The picture that I have up is what prompted this blog. I’ve been yelling about this for a long time but today I felt compelled to really talk to you guys about this. Please note that I have ONLY picked being a skinny, BLACK girl in America because that was what I was at one point in my life. I will tell you how much I weigh at the end of the blog (so read it). LMAO!
Let’s Talk a Little About Me
Most of my life, I have been tall and skinny. As an adult in my 30s, I’m still considered slim by many although the scale disagrees. Now, I’m sure everyone in their life has been made fun of or bullied for something and I’m not trying to diminish the plight of others by focusing on being slim but this is MY experience. This is what it’s like to be a skinny (bony, bean pole, anorexic looking, one step from death, needing to eat a cheeseburger, needing to eat the WHOLE menu from the nearest fast food restaurant) Black woman in America.
Did you notice all those words I had in parentheses? Those are just a SMALL number of words that have been used to describe ME, my sisters, models, or just random, skinny people. So I’m going to touch on a few things that people say but they truly have NO clue what they’re saying and how it impacts skinny women. Many Black people feel that the bigger a woman is, the more attractive she is. Oh, time for my FAVORITE QUOTE:
“BLACK MEN WANT A WOMAN WITH MEAT ON HER BONES/ONLY DOGS WANT BONES”
Ohhhhh yeahhhhhh! This is the first one I usually hear and it’s really great to let us know that no man will ever want us because we’re slim. Has nothing to do with our personality or how good of a person we are, it’s because we’re slim that we will always be single. ALWAYS! As if I felt that all men would want me because I was slim (we call it slim as being called “skinny” has such a negative connotation). I understand that most people feel that society favors women for being slim and that they’re put on a pedestal but please don’t take it upon yourself to knock a slim person down because you feel it’s YOUR personal responsibility to do so. As I stated before, EVERYONE has a struggle. Your job is truly NOT to make their struggle worse. Granted,there are some slim women that feel that they’re better than everyone else but that’s something personal that has nothing to do with ALL the slim women in the world. Don’t take it upon yourself to balance the scales of justice because you feel that slim women are treated better than thicker women. You have no clue.
“YOU NEED TO EAT A BURGER!”
Hmmmm…..my sisters and I ate like pigs on a daily basis. I mean WE ATE! No one knew where the food was going. Somehow we were blessed with a high metabolism. We didn’t gain weight. We just didn’t. Was there something wrong with us? No? We just didn’t gain weight. So, at some point, I looked like the women in the Victoria’s Secret picture. THAT was me. And, at 6′ feet, you could REALLY see it. I was 6′ 135 lbs. It got so bad, we were looking around trying to find ways to gain weight. Why? Because people CONSTANTLY shamed us for our body type that we couldn’t control. Another person that had this problem was Buffy the Body. She used to be skinny too. She sought out ways to gain weight and now look at her. Folks worship her butt. *applause* You can go on her page on YouTube and watch her talk about it. It’s a shame that we get shamed to be what other people want. A lot of people DON’T know that, just like women get FAT shamed, women get SKINNY shamed. I mean, clearly there has to be SOMETHING wrong with us to be that slim. They say we’re sick, they say we’re bulimic, they say we don’t eat enough. I guess I should apologize for my genes. My bad. My parents should be sued because they made slim kids. Let me get on that right away.
“YOU’RE SLIM, WHY ARE YOU IN THE GYM?”
*bangs head* EVERYONE SHOULD EXERCISE!!! EVERYONE!!!! It’s for your HEALTH! It’s not just to lose weight, you flippin IDIOTS!!! Let me tell you how much this impacted me: I used to go running at Tucker Road and I would hear a woman (I will be nice and call her that. I could describe what she looked like but it would be hypocritical to go on her the way she went on me) standing beside a tree with a fast food cup in her hand say “I don’t know why she’s running. She needs to eat a burger.” I mean, come on, man. Just why? Truth be told, she should’ve been running with me. Instead of wondering why I was running (with my six pack and looking good, I might add), she should’ve said “Hey, let me come run with you.” Why stand there and try to talk down about me because I choose to take care of my body?
I used to go to the gym and just try to work out at least three times a week. You know how you can feel daggers of eyes shooting through your head? Yup, I had that problem. And don’t let one of those black men (that don’t like bones, mind you) come and attempt to help me. That just made it worse. When I saw bigger women at the gym, I gave them the thumbs up. As a runner now, when I see bigger women running, I give them a thumbs up. If I see a woman that just had a baby running, I’m giving you a thumbs up! Why? BECAUSE YOU MADE IT YOUR BUSINESS TO TAKE YOUR HEALTH INTO YOUR OWN HANDS! We are all on the same team. Everything isn’t about a competition. So stop trying to slight the next person to make yourself feel better.
I’ve had past coworkers stand and hold a whole conversation about my weight. I’m serious. I worked at a Radiology place briefly just after I had my daughter. My coworkers stood around talking about how skinny I was and told me I should eat more. I then countered with this “How would you like it if I told you that you needed to eat less and put down the burgers? How would you feel if I said that?” They shut up. Why is anyone’s weight YOUR concern?
The irony of the Dove pic is that it’s just saying that you can be beautiful in any shape, size, or color. It was NOT to perpetuate HATE for others. It was saying that we are beautiful the way we are and we should all remember that. So when the pic was posted and people answered that the Dove ad was better (I said that as well), they took it upon themselves to then call the women “skinny bitches”, “sick”, “anorexic”, etc. They also then proceed to state “facts” that most of the women were anorexic and starved themselves before the photo shoots. How they knew this, I don’t know. Sometimes we go by hearsay. I never starved myself to be thin. I was JUST thin. Some of us are actually that skinny and use modeling to capitalize on something that we were made fun of most of our lives.
It was REALLY disheartening to me and I felt the need to stand up for these Victoria’s Secret models (whom I will never meet) because I have BEEN there. But the same women that are running around making fun of skinny women and putting them down are the same ones complaining about women getting butt and boob implants. People like you support self hate (and I’m not saying that all people that get cosmetic surgery hate themselves but some do). If you’re shaming someone for being what you think is “too skinny” or shaming anyone for being “too fat”, maybe you should look in the mirror. You’ve just made yourself something worse than too skinny or too fat. You’ve made yourself UGLY. You’re an ugly person to be such a negative person to someone that you know NOTHING about. It’s okay to be a BBW but don’t be disrespectful of the women that aren’t. It’s okay to have a preference, but you don’t have to step on others when you reveal your preference. Have your preference and leave it at that.
I was in a group that was called Thick Women and the Men that Love Them (or something) and they spent ALL of their days talking shit about skinny women. EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!! And I’m not even exaggerating. I finally left the group after pointing this out. I have been on both sides of the coin. I didn’t actually gain weight until the age of 31 after I got OFF birth control. I now weigh more than I weighed pregnant (152 lbs before pregnancy, 172 during pregnancy, and 148 after pregnancy). I am close to 190 now so I have been on both sides of the coin and can be objective. I’ve been that girl that everyone wanted to pick with or fight because she was skinny and they thought they would win. I have been that girl that was overlooked because she was tall and skinny. No one wants to feel less than. So let’s do everyone a favor and accept one another for who they are. If they are truly NOT unhealthy or dying to be a certain way, please let them live. Let’s try to uplift rather than tear down. It might make your life a little better.
5 thoughts on “Being a Skinny, Black Girl in America”