"Skinny Girls Have No Right to Complain"
I have been thinking about writing this article for years, but there have been a number of things holding me back. I'd felt like being naturally thin was a curse, but I never had an outlet to express how I felt. I'd get picked on at school for a number of reasons, especially for liking science, which was not "right" for a girl, and for being so thin.
The biggest hurdle in writing this is that I've always been told that I should feel lucky that I'm this thin. So, what right do I have to complain?
I did also hear, "You're lucky." But I'd also hear nasty comments. I had a friend in high school who was heavier, and she would always complain about how large she was and how no guy would ever love her. I always thought she was so pretty and envied her beautiful, blonde hair. However, one day I overheard her saying something to the effect of, "Well you know, skinny girls are all b*tches!" She wasn't talking about me, but the comment still made me feel bad.
I never felt like I was allowed to be upset about being disliked for my weight. I was "lucky," whatever that meant. I never really cared about how I looked. I just felt like I had a normal body. Not that I'm drop-dead gorgeous (wouldn't that be nice), but I just worried about other things like homework.
My Design Specifications
I am somewhere around 5 feet, 4 inches, and weigh somewhere between 100 pounds and 110. For those of you who are whipping out your BMI calculators, my body mass index is a little under 18.
Apparently, it's genetic. My mom was unusually thin as a child and would get picked on... and her mother... and her mother. There's this story about when she toured a bread factory on a field trip and they gave each child a slice of bread. One of the employees looked at my mom with pity/concern on her face and said, "You can have two."
Getting Picked On in School
It started in 4th grade when I wanted to play soccer with other kids on the playground. I was disallowed because I was too little. At this point, there was no real bullying, just little comments here and there. I was really into dinosaurs, anyway, so I pretended to be on geology and explorer adventures during recess!
I weighed 45 pounds in the 5th grade and as some of the other kids started getting their growth spurts, my small size attracted more attention. I remember a girl on the playground asking me my weight. She said, "that's how much a kindergartener weighs; you should be dead." The comments increased and there was more exclusion, but at this point, I was still a fairly happy kid.
6th grade is when things took a turn for the worse. My playground fossil explorer games weren't popular with other kids anymore. Boyfriends, perfume, and dark lipstick were super popular and some kids were even having sex at this point. The comments went from mean to cruel and I became really introverted almost overnight. When I came home from school, I would hide in my closet, crying until dinner. One day, I was picking through some pebbles in the same (my dad had shown me how to find fossils in the playground pebbles) and a kid playing basketball shouted to me that I was weird. I shot back, "Yeah, well you suck at basketball." The argument went back and forth and was likely hurtful to both parties, but otherwise harmless until our substitute that day, who'd been watching over us at recess, stepped in and said, "If she's annoying you, you can go at her, if you want." The substitute lost his job over this statement, which at the time I was happy for, but now I feel bad for. He was a college student, just a dumb kid. All the children in the playground, except for some girls on the swings who were acquaintances of mine beat me up. That's about 40 kids. Kicking me in the sand, pulling my hair, throwing sand in my face, until the substitute broke it up. The school district was really proactive over, they took it very seriously, but I couldn't face those kids anymore, so my parents sent me to private school for a few years.
After going to private school, I was pretty confident. I'd made friends and gotten involved in after-school activities, and learned to use (and love) computers, but private school was very expensive so I returned to public school in the middle of high school. I was terrified to face those kids again, but they were actually really nice by that time—perhaps their hormones had leveled, and, let's face it, everyone is immature in 6th grade.
In high school, most of the weight thing actually came from the guidance counselor. Like I said, the school system was really proactive about things and perhaps, the guidance counselor even saw things that weren't there. She'd set up meetings with me and drop hints about anorexia. At first, I understood her concern but assured her I was fine. In fact, I really didn't care—other than the weight comments. However, with continued pestering, I started to feel really self-conscious about my weight. I denied being anorexic, but she said that denial is common among those suffering from anorexia. This just seemed to confirm her belief. So anytime I'd deny having anorexia, it was my "anorexia" talking. This is kind of funny, in hindsight, but frustrating then.
