As I sit and stare down at my laptop writing this article the pudge peeking from below my tank top serves as an unwelcome reminder that I am getting older and my metabolism isn’t what it used to be. Although the workings of weight gain and loss are quite complex, simply put most doctors agree that as we age our bodies tend to lose muscle and as we lose muscle our metabolism tends to decrease. What does that mean for me? It means in order for me to maintain this size 3 waist I may finally have to admit that the pickles on my Big Mac don’t count as a vegetable and stop counting my ten minute walk to the train as a workout.
For many women big and small, weight consumes their world. But the only reason I ever watched my waistline was to put the belt through the loops on my skinny jeans. It’s true; I’m the evil skinny woman that Monique threw shade at in Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes of a Big Girl in a Small-Minded World which some would argue doesn’t encourage self-confidence but excuses an unhealthy lifestyle by throwing around phrases such as “fabulous and thick.“ At 5’2” and 115 pounds, I wasn’t offended. Us skinny girls have our own problems, but don’t blame me for being genetically blessed. And it’s not that I don’t think big girls are beautiful. Are you kidding me? If you tune in for 15 minutes of 106 and Park you’ll be bombarded with images of voluptuous backsides bouncing beneath trial size waistlines. Most of the girls glorified by our culture don’t look like Monique, but they don’t necessarily look like my no-hips-having behind either.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t painfully aware of the fact that petite privilege exists. It’s why employers typically hire pretty, thin woman as administrative assistants rationalizing, “They’re the first image that introduces a client to the company,” as if being pretty and skinny means that you’re a competent employee (if that even really matters). I first became aware of the fact that these judgments came naturally to me when I noticed I instinctively breathed through my mouth on the bus whenever a bigger person sat near me. We’ve rendered fat people as the scapegoats for every social group’s flaws. We automatically associate obesity with odor, poor hygiene and a lack of self-control…and that’s completely foul. Still, the first step is recognizing that you have a problem and I recognize my way of thinking about weight is seriously flawed.