Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Notes from a skinny girl.

Overcompensating - Making excessive corrections for fear of making an error.

This article was in our little Lethbridge Sun Times paper. It’s not any different than any of the other articles (or tv interviews or radio interviews or college class discussions) I keep coming across on this topic, but it’s the one I’m using right now as my example.

It starts like this:“Here’s the skinny on using ‘real’ women in advertisements: it’s good for advertisers and great for consumers.” They write that women have started believing if they can’t fit into a pair of size zero jeans, then they are not beautiful. (A skinny bashing article, in other words.)

Important to note here – I wear size zero jeans. Well, not always. Sometimes I wear a size two. Basically though I’m saying this article is about me, and women like me.

(Caution - picture is bad for consumers and advertisers)
Also important to note here – I eat and I am healthy. My set point for weight happens to be lower than most women’s. That’s okay. It’s also okay that yours may be higher than mine. We’re all okay. Kumbaya.

Dove, Nike, and Wal-Mart have started the trend of using ‘real women’ by featuring not-so-skinny models in their beauty and fashion ads.”

Waaaaaaaaaaaaait. Real women. REAL WOMEN. They use that term a few times in the article, and it’s only the millionth article to do so. I’m sure many people skip over that like it’s nothing, but I’m a size zero, remember? So apparently I’m not a real woman. All women are real then except those who look like me? What the hell is that? That’s how women now support one another and try to make each other feel good about their bodies? Does that really make sense? You are reading a blog written by a fake woman. Maybe that means I’m a ghost. Or I have a secret peen.

The article mentions a Quebec retail chain that had ads featuring young, thin girls. They ended up pulling the ads because they decided the girls’ images were “unsuitable”.

Gah! How is that okay? How is it okay to tell all those young girls that their bodies are not suitable? Those are their BODIES! How dare anyone call them unsuitable? I can’t even find the words to express my disgust with that.

Here’s the thing that bugs me. Rather than embracing our bodies in general and saying they’re all beautiful and kumbaya and all of that, the new trend is to say all bodies are beautiful *except* that one type. Why? WHY??? How is that any better than saying all bodies are beautiful except the fat ones? Why do we always need to have the one group to pick on? Maybe could we just be accepting of all people, regardless of BMI, and please please please QUIT OVERCOMPENSATING. It's a sign of low intelligence. Your stupid is showing, stupid.


Jillian said...

While I am more aligned with the bigger side of the demographic that Dove is trying to address, I think people like you should just as easily be included in those 'real woman' ads. Why not include everyone. The fatties, the norms, the skinnies. What's so hard about that. Women are women. No need for such silly us.them mentalities. dumb.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Anonymous said...

Trust me ..
No matter what men say to appease the people in the room listening, there will ALWAYS be an eager market for thin women.
Who wants to date a Wal-mart, anyhow?

Shannon said...

I just want to say that I'm glad I'm a real woman now instead of you. It's about time.
Eat something, fake woman.

Shauna said...

I just think the term "real women" should mean that advertisers picture women of all shapes and sizes. When companies depict only one type of woman (whether that be skinny, fat, white, asian, etc) the natural result (especially for young girls) is to look at those pictures and wonder why they look so different from the beautiful models.

The difference between that picture of you in your bathing suit and the "fake size zero women" in the magazines is that the magazine would have photoshopped the hell out of your ribcage, made your boobs way bigger and given you a nice all over tan. The point is that "real women" have flaws. All of them. Fat ones and skinny ones alike. You have ribs that poke out, I have fat rolls on my back and a huge butt. It happens. And whatever we can do to help young girls understand that it's okay to be flawed is good.

Bethany said...

Is this about my telling you to eat three hamburgers?

I'm sorry.

Shannon said...

Bethany, did you SEE Sara's ribs? Nevermind three hamburgers, she needs to eat the whole damn cow!

All joking aside (the eating a cow part is not a joke, Sara) I just want to say that it's true that all sizes of women should be considered real women. (Providing that they have all of their teeth.)
My sister is a size 0 and she's had people make comments about her and being anorexic, when she's not. Her bones don't stick out of her body, she looks healthy, that's just her size. Girls should be able to be envious of that without thinking there is something wrong with how they look. Why can't parents and media get that message across? WHY?

Michelle said...

I don't ever want anyone telling my daughters they are "unsuitable" for anything, whether they are thin or fat.

I've always had issues with my weight, but I never expected people to tell thin girls that they were bad thinking it will make ME feel better! How messed up is that??

My kids eat like horses, and they are so slim (which is foreign to me, I come from a fat italian family where all the men are named things like "Rocco" and "Tony" and all the women trade secrets about the best plus size clothing stores)
I am GLAD for them, they got that fabulous Slade Metabolism, and I am pre-mad that someone might tell them they are too skinny someday. And I'll get my uncle Tony to break some kneecaps if someone does.