The worst of it came during my senior year of high school. I was called out of class by the guidance counselor. She took me to the lunchroom and got me a yogurt and sat with me making sure I ate the whole thing. The next day at school an acquaintance came up to me and said, "I heard you're anorexic. If you need anyone to talk to, just know I'm there for you." I was crushed.
At this point, I quit high school with three months remaining. The principal understood my situation and allowed me to finish my coursework at home so that I could still graduate. The guidance counselor did not return the following fall.
Things That Suck About Being Thin
There are a lot of weight loss regimes out there. I see a lot of body shaming of heavier women and I suppose if I were heavier, I would probably buy into it. I bought into being a "problem" for being too thin. I think everyone would like to have a skinny waist, but trust me, you don't want this!
- Pant size comes up casually in conversation a LOT! Here's how it happens. "You are so thin! What size pants are those? I bet you're like a 0."
- They don't stock my size in stores. Stores want to cater to sizes that people actually buy! Not even online stores stock my size! There have been so many times I've come across a really cool political tee with a great message on it, but the smallest size is small or medium. I swim in a small.
- No breasts. Not a huge problem, because I was never particularly concerned about breast size.
I still get called anorexic. It baffles me, I love to eat and I can put away a lot of food! People joke about how I eat salad. They call it "the soup AND salad" given the amount of salad dressing I use, and that's after I've loaded it with chicken breast and eggs. Even co-workers joke about the fact that I would down a huge lunch in seconds like I'm some sort of voracious animal. While I eat a hefty portion of food, I just don't put on weight.
How Being Underweight Can Be Worse Than Being Overweight
There are more and more people who are finding their weight isn't "ideal" because they wear something larger than a size 8. Perhaps this is due to busy schedules not allowing Americans free time to go outside and exercise and to the junk that is pumped into food. As more and more people are finding themselves overweight, everyone hears more about it.
There are literally hundreds of fad diets out there—they all promise to be "the best way" or "the healthiest way" or allow you to "eat what you want." The word "diet" constantly being thrown in a larger person's face can make them feel like garbage.
With all these constant reminders, it's pretty much been stamped into etiquette that you don't call a person "fat" and you don't talk with the person about losing weight. It's seriously just not nice to make comments on how overweight a person is. It's hurtful!
When it comes to being underweight, society throws all that etiquette out the window. It seriously does not exist! If you're a larger person, you've heard comments about your weight. It makes you feel like trash! Imagine getting those comments all the time!
Coping With Low Self-Esteem
It's been several years since high school, but I still get a lot of comments about my weight from people. People still point out to me that anorexic people deny having an eating disorder. It makes me angry when people say things like that to me. Of course, I never show it. I've become fantastic at pretending things are okay until I get quiet time alone.
There are things I have to watch out for, of course, with being skinny. I have to make sure that I get enough to eat even when I'm stressed—and I have to watch my weight to stay in a healthy zone.
I know I don't have an eating disorder. I just need to work on no longer making excuses for being who I am. I wish people wouldn't assume it's an eating disorder. I'm naturally thin. I'm just skinny, not anorexic.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Bri on June 13, 2017:
This article has helped me a lot to be honest. I am 15 years old and weigh about 97 pounds. People talk about me in school all the time. Theres constant rumours that im anorexic and im not, nor have I ever had an eating disorder. It makes me so upset and frustrated because I am eating large amounts of food all the time! I love food and I love to eat! But when I tell people this and that I am just naturally skinny they say "She's just covering up her disorder" And It makes me struggle with my depression even more and struggle with liking my body more than I already do. Loving my appearance has become extremely hard because of this.
Tancia on February 12, 2017:
Thank you for sharing your experience, at least I know someone has the same encounters like myself. I'm skinny, 5ft 6inch at 103 pounds. I eat a lot but I've never seem to gain weight. In high school people use to comment on how skinny I was, they tried to measure my waist with two hands or my hands with one hand which was really annoying. Now that I'm 19 years old, I've gain some confidence over the years so when someone will say "you're so skinny, can't you eat?" I'll retort and let them know that I'm not starving and most people are trying to have a toned stomach or small waist like mines with all these 'body shaping products on the market.' On several occassions people told me that if I get pregnant I will die because of my body structure. What I realised is that people who usually complains about my body, is not comfortable with themselves so they pick on others. Just love yourself, wear clothes that suits your body type. Self love and acceptance is the best thing to do, afterall there are many perks for being skinny. Eating food and gaining no weight is a superpower that most people want to have.
