Curvy is Hot, Skinny is Not

It wasn’t the worst example of misguided body positivity I’ve seen, but CHEESESLAVE’s Bottoms Up To the Hourglass – Why Thin is Not Traditional post last night slapped me across the face and pissed me off. I want the real food community to do better. The message was clear, and it’s one that goes around under the guise of body-positivity on a regular basis:

Curvy is hot, skinny is not.

So she's sexy - that doesn't mean she's better than me

So she’s sexy – that doesn’t mean she’s better than me

“We must, we must, we must increase our bust. It didn’t work for Margaret, but I tried it anyway. Yes, I still remember the moves. The depths of my desire for an hourglass figure can not be overstated. Even as a ballet-dancing girl growing up in our thin-obsessed culture, I knew what I liked: curves.

But that’s not the body I was given. I’m a carpenter’s dream: flat as a board. Growing up, I sat on the bus with books or bags on my lap, covering up the fact that there was space between my thighs, even though my knees were touching. The boys would snap other girls’ bra straps, but couldn’t find mine and laughed. Then there was the time I got in with the cool girls and they had me crank call the most popular boy in school. Trying to figure out who it was, you know what he asked? “What’s your bra size?” I hesitated. He guessed. The cool girl was a perfect 32 C.

It hasn’t stopped. I’ve had children innocently ask if I’m a grown-up, because I’m so flat-chested. Dinner table conversation with distant relatives has revolved around my being so skinny. Perfect strangers have even stopped the show to make my size an issue. A few weeks ago I was at a party talking with a friend and a random woman came and interrupted our conversation to comment on what I was eating and how skinny I was… referring to me in the third person.

Crystal clear in my mind is every single time someone has uttered the words “skinny bitch” or said “never trust a woman whose thighs don’t touch,” or proudly proclaimed “REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES!”

I’m Taking It Personally

Now, I know I’m not alone in this, y’all. Most people in our culture have grown up thinking their body is far from perfect. I realize that I get lots of privileges by being thin, and for every slight I’ve received based on my body size, my fat friends have experienced something on the order of a hundred more. If we want to change that for the curvy people among us, we’ve got to change that for everybody.

Bingo, Anyone?

Bingo, Anyone?

I tried to point that out and got told I was being defensive, was reading into a simple celebration of hourglass figures, and was engaged in shameless self-promotion, just fighting to try and bring someone down. Yes, I took it personally in light of my own issues. But you don’t have to be skinny to see the problem.

Body acceptance is not about finding a new ideal, especially not one that’s super-sexy and barely achievable for anybody. What I saw there was not a simple celebration.

The Adipositivity Project (NSFW) is how that’s done!

The Quotes

Here are the quotes I was reacting to, which piled up on similar things I’ve seen there (and elsewhere) in the past:

“Thin is not traditional”
“Until very recently, skinny was not attractive.”

And the final quote in the article from a song I still like and am NOT offended by when it plays on the radio because it actually is playful, fun, and the expression of one man’s attraction, rather than the advice of a prominent health blogger:

“Cosmo ain’t got nothin’
to do with my selection.
36-24-36?
Ha ha, only if she’s 5’3″

Does this sound accepting of all people to you? Or is it the celebration of one figure at the expense of another?

Ann Marie did another thing that really bothers me whenever I see it. She equated being skinny with being unhealthy, and brought her idea of what it is to look healthy back to what we eat.

“Do you really think it’s a coincidence that we have an ever-growing number of women who have lost their sex drive, don’t menstruate, can’t get pregnant, and/or can’t nurse their babies?”

And brought it back to making assumptions about what people eat:

“Because if you can’t eat the ice cream, what’s the dang point anyway?”

In the comments, responding to me when I said I’m skinny:

“It’s the low fat diet that is causing women to lose their hips and breasts”

Funny… that’s what they say about the fat people, too, right? That their size is the problem? That they’re not eating right? I recently read a blog about how fat people get all their ailments blamed on being fat. So they’ll go in to the doctor and have major problems go unnoticed because all the doctor can think to say is lose the weight. While extremes in size can be indicators of underlying health issues, they are not the cause, and they don’t always mean poor health.

Is Your Opinion is Only Valid if You’re Healthy?

I never claimed to be the picture of health. Actually, I’m dealing with some pretty sh*tty (literally!) health issues. But when I put it out there that the diet choices I make help me feel better (and make me thinner, by the way), I got told those things aren’t really my issue. If I was on the right probiotic I could eat anything. If the grains were properly prepared, I’d be fine with them. If I ate ice cream & traditional foods I’d have a super sexy hourglass figure, too, right?

Just because some people eat grains and sugar and do fine doesn’t mean it works for me. It’s my body, I’m the expert on my experience of living in it. The same is true for you, whatever your size, whatever you eat.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m all about traditional foods, grain-free & sugar free living, GAPS principles, and the like. I think this way of eating can help a lot of people resolve many health problems and feel better, while being more environmentally responsible. Even so, I agree with Ann Marie that eating this way to try and get skinny is generally a terrible idea.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Not everyone will benefit from eating the way we do, and not everyone who might benefit physically is in the emotional place to do it. I just want us all to get away from the idea that body size and shape are the measure of a lifestyle’s success. There are so many factors that go into our size and shape… genetics, personal history, emotions, health conditions… diet and exercise are only a small part of that puzzle. Our size may change with lifestyle changes, but most of us aren’t going to end up with the perfect body of our dreams no matter what we do.

So here it is: I believe in body acceptance for every body. A smokin’ hot hourglass figure? A super lean, tall model? A muscular athlete? Really fat? Pear bottomed? Apple bellied? Stretch marks? Flabby skin? Skin and bones? Healthy or not, conventionally attractive or not, these are the bodies we are living in. Until we celebrate them, no – LOVE them, we’ll be at war with them.

Being at war with our bodies is no way to get healthy or feel good! I want to see our real food movement embrace all people, regardless of where we are in our journeys, no matter what we look like, or what health issues we are dealing with.

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This post is part of Freaky Friday, Monday Mania.

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130 comments to Curvy is Hot, Skinny is Not

  • Twyla Robinson

    I completely agree with you. Body acceptance does not mean denigrating whatever you’re not.

    What’s pathetic is people destroying their health to be something they’re not. Most of today’s fashion is built to hang on people built exactly like you. You have it naturally, and Calvin Kline thanks you. And then there are the people who will resort to anything, including FEEDING TUBES, to be what you are. Ridiculous.

    On the flip side, there are people intentionally eating in a way that they hope against hope will give them curves and hips (when all it will give you is a belly) to be like Christina Hendricks. Ridiculous.

    So, all that to say, YES. THIS.