I am going to get "Quit Overcompensating" tattooed on me somewhere. Thanks Sara!

Sherpa said...

I lost about 10 pounds a year ago and I didn't gain it back until about a month ago. That meant that my size 4 clothes hung off of me and I was a size 0 or 2 (okay, I still am a size 2). I had a lot of well meaning, but misguided people tell me quite a few times that I was too skinny and they were considered. I was healthy though, I eat enough, I work out, I don't have a weight disorder. Skinny people have feelings too! So yes, no matter our size-we are all real people! Anyway, I hear you. We are all people!

Steve said...

Hey, as a self confessed woman lover, I am an equal opportunity employer! haha. But I think all women, from size 0 (including you Sara!) to 14 or whatev can be super hot and attractive. The problem and concern I have here is that teenage girls, who later become "real women", are being told that no matter what, there is something wrong with their body. I for one think our country and a lot of people, men and women, ARE too fat in this country and that it is a bigger problem than the few anorexic girls that creep out. But the idea is for us all to be ok with our body and to be healthy, which is often overlooked, no matter what shape you are in, man and woman! Seriously, how many "real MEN" do you know with a 6-pack (besides me of course! haha). And proof that the anti-skinny brigade causes just as many issues with girls; I had a tall and super skinny hot friend in high school. She had a slight hormone/thyroid thing that made her metabolism super high. She could out eat me and not gain a pound. It gave her lots of issues b/c she didn't have the curves or bod that most of us teenage guys are taught to obsess over. And of course jealous girls called her anorexic out of spite while chocking on their double cheeseburgers. She eventually got some steroids and such, but I think she always felt less womanly b/c of her A cup. :(

Crystalbell said...

I second this entire blog post, Sara. I'm a real woman too, even if I can wear children's clothes.

Laurie said...

Yeah, well, those "real women" are never any larger than a size 10 or 12 max.... which doesn't even pass for "plus-size". The plus size ladies still have to deal with this crap.

mj said...

i have another amen for you. i don't get why it isn't considered okay to just be healthy for your particular body type. mine happens to be quite a bit smaller than average (size zero), but i certainly eat and am trying to eat healthier all the time (e.g., less sugar - that has been my demon). i'm just plain skinny and not real curvy, but I am real! somehow people are always telling me i look like i'm losing weight, but i have weighed the same for the last ten years. i have good friends around the size 12 and 14 range and they have different body types than me but are just as healthy. you know, i don't remember learning much about different body frames/types and such when I was a kid in health class. Why can't we talk about THAT more with girls?

Daisy Paige said...

In my church a couple of days ago a well-meaning woman reminded me that if I'm nursing my son, I need to continue eating extra calories to keep up with his demand because I obviously am not - I'm much too thin to be eating enough. And yet I eat more than Josh at every single meal, not to mention my constant snacking throughout the day. I guess it's all that extra vacuuming now that my kid is crawling all over the house.

So as one 0-sized fake woman to another, thanks for the post. I'm smaller now than I was before I even got pregnant - it's just in my genes.

Kipluck said...

It's true. "Real Women" come in ALL sizes. If they really want to be all inclusive (as they SHOULD) they should include those thin people, too. You are one of the realest people I know. Well, except that I have yet to meet you in person because I am always sick when you come to Utah. So you COULD be fake. But I TRUST the people I know who know you in person. ;O)

However, like Laurie, I don't ACTUALLY see THEIR "real" and supposedly "plus size" as all that plus. Especially since I would LOVE to get DOWN to their sizes. But such is life.

Jason Randall said...

It's simple. Men love watching women fight.

So we let our sexy skinny girls and our sexy plus size girls wrestle it out, and spend billions while doing so.

bequi said...

Ohmy heck, Laurie's link made me so mad, my heart was racing! What a hooch! Seriously, it never even occured to me to consider myself "fat" until that article. I am a bit overweight. I could lose 30 pounds and look perfect. But I'd still be at least a size 10 because I have big boobs and wide hips and a butt that won't quit. And I like it that way!

I used to be skinny like you until about 9th grade. Before 9th, everyone asked me if I was anorexic because my collar bone stuck out so far. My proudest moment was eating 14 pieces of french toast one morning for breakfast. I just had a super fast metabolism!

So I agree with everyone. If we could all learn to love our bodies they way they are, the world would be a better place. And people need to realize that "healthy" isn't assigned to a certain size range.

Crystalbell said...

I'm now 8.5 months pregnant and am wearing a size 4. Don't even get me started on the difficulty of buying maternity clothing when you're not a "real" woman.