Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The skinny on skinny jeans

Hi friends! Here I am, here I am! So here's the post I intended to write this am before I had my seriously scary meltdown that caused Liza to suggest yet again that it might be a good idea for me to start popping happy pills on the regular. Thanks so much for your kind words--I'm feeling much better now. Then again, who wouldn't after ten vodka-tonics and three pints of ice cream? Kidding! Please tell me you didn't believe that. (And I am pleased to report I did not succumb to any emotional eating impulses. Score!) An.Y.way.

I came across a blog post (via Jezebel) that this Natalie chick wrote about how one of her photos was submitted to a Facebook group called: "There's a weight limit on leggings and skinny jeans." Now that is some serious hating, y'all. And you thought my Mariah Carey dissing was bad? Geeze. This is just off the charts nasty. Oh and I'm sure everyone who is a fan of that page is a hard-bodied runway model. Right.

I love her unapologetic 'tude and the way she takes pride in her appearance. I mean, everyone has the right to feel good about themselves and strut with a little pep in their step, right?
And if you read her post, you will see how she handled the situation with grace, which I know couldn't have been easy to do. I like this girl.

One thing she mentioned that I'm still a bit undecided about is "fat acceptance." Part of me truly does sympathize with overweight people. I've been on a food rollercoaster all my life, and while I am a size six, I often feel trapped and hopeless when it comes to eating right and developing consistent, healthy habits. Plus, I know that everyone has a different story. You can't assume overweight people sit on their couches all day long eating Cheetos Puffs. (Although, Wow, that sounds like fun!) A lot of things in life are circumstantial.

But then the other part of me has a hard time with the whole "fat acceptance" thing. I'm not a discriminating person, but I also really value health. (For the record, I know it's possible for an overweight person to have a healthy BMI.) It's like, where do you draw the line? I just don't know.

It's your turn to weigh in: How do you feel about Natalie's story? And what are your thoughts on "fat acceptance?"


  1. ugh, vomit. Girls are so mean. I NEVER comment on people's weight. I never even say that someone is looking skinny as a "compliment" because you don't know what the other person is thinking. I sometimes make fun of people's clothes or hair or something (oops!) but only things they can change. ;)


  2. hey ellen, thanks for calling attention to Natalie's great post. you mention you have trouble with "fat acceptance" because you value health. Just as you offer the caviat that you know overweight people can have a healthy BMI, you should remind yourself that there are quite a few thin people there with very unhealthy habits. The obesity problem in our country is undeniable, but let's not judge people on an individual basis, because their appearance might not be a direct reflection of their habits. If you are passionate about health, perhaps in your job hunt (and freelance writing) you can look into topics and gigs that address the societal problems that have lead to the obesity epidemic, and the possible solutions... enumerated in part by Petawb in natalie's comments section: "making healthy food as cheap and convenient as fast food; educating children about cooking for themselves to the same degree we teach them algebra; taking subsidies away from the corn industry and generally changing the face of food production." High fructose corn syrup is basically a pox on our food system, and we all need to take action as consumers to stop it. wow, this comment is long. thanks again for the good post, and i'm glad you're feeling better

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  4. Elizabeth, you can tell me I look skinny any time...never hesitate :)

    Hi Lily! Thanks for the comment. You raised some great points and I am curious to learn more about this subject. I know I played a bit of Devil's Advocate there, but I guess I'm not educated enough on the subject to make a fair call. And of course, everyone should be respected. No one deserves to experience that kind of hatred based on their appearance. As I said in my post, I understand there may be a variety of reasons for someone to be overweight, and because of them, I truly do try not to be judgmental. You just never know what someone else is going through. However, still, there are so many health risks that come with being overweight, and that is why I struggle to fully understand fat acceptance. And yes, I've written about "skinny-fat" people before--they are the unhealthiest of everyone!

  5. I think that fat acceptance can fall on either side of positive or negative. i feel for some people, they use such terms as an excuse for being overweight and not attempting to change it, regardless of their health status, and its usually just a front on their real feelings about their weight. on the flip side, there are women like natalie, who use fat acceptance to reject and deflect our society's skinny obsession. Its a tight rope to walk, and i have to say i'm thankful that i've never had issues with weight, because i see how so many people struggle with it everyday. i read through natalie's post, and i'm going to have to say i disagree with her about anybody can wear anything they want, and people should stop judging them. i'm sorry, but that's a load of crap, and on some level she probably knows it too. i'm a huge advocate of KNOWING your body, and knowing what works for you and what doesn't. and you people can moan and groan about not being judged all they want to, but they are going to be judged based on how they present themselves, point. blank. period. i live in baltimore--a city with a very "unique" fashion sense. and maybe i sound shallow for saying this, but yes the hell there is a weight limit on skinny jeans and leggings. or maybe i should say, shape limitations on skinny jeans and leggings. first, leggings are not pants, no mater what size you are--but especially if you're overweight and not well shaped. nobody, and i mean NOBODY wants to see the outline of your vagina, and if you're a bigger person, i don't want to see any other weight related accoutrements because you want to wear the cotton version of pantyhose with a short tee-shirt. its unattractive, its inappropriate. Now natalie happens to look fantastic in her skinny jeans, probably because she didn't squeeze herself into a cheapest stretchy pair of jeans she could find AND she's has a great shape! too many times i've seen women trying to squeeze 10 pounds of sugar into a 5 pound bag of skinny jeans, and its unflattering. My college roomate (my wifey!) was very heavy, and the three years we lived together she said it time and time again, that big women need to know their bodies and understand their limits, and shop appropriately! As for my roomie, she was comfortable with her weight, and probably had an attitude very similar to Natalies, which was "f what you think of me, i'm beautiful anyway" and then one day her attitude turned toward her health, and she's lost so much weight in the past year, in a very healthy manner, and i couldn't be prouder of her. not because she's damn near skinny as me, but because she made a goal, and has slapped it upside the head. i don't really like the term, "fat acceptance" it too often gives people a license to not accept the responsibility for their habits, behaviors, and how it affects their health, and how that in turn affects others (i.e. the obesity epidemic is an unnecesassary financial burden on our healthcare system and economy) i prefer the philosphy of "body acceptance" where you can accept your body for what it IS, really evaluate if you need to make changes, accept what you CANNOT change (i.e. i don't have hips, i don't have curves, i cannot change this, i accept my square body) and move forward accordingly. And co-sign on what Lily said, and i just wrote a post on my blog about BMI. funny how that works out.

