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This is one topic I’ve always wanted to rant about but never seem to be bothered enough. Plus somehow I thought it’d sound a bit bitchy, which is not what I want on my blog. But well, today’s post on Mia Freedman’s blog just gave me the much needed boost, so here it goes, prepare your ears.
The thing is, I’m so sick and tired of people commenting on how skinny I am! I know many people mean it as a compliment but it’s worn rather thin**, really. Most of the time, I hate the envious / demeaning / accusative tone in their voice when they go “OMG but you’re TIIIIIINY! You’re a stick. Do you ever eat? ” I hate having to explain myself at questions like “Why do you need a gym membership? Your already a size 6.” I’ve had enough of the prevalent attitude that automatically, and one-sidedly, links “thin” to “anorexia”, of reading about “real women have curves”, of seeing book titles like “Skinny Bitch“, of hearing about little “body image surveys” that go: “Would you rather be 40 pounds overweight and smart, or skinny and stupid?” WTF? So all skinny people are “fake” and stupid??!
If I went around saying to someone “Geez you’re FAT! You’ve definitely put on weight. You should cut down on all those French fries. You must sign up for the gym” I’d be labeled rude, tactless, discriminating. And can you even imagine the furor that would erupt if someone was to write a book called “Fat Bitch”? So why do curvier people, ok let’s face it, curvier girls, think they can give themselves the right to spit those degrading remarks at my face? WHY? WHY?
The fact is, being Asian, I’m naturally thin. My metabolism is so fast, even compared to other Asians, that although I eat like a pig, weight just doesn’t seem to stick. I’m not anorexic or bulimic. It’s more a case of “In one way, out the other” like my aunties used to say. (Excuse the mental image!) What’s more, being active and healthy — a great habit instilled in us by our Mum, I also cop no ends of sneering and jeering about my lifestyle choices, like when it comes to food and exercising.
A long time ago I’ve learned to stop telling others, except my family & closest friends, about my struggle to put on some weight and KEEP IT ON, in a healthy way. How naive was I, thinking I’d get some sympathy? Instead all I got was the “You’ve gotta be kidding me” look, the one that seemed to say “Shut up you pompous twit, thousands of people are trying to lose that spare tyre around their waists and and here you are, whinging about being skinny“. But the truth is, people, just because my problem isn’t a common one, that doesn’t make it any less of a problem. If anything, it’s a tougher issue for slender girls because we get almost no support, be it physical or emotional, from others. Has anyone ever seen an ad promoting a weight gain scheme nowadays? I didn’t think so. (The above photo was actually an ad from 74 years ago!)
Some have pointed out to me that this appalling attitude only stems from jealousy. That in this image obsessed society, being skinny is so desirable that you’re targeted just because you have it without even trying. It is partly true. But to me it’s not just envy. It’s also ignorance, blatant hypocrisy, and lack of empathy. There’s no way to know when it will change. Let’s hope soon because otherwise, all this talk about “Real beauty – Healthy body image – Embrace the body you’re in!” campaigns are really nothing but a load of double-standard bullcrap!
So to speak up for other naturally slim girls, here are a few points to remember, folks:
1 ~ We don’t eat junk food because a/ we don’t like the greasy taste of it, just like how some people can’t stand the flavour of fish sauce or shrimp paste; and b/ it’s bad for your health, even if it doesn’t give us any extra cellulite on the outside, it still can clog our arteries and send our livers into panic mode. We DO feel guilty eating too much chocolate & cakes because our teeth also decay and we too risk developing diabetes the same way as everyone else.
2 ~ We exercise to stay healthy and NOT TO LOSE WEIGHT, so what about tying your eyebrows tightly to your nose so they won’t try and go up to meet your hairline, when we mention about our early morning jogs or our training sessions for a 10km run. (Which is not even a big run!)
3 ~ Stop telling us to eat more! We already do, thank you very much. And looking from an economic angle, all that grocery is costly! Granted we can enjoy whatever food we like. But having to eat 5 times a day so one doesn’t look like a walking skeleton in 2 weeks is NOT EASY. Also, I don’t know about other “slender sisters”, but I love veggies and have tried to keep a vegetarian diet, only to get a stern look from my doctor saying “You need at least one serve or red meat or fatty fish a day or your anaemia will get worse very quickly.” To put it simply, I have to eat food I don’t like to stay healthy. And it’s THE SAME problem as people who don’t like veggies have.
4 ~ If we lose weight, and this happens very easily (!), it could be anything from physical to mental to emotional stress — exam time, work deadlines, family issues, relationship problems, etc. So instead of automatically assuming that we’re rushing off to the bathroom to make ourselves throw up our dinner, what about genuinely pay attention and help us through the rough patch?
Anyway it’s getting late and I guess I’ve ranted enough. Although that wouldn’t stop me from adding more should any idea pop into my head later on ;). But for a future post, I promise to write a little informal guide for skinny girls who want to gain some curve, healthily. Stay tuned.
~stick-insect, and proud of it :)~
** NOTE: All puns are intentional, unless unintentional.