago

    Lauren H Wow…this article feels like it was written about me. I've been skinny my whole life too (well, fluctuated about 20 pounds) but I get it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Mercedes B Oooh gosh I am in this very same boat. Everyone assumes I'm puking or on drugs…non of which are true! Just very lil parents n a crazy fast metabolism

    Jen Blanchard Thanks for this!

    Tania Diaz M Andrea M

    Allison L Thank you! Working on undoing all that insecurity myself…

    Paula S Thank you for writing this. thank you thank you thank you.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Dana M: <3

    Olivia M This is perfect.

  4. SerendipitySandii says:

    WOW!! Completely nailed it!! My skinny ass humbly thanks you! X

  5. Kris Lord says:

    From one teeny gal to another, thanks. 🙂 I was also very self-conscious of my small size as a child, not to mention going through late puberty (losing my last baby tooth as a sophomore in high school. On the upper right side. Looked good in my soccer photos…). I am familiar with the snide comments to 'gain some weight' from perfect strangers, and I've never understood why they felt it was appropriate to comment, when to say the opposite to a larger person is incredibly rude. Thankfully, I've reached the age where I just don't give a crap anymore, and I enjoy my build and my strength.

  6. Kate Stockford says:

    Awesome article, Im not teeny, not large but curvy and have/had body image issues as do most women at some point in their lives , sometimes for their whole life. So sad. Women's bodies are so beautiful when naked, big or small. If that last photo is of you, beautiful, you don't have a skinny bum :), you have a beautiful womanly bum :D. Thank you for a fantastic article. xx

  7. Jim says:

    I'm a skinny 54 year old male. I've heard the same comments my whole life. It crosses the gender line too. Oh well. I'm proud I don't carry a beer belly – and my wife is too!

  8. Charity says:

    I was a 5'6 105 lb flat chested "girl" until I hit my mid 30's. I remember trying everything to gain weight just so I could feel better about my tiny body. I was treated and referred to as a young lady or girl until I finally had breast enhancements and gained weight. I have 3 children now and weigh 135…I am also pushing 40. Now I've been made to feel uncomfortable because I'm a bit heavier than some of my relatives. Luckily I'm old enough now that I really don't care what others say, think, or feel about my body. It's mine. I live with it and I love it. Those who have an opinion can either keep it to themselves or kiss myy ass!

  9. kate says:

    This this 1000 times this!!! I am 5'5" and 100 lbs. I have not reached acceptance, let alone love, of my body. But I am trying. Thank you for this.

  10. elephantjournal says:

    Was thinking this through the whole article. Much of this is human nature–our weak tendency to prejudge others is sadly universal. 🙂

  11. JessC says:

    Thank you for sharing!! I am also a tiny gal, 5'4 and weight fluctuates between 108 and 111. I go back and forth all the time thinking I need to put on some pounds and I've tried everything except eating McDonald's everyday. For me it's not about packing on the pounds by any means possible but feeling good inside and out. I'm small, I'll probably always be small and self love and acceptance are key. So thank you!

  12. Bryan Reeves says:

    How about for our skinny brothers, too!!

    I also was teased a lot growing up for being skinny. Even as an adult people would tell me I need to eat more. I simply felt healthy. As a culture, we value bigger is better, supersize everything: our homes, our food, our muscles, our market, our wallets, our reach, etc. except our women. We don't like supersized women. But don't be too skinny, either. You ladies just can't win in this insane setup.

    As a man, being called skinny was just another way of being emasculated, as if I wasn't physically big enough to warrant my masculinity. Craziness all of it. Great article.

    Cheers to the skinny people. And the fat ones, too, and everyone in between. We're all too sexy for our shirts … and this insanity!

  13. Kate says:

    Who is throwing skinny women under the bus? No one. Literally. No one.

  14. Cassandra says:

    Thank you! This needed to be said. I related to everything you said.