  • Jen

    I agree with you. There is way too much focus on size — whatever size one is trying to promote. I don’t blame you one bit for being upset or speaking your mind. I think sometimes I take things personal that don’t matter but this does matter. Promoting one size over another is wrong no matter the side one is coming from. I didn’t read the post. And don’t intend to because I have no intention of increasing views for a post like that. I will take your word for it.

  • Excellent, Joy. A big problem for me is that if I ate ice cream all the time, I’d be about 100 pounds heavier, not looking anything like Joan Harris. I’d just be headed into knee and hip replacement surgery.

    Amanda

    • Joy

      Maybe yes, maybe no! We all have different reactions to foods. I don’t think ice cream is bad, or even necessarily fattening. And for the people who do find it fattening, I still think they should enjoy it whenever they want if it feeds their soul, no matter their size. There is a lot more to food and nourishment than how it makes our figure look.

      But I take your point – our bodies and frames are all different. When I gain weight it goes to my belly first, butt next, and boobs last. Not at all like the very gorgeous Joan Harris.

  • Tara

    My Mother is very thin and has been her entire life. She always gets mad when people say “Oh you are soo skinny!” She says that someday she’s going to say “Oh, you’re sooo fat!” When she was young she said she never got much attention from men until she gained some weight from pregnancy! Times have changed!

    • Joy

      Hi Tara,
      It’s hard not to imagine flipping it right back, isn’t it? I think a lot of people are most attracted to curvy figures even though the thin ones are the supposed ideal. It’s such a strange paradox. In the end, though, none of us have “perfect” bodies, no matter which ideal we’re looking toward. It’s not about how many heads turn, it’s about the one who loves you body and soul ’till the end! If not someone else, then at least yourself :)
      Joy

  • I hated that post. Thank you so much for speaking up about it.

    All women are real women. As a curvy girl I appreciate the appreciation of women like me, but I don’t need to put down someone else to feel good about myself. Flipping oppression doesn’t help anyone.

    • Julie

      What kills me is that she equates thin, small hipped and small breasted women as unhealthy and the result of poor fat intake and nutrition. I read Deep Nutrition and took note of the author’s theory. But that’s all it is. Just spending time in Asia for a while will highlight just how flawed that theory is. Asian women tend to be smaller hipped and breasted, yet as a general rule, they eat a very healthy traditional diet. Heck, the author even made an example of the Filipino diet, yet that is the same country I lived in. If her theory was correct, Filipinas should be stacked and hippy, but they’re not.

  • Well said!! I couldn’t agree with you more.
    We all need to come from a place of love and accept everyone. Period!

    And- AnneMarie is just putting stuff like this out there because it shakes things up and gets more traffic to her site, and that seems to be all she’s about lately. Sad….

  • Vienna

    I’m still in my 20s, so the anti-thin meanness has really hit me hard. I don’t know how old others of you are, but for my generation, thin has always been the devil. I didn’t grow up in thin-worshipping times; I’ve spent all my years in “real women have curves” times. It’s been hell. People are so mean (total strangers at the grocery store!) that I’ve become quite the hermit. There’s no one I can really talk about it with, because they all say “boo-hoo, skinny girls have it easy, you have no right to complain, why don’t you eat a cheeseburger” etc. All this thin hate really does cause depression if you have no one on your side. I moved from the Northeast to the South, and there is literally not one soul here who respects thin people. I stick out like a sore thumb, and people feel it’s their right to insult and harass me until I’m in tears. I’m just thin! I can’t help it! No guy my age will even look at a boobless girl. No girls my age will allow me into their groups of friends. It’s hell. PLEASE SPREAD RESPECT FOR ALL BODY TYPES AND END DENIGRATION TO ‘UNDESIRABLE’ TYPES.

    • Joy

      Hi Vienna,
      You’re right that I’m a bit older… about to turn 37! I think you make an excellent point… that the message shifts in terms of *who* it targets, but the core of it stays the same: Judgement.

      It’s a natural thing when working to accept and love oneself, to define that self as against something else. That’s an impulse I try to avoid and call out when I see it.

      I’m sorry you’re still hurting and experiencing harassment. I hope you can find a body positive therapist to work with, or some other support… and some better people to spend time with!

      One thing that got a lot better for me over the years is my ability to accept my body for what it is and to trust that others can love it. Yes, it still smarts when I hear that crap (obviously), but now I know, deep down, that it’s NOT ABOUT ME!

      Now, instead of feeling awful about myself when I hear it, it’s indignation that surfaces. I feel the need to stand up for other people who are still hurting the way I remember hurting.

      I have found someone who loves my skinny, soft, stretch marked, hairy, sometimes stinky, and otherwise imperfect body, because it has a beauty all its own, which is part of what makes me who I am as a whole person.

      The same can be true for you.

  • Love it! I’m a pirate’s dream… a sunken chest. Yeah, I’ve heard them all. I wish I had learned to love my body when I was a teen, those were some tough years. I love it now. I can go jogging without and bra no problem! Lol!
    Everyone’s bodies are are just different. I eat tons of fat and I eat very well but I will never have curves.

  • Best post I’ve read all day – and I agree with every word of it. Thank you.

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for this! I’m so glad to hear someone else articulate that my lack of curves doesn’t mean I’m not sexy or healthy. <3 AND to hear that our opinions aren't invalid just because we aren't 100% healthy.

    (I am tiny, always have been and probably always will be. I wouldn't mind gaining a few pounds so I won't be the textbook definition of underweight, and eating paleo has actually helped me get closer to my personal healthy 'ideal' and kept my jeans from falling off of me, but nothing I do will ever make me look like Marilyn Monroe.)

  • Olivia

    Wow. You really have some issues with that issue. I was excited about finding you because you are in Portland and we are moving there after summer (I currently live in Astoria) but it seems that since I celebrate my curves and eat ice cream I won’t be accepted by your crowd. Oh well…I don’t have a proper hourglass figure but I do have some cushion for the pushin’. My tradition foodism for the last couple years has really helped my proportions. I’m sorry you are bitter at women who have curves celebrating it rather than trying to lose weight.

    • Joy

      Yes, I have issues. But I hope you’ll read a bit more, before making your final opinion of where I’m coming from, Olivia.

      I’m *super* fat positive, body accepting woman, and I speak up on that subject on a regular basis, in person, in comments on others’ posts, and on the blog. Here are a couple of my posts that might show you where I’m coming from.

