A Letter From a "Skinny Bitch"
Few things are more frustrating than annoying songs that are hauntingly catchy.
So you can imagine why I nearly jumped out the window recently after a car ride with my mom when she turned Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” all the way up on the way to our destination.
My mom, a proud plus-sized woman always loves a song that encourages women to feel comfortable in their skin. But as the lyrics marched their way into my ears, I was slightly frustrated at how this artist, who I’ve never heard of before, went about doing that.
The song refers to slim women as “skinny bitches”. Trainor determines that skinny women think they’re fat. She also assumes that skinny women don’t have booties, can’t shake them, and a few other pieces of nonsense not worth repeating, but certainly worth discussing.
I love a cold hard case of irony. But this is the type of irony really gets me questioning society. The same society, in fact, that people seem to be so hell-bent on fixing, despite contributing to the issues while on their quest for change.
Here’s a little anecdote:
Growing up, I had to drink nutritional supplements in addition to my meals because I was what Trainor called, a skinny bitch, even in my adolescence. I ate a fair portion of meat, vegetables, and every other food group, often in excess. Truthfully, I still do. But I am constantly told that I am envied, disliked, and even hated (yes, really) for my body’s ability to ingest food and not suffer typical consequences of weight gain.
The sad part of the story is that during my transition into teenage-hood, I had heard that I was “too boney”, “too scrawny” and “too mawga” (a name for skinny in West Indian culture) so often that I did actually believe that something was wrong with me. I actually believed that I needed to gain pounds and have curves and that I was ugly.
So when I heard this song, I just got fed up with it all. I guess I just thought society was past referring to excess fat as “junk”, be it in the trunk or any other part of the vehicle. I also assumed, perhaps wrongly, that not all skinny women need to be likened to Barbie dolls. Are we still on that? And lastly, I was really hoping that after the word skinny, did not come the word bitch.
But sadly, women as a whole are on our way to being society’s bitch, if we’re not already there. We do exactly what we’re told. Collectively, women spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on breast implants, Botox, medications to slow the natural process of aging, and diet pills. And we just keep going in whichever direction society’s wind blows when they tell us that big boobs are sexy, but not too big of course, that’s gross. Or skinny is sexy, but if you’re too skinny, you’re anorexic. Or short hair is sexy, but only if it’s styled a certain way…
I imagine that there are readers wondering who I think I am to be criticizing this emerging phenomenon of skinny-bashing. In fact, discussing this blog idea with a few friends yesterday, one of them said:
“Ugh, fat people have been bashed by skinny people for like, ever. Nicki Minaj came out with her song calling skinny girls bitches and now everyone’s upset.”
In a weird way, she made the exact point I was trying to. Do we have to get even before we can stand as a united front against the real enemy?
I mean, who wins when women hate each other based on these differences? Certainly it can’t be our sisterhood, which is more crucial than ever in fighting off the opposition we face from in our domestic lives, the workplace, and in the public sphere. Better yet, who causes this disconnection amongst women? How have we, for years and years, let men dictate what and who is beautiful? How have we relinquished control on how we appear naturally, and furthermore, how that is perceived and accepted by society?
But most importantly, how long is this going to go on? The same friend also said, "I still think anyone that takes offence to skinny-bashing is extremely ridiculous." And from that came a point I wasn't expecting to make, but certainly need to. What determines how a person is entitled to feel about how they are made to feel by society? Are my feelings automatically excluded from this discourse because I'm skinny? If so, I find that type of silencing method to be very tragic.
I got to a point where I, like many plus-sized women have at one point in their lives or another and said screw it, this is who I am.
My question is: why is that such a bad thing?
I cannot train my body any differently than the average person can on what to do with what it is fed. I cannot dictate to my metabolism what pace to digest the food I eat at. And I cannot for the life of me pack on pounds any faster than you can shed them.
I have interesting and very old news for everyone that assumes the same thing Meghan Trainor or Nicki Minaj does.
1. We do not think we're fat.
2. We are not all anorexic Barbie wannabes.
3. We are not all bitches.
Ultimately, it’s getting harder and harder to feel beautiful. Not to be beautiful, but to really and truly feel that we are. And to every woman out there who can still look in the mirror and find something she doesn’t feel the need to fix, I applaud you.
But for all the people, men and women, who in some way contribute to the never ending list of why women aren’t good enough no matter what they do with their bodies and themselves, and to everyone that ever told me I was “too this” or “too that”, in similar words to Tyra Banks:
Kiss my skinny ass.