  15. jannerobinson says:

    You're so welcome Justine.

    warmly,

    Janne

  16. jannerobinson says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you 🙂

  17. jannerobinson says:

    My skinny ass high fives your skinny ass back.

    warmly,

    Janne

  18. jannerobinson says:

    Here's to not giving a crap!

    Love that- Thank you for sharing Kris 🙂

    with warmth,

    Janne

  19. jannerobinson says:

    Hi Kate,

    Yes! This article was about the flack on body image I've had in my body but it was mainly about all bodies- and just loving our souls up regardless of what the label on our pants says. All bodies are beautiful!

    The last photograph is the one I received some flack for- and Thank you, I am proud of my whole teeny body and bum 😉

    Thank you for writing to say so, sister.

    warmly,

    Janne

  20. jannerobinson says:

    Jim,

    I tried to swap this to make it less gender specific a few times- but when writing about my own personal experiences it was hard to apply the whole article to all skinnes- regardless of gender. I tried to throw in a "brosista". I will work at making my writing including of us all- thanks for the reminder.

    with warmth,

    Janne

  21. jannerobinson says:

    Judgement isn't reserved for just us vaginas- amen. Thanks for the reminder 😉

  22. jannerobinson says:

    YES! So great! You sound so powerful and confident Charity. It's so refreshing to hear.

    Hell yeah- love your body all up, always.

    Thank you for your voice, it makes mine stronger.

    Janne

  23. jannerobinson says:

    Well in the meantime I am going to love all 100 lbs and 5"5 of you.

    It helped me love my body being naked. I used to feel uncomfortable naked… so I started to sleep naked, spend time in front of the mirror naked, do yoga naked. I got vulnerable with my naked body, loving it all up. It helped my confidence and sex life. A small suggestion from my own journey to yours.

    Thanks for writing me Kate!

    with warmth,

    Janne

  24. jannerobinson says:

    Jess,

    This made me smile as when I was fourteen I worked at Mcdonalds for a year or so and ate it a few times a day- horrendous amounts. My small ass stayed the same.

    "It''s not about packing on the pound by any means possible but feeling good inside and out."

    You got it girl- you are already there. Loving your voice.

    warmly,

    Janne

  25. jannerobinson says:

    To sweet, sweet Bryan.

    You are the very definition of all things masculine should be, in my eyes- with your open hearted vulnerability, strong voice, grace and confidence. I think you are in the top 10% of men who walk this planet.

    I am sorry to making this not inclusive to men- I did try but somehow it didn't fit with my own personal experiences.

    Loving your skinny ass,

    Janne

  26. jannerobinson says:

    Hi Kate,

    I am not sure you read the article. I was inspired to write this after a woman commented on a photograph of myself in an article I wrote this month 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 have dealt with harassment, verbal abuse, bullying, judgments, assumptions, and jokes at the expense of my weight my entire life. I listed above ^^^^ some examples.

    I wrote this to speak out against harassment to skinny women but the big picture was about body image and our world- and learning to love our bodies regardless of our waist size. The article was about self acceptance and love and our divinity taking precedence over our exteriors.

    I am a skinny women, and I have had people try and throw me under the bus. This article was my raising my hand to speak about it.

    Janne

  27. Melina says:

    People definitely throw skinny women under the bus. Probably the only ones that would know this are skinny girls and trust me, as one, I can assure you this is surely the case. Women I don't even know seemed to think it was acceptable to make critical comments about my weight. I don't walk up to people and comment on their weight when they are overweight, underweight or otherwise. It is simply rude and injurious to their body images to do this.

  28. Suzanne says:

    I SO appreciate this- your writing, your perspective and the fact that SOMEONE is finally saying this publicly!
    I am NOT a size 0- I am a very mid-weight, size 6-8, but I have noticed and been entirely annoyed when I do lose weight (usually after being sick), that people find it appropriate to say "You're so skinny!" as if it's a complement.
    I look at them and I say, "well that's rude".
    I know they mean well, but I think it's inappropriate to comment on being skinny, fat, etc. Sure! Say I look strong if I do, say I look happy if I do, say I look tired- whatever, but euughhhhh! It makes me so angry that people are so short-sided and one-dimensional.
    I too, have defended people I've seen on the street- when people I'm with comment that they must be anorexic- with the obsession with accepting heavier people we have made no place for thin people.
    SO yes! Rock your beautiful self! and thank you!

