February 5, 2010

The Skinny

Filed under: Estrogen,Shut the Hell Up!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:26 am

And now, for a slim and slender edition of…


People who say shit like “OMG, look at you, you’re so skinny!” Sounding like they’re jealous. Sounding like they’re cheering for you. Sounding like both. They’re so sure they just made your day! After all, so long as you’re as skinny as humanly possible, your feminine life is a success.

Except it’s seriously fucking annoying! Hell, my sister even takes offense to that, finding it no different from commenting on how fat someone is, not to mention that being skinny often isn’t a matter of proper dieting or whatever to maintain an acceptable appearance but often a sign of sickness or being underweight (that’s right, folks, that’s a real thing!) when you’re trying to get UP to a healthy weight.

It’s also yet another thing about being female where you’re considered a “success” without having actually done anything worthwhile. “OMG! Look how skinny you are!” is the expression and concern that comes first, while things like your promotion, your new house, your charity work, or anything else that, you know, matters takes a back seat, if not taking the damn caboose. Whereas a skinny woman who hasn’t accomplished anything real or good is seen as a winner, while a bigger woman is seen as a failure no matter how much good she accomplishes. Basically, if you’re not eye candy, you’re worthless.

Or there’s the other little gem of where accomplished women are thought to be unattractive, and because of this, all their accomplishments are summed up as “well, of course she has to do all that, she’s not much to look at”. As if an average or overweight woman engaged in political activism or working on cures for dangerous diseases is not seen as doing real good in the world as just making up for her unforgivable sin of not being rail-thin. Hell, it’s sort of a stereotype that women involved in any kind of activism are assumed to be fat and ugly, that they’re only activists because they’re dead inside from being unattractive, that the good skinny pretty little women are doing well and don’t need to worry about that sort of thing. Or maybe it goes hand in hand with other age-old expectations of women, that we’re supposed to be seen and not heard, therefore must be good-looking and passive, while those bad not-so-good-looking women must of course exhibit the other “anti-feminine” trait of, you know, talking and caring about something.

I’m not going to place any gender-based blame for this, as both men and women are responsible for perpetuating this. The underlying idea is that women exist only to be pleasing to men, and that if they aren’t they should remain out of sight or be ridiculed endlessly, yet that doesn’t mean men themselves are to blame. That’s an important difference. After all, just about everyone I’ve heard comment on how skinny someone is has been female, as we often accept the misogynistic ideals of weight and appearance without question and believe that to just be how the world is, what we’re supposed to strive for. While plenty of men who aren’t exactly swimsuit magazine material themselves can verbally abuse a girl who unwittingly winds up in their eyeshot for being “a tub”. So, if you’re reading this thinking that one gender is more guilty or innocent of this than the other, just save it.

So next time you find yourself looking at a girl, is your first or only thought whether men would want to fuck her? Haven’t you thought that maybe, just maybe, there’s more to people and to life than that?

1 Comment

  1. There are really two issues here: One is the conflation of thin with pretty, and the other is placing value on women’s being pretty. The first is narrow-minded (if you’ll pardon the pun): Any single idea of what a good-looking woman looks like will exclude lots of beautiful women, and reducing beauty to a single attribute will include some ugly women.

    But there’s nothing wrong with appreciating female physical beauty. It doesn’t necessarily exclude appreciating other qualities in women, either in women who are good-looking or in women who aren’t. Nor does it take priority, except in the sense that it’s more immediately obvious when you see someone in person how she looks than what she’s done in the past year. Most people don’t carry a big sign that says, “Six months ago, I accomplished X!” But you can look at them and see face, figure, attire, poise, and so forth. So you can react to that before you find out the other stuff.

    Comment by Alexander — February 5, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

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