Taz on January 28, 2017:
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Thank you for this, you probably have a slight idea of how "naturally" skinny girls out there reading this feels like. I like to play all types of games especially basketball and field hockey and the most horrible feeling ever is people undermining my ability to play due to my size; which is absolutely offensive, and like you I've learned to mask my emotions.
Amanda on October 11, 2015:
Finally someone posts something about people bullying skinny people! I've always been pretty thin and have been teased more for my flat chest rather than my figure. Plus, my thinness never helped my best friend. I felt like a reminder of her "fatness" since she had anorexia. She'd always talk to other people about my skinniness in a way that sounded insulting like it was my fault for being this way. To all girls out there, skinny or bigger, you are all beautiful the way you are! And when people tease you, it's because they don't accept themselves. Don't ever change who you are and be respectful of others. ❤️
Angel D'Angelo from Tampa, FL on February 14, 2015:
Melanie, thank you for this article! As a male, being skinny has been a constant topic. It was used as a way to bully me because I appeared vulnerable or to discuss my lack of masculinity.
My least favorite comments include the anorexia comments but also, "If I was as thin as you, I'd have a date tonight!" Oh, that makes those of us who are thin or have relationship problems feel so fantastic.
I agree that fat shaming is a large problem but it shouldn't be counteracted with comments on our weight class.
And I'm tired of people watching me eat or commenting on my eating habits!
Flora on January 08, 2015:
Thanks for your hub it relates to a lot of us skinny girls. I was and am still the same growing up right now, everyone makes fun of me and my size. I also have a friend who always looks at herself as obese an it tell her about how I hate being this skinny but she always says she rather be skinny then fat. I am almost certain this isn't true cause no one ever picks on her she just lowers her own self esteem whereas I have had to go through years of getting bullied and teased for my weight. Lets hope I soon see the light at the top of the hill! Thank You
ashley havens on August 22, 2014:
I too have have been constantly bullies about my weight. I can honestly relate with you. I have 3 boys and lost all my weight in no time. People say I'm so skinny like its gross to them and say I'm going to blow off when its windy. Has me even thinking I'm gross looking which has caused some real psychological problems such as panic attacks, depression, ugly, anti social. It really does affect me like it would saying anything to anyone about how they look. I hope more people realize that.
Nikole on August 07, 2014:
Vanessa on July 19, 2014:
Recently i was at a business conference with a very petite colleague of mine whom had a baby. Another lady joined us and told my colleague she could not imagine her pregnant and did she have any photos of herself pregnant. My colleague looked horrified at this and gave a no. To me it was almost like this lady was questioning how my colleague because she was small could be a woman like her. It was quiet mean i thought. No doubt if she had photos she would have been bullied about how big or small she was.
Kathleen Odenthal from Bridgewater on July 03, 2014:
This is an excellent article and a story that must be told. I myself am a sufferer, or survivor rather of anorexia, but my best friend was always very tall and lean, and people would make comments to us and I know how they both affected us deeply, in different ways. So much focus is placed on losing weight in today's society that people who are thin are automatically judged in one way or another. Great hub, shared and voted up, interesting and useful!
Anna on May 09, 2014:
I really can't thank u enough for this story. I'm just the same and I hate how wherever I meet someone new they luk at me and go wow ur so thin do u eat? I EAT LIKE AN ELEPHANT and don't gain weight is that my fault? They make me feel like that's a bad thing that I can eat without worrying about getting fat. What's weird is that everyone finds it wrong to call a girl obese but then isn't it just the same calling a girl anorexic? It hurts so bad no one can imagine it. Makes u think whether ur worth it or not :/ thank u again
skye2day from Rocky Mountains on April 13, 2014:
melbel, I came over months ago to read your hub. I am back as I saw it posted in the feeds. I admire your honesty. I hope after writing this it gave you the freedom you need to move on and put it behind you.