      Weight Loss is Not the Answer
      Empowering Kids on Special Diets
      Can You Eat That

      And here is an excerpt from a facebook conversation I recently had on the same topic:

      Friend:
      i think a woman asked a guy to move from the handicap seat becaure she is severly overweight. is that a handicap?13 hours ago via mobile ·

      Friend #2:
      Unfortunately I think it is…although I would counter to the woman that if she were to stand, that would be a step to removing her handicap.13 hours ago ·

      Joy Ceilidh:
      The implication being that since she needed to sit presumably because of her size, which was something she presumably brought upon herself, she should have had to stand? We don’t know whether her size is the reason she felt she could’t stand. Maybe she had ataxia, or was pregnant, or had a back injury that predates her weight gain, or any other number of other problems. Maybe she was fat due to her parents forcing her through fad diets all through childhood, or as a response to sexual abuse, or due to undiagnosed celiac disease, or a thyroid problem. Maybe she was fat because she normally ate nothing but donuts and pizza and did nothing but watch tv, but she just walked a mile to get to the bus stop and was now at her limit. Why do we as a society think that if someone is fat, they don’t deserve the dignity of being able to sit if they need to, without being mocked to their face, behind their back, and judged for their perceived personal failings?
      These are the same attitudes used against the poor, women, gays, and people of color in other circumstances. Even if her weight and disability was something she “brought upon herself,” we don’t have any room to talk. A soldier who enlisted and ended up with PTSD and a missing leg is just as guilty for his or her misfortune. I daresay that even if they don’t show on the outside, we all have troubles we have to make adjustments for in our lives, sometimes at others’ expense. Use that experience to make the world a better place, not to add to the hate that’s directed at fat people every day.
      3 hours ago ·

      Friend:
      To call being overwieigh(I didn’t use the word fat) a hanicap puts her in a specail catagory I don’t think it deserves. Those seats are for ederly and truly hanicaped. Her weight may present a challange, but thats not the same as someone who has lost a leg no matter how he lost the leg. He can not take stepts to regain that leg. That is a huge difference.10 minutes ago ·

      Joy Ceilidh:
      You don’t know what her disability is. There is no guarantee it is size related. And even if she can’t stand for periods because of her size, that is for her to determine. Plenty of fat people ride busses all the time without needing to take the handicap seat. Size alone was probably not her reason.
      There have been times I’ve had to take that seat due to hypoglycemia, which was undiagnosed and I did not know how to control. I looked thin and healthy but the alternative was actually passing out/hitting the floor (a lesson I learned the hard way, in fact). We don’t know what’s going on in other people’s bodies, and it’s not any of our business.
      If she had remained standing, there could just as easily have been people judging her for blocking the aisle. http://stacybias.net/2012/01/fat-friendly-london-double-decker-buses/ Fat-Friendly London: Double Decker Buses
      stacybias.netNote: To see my physical stats, visit the Flying While Fat article. They’re lis…See More

      Joy Ceilidh:
      ps: I consider “overweight” an insult, and “fat” an objective statement. “overweight” implies a judgement – that you know what size that person should be, and she exceeds it. “Fat” is descriptive.a few seconds ago ·

      I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate curvy bodies and ice cream. I’m saying we don’t have to put down thin people, speculate about what any one is eating, or make judgements about their health status in order to do that.

    • Lori

      @Olivia,
      I don’t think she was putting down curvy women at all. I think she was feeling that Ann Marie was being biased against thin women. My problem with Ann Marie’s post is that for the most part, all of the women were thin except for the Victorian woman and maybe the African woman. Joy is not bitter at all regarding women with curves. She’s bitter that not everyone seems to be accepted.

      I think Ann Marie had a great message but botched the delivery.

    • Twyla Robinson

      Olivia, relax. There is most definitely, undeniably, without-a-doubt, a faction of body acceptance people that are merely promoting their own bodies, and no one elses. THAT IS NOT BODY ACCEPTANCE. That is fat justification. (because skinny people don’t write blogs and proclaim their body types as “real”) Can I say that? Yes. I’m fat. No, I’m not self loathing.

      If a person points at a thin person and immediately draws the conclusion, “Doesn’t menstruate,” without taking a medical history, then you can bet your booties that you are dealing with one of those people who are merely promoting their own body type. Yes, it is true that unnaturally thin women and serious athletes sometimes don’t menstruate. It doesn’t mean every thin woman doesn’t. Furthermore? IT’S NO ONE’S BUSINESS.

      I don’t understand why it is so hard to grasp that pointing fingers and saying, “Not a real woman, no curves” is just as hurtful and unproductive as pointing fingers and saying, “What a lardass.” It’s called reverse discrimination. Don’t do it. If you want people to celebrate your curves, then you have to return the favor and celebrate other people’s lack of them.

      Also not helpful? Manifesto blog posts saying, “THIS body is awesome, everyone should have that, anything else really isn’t REAL. (And oh, that’s my body type, isn’t it great?)”

      • Haha oh geez. I have a feeling ya’ll are just angry, offended people in general. I feel bad for you guys. It’s not easy being a person who always plays the victim. There is no hope conversing about this.

        • Michelle

          Haha oh geez. I have a feeling you are just a bitch- in general, and I don’t feel bad for you.

        • Julie

          Olivia, you really totally missed the point of this article. She was saying we should all love our bodies the way they are and to not assume by body size what is going on health wise with a person. I have been curvy-ish, though have never had hips, and have been rail thin. I tend now towards rail thin, but I have always wanted to be one way or another, more like the hour glass. My body isn’t made that way. For me, when I eat grains, it all goes to belly, thighs and sometimes boobs. For the most part, just belly. And I feel like crap. I got rid of grains, felt better and happened to lose weight. I feel healthier, but some would just point to me and say nasty things. I’ve had people grab me and say horrible, nasty comments when I am this size. When I was heavier, I had people call me names and call me “stout”, tell me I needed to cut down my food. I was called names no matter which side I was on, and it was cruel. So I have been on both sides of the weight discussion. We need to accept all weights. THAT was what she was getting at, but since you are “curvy and proud” and apparently have always been that way, you are not open to hear both sides. Too bad because this is one message we need to get out there.

  • Bravo!

    In my adult life, while on a traditional foods diet, I’ve been a size zero, a size eighteen and everything in between. I’ve had people blame my diet, not knowing I was a chapter leader eating a 95%+ TF diet!

    People wanting to point fingers, blame and judge is just childish. Time to grow up and learn not everyone is a cookie cutter.

  • Awesome post.

    I agree whole-heartedly with everything you’ve stated, and I’m sorry for the way AM responded to you. I don’t think you’re off-base about her post at all…

    As an aside, you’re the reason I finally figured out that soy was causing a reaction to the eggs I normally buy at the grocery store! I just discovered your blog a week or so ago, and just you mentioning that you were sensitive made me put two & two together…

    • Joy

      Thanks! I’m glad I was able to help with the soy!

      I want to clarify that Ann Marie actually has been pretty nice. It’s some of her followers who said the mean stuff. I think Ann Marie has her heart in the right place, but made a misstep that I wanted to call out.

  • Lori

    I’m glad you wrote this. What’s funny is that one of my best friends in third grade was a supper tiny ballerina. I remember sitting next to her one day, both of us in shorts, looking at her thighs and thinking how skinny they were and how fat mine were. There began my body issues!

