Skinny People have Feelings!

Many a day recently, my daughter who is still in middle school, has been reduced to tears by the comments that have been made to her and about her. “You’re Anorexic!” Yes – this is just one of the multitude of judgmental statements made by her peers. Others include “you need to eat more”, “you have skinny arms and legs”, “you shouldn’t wear skinny jeans because you don’t ROCK them” – and the list goes on… Some of these comments are sometimes preceded by “Can I be honest with you?”

For all our politically correct culture, I’m wondering why people – adults, not just teens – think those who are thin have no feelings and therefore you can direct just about any rude personal comments toward them. Isn’t it funny how you can’t even refer to people as “fat” anymore without causing quite a stir? At the most you may speak in general terms of people who are “overweight”. Mind you, you certainly cannot tell any one person that they are overweight or even suggest it. Companies have lost court battles on the basis of “weight discrimination”. However never have we heard that the words used were “skinny”, “skeleton”, “anorexic”, “sick” or something along those lines. I can however, vouch for the fact that these are well used.

Sometimes the “well intentioned” may even add a “honey” at the start of the sentence; I guess, wishing to convey concern and believing they are softening the blow. As in – “Honey are you ok? You’re too thin” or “Honey you need to drink some milkshakes” or “Honey, you’re not anorexic, are you?” Beware of the question “Can I be honest with you?” or a statement that ends with “just saying”. How come I’ve never heard anyone ever ask “fat” people “are you ok?” Or say “Honestly Honey – you’re too fat!” or better yet the health concern – “Honey, you’re a walking billboard for a heart attack – just saying!”

What about the stupid, unoriginal “jokes” that aren’t really funny at all – like:

  • “You must have to run around in the shower to get wet” – Actually you dumb nut, it      would be easier for a thin person to get wet than if half their body were sticking out of the shower – just saying!
  • Or “I’ll bet you don’t weigh 90 lbs soaking wet!”
  • Or the all time classic – “If you stand sideways you’re not even there!”

All of this followed by stupid laughter!! – Usually from a fat person! – Oh, pardon me, should I have said “overweight” or not said anything at all? Well, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out!

When I first came to the US more than a couple of decades ago, I was stunned by the frequency with which people made rude personal comments. (I acknowledge there are rude people the world over) I have been thin all my life and my daughter has inherited those skinny genes – yes, pun intended! Neither of us is ill – quite the contrary. So to all you supposed well wishers, knock off the rude comments to thin people and teach your kids that making rude personal comments is off limits -even when they’re supposedly couched in concern. (Yes – kids learn from somewhere!) Reminder: if you have nothing positive to say, say nothing because nobody asked for your opinion in the first place!

Now before any of you decide to enlighten me on the topic of rude comments to overweight people, please know it’s a wasted effort. I am not advocating negative comments toward ANY group of people – thin, fat, short, tall, blue, green or bald – it’s ALL wrong. We should ALL be protected species! I really don’t care to analyze the psychology behind the remarks either. No one cares if they stem from jealousy or a lack of a life. While turning the proverbial cheek may be called for at times and I try to teach my daughter not to value the cheap chatter of ignorance; she is still a child finding her way in her awkward teen years. I believe it’s high time people grow up, mind their own business and learn some manners.

If you think I’m a bit upset, you guessed right. Say something disparaging to or about me and I may just chalk it up to idiocy. Take pot shots at my daughter however, that’s tempting fate!! I may not look it, but rest assured, I AM a “Mama Bear”!!

Marisa Pereira

By

Marisa Pereira is a mother, fashion designer, currently runs a Design and Image Consulting business in Atlanta, GA, is a freelance writer and volunteers at her church and in the community. She holds a BA in Fashion Design and a BA in French with a minor in Psychology and has worked in the Fashion Industry for over twenty years. Frustrated at her inability to find appropriate church clothes for her 14 year old daughter, she heeded God’s call, and created the stylish but modest, Michaela-Noel clothing collection, now available on-line. Having lived in multiple countries, she is acutely aware of the emphasis cultures place on visual appeal. She analyzes the importance of presenting the best image of ourselves and passionately insists that it starts within. She regularly addresses adult and youth audiences – encouraging and teaching them to make a memorable first impact but more importantly - to create a lasting impression. Her websites are: www.mpcimage.com and michaela-noel.com.

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  • Sheena Cooley

    While I agree with you on the need for civility – I think a lot of people look at “being thin” as a good thing and so may sometimes think they are complimenting you by remarking on your weight.

  • http://www.michaela-noel.com/ Marisa Pereira

    Hmmmm – wish those compliments would sound more like compliments… That being said, it is true that some people do think being thin is an asset and those are not the people I am refering to in this article.

  • snipercatcher

    I would rather have people ask me if I were ok and told me I should drink more milkshakes than have people say “you don’t need that” when I reached for the French fries or pat my stomach at a public gathering and say “I see you’ve put on a little weight.” No one asks me if I don’t have enough money for healthy, low-calorie food or if the medication I’m on has slowed my metabolism to a crawl, which is actually the case.

