Big Girl, Skinny Girl

Big Girl, Skinny Girl
To: B, or not to Be

Cut by: Davita Cuttita

Let’s cut right into this; get ready to chew some fat.

I’ve received a good amount of comments on both fat-oriented articles I’ve written, however; “Thin Privilege: Please Don’t Eat Me!” seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people in a very deep way. I’m always happy to receive comments from readers and appreciate their input very much. One comment in particular, stunned me:

“i stumbled across this blog looking for posts about toronto and amnesia (the party)…so glad that i did. i’ve gained 12 pounds this year and it was ruining my life. it is precisely because of the privilege you describe. unlike yourself i have no T&A privilege – i have a flat chest and ass, but felt better when i used to be able to say “at least i am skinny.” i don’t know if i can ever change that about myself.”

I don’t know anything about the person other than her calling herself ‘B’. I e-mailed asking her permission to use the comment but haven’t yet received a response. B, I hope you don’t mind.

{Edit: B has wrote back! Thanks B for letting me use your writing to help spark some dialogue.}

So we’re back again to talk about thin privilege in a new way.

We are going to talk about its psychological warfare.

Firstly, how many skinny people out there have thought “at least I am skinny” even once?

Raise your hand.

My arm is up in the air; I’m guilty of this; I admit it.

Secondly, how many fat people out there have thought “at least you/they are skinny” even once?

Raise your hand.

I was “fat” for a while too so yeah; guilty as charged again; I admit it. My arm is up.

Now everyone must be wondering where the thin privilege in all of this must be.

Simple: both parties associate thinness with superiority and social acceptance.

And in all honesty…who doesn’t?

The skinny/average sized person uses their understanding of it to shield themselves from heartache and place themselves upon a pedestal. Things can be going to shit for them—an abusive relationship, death in the family, poor grades or just a bad hair day—but you know what? At least they’re skinny. They can find nice clothes that fit, are admired in public and are free to move about in society, free from weight-based name calling and criticism. So they puff out their collar bones and go merrily about their way, feeling not just better about themselves but better than everyone else who is any size larger than they are (until they see someone smaller, of course). They don’t know it yet, but the rest of us do—these people are slowly disappearing up their own assholes.

Worse still, some skinny people never believe they are skinny enough. They run forever, eat the rabbit’s food, lipo or become anorexic or bulimic. They get implants in their ass and tits to conform to a beauty standard that fluctuates, makes no sense, and pretty much excludes anyone who isn’t White, skinny or blonde or just plain ol’ faking all three or white-washing themselves. It sends a chill down my spine to wonder how many waif thin people thought of the “at least” sentence we are discussing before breathing their last.

Never truly happy, healthy or even full–in more ways than one.

It saddens me even more to think that although starving to death and stick-figures are seen as ugly and unacceptable to Western society with an African, Indian or Asian person embodying it but it is praised as “discipline” and “beauty” for a White ANY class person living in a society filled with grocery stores and restaurants.

Now…what of the fat person?

For the fat person, the prognosis is also quite grim; this thought is self-destructive because it shifts all of the positive attention to something they are not or could never be: thin. It creates a void in their lives. Note, things can be going to shit for them too in very much the same way as the thin person but they don’t get the hit of narcissism out of it like the thin person does. No, instead the fat person feels even worse about themselves, feels even fatter than they actually are (so will the thin person; and having an accurate perception of oneself is always important, no matter what) and instead of doing things they enjoy like going out with loved ones, trying new activities, etc. the fat person will fantasize about someday being thin and hold off on all other life-enriching activities until they are at what I’d like to call, the “deserving weight”.

Let us create an example. I love Imagination Time!

There is a fat person. Her name is Iz.

She is single, 25 years old, done college and working in an office. She enjoys her job and has a nice apartment. Iz is whatever race (or sexual orientation) you are.

Iz is 5’5 and weighs about 210 pounds. A few of her favourite activities include walking her dog, singing and going swimming.

Iz works a good job so she can afford Weight Watchers to be a “size healthier/happier/whateverthehell”. She counts calories and points religiously, she sheds about twenty pounds in three months.

It’s not enough for Iz though. Why? Because she hasn’t made it to her target of being 120 pounds.

She’ll swim again when she “deserves” to after hitting her half way goal.

She’ll sing on stage again when she “deserves” to once she can fit into a size four dress.

She’ll walk the dog down past her favourite bakery–where one of the customers has an obvious crush on her–once she has ten pounds to lose. That way she won’t have to be embarrassed when they go out on dates anymore.