    What I disliked about Ann Marie’s post was putting those super THIN, big boobed women on her site and saying that’s what we should look like. They were all thin even if they had curves. It’s still in some way, about being thin; albeit with big boobs. I’d love to be thin! I really do hate my belly and following Matt Stone is just making it worse even though my temps are rising during my post-ov cycles. Still, I feel like shit.

    You’re right, it is war if we don’t love ourselves and celebrate each other. I feel I’m at war everyday and what’s worse is I’d love to be thin! I’d love to be able to go dress shopping and wear what I want. Anyway, I can go on and on. You make valid points, and I do think in her own way, she put down thin people and fat people. She doesn’t get it, but she did.

    • Lori – I had those same exact thoughts when I was reading her post. I felt that as much as she was saying we need to change the ideals, she was still promoting an ideal. I’m with you. I have always had body issues and always want to be “thin”. It’s something that plagues the mind and is very hard to shake completely. I want to try to eliminate it completely, because I don’t want to wake up when I’m 50 and still have these battles in my head! I am who I am. I try to eat as well as I can, my hubby loves me, my family and friends love me. Now, I need to love me. :)

    • Joy

      Absolutely, Lori. I completely agree. The bodies featured were gorgeous, yes, and curvy, yes, but unattainable for many. Our breasts and our behinds are not the kinds of things that a traditional foods diet changes the basic proportions of. When I was breastfeeding there was a period of time where I was skinny with big breasts. Boy, did I have a different reaction from people about my body than I do when I’m just thin.

      It’s not about holding up a new ideal that’s curvier, it should be about realizing that while our bodies do react to our health choices, we can love ourselves RIGHT NOW, no matter what we look like!

      I’m sorry to hear that you are still struggling with your size. Do you have any access to people who follow the Healthy At Every Size philosophy in your area who you can connect with?

      -Joy

  • Even though Anne Marie’s post didn’t upset me the way it did you, I do see your point of how people seem to think it’s okay to make your skinniness a topic of conversation. A friend of mine lost a lot of weight recently, to the point where she seemed emaciated. A mutual friend said to her “I miss you with more weight on you, you used to be so cute. What happened?” And I said to him, “I have a friend that has gained at least 100 lbs. since high school and I’ve never mentioned it to her!” People in the U.S. tend to dance around the subject of obesity, in order not to hurt one’s feelings. But when one is thin, they must be happy with themselves, why not try to bring them down? No one sits around a table telling one of their guests that they are fat and need to lose weight.. that would be considered cruel!
    And btw… when I was in 5th grade I used to cover my legs on the bus because my thighs DID touch. :)

    • Joy

      Great points!
      Unfortunately, there *are* people who give their fat guests that treatment. Sad, but true. While it can seem like it’s all backlash, we do have to remember that in general, fat people are still getting a lot more hate thrown at them every day than skinny people.
      Mean is mean, no matter who it’s directed at. That’s what we need to work on changing!

  • Anna

    Thank you! I’m a size zero and get pretty irritated at the “Real Women Have Curves” attitude. I am a real woman, too, thank you very much. I don’t have a problem with your curves, so please don’t take issue with my thinness. I stopped by husband’s office yesterday and heard at least 5 variations of “You’re so small! How do you find time to work out with a two year old?” (I don’t. I’m naturally thin and I eat a traditional diet and that does it for me.) I told my husband last night that I was really bothered, because to so many people it seems I am just my size. No one says “Wow, you’re raising a charming child.” or “I’m impressed with that dress you made” etc. It’s all appearance, and more than that, weight. Even among friends I get a lot of flack. At parties, everyone remarks on how I eat as much/more than everyone else, and yet am the smallest one there. I usually just leave it at “I got good genes” with a shrug. And I had no problems getting pregnant (first month trying) and still make enough milk to nurse my 2+ year old multiple times a day.

    How about “ALL women are real women”?

    • Lori

      @Anna,
      We’re just jealous. That is why we comment!

    • Joy

      You’re welcome, Anna, and thanks for sharing some of your experiences. You are so right. All women are REAL women. All people deserve love, respect, and appreciation of who they are and what they do, no matter their size.

      I used to use the good genes line, too, but then I started feeling bad about that, too. It’s a way to shrug things off that is socially acceptable, and most people who would make a comment like that wouldn’t even see the problem with it. But it made me feel icky because it’s saying my genes are “good” and “good” equals naturally skinny.

      I, too, had no trouble getting pregnant, having two homebirths, and nursing into toddlerhood – tandem, even! Little breasts don’t mean you can’t breastfeed any more than big ones mean easy, perfect breastfeeding.

      -Joy
      ps – I’d love to see that dress you made :)

      • Anna

        Ooh, good point, about the “good genes” line. Maybe I’ll revise to “high metabolism” until I feel comfortable enough to say something a little more meaningful. I did finally tell my friends, “I know you think it’s complimentary, but it makes me feel a little undervalued as a *person* not just a *body*. And of course they apologized and all was well, etc. And a few of my larger friends said they understood, because comments on size are often uncomfortable, regardless of if they’re comments about skinny or fat.

        And you totally gave me warm fuzzies about wanting to see the dress. :)

  • Karen

    I may start a riot here, but here goes. I read lots of traditional food bloggers websites. I follow you, I follow Anne Marie, and I follow Matt Stone. I don’t agree with everything any one blogger says. But one I thing I’ve learned from reading Matt Stone lately is that we don’t eat enough food. I’ve suffered from anxiety for 6 years, been on all kinds of meds and supplements, but it wasn’t until I started really packing in the food that I started to feel better. Now, I eat as cleanly as I can afford. All my meat is grass fed, my grains are sprouted, my veggies are organic . . . but in the past, I was eating only enough to get my hunger to go away and not feel hypoglycemic because I thought it was the “healthy” thing to do. I focused very hard on only getting around 1,500 calories a day, which is just enough for living & breathing, and not near enough for actually getting up and being a productive member of my family. And my body was in starvation mode because of it. And when our bodies are in starvation mode, everything in our body quits working properly (hormones, digestion, etc) so our cells can focus on survival – because our body assumes we are living in a famine, unless we eat until we are stuffed. then eat some more soon after that. A long time ago, if food was there, people ate it. Traditional people did not care how many calories were in the milk they were drinking. They just drank as much as they wanted because it was good for them and gave them energy and health. It’s much like a baby does now – a baby listens to it’s body, eats until it’s full, and then turns food away. But when we become adults, for some reason we add a negative stigma to eating a healthy amount of food -healthy meaning, until our body says “no more”. Once a person starts eating until they are truly full, the funny thing is, that you know when you hit the “full” point . . because you can’t eat another bite if you tried. Your brain, body, hands and mouth just won’t do it, becuase you’re FULL. And once a person starts eating until their full at every meal and snacks, then their body starts to relax, realize that it isn’t starving, and goes back to doing it’s normal bodily functions the way it should. Hormones balance, digestion gets back on track, you poop several times a day, and sleep through the night. What follows is a feeling of well being – that all is right with the world. Because your body is finally getting the message – we are not living in a famine, so we can just relax and live.