I understand because I am very thin I am over 60 years old. Growing up I was thin and most girls were envious. My weight was thin on the line of too thin, but now I am very thin. I have lost more weight since I turned 55 I range from 95 to 105 lbs at 5'5' My first and foremost comment is, 'are you ok, you look so thin.' the comment coming in second is, 'do not loose anymore weight.' Third comment, 'are you eating?
I think the biggest concern I have is feeling like I have to defend my self and answer their question. I do not think these people ask fat people questions? I have had suggestions that I may have tapeworm. I do have a respiratory illness that does have some relation to why I am thinner. Most people that have the illness are larger because they do not get enough exercise because of fatigue.
I am grateful you shared a message here. I see there have been many readers. Amen girl. Just to think you have helped many by sharing your story. You have opened the door for many to see how they have possibly harmed another with words. Words are everything they can make or break a person. We can never take them back!!!
Melbel, God is using your story to touch so many hearts!!! He is the healer. I have asked Him to put weight on me. I am working at it as well by trying to shove in more calories. Some are so envious because I can eat what I want and when and where I want. Yet they look at something and gain 5 lbs. So there is a bit of good news in being so thin. We do have the luxury of eating whatever. I have managed to put on 7 lbs and hold it there. It is allot of work to be eating all the time. Sometimes I am not hungry but working to add more calories to the flesh. I am sure you have done the same things.
God created you melbel. He loves you just as you are. People can not help themselves. We are born with wicked hearts. God is the heart changer. We do not need to teach people how to be mean or evil. We all know how to do that. Put two three year old in a room together with one toy! We can pray for those that hurt us. It is for our benefit not to hang on to bitterness or unforgiveness. Not implying you do not forgive those that may have harmed you. Just know they do not know better and are ignorant and if they intentionally hurt you they are wicked. Pray for them. You will see you have compassion for them. Maybe they are insecure and put it out there on others. It makes them feel better.
Anyway does not look like you can reply to all the comments. I understand. No problem. I do pray for you melbel that you come to know Jesus so loves you. He wants you happy. I do pray you are happy and God Bless all of your comings and goings. When we know that I think it gives us hope. We are only in this life for a short time then we will go to where there are no tears if we know Jesus is Lord and believe in Him.
Love you girl. Keep going melbel. Phil 4:13 Skye
Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on April 13, 2014:
People get picked on for being fat, skinny, pretty, ugly, black, white, male, female, tall, short, blonde dark, disabled, smart, slow, and a million other things. We must hone our self-esteem in order to escape what we cannot change in others.
Adrienne Lawton from Deptford, NJ on March 17, 2014:
I enjoyed your post and can relate in a lot of ways. I have been naturally thin all of my life. Over the past few years, I have started gaining weight, but as a teenager and into my early twenties, I was always around 105 or 110 pounds ( I am 5'4"). It always bothered me when people came out and asked me if I was anorexic or if I eat. I always had a very high metabolism and was just thin. People treated me like I was a freak or that I should want to gain weight because I was thin. I always ate a lot and just burned all of the calories I consumed. It's nice being a little heavier now (I am 125 pounds) because people don't treat me like I am different. However, I feel like I have to watch what I eat now and make sure to exercise. If you are happy with who you are, you shouldn't be criticized for it.
Vel on February 11, 2014:
5'3 and 83 pounds and not because I want to be the thinnest person in the room. It's not funny when others play get the bone. It's not funny when fat women pick on the thin woman. It's not fun to go to the clothing store and find that the "Target" pants are sewn and sized two sizes to big and for hipsters. I have always been a thin person. I went for an evaluation and they wanted an outpatient commitment for six months 9-7pm.
emilybee on January 07, 2014:
Sorry you had to go thru all this! I am the same weight as you and have been thin by whole life. I had all the comments; what size are you, you're so small, but, always from large people. Back then I never said, "well, you are so big" but my mom always pointed it out, how can people comment on ones thinness but to mention ones obesity would be wrong? Perhaps large people should bite their tongue. Now that I'm an adult, when people go oh you are so thin, what a size 0? I say yes you bet!
stickman on September 10, 2013:
I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for the skinny girls, but a big thank you to Mithereal for summing up what it's like for skinny guys. Skinny girls are considered sexy by mostly everyone except other girls...just deal with their cattiness on move on for God's sake.