She’ll stop comparing herself to the other girls at work and worrying about being the largest person in the room whenever she goes anywhere.

She’ll stop crying when she looks in the mirror sometimes.

She’ll stop getting mad at herself whenever she “cheats” her diet with a coke or a slice of pizza.

Iz isn’t really doing much.
Iz is only hurting herself by dangling her own happiness above her head and having it lowered or pulled farther away from her grasp because of some numbers on a scale.

Like her thin counterpart, she can never be thin enough and will deprive herself of happiness until she feels the scale tells her she deserves it.

Iz can be happy if she thinks she can be; if she feels she deserves to be NOW. Can she still do her Weight Watchers at the same time? Of course. Does she have to? Only if she wants to.

So what can Iz do?

Iz can join a Women’s Only swim group so she doesn’t have to worry about anything other than making it to the pool on time or she can take up mountain biking like she’s always wanted to try.

Iz can sing her ass off Jennifer Hudson style in a dress that fits her NOW.

Iz can walk wherever the hell she damn-well pleases because it’s a free country.

Iz can grab that bakery boy and they can go for walks on the beach, mountain biking, to the movies, to the clubs, or to his bedroom where they can turn off the lights and go to heaven in each other’s arms.

Iz can eat what makes her body feel good and what she thinks tastes delicious. Iz also has the freedom to eat whatever makes her body not-feel-so-good: hey, we all go to McDonald’s.

Iz can B.
And B can Iz.
And B can be B.
We all can B and Iz! Think about it!

Thin privilege sneaks into the mind painting pictures of who deserves to LIVE LIFE AS THEY SEE FIT and who doesn’t. It murders the human spirit, leaving nothing but a gaping hole of empty calories and depression.

Dear reader, find that picture and destroy it before it hurts you anymore.
It won’t be easy but it can be done because only YOU can live your own life.

Marianne Williamson (Thanks, Meowser!) once said:

“Our biggest fear is not that we are inadequate, our biggest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the GLORY OF GOD that is within us.”
–Marianne Webster

Don’t play small anymore. Don’t force yourself into that world or even a pair of jeans! Whether you believe in God or not, you cannot deny the fact that somewhere within you there is a goodness that has NOTHING to do with the size of your clothes but with the content of your character and perseverance; in a world that tells you how you can exist and what you do and do not deserve.

This post is for all the big girls and skinny girls; especially B. Take that goodness and…

USE IT. Paint your life as YOU see fit.


~ by davitacuttita on May 22, 2008.

9 Responses to “Big Girl, Skinny Girl”

  1. Thanks for publishing my comment – glad it motivated more writing on this issue. I think it is vital for women to talk about these things together and break down the skinny bitch / fat girl divide. From what I have read so far from both you and dragon you are both pushing against these artifical binaries in terms of race, weight and appearance. KEEP it up – I will be a loyal reader, and maybe, just maybe I will learn to start liking this bigger version of myself in the process.

  2. Hey, DC, this is a great post, keep up the good work.

    One thing, though: I’m pretty sure the quote above that’s widely attributed to Nelson Mandela is actually from Marianne Williamson, specifically from her book A Return to Love, published in 1992. Mandela was inaugurated 2 years later and for some reason people seem to think he made this statement in his inaugural speech, which he didn’t (text of that speech is here; possibly he used it at some point later on but I have never been able to document where.)

  3. B! Thanks for coming back. I will be a loyal writer and keep on writing. ^_^ I hope someday you will LOVE yourself at bigger, smaller and everything in between.

    Meowser; it’s nice to see you around again! I made the quote change accordingly and gave you props as well; thanks for pointing that out.

    Thanks to the both of you for the encouragement and reading. ^_^

  4. Thanks, DC…it’s Marianne Williamson, though, not Webster. (Sorry for the pedanticism!)

  5. Oh amen! -claps like crazy-

  6. Thanks, University Princess! ^_^

  7. Too bad so many women are fat nowadays and slim and in shape women are called anorexic and starving and other such nonsense. As men, we should not accept FAT women. I certainly don’t. They are disgusting and horrible and low class.

  8. Hi James,

    While I agree that the standards of beauty are quite unfair in regards to women who are already “normal size” or “thin”; I don’t agree with your fat predjudice. Judging someone based solely on their appearance is never a good guage of their character and is just another form of discrimination: whether it is the colour of their skin, their height or their body weight.

    If you want to live your life that way you can but I hardly think you’re qualified to tell all of mankind (or even womankind) that it’s OK to hate or look down on someone just because of how they look when there’s already more serious issues in our world to deal with regarding prejudice based on appearance.


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