    • Joy

      No riot coming from me! I think you’re right! I fully believe in eating when we’re hungry, as much as we want, whatever we want.

      It might not seem that way when I’m talking about GAPS and not eating grain or sugar or whatever, but I really try to make that point come through. It can be difficult to reset that *sensation* of listening to what our bodies are telling us, when it’s been screwed up for so long.

      For some people, it’s been messed up by undereating. For others, by binging or parents who insisted on membership in the clean plate club. For me, the biggest problem was addiction and dysbiosis giving me cues to eat foods that actually hurt me.

      We can rebuild our relationship with food, but it’s a process. Once we acknowledge the factors that have contributed to our being out of touch with our cravings and satiety, it becomes a lot easier to start to listen to our bodies and eat the right amounts of the things that will make us feel the best.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective!

  • I love you Joy!!! Your post makes me so happy! And, that’s coming from a super curvy girl who certainly doesn’t have a “perfect” body and is always on the quest to find it. You state so many of the things that I believe, but it’s always nice to hear it from someone else. And, your post is a firm reminder to me that I need to start letting go of some of the body issues that I am STILL hanging on to. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be perfect. But, you know what? My husband loves me just the way I am, my family loves me, and I have friends who love me. What more can a girl ask for?!

    Hugs to you my friend! :)

    • Joy

      Thanks, Jessica!
      I’m glad that the curvier among us could see that I think you all are rad, too! Most of us have some body issues we still have to work on, I think it’s something I come back to in waves. Sometimes it’s at the front of my mind, other times I don’t think about it at all. I love that you mentioned all the people who love you as you are. Surrounding ourselves with people who are able to do that can really help us learn to love ourselves. :) Hugs right back!
      Joy

  • Hey I think you’ve got a really good point. I can relate to some of what you are saying as I have always been skinny – I HATE it when people tell me I’m skinny, or insinuate that you’re only a real woman if you have large hips ( which I have always wanted.) I do have to say though, I am a follower of Anne Marie’s blog. I read enough of what she writes to know that she did not mean her blog the way you took it. I’ve seen her say several times that she thinks all women’s body shapes should be CELEBRATED. She’s actually made that quite clear. Maybe she didn’t in this particular article, but that’s because body image was not her focus. What Anne Marie is reacting too is unnecessary dieting and the obsession with skinnyness. There are plenty of people who are healthy with a good metabolism who destroy their health by going fat-free, vegan, or even grain-free when it is not necessary. Keep in mind that she is a huge advocate of the GAPS diet for those who NEED it – like for those with food allergies. It’s a big misconception in the TF community that all people need to give up grains to be healthy, and it is a huge misconception in society as a whole that ALL people MUST be skinny to be healthy.

    • Joy

      Thanks for your comment. I do know her heart was in the right place. But I think it’s still important to call this stuff out when we see it.

      Ann Marie is a very prominent, well respected blogger. I have followed her for quite some time, and sometimes have seen great positive stuff, and other times I’ve seen this come up. I don’t have time right now to go search out all the other times I’ve seen this kind of misstep come from her, this was just the flashpoint for me.

      Even if she overall celebrates all women, this post missed that mark, and a lot of people will see it. I just felt I needed to point this out, because it’s something I see on a regular basis from many, many people.

      It’s something that a lot of people do when they are first accepting some aspect of themselves that has been put down all their lives: The need to put down the thing that was formerly celebrated, or define the newly accepted aspect in terms of contrast to the old one.

      I want people to accept themselves in every way. I just want the world to be aware that we don’t have to do it in a way that puts others down, whether we meant to or not.

      • Bebe

        I too have followed Ann Marie’s blog for some time now. I was shocked at the furor that arose over today’s blog. The post was most certainly NOT anti-skinny but rather it was pro not trying to attain an “image” that has been set before us by advertising, and Hollywood at times: that skinny is the ONLY beautiful. The point was that we need to embrace our bodies as they are and stop starving them into disease and disorder, screwing up our metabolisms, our hormones, our fertility and our mental health in the process.
        I am sorry for the people that have been hurt by others overt cruelty and more subtle “well meaning” cuts to the heart. No matter our personal “issue” most of us can attest to being hurt by others insensitivity. I had someone tell me one time that my laugh was ugly sounding. Really? I never knew such a thing could exist. Ugly laughter = oxymoron in my book.
        I’ve also been called Crisco (fat in the can) and “built like a brick shit house” because I’ve always had a prominent behind and muscular, stocky build. I am nearing my 55th birthday. I’ve been around to watch trends come and go but now is the very first time I’ve EVER seen a shift toward looking at girls and women with some heft to them as being beautiful in their own right.
        In reading the comments on Cheeseslave and some of the ones here as well it sure does seem that there is some major over-sensitivity going on here. Is it my place or does it do me or anyone any good to “call this stuff out” when “this stuff” is not absolutely perfect? Honestly, the calling out was way more openly hostile than any inadvertent insult that Ann Marie put out there. She’s just trying to heal the damage caused from buying into the mainstream diet and image b.s.

        • Bebe, I agree with you when you say that Ann Marie’s post was overall not anti-skinny. I’ve read it again after getting over some of my own hurt and do see that her main point was that our society’s obsession with being skinny is not traditional. Agreed! But instead of making the point that society should not be obsessed with any body type, she seems to be arguing that society should be obsessed with the hourglass since it’s “traditional”! She specifically posted pictures of women in constricting corsets and shaped bras; corsets and bras are traditional in Western society. Should we all wear them? Uh. No.

          In addition, I have a hard time with anyone arguing that the entertainment industry is obsessed with skinny by posting photos of a curvy woman (wearing a corset and shaped bra) from a TV show.

          Some of Ann Marie’s statements were patently insensitive. But when she writes “[u]ntil recently, skinny was not attractive.” I hear that as “skinny should not be attractive.” She also states that “[i]t wasn’t too long ago that the hourglass figure was de riguer.” I hear that as, “skinny is abnormal.” That hurts me for lots of reasons! Chief among them, I’m very much attracted to and love my long legged, tiny waisted, big hipped “carpenter’s dream”! And that’s not weird!

          Ann Marie also implies, in the comments on her blog and on FB, that since Joy is skinny, she must be doing something wrong. She’s not taking the right probiotic. She’s not eating enough carbs. Her body temperature must be low. If you’d only do this, this, and this, you’d gain some weight and be healthy. It’s so easy and obvious! That sentiment completely dismisses all the work we’ve done to try to figure out how to make ourselves healthier.