On the other hand, try being a skinny guy! No respect from other guys, and no girls are interested in you either. Average-size and bigger girls want big men to make them feel "protected". But skinny girls also want the big guys. There's no room for the skinny guy in this - it's a lonely place to be.
Michele Travis from U.S.A. Ohio on June 25, 2013:
Hi, I was skinny growing up, but gained a little weight in high school. After that I was diagnosed with epilepsy. One of the side effects is the loss of appetite. That was not too bad. I am 4'11" I went down to about 100 pounds. Then I had surgery in 2010. Went down to 85 pounds. Still have to take medication, because the doctors could not take all the lesions off my brain. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get about 95 pounds. I think 95 is fine for someone my size, but people think I have an eating disorder. I have even had people ask me if I am bulimic. Well, most of that was earlier, but you know what I mean. Basically, I am thin and small. Do you know how many times people have offered to give their weight to me?
momof2 on June 12, 2013:
I have been skinny my whole life and now have a boy who's skinny... and he's already getting crap from family and others. Sometimes people are just skinny and that's not a bad thing. He eats a ton and is very active... somehow it reflects on me that he's skinny, like I'm doing something wrong.
Sabine on May 06, 2013:
This is seriously how I feel and how my life has been. I´m 28 now and people still tell me I need to eat more. Sometimes at dinner people actually load up my plate with more food and sit there and make sure I eat everything. None of my other family members are skinny, most of them are overweight. Whenever I complain about not finding pants in my size they roll their eyes and tell me that I´m lying, that fat people have it hard, not skinny people.
mithereal from Tucson, AZ on April 16, 2013:
i totally understand and im a guy,
it is even more socially unacceptable to be a skinny guy.
im 5.4 and 103lbs and ya the rhetoric , stares, being called a boy, etc kinda makes you not really social. i eat normally and never have weighed over 110, since i cannot gain weight i have no muscle mass, the worst is being called a tweeker and drug addict as i have never used. i dont even try to date for 11 yrs, i got tired of being laughed at long ago, besides women that are size proportionate to me have their pick of men, most men want to date skinny girls, i just want one that's similar in bodysize!!!
vanessa on March 23, 2013:
As a small framed woman 5ft. I'm naturally thin. I'd never comment to a bigger woman on her size as I know how hurtful it is and I'm too wimpy to say a snide remark back when someone says something to me. Not only can people make you feel intimidated when your smaller but that you're inferior.
Ang on February 15, 2013:
This meant a lot to me. -Finally- someone understands. I get questioned almost daily if I have an eating disorder or about how much I ate that day. As well as the questioning are the insults. I never knew people could come up with so many ways to insult someone for being skinny. I have hyperthyroidism so, it isn't exactly easy for me to gain weight. I have been taking medication to treat my hyperthyroidism for almost four years and I am still underweight. In this day and age, (I'm a teenager in high school) girls show skin and are basically expected to look pretty and presentable and there are no other skinny people at my school so no one can relate. Every other girl is enviously perfect. I know I need to work on my self esteem and learn to get over this but, it's hard when people are constantly telling you that you're basically not good enough. Anyway, thank you so much for writing this article.It couldn't have been easy to share your story and it means alot to me that you would take the time to do this. It gives me hope. Thank you.
Ellie on January 27, 2013:
I am naturally thin and I loved this post so much. Thankyou!!
sfcowgirrl from San Francisco, Ca on January 24, 2013:
I actually am not SUPER skinny anymore, however, because I am smaller than most of my family, I get crap for it anyway. I model and therefore I try to watch what I eat and im just not that interested in eating garbage food...I dont feel good after I eat foods that are laden in fat, so I dont. I get crap for not eating enough or being such a princess about my food choices...NO I just dont want to eat nasty make you fat foods thats all!
jeannie123 on January 23, 2013:
I get so annoyed and frustrated at people when they call me skinny, I've gotten SO many comments like, "you need to eat a hamburger!" and "do you eat?" but i always keep it inside and just laugh it off. My family LOVES to make fun of my weight. I thought i was the only one who felt like this!