  29. @DrTMarshall says:

    Excellent article Janne! Beautifully written and eloquently expressed! Loved it.

    I could sooo relate, and being a fellow skinny sentient being was always trying to put on some weight…as guys are just as much as affected as you beautiful, skinny girls. 🙂 With the billion dollar, weight-loss, fat-burning industry and its prevalence in the media – many people are striving to be thinner these days, though if you go a touch too thin (ala Tara Stiles for example), or for myself at times – you immediately engage a full-on critique by those who believe you have something wrong with you.

    It's quite frankly looney tunes, and a mix of contradictions – and what's really crazy is, you're fantastically beautiful (from head to toe)….and have a beautiful womanly figure. Though, you already know that! …just thought I would reinforce that one more time.

    Anyhow, your article really hits the nail on the head, in a big way!!

    It will undoubtedly help a great many people (and already has, I'm sure), who like us…lived in a shadow of doubt, and wavering self-love and acceptance – who will see this as a blessing, and their beautiful skinny-ness in the light it deserves. 🙂

    Warmly,
    Tim

  30. Lora says:

    Great article! I've been skinny my whole life and I'm in my 50's. I marvel when someone thinks it's okay to say to me, "Have you lost weight?" using a tone that reflects it is not okay if I have. I would never say to someone, "Have you gained weight?"

  31. Laura says:

    Thank you! I'm 35 and weigh 95, I've had similar experiences.
    Skinny women are not sick, we are just skinny! We are just little!
    Have a nice a life!

  32. Cindy says:

    YES! Thank you for this! At 5'3 and 99 lbs. I'm considered pretty little. Either they think your anorexic, a meth addict or you have cancer. Nope, just physically fit with a turbo metabolism. If we could all just drop the veil of judgement and see the soul of humanity in each individual this world would be a better place. It's really that simple.

  33. cynthia D says:

    This is amazing!! And so needed – this is literally the first article I’ve read that sums up what I’ve been experiencing and feeling MY WHOLE DAMN SKINNY LIFE. It’s such a shame that this is ONLY the first article I’ve been able to find, but maybe this is only the beginning!?! I hope so. Such gratitude to you, for starting this conversation, and helping me and others feel less alone.

  34. Mindy says:

    Have you not seen countless memes and pictures being posted all the time on Facebook? "Real women have curves, only dogs go for bones." Or the pictures of skinny actresses on top, and somewhat curvy, classic actresses like Marilyn Monroe on the bottom saying: "When did THIS become more sexy/attractive than THIS?"
    There is judgment and name calling on all sides of the spectrum. The point of this article is that some women are a size zero, and they are just as beautiful as any other woman. We are all beautiful.
    Wonderful article!

  35. Cindy says:

    Well. said.

    I tried to gain weight for years, until it crept on naturally as I entered my forties. The 'best' one came from a 'friend' who said, as we were bemoaning the plights of being thirty and single 'you don't have any problems in life: you're skinny'. Me: …..?? What do you say to that? Sigh.

  36. elephantjournal says:

    Bryan, you should contribute your own story! It's true, this affects men so much, too—fat, weak, skinny, short—we've heard it all. http://www.elephantjournal.com/submit

  37. elephantjournal says:

    I think you literally mean "figuratively." 😉 Especially, and hopefully, when it comes to the bus? 🙂 Seriously, I do think there’s a lot of rhetoric, some on elephant, much in our culture, about “real” women not being model-thin. For further relephant reading, see this image and read this article, if curious: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/can-we-ret