          I’m also hurt because of my own experience. I started getting called “flat” in fifth grade. In sixth grade, I caught a glimpse of my friend’s breasts touching in the middle when we were changing for gym. I went home and desperately tried and tried and tried to squish my new little breasts together. Yeah. It wasn’t happening. And it hurt! The upshot to being a skinny Minnie? It protected me from sexual harassment in school. So that was nice.

          I was shaped like a boy (no boobs, no hips, no butt) until college, when I chunked up on a steady diet of processed “all you care to eat” dorm “food.” I got breasts and a butt by eating crap, not traditional food. Additionally, my butt and a little pot belly are prominent because I have mild lordosis – extra curvature of the spine that caused excruciating back spasms when I was all inflamed from eating the crappy food that made me curvy. That sucked! But, according to Ann Marie’s hypothesis that the hourglass is the healthiest way to be, that crappy spine curvature makes me look healthy!

          I’m extremely happy with how my body is shaped and functions because it does the things my brain wants it to do and is generally pain free. I could be an hourglass if I wore “shapeware” to nip in my waist and make my hips look bigger. But I will never be an hourglass on my own. And that’s not abnormal!

          I don’t read Joy’s post as necessarily very hostile, and I’m pretty good at telling when she’s hostile. This “over-sensitivity” you’re perceiving is really just sensitivity and it comes from a place of hurt. Yep, we’re all hurt. And we’re allowed to express that. Joy’s point was not that Ann Marie is a horrible person for making some insensitive comments, but that we, as a real food community, need to rise above this whole obsession with how a person’s body is shaped. No matter how a person’s body is shaped. Because that’s how we’re going to heal.

  • puddleduck

    Hmm. Well I fully agree with the sentiment. But I think I can also understand where someone like Anna Marie might be coming from.

    When I made supermodels (those 5’11″ 17-year-old size 00s) my inspiration for my appearance, I lost my period along with the weight. My already poor hormonal health was greatly worsened. When I made Crystal Renn my inspiration (model turned plus-size: http://www.aseachange.com/illusionists-media/blog/model-crystal-renn.png), I gained much greater health and happiness along with the figure.

    I agree we need to love our bodies. But at the same time, respecting and accepting ourselves includes feeding ourselves well, and not attempting harmful diets (notice that I did not say “those fat ppl should stop eatin tho, fools!” cause these diets harm overweight people as well as thin ones. I recommend Lisa Sargese on this topic: http://theskinnyonline.blogspot.ca/)

    Insults and judgements about another’s body piss me off. I don’t care if it’s towards an overweight person or underweight person, it’s completely inappropriate. But I do admit, I have to watch myself around exceptionally thin people due to my own experiences with eating too little, because I can be tempted to encourage them to eat, when obviously they can handle this themselves. >.< I do have friends who struggle with low appetite and underweight, who want me to encourage them to eat. So sometimes it is appropriate, if it's been discussed. XD

    • Joy

      I completely agree, puddleduck. I’m sorry to hear that you were one of the people who has suffered because of our culture’s warped obsession with body size, and am glad to hear you’ve moved forward from it and are feeling better emotionally and physically! I know it’s really hard to avoid deriding the thing a person is recovering from, or seeing others as having the same problem. It sounds like you are very aware of that and do your best. That’s all we can ask of anyone.

      I don’t think Ann Marie was intentionally trying to hurt skinny people’s feelings. I believe she had a celebratory, lighthearted approach. But sometimes its the things we do without being aware of it that hurt others the most. They come as a shock, out of the blue. I just needed to tell the world.

  • Amy

    THANK YOU! I felt a bit sad reading Ann Marie’s original post yesterday. I’m a thin girl generally (except right now that I’m 7 mos pregnant), and if I do carry some extra weight, I am much more apple-shaped and very bosomy. So it’s lame for me to hear about the glories of the hourglass when me at my healthiest is not even close. I’ve come to appreciate and be thankful for my body and it’s production of a few healthy little people. It’s wonderful to hear encouragement instead of writing people off after categorizing them!

    • Joy

      Hi Amy,
      Isn’t it funny how even after we have learned to accept ourselves, we can still feel impacted by things people say? I’m glad I was able to help encourage you to remember how wonderful you are in the body you’ve got!
      Joy

  • FO-SHIZZLE GIRL!

    This was such a good post and such a healthy conversation in the comments going on! I found that post to be a bit off putting and a slam on skinny. And it’s so typical too – the pendulum just swung in the other direction. I’ve been the object of criticism all my life, mostly from women about my size – I’ve received hateful comments and remarks as well, all from women. Boys in middle school were rather rude as well, I had a lovely knickname due to my flat chest and it was humility. I can so relate on sitting with books or stuff covering my chest up because I felt insecure about it. Even recently I was out and an got an off-handed comment by a man, no less about how I was anorexic. I proceeded to put him in his place and thankfully my sweet boyfriend also spoke up. Would it have been kosher or acceptable for me to turn around and say something about how his wife was fat? No way, and no way in hell would I ever even dream of saying anything like that. I found it entirely insensitive on so many levels because a woman who is actually anorexic has deep emotional issues tied in with that. What made him think a slam like that was at all appropriate? I’ve had woman who couldn’t lose the weight after their babies tell me I’d never get as skinny as I was before having my baby. I’ve had a woman punch me in the stomach because she was mad I had a flat belly and she didn’t. I’ve had a friend who got a boob job, tell me I needed to ‘push those puppies up’ and get a really good padded bra, before I went out on my first date after divorce.
    I know I apparently have the skinny body to envy, since obviously that is what the media dictates (insert snark here), but you know what it’s been a hell of a ride just being a damn woman in this world where women are cruel to themselves and each other. I finally accepted my body just 4 years ago and am learning to love it even more. I’ll never have curves or big boobs, and I am okay with that. My body is the body I was given in this life and I am learning to be thankful for it.
    I am also learning to see the beauty in EVERY woman! I am so thankful there isn’t just one type of woman in this world, just like I am thankful that there are more flowers than just roses.

    This is a topic that needs to be talked about. Woman need to first accept themselves, but also we need to accept others. We will never know a woman’s full story or why they are they way they are – we really can’t ever judge or put anyone down for how they are shaped – it’s the epitome of inconsideration and often born out of one’s own hurt of dis-satisfaction of theirselves.

    So kudos to you Joy for sharing this, I could feel the passion behind your words and could have written a similar post!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – start with seeing yourselves beautiful and realize when we can’t see the beauty then our view is skewed and blurred and out of focus!

  • For years, I felt just as discriminated against as thin person as someone who is full-figured. People automatically assume I do not eat. Or, they are disgusted with me stuffing myself with plate-full of yummy variety. People assume I do not have any weight challenge. Contrarily, I struggled as much if not more than people dealing with weight issue. Each time I forgot to eat, I lost 5 pounds. That’s 5 pounds I couldn’t afford to lose. The grass isn’t greener over the other side. I have always been a pear-shape gal with short chubby legs, unlike my peers. It’s only one I got and am damn proud of it. Thanks for an eloquently put post :D

    • Joy

      That really is the crux of it. We have no right to make assumptions about what other people are dealing with based on how they look, or anything else, for that matter.

