Friday, December 20, 2013

"Thin Bashing" Makes Being Underweight Even Harder

Dear Tazi:

I am a woman in my mid-thirties and have always had the same problem with my appearance since I was a child: I am too thin. I eat healthy and exercise in an attempt to put on muscle and increase my size, but I have a very small frame and will probably always be super-thin. My doctor tells me I am healthy, albeit being slightly underweight (muscle adds weight but not bulk to my frame), and not to worry too much about it so long as I do not feel dizzy or have heart palpitations or any other issues associated with being underweight. I have been able to deliver two healthy children, but after both of my pregnancies I lost the weight immediately - and my curves along with it :-( .

My problem is that many of my friends think I must be a closet anorexic and will not get off of my back about how thin I am - they are constantly trying to force me to eat "more" - and will encourage me to eat sugary foods. I eat approximately 2,000 calories a day, so I am not starving myself! Since when does "more" equal unhealthy? I do indulge occasionally, but I am not one for sweets; they hold no attraction for me.

Invariably, after I explain myself to my friends, someone will always accuse me of bragging about how I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight. Tazi, this is not the case! I am not bragging, nor am I saying I can eat "whatever I want", unless not liking sweets much implies that I can eat all of the healthy food I want and not gain weight. I would never criticize the appearance or eating habits of an overweight friend, so why do people think that it's OK to pick on me for being thin? How should I respond to these accusations?

Skinny Minnie

Dear Skinny Minnie:

I am happy to hear that you are healthy, in spite of the fact that you are underweight; being underweight can be just as dangerous as being overweight, as I am sure you are aware. As you have discovered, there is a major backlash against the super-fit by people who are not so genetically blessed. This is because there are people who will "humbly brag" about how fit they are as a way of shaming those who cannot fit into a pair of size 2 skinny jeans.

What is HER excuse?
My guess is hunger pangs.

If your friends are making you uncomfortable, feel free to speak up in your own defense - you are among friends! Tell them that too much sugar makes you sick (as it would anyone) and that you don't have much of a taste for it. The next time a friend bemoans her size and wishes she could be as thin as you, tell her that you wish you had her curves - or her fabulous chest, or her dynamite booty - and see how quickly the mood of the room brightens! Living in a society that values the waifishness, many women feel insecure when in the presence of someone who is naturally thin; feeling insecure can lead to some thoughtless comments.

If someone continues to harangue you about your looks, politely but firmly tell them that your weight is not a topic you enjoy discussing - and then change the subject. Only an absolute clod would push the boundary you have set. Do you really want to count such clods among your close circle?


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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