    wow, this is a long response, oops


  6. I agree with all Lily said, in addition:

    It's honestly tough to eat healthy in this country unless you step outside the box and EDUCATE yourself. HFCS is soon going to be called something else..they aim to be sneaky. There are more than 50 words for SUGAR...50 and it's hidden everywhere. The FDA can't regulate all labels and most are 8% HIGHER in everything than what is written on your label.Processed food is just horrible yet what most American's eat.

    As a woman who was once 200+ lbs and teased mercilessly all my middle/HS life I really do understand both sides. I have been a size 18 and a size 4. People need compassion, understanding, support AND education to get them healthier. This country is allowing the epidemic to grow yet not making the needed changes. Do I have the answers? Hell no but I'd be more than willing to help brainstorm.

    I'm really worried about where this country will be 10 years down the road.

    ( jumping off soapbox)

  7. WELL PUT, ladies! And Nadette, I agree with you. I think I was struggling with both sides of the fence: How our society, the government, etc should do more things to help the "fat epidemic", but also how people need to take more responsibility. It seems to be a fine line. And knowing your body is HUGE. Everyone can look fab, you just gotta know how to work it! And big props to your roomie!

    Barbara, you are so inspiring. Have you ever thought about using your story to help others?

  8. Ellen...well thanks. I try to lead by example but I'm oh so human! Sometimes I come across too blunt or knowitall but trust me..i'm learning just like everyone else.

    Hope today is much better for you!

  9. LOVE this-what everyone has said!

    i totally agree with nadette and ellen; i am on the fence about "fat acceptance". mostly just because it has a very negative connotation. i feel like it implies that people don't care about their weight/being healthy. like nadette said, how about SELF acceptance, or body acceptance. knowing that right now, this is how you look, and just loving it. working it and using all your beautiful curves (or sharp angles?) and putting yourself out there as a confident woman. after all, it's confidence that is beautiful to people.

    i think everyone struggles with that-no (or at least very few) women will ever be completely happy with how they look; we can always find a flaw. but accepting that this is who i am, and working with what you have will only make you happy!

    my grandmother (admittedly a little crazy) likes to grab her "ample bosom" (as she calls it) and do a little shimmy and say "this is the only body i have and i LOVE it" what a great attitude!

  10. Hi again! I know, ellen, that you already understand that healthy habits and weight are not necessarily aligned, did not mean to imply otherwise. But we (including myself) still need to remind ourselves of that reality because it's counter-intuitive and easy to temporarily forget when we encounter somebody who is overweight.

    Also, I think in this thread some of us are misunderstanding and misusing the term Fat Acceptance. Check out http://www.naafaonline.com/dev2/about/index.html
    It's not a broad term that means "sit back and love diabetes." It's a real civil rights movement that fights irrational discrimination against people based on body type (i.e. in the workplace). More importantly, they ACTIVELY promote the idea that people of all body types can and should strive to be healthy. In other words, if you are predisposed to being overweight, you shouldn't just give up on being healthy, you should still strive to eat right and excercise, even if you'll never be a size 6. Judging from these comments, that is something we all agree on. So maybe you have a problem with the semantics of the term, but in the end, everything we are saying in this supports Fat Acceptance. Except maybe Nadette's leggings opinion! But I think that comes more from a disdain for bad fashion than bad bodies, no? We don't want to see cameltoe on skinny or fat girls! And might I add that I'm not fan of mooseknuckle either.

  11. I tried to post on this earlier but it wouldn't let me! So here I am trying again! I think there is a thin line between fat acceptance and being unhealthy! I 100% think that some people are predisposed to be bigger and I think that accepting your body for what it is is a must. Whether you are curvy, straight, apple, pear, etc...I think making peace with yourself is essential. BUT I don't think that fat/body acceptance should be an excuse for living and overindulgent lifestyle that could be dangerous to your health.

  12. i for one didn't know the specific definition for Fat Acceptance or that there was a "movement" surrounding it. i completely misinterpreted that. thank you lily for the information!

  13. also..moose knuckle? AMAZING.