  • Renee

    I really needed Anne-Marie’s post today actually. I am not overweight and not underweight but I definitely have curves on top that I have always been self concious of. Skinny people aren’t the only ones that get mocked on may I remind you – I spend the better part of high school trying to cover them up because I would get so teased. I have spent years trying to get skinnier and skinnier just as skinny people probably try putting weight on. I don’t think your arguement was fair to be honest. I usually really like your posts and I am a HUGE fan of traditional eating and recipes and will still be following you because of that but I cannot STAND when bloggers bash eachother. Are we in high school again? We are all on the same team – we are all trying to get the message out about traditional food and ways of preparing it, sustainability and supporting your local farmers…I just don’t see the point in belittling one another – and I would say the same thing if she were bashing you – I didn’t take her post as saying skinny people are unhealthy – I took it as people who try to make themselves into looking like something that they are not (in this case skinny if you already have curves) isn’t healthy for your body. Obviously for your genetic make-up your body has been designed to be on the slimmer side. Others are not. It isn’t one size fits all. I think for me this has all been taken way out of hand and I actually think the bashing people ought to be ashamed of themselves. Let’s grow up.

    • Joy

      Hi Renee,
      Stuff like this does throw me back into that adolescent vulnerable space. Ann Marie’s post did bring me back to high school, I guess you could say. Just as I don’t think her intent was to bash skinny people, my intent was not to bash her as a person. If I did that, please point it out specifically. I need calling out just as much as anyone else.

      I agree that fat people get a lot more harassment in general than skinny people. I tried to make that clear in my post when I said “I realize that I get lots of privileges by being thin, and for every slight I’ve received based on my body size, my fat friends have experienced something on the order of a hundred more. If we want to change that for the curvy people among us, we’ve got to change that for everybody.”

      If you scroll to my response to Olivia’s comment you can also read some examples of where I’ve stood up for fat people, too. To me it’s all one problem – and idealizing one body image *at the expense of another* is what I have a problem with, not celebrating curviness. I’m glad you felt validated and celebrated by Ann Marie’s post. That aspect of it was not what I took issue with.

      I hope you will stick around and keep sharing your perspectives here.
      -Joy

    • Renee,

      I don’t see Joy bashing Anne Marie personally, in fact she has been very gracious towards her as a person and of her motives all throughout the comments. It was the mindset of the post and the fact that it was indeed bashing skinny whether it was intended to or not – it called out skinny as not being traditional, and ‘curvy is hot, skinny is not’ – that’s pretty clearly making an across the board statement if you ask me. I think it was necessary to call out this brazenely titled post, especially for all the woman who have now been insulted because of this post of a blog that is very heavily followed in the real food community. I respect Joy for speaking up for all women and all types and if you read more carefully you would see that she is concerned more about all women having a healthy view of themselves which is why she had to call out this particular post…………………This has happened on several occassions because of AM’s posts that may have been well meaning but have dropped the ball on so many levels and could likely ending up hurting others.

      • Renee

        I guess it will just be one of those things we can agree to disagree :) Just as I took this post as bashing Anne-Marie and you did not, you took Anne-Marie’s post as bashing skinny people and I did not. It’s all in the person’s life experience that shapes their perspective. I’m a pretty open person and I tend to put myself in others shoes quite well so I have spent some time trying to see the other side of this. I get the WORST feeling in my gut when I read this post – I felt it was mean spirited – and to be honest – yes I do follow both blogs – but I’m not married to Anne-Marie’s blog – I think I follow at least 15 real food blogs. I don’t know her as much as I don’t know either of you – I follow your blogs for the recipes and health learning. I honestly never comment on blog posts but it just irritated me to see someone flat out criticize another post so bad. I prolly won’t comment on posts like this again cuz I can feel how upset it made me! And I need some adrenal healing! Ha!

        • Skye

          I agree with Renee. The bashing of Ann-Marie’s post came from the fact that you used her post as an example (albeit “not the worst example”) and a starting off point to write a post on your own hurt, pain, and insecurity. Ann-Marie didn’t make you feel like that – you already felt like that.

          I don’t know why you couldn’t have written a pro-thin blog post WITHOUT attacking Ann-Marie’s pro-curvy post? Because this does read like a pro-thin post. You probably didn’t intend it that way, I’m sure. After all, then you wouldn’t be doing anything different to what you accused Ann-Marie of.

          I just would have thought that since you’re a real food blogger like Ann-Marie, essentially promoting the same ideas and values, you surely would have more respect and tact than to attack one of her blogs as the subject of your own. That just doesn’t seem cool on ANY level, and, as has been stated already, seems so very ‘high school’ and immature. If there was something of value for me in what you wrote (and there perhaps could have been, since I am thin like all your other commenters), it was utterly lost in the mean spirit with which it was written.

          As you say, can’t the real food community do better??? It’s so sad!

          • Joy

            Hi Skye,
            The reason I couldn’t just write a pro-thin post is because that wasn’t my point at all. I don’t sit around thinking how much I need to see pro-thin stuff.

            The point of this post is that when trying to show acceptance, being hurtful and judgmental toward others is not the way. Holding up a new ideal and putting the old one down is still holding up an ideal. I have a problem with that.

            The post from Ann Marie did both of those things, and is highly visible (I think she has at least 10 times the readership I do). Most of my readers read her stuff to, so it was relevant to use her post as an example, rather than other random stuff I’d have to seek out on the internet.

            The main reason I used her post as an example, though, is because it’s the post I read that night and saw shared over and over. Rather than continue in the comments in her space, I thought I’d just lay my thoughts out in *my* space.

            This post was not an attack. It was an articulation of the way I feel and the things I think, in response to the things that come my way.

            Just because we are both real food bloggers doesn’t mean we have to agree with each other or see everything the same way. I have as much a right to express my opinions as she does hers, especially on my own blog.

            By the way, the comments have come from people of all shapes and sizes. If you’d actually read them, you’d know that. You’d also have seen that I’m actually not attacking Ann Marie or anyone else.

            -Joy

  • A fantastic, powerful post Joy–well done! The body-size obsession is crazy. As a curvy gal myself I see the opposite of what you’ve seen. Never, never did I ever get positive comments on my appearance (other than from my love, of course) until I got sick and dropped thirty pounds. Now people tell me how “great” I look but all I see is a gaunt, scary face in the mirror. I guess we all have our own issues to deal with regardless of where we fall on the curviness spectrum and *for me* skinny=sick but after years of wishing I were thinner or less busty I finally get that what really matters about our bodies isn’t how they look, it’s how they feel.