    Yours,

    Way
    ~
    Waylon Lewis
    Walk the Talk Show, elephantjournal.com
    8 million readers/month, 1st in #green twice nationally on twitter, Awards
    “Straight cash, homey.” ~ Rumi

  38. Kristen Arnett of GreenBeautyTeam.com says:

    THANK YOU!!! I have often said very similar things to people privately – so thank you for putting all of this wonderfulness together in one, well written article about true inclusivity, acceptance and in perspective that we are just flesh and bones – the soul is what counts. There were so many highlights, and this in particular really resonated: "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." I still wonder if people who aren't my friends are thinking that when I leave a table. Sending you lots of good vibes for representing us naturally slender ladies (and men) so well!

  39. Zoe says:

    Thanks for writing this, this is fabulous.

  40. Michele says:

    I appreciate this article, and yet am frustrated by multiple comments. Each and every one of us has a natural body size and should not be discouraged by it. Posting your height and weight will only discourage those that do struggle with eating disorders. If you truly want to be appreciated outisde of your height and weight, don't publisise it.

  41. Lexus says:

    well said – thanks for representing us skinny ones & the comments we receive on a daily basis. Which are totally bullying! Highlighting the illusion that happiness is skinny is the pearl here! much love & respect to you xx

  42. Nancy says:

    I don't think you have a skinny ass, I think it looks great!

  43. Jemma says:

    Love you writing, very inspiring 🙂

  44. Lisa P says:

    'Bout time, Janne Robinson, someone put this in words! Thank you x

  45. jemandtaz says:

    Also if you get chance can you let me know what brand your clothing is that your wearing in that picture of you stretching. it's beautiful and i'd like to see if i can get it in the uk. SUPER FLATTERING!! 🙂

  46. Shell says:

    I’m curious–who ever told you that you have a small or skinny ass? Because if that picture is truly of you in the bikini and hands above your head, girl it looks (to me) like you do not! I am 5’5″ and 135 and for the most part love my body (work in progress), and I would LOVE to have that juicy ass you have!! Were you born with that too or did that come from exercise?

  47. Melinda W. says:

    I am certain I could read this every day for the rest of my life. Though, even after reading it once, I felt empowered…as I am sure many other readers did as well. THANK YOU for this.

  48. thenicolemarie says:

    I am so grateful that someone is speaking out for ALL body types, but particularly the skinny girls. I can relate with every single sentiment and I absolutely agree that we need to start loving each other in EVERY form. I've often kept quiet about my struggle with body image, too, because I've had friends respond in ways that are less than sympathetic because I'm "not allowed" to feel that way – when in reality, I have been bullied and made to feel insecure about my body my entire life. I've been asked if I'm on drugs, have an eating disorder and have had grown women make sounds that my body must be disgusting. To this day, I won't go to the bathroom in a public place in the middle of a meal out of fear that people assume I'm throwing up. I cannot believe I'm not alone in that!

    Thank you so much for your words of empowerment – here's to the thin girls!!!!!!!!

  49. jannerobinson says:

    Yes!

    So true. I like those articles in a way- because in my own eyes it is someone standing up and saying, "All bodies are beautiful. My tush is marvelous." The media does spend too much time on skinny. But they also do throw skinny under the bus so I feel mixed. Raw beauty talks is a company I really enjoy. They have women photographed without makeup and interviewed. They posted a photograph on instagram a few weeks ago of a man holding a sign saying "The definition of beautiful does not require the word skinny". I understood their point but still went "HEY!" at it. We all be on the bus, man. I started to write this article then.

    We are all saying the same thing in different languages. We are all beautiful indeed.

    Thank you Mindy..

  50. jannerobinson says:

    Yes it is! Let people know. Speak sister.

    Some people truly have no idea. I served a table last night at an oyster bar and a man and his wife and another couple made a comment about me "not eating" (the day I published the article) and I wrote the link down for them 😉 I also told them I had a fast metabolism and one of them admitted their daughter is a rail and also gets bullied- they apologized after. People don't always think with their hearts before they speak. Thanks for your voice Melina!