Anna on January 05, 2013:
I haven't had very much issue with teasing or bullying comments, primarily because I learned at a young age that if I didn't react, or if I just smiled at the commenter, they would stop. I was also home-schooled fifth grade, from fifth grade until the end of my first year of high school I was in a private correspondence school, and from then on I've been in a public online high school. I figured, however, that I should share my story regardless of my lack of trauma from people's comments.
I'm a 5'2", 86 lbs female, and have only once or twice managed to gain enough weight to get over the 90 lbs threshold. I eat like a horse, and have been the subject of, 'she must have a hollow leg' jokes. I'm particularly famous in my family for eating a Subway Meatball Marinara foot-long sandwich, a bag of chips, and drink in five minutes at a typical lunchtime, and still being hungry afterwards. My metabolism is so high I have to eat every two hours or so, or I start having blood sugar problems. When I exercise regularly, I usually double the amount I eat, and still have trouble gaining weight of any type. I hope to gain enough healthy muscle weight to get over the threshold of 90 lbs, soon, because there are some things I want to do this summer that have a minimum weight rule.
Chace from Charlotte, NC on December 18, 2012:
Ugh, definitely know how this feels. Thanks for writing this. I grew up really skinny (5'6'' at 90 lbs) even though I ate more than my 300 lb father and because of the complex I developed by people constantly telling me to "eat a sandwich", I ate so much just so I wouldn't be a twig. Bad habit to develop, lol. Voted up and more..
Tyler on December 17, 2012:
I know what you mean. I'm a 6'5'' guy, so with that height I get a lot of attention, but then I have always been underweight growing up too. People would call me a walking stick, a tree, a walking skeleton. My family would always pick and say I could stand sideways and disappear, or in the shower stand sideways and not get way, or if their was a crack I could fall in. It's not that I didn't eat, because I would eat constantly. They would always say I eat like a bird though, pecking at my food. I grew up with it, 21 now, so I never bothered trying to argue or complain. I kept it bottled up until I was alone. Now I have been exercising, working out with multiple protein supplements, drinking whole milk, anything I can fattening.
January I had a random collapsed lung they only told me was because I am tall, skinny, male 18-25 years old. I had to put on weight after that. Just do what you can. I am up to 170, put on 20, so far which is right there in my BMI.
Megan Garcia from Florida on December 17, 2012:
This is an amazing story and I'm so glad you finally shared. I can't even tell you how much I agree with everything you wrote. I have always had small friends for some reason and I see and have done exactly what you are talking about and for that I apologize to the world of tiny women. This inspires me to share the story of my struggles. Thank you so much for writing this!
Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on December 17, 2012:
I appreciate your very honest approach to this subject. I've always felt that it's wrong to judge according to whatever body shape or size someone is, and people seem to be obsessed with it. And unfortunately public school is the place to be abused for various manner of things, which leaves some heavy conditioning. One thing I've noticed is that some people are naturally thin, and I've heard people who really don't believe it; I don't know why it's unbelievable to them, it's obvious we all have different bodies with different tendencies and dispositions; and besides I've known plenty of naturally thin people and I know that they eat normally and just don't put on weight. Thanks for sharing this important testimony.
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on December 17, 2012:
Really thought-provoking hub! My hubby is naturally thin and he's always getting crushed at how people call him "skinny." We were talking about that as I read this. It can be really tough dealing with what people say. I see out of one eye and my other doesn't track well and PLENTY of people have let me know that I'm "not normal." *sigh* Wonderful hub and lots of Hugs your way!
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on December 17, 2012:
I can so relate to this! I was always skinny as a child. In elementary school, my mom had to make my pants. I couldn't wear a size "0" as the legs were always way too short. I was made to wear dresses to school, but was always embarassed because of my skinny legs. In high school I could wear size 0, apparenty they started making pants longer. I was in 8th grade when I got my first pair of blue jeans! I was SO happy! My nick name in high school, from the Spanish kids at least, was "pica dente". That means toothpick in English. I don't know how many times I went home and cried, just like you!