I haven’t written an actual write-y talk-y blog for ages, so bear with me if I’m a bit rusty!
But there is just something I need to get off my chest. In fact it’s upset me and bugged me for years, but it was only after listening to James O’Brien on LBC today that I decided it’s time to write about it.
James’ phone in today was about why it’s offensive to tell a woman she’s fat, even if she is. I agree. It’s hurtful, unnecessary, cruel and clearly a word that will only ever be used to wound someone and their feelings. Most of us wouldn’t dream of telling a colleague or a friend that they’re looking fat would we? In fact the idea is so ludicrous I want you to just imagine these scenarios for a second:
1) Walking into the office at work and greeting your colleague with;
‘Morning! How are you? Wow, you’re looking really fat at the moment’
2) Walking into a bar to meet a close friend;
‘Hi honey, so good to see you. Gosh, you’ve got really fat!’
3) Commenting on a Facebook photo of your local radio presenter;
‘I like her jeans, but she’s got really fat legs!’
Now substitute the word FAT for SKINNY – and all of the above have been said to me in the last 6 months in those exact scenarios! And it’s NOT OK!!
SKINNY is a bloody horrible word. It insinuates weakness, poverty, malnourishment and unattractiveness. It conjures up images of sickly baby goats who are the runt of the litter, or little weasley type creatures that no one likes.
And why do people think it’s ok to pass comment on my body anyway?! It baffles me every time. No, beyond baffles me. It really does.
Body image is a very complexed and deep seated issue with most of us women I think. From a very young age we grow up hating certain bits of ourselves and wishing we had a different bum/tummy/boobs/face. But one of the better aspects of getting older is becoming more comfortable with who you are, and I’m more or less in that place. I accept now that I have a short body but very slim limbs. I accept that it doesn’t matter how many ab exercises I do I just won’t ever have a washboard stomach. I accept that I can’t wear crop tops or high waisted jeans. I know that my rings and watches have to be altered to a child’s size because my fingers and arms are so slim. And all that is fine. But when someone casually throw into conversation that I’m SKINNY – it really hurts me and I find it highly offensive.
Along with the SKINNY thing there are a whole other load of insults I’ve heard over the years;
‘Why do you work out? Do any more exercise and you’ll disappear’
‘Are you skinny coz you’re vegetarian?’
‘Why on earth do you eat healthily? Lose any more weight and you’ll fall down a drain!’
‘How much do you weigh?‘ ERRRRRM, is it EVER acceptable to ask ANYONE that?! No
At this point I must make it clear that I have never dieted in my life. I eat healthily, well for health reasons (really not that hard?!) and I work out because I’d like to get a bit bigger and more toned actually to perhaps shut up the ignorant commentators.
I also come from a long line of slim women. Very STRONG slim women I must add. My Great Grandmother lived to be almost 100. She was slight and dainty and small. My Nan is tiny. She’s 86 and tough as old boots. And my mum is lovely and petite – and she carried and gave birth to five of us and is one of the strongest women I know, in every sense.
At school I hated being so slim. I was always conscious of my tiny wrists and ankles that people always kindly pointed out, and I just couldn’t put on weight whatever I did. But you kind of expect hurtful comments at school, you just don’t really expect it to follow you into adulthood.
Before I finish my anti-SKINNY rant, let me just tell you about two scenarios from the last year that stick in my mind.
The first was at a gig I was hosting on behalf of Heart, the radio station that I work for. I spent weeks searching for an outfit to wear on stage in front of thousands of people. Stuff like that makes me very anxious and I am not very confident. I wanted something summery and on trend, but that I felt comfortable and happy in. I eventually found the outfit and went along feeling fairly good about myself. That was until a male colleague in front of everyone shouted;
‘Jesus Charlie, how SKINNY are your legs? You look like you’re going to snap in half – eat a burger.’
I was mortified and could have burst into tears. It upset me so much. But I had to laugh it off and instead go on stage and confidently present in front of a massive crowd, whilst quietly dying inside.
The second scenario has actually happened a few times, and some will say it’s my fault because I put myself out there as part of my job. But again, through Heart – we put a lot of pictures on Facebook of us doing things for the show. Every time one goes up, there will undoubtedly be a few comments about me being SKINNY and needing to eat more. A few months back we put a picture up of me on an exercise bike for something we were doing on the show, and one lovely, very kind, sensitive lady (I AM being sarcastic, obviously) commented;
‘urgh look at Charlie’s SKINNY legs, god eat something love.’
Again, like a knife going in, and completely uncalled for. And thanks for the Sisterhood. Aren’t women supposed to stick together? Jeez.
Is the Daily Mail culture to blame? Every single day I see pages of keyboard warriors, happily running a cruel commentary about women’s body shapes and imperfections on their website, and sadly it’s usually the women being horrible. Just today I saw people calling Kim Kardashian fat, and saying that Myleene Klass has stumpy legs!
Do you know what? I think it’s high time we just stopped passing comment. Stopped scrutinising other people’s bodies, and stopped using the word SKINNY! Just stop.
That is all 😉
The outfit that prompted the SKINNY abuse from a male colleague (who I must point out was not my lovely co-host, he wouldn’t do that!)
Oh god, it’s the SKINNY outfit again. Actually haven’t worn it since
On holiday this year, trying to embrace my slender limbs and curves …