  • http://www.michaela-noel.com/ Marisa Pereira

    Snipercatcher, thank you for your comment. It might seem like the grass is greener on the other side but it never is. Actually it’s no one’s business what you eat or don’t eat. However, if someone is genuinely concerned, there is a way of showing concern for example a simple “how are you?” It is everyone’s individual choice to disclose any health details if they choose.

  • Pargontwin

    I have to say I really do feel  your pain, Marisa.  I come from a whole family of extremely thin people – and I really DO mean “extremely.”  Think concentration-camp thin, and you’ll have a fairly accurate picture of how thin we all are, despite the fact that every last one of us routinetly eats more than people having three times our mass.  I grew up having to eat like a horse just to keep what little weight I had, and when I enlisted, I had to cheat, bending my knees just a little under that calf-length paper gown so I measured a full inch shorter than I actually was.  I did gain some weight in boot camp, an extra ten pounds of muscle, but I still looked like something out of the Holocaust.  (And no, I’m not belittling the Holocaust!)  After three years at my first duty station, my supervisor finally had the guts to admit to me that he watched me like a hawk for at least two hours after I ate anything, making sure I wasn’t sneaking into a bathroom to “purge.” I actually respected him for telling me that:  Everyone else just made jokes about the “hollow leg” I must pack all that food into.

    My true pain comes in the clothing stores.  NO ONE makes clothes small enough to fit me!  Here I am, nearly sixty, and still buying clothes in the “juniors” department – and they still look like they’re falling off me!.  It makes me feel that clothing manufacturers think small people aren’t worth the effort to make adult clothing to fit them. 

  • http://www.michaela-noel.com/ Marisa Pereira

    Pargontwin, I don’t know if you are male or female but I know it is more difficult for thin males than it is for their female counterparts because men are “expected” to be “strong”.
    I guess from a manufacturing perspective, there is no volume to justify making the extremely small size. Not justifying the reality – just explaining it. (Involved in the manufacturing of clothing myself).

  • Pete Pereira

    I have to relate a similar, I think, but very unusual experience. About fifteen years ago, just as I was stepping off the dance floor of a country western dance club, a tall, very slim woman (lady, I hope) breezed rapidly past me, slowing down slightly to say, “It’s ok, you know. I do it too.” She then proceeded to make a gagging gesture with her index finger in her mouth as she walked rapidly off the dance floor.

    Needless to say, I stopped dead in my tracks. My initial emotion was indignation that she had presumed I was bulemic, but it took a few more stunned seconds to realize that she had just confided to me, a complete stranger, that she was anorexic bulemic! With alarm bells going off in my head, I whipped around the corner to find her, but she was nowhere in sight. I never saw her there again, though I have to admit that it wasn’t my usual dance club.

    I’ve occasionally thought about that incident and whispered a silent prayer that she got the help she seemed to be seeking.

  • Brian L.

    Wow, seems like you could have made these comments without qualifying them as related to overweight people. Your post came off as a tad hypocritical, as you included a few “fat” jabs yourself. Tell your daughter to suck it up, as this is all a part of growing up. Kids will make fun of kids because they are fat, skinny, tall, short, blonde, redhead, curly or straight hair, ugly or pretty. You cannot change her critics, but you can change how she deals with them. As a teacher, I see it all the time. If you raise a child with high self worth, they are more likely to deal with situations like this in a positive way.

  • allison

    You say that you would rather hear these comments, but have you ever heard them before? have you ever bottomed anorexia or bulimia? Have you struggled for years? Have you recovered and relax? Are you currently in recovery and why you’re covering you can’t even walk down the street without someone yelling eat a sandwichor telling you to gain weight when they don’t know your situation they don’t know your life story that’s cruel why is it okay to tell somebody to drink a milkshake but it’s not okay to tell someone to put the milk shake downif it were that easy do you think that would be millions of people struggling with an eating disorder millions of people dying each year from an eating disorder to before you go saying that you would rather here for you to drink a milkshake then should not have that think twice about who you’re saying it to think twice about their feelings maybe they are trying to drink milk shake but they can’t drink half of it which is better than none at all

  • SkinnyAndProud

    “Suck it up”?? You are the one of those hooligan teachers, that shuts an eye to bullying because according to your dumbass logic, its “inevitable”. I’m guessing you are a defensive fat man, and you might assume im a defensive skinny girl, but you fail to realize how the author offers “jabs” to both skinny people and fat people , and explains how they are both offensive, AND HOW NOBODY should be discriminated, whereas you oh genius think oh well “suck it up”, why don’t you suck up your ignorance and idiocracy.

  • SkinnyANDProud

    Right?? They have plus size boutiques but barely any size zero boutiques for women! I cant imagine the scenario for men.

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