    • Joy

      Thanks Melisa. I know what you mean about the compliments rolling in once you start losing weight. Having also experienced weight loss I didn’t want, it’s very frustrating. I don’t want to say “thanks” or encourage people to pay these kinds of compliments based on body size, but I don’t want to be horribly rude, either. It really is about how we feel rather than outward appearance!

  • I wasn’t upset by Ann Marie’s post because I understood her core message — it’s not wrong to celebrate the curves. It’s not wrong to love your body even if you don’t meet Hollywood’s standard of beauty. I TOTALLY believe that. And I tell my 4-year-old daughter that these women in photos that are not only skinny, but also gaunt, pale, and otherwise unhealthy looking, are NOT healthy. It’s not necessarily their lack of curves; it’s how they got that way.

    Take the red-haired actress from Clueless (whose name currently escapes me). She was, in that show, extremely skinny with no curves. She was anorexic at that time, trying to uphold what she thought was beauty. But she wasn’t healthy. She got some help, and appeared in “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” several years later. She was heavier, she had lots of curves. And her hair…it was so thick and long and curly, where before it had been thin and straight. She was far more beautiful in her health than she had been in her illness.

    And I know that trying to wear clothes has been frustrating for me, one with curves, because manufacturers conform to a particular standard of beauty that frankly doesn’t work for most women (who are not, of course, cookie-cutter shapes). I felt fat when I wasn’t because clothes don’t fit on my curves. There’s something wrong with that, and we need to say, it’s okay to have curves. We shouldn’t hold up ONE standard of beauty and expect women to fit the mold.

    So I think that’s what Ann Marie really meant.

    We can’t be afraid to embrace people HOW THEY ARE, as you state. Skinny doesn’t mean healthy (my brother’s skinny and he skipped meals and ate nothing but frozen fried meals and soda throughout high school…think he was healthy?) and fat doesn’t mean unhealthy. I’m 5’3″ and not at all 36-24-36…I’m bigger than that! I weigh around 140. Most would not guess that. But I believe that I am healthy because I feel better and a lot of things ‘line up’ for me at this weight in the right way that don’t when I weigh 10 or 20 lbs. less. I could try to force myself to weigh less…or more…but why? I eat real food and this is what I weigh.

    The same goes for heavier or lighter girls too. We are not all the same.

    I worry about health, though. I want people to embrace their bodies and never hate themselves or to worry that their appearance is somehow paramount. But when someone is very heavy or very thin, there is the possibility that there is something going on that is causing this, and that they would be healthier if they addressed that issue. I feel like it’s a very careful line to walk. We don’t want to shame people because of their weight; but we don’t want to be so into ‘acceptance’ that we ignore possible health issues, either. How do we have this conversation with balance? I’m not sure I know.

    Of course, each person is the best judge of the appropriate weight for him/herself and it really isn’t up to the rest of us to say “You’d look better if you weighed more or less.” It’s not. We need to forget our standards of beauty and start helping people look and feel THEIR best, whatever that looks like for them. I hope I’m explaining this right….

    • Joy

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Kate.

      I really understand what you mean about the difficulty in finding balance in this conversation. Size extremes or even just looking unhealthy can be warning signs of underlying problems, and then can turn into part of the problem by compounding health issues. But I’m into radical acceptance nevertheless.

      We don’t need to shame anyone in order to help them address health issues. Symptoms involving body size can be investigated without making any kind of negative judgement about the person. Just changing weight or size in a vacuum is impossible and not the answer to any illnesses I can think of anyway.

      Same goes for diet. For example, I’m always on about real food, right? But I don’t have to make that about body size at all. If a person comes to me wanting to feel healthier through diet, size is really irrelevant. People can learn to access, prepare, and enjoy real food at any size.

      If the main issue really is a person’s feelings and experience of their body’s size, then it becomes about the emotional piece… and again, the answer isn’t shame. Acceptance is what creates the space for healing.

      I never assume a person needs or wants my help. If someone has a health problem I’m informed about, I let them know I’ve got resources and experience to share. I’m kind of evangelical like that. But it’s up to them to take the next step, not me.

      As for the original post, I think it’s a problem when people say “I could see she had good intentions, so I didn’t take offense.” When I do something harmful, no matter my intentions, I’d like to find out so I can take responsibility for my actions. That’s not something that came naturally, that’s something I had to work on and which I try to teach my children, too.

      Were I to say nothing when I noticed an attitude that is harmful to all people (and directly hurtful to me), I’d be complicit in it. It’s by opening up these discussions and being honest about the feelings they bring up that we create positive change in the world.

      -Joy

  • Throwing in my 2 cents – I agree with you. You are the best judge of what works for your body making it the finely tuned machine that it can be.

    I think if we lead an active lifestyle and eat clean real food, we’ll end up at the right weight for our body. Some people are built thinner than others. Some are naturally “chunkier” or more muscular than others. It’s just the way it is. Our body’s natural build and weight often lead us to the types of activities that work well for us. It’s about what works for us. Not them.

    • Joy

      I love what you said here:
      “Our body’s natural build and weight often lead us to the types of activities that work well for us. It’s about what works for us. Not them.”

      What a great way to look at it. Thanks!

  • Jennifer

    Why, as women, do we hand over our self worth, our self esteem, to complete strangers who only have one goal – to build *themselves* up? Why are we so insecure? We give others far too much power and leave little for ourselves.

    I’ve never been “beautiful” in the eyes of society. I’ve always been “overweight”, I have acne and acne scaring and I’m the definition of a fashion nightmare. But I am **ME** and I try each and every day to love and accept myself, no matter how faulty society sees me. It’s not always easy.

    In my opinion, the real goal is not to change how others see or feel about us, but to change how we see and feel about ourselves.

    In my opinion, what we should actually being talking about is learning something that almost seems illegal – to love ourselves, to accept ourselves. This is something women, especially American women, are seriously lacking.

    Acceptance doesn’t come from a curvy woman’s blog. Acceptance doesn’t come from a thin woman’s blog. Acceptance doesn’t come from magazines or the media. Acceptance doesn’t come from a man. Acceptance comes comes from within.

    I realize it’s hard for **everyone** when we hear negative comments but honestly, a healthy dose of self worth and self respect will take care of that. This is really what it all boils down to. At the end of the day, no one is going to love or hate me as much as I do.

    So why aren’t we working on the core issue? Why are we so focused on what other people think? When did we place ourselves in the hands of people who don’t give a rats rear-end about us?

    • Skye

      Amazing points, Jennifer! It surely does all boil down to precisely what you have so eloquently expressed here.

    • Joy

      Hi Jennifer,
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree 100% that *self* acceptance is at the core of the issue. I am a huge proponent of the Health At Every Size movement which is all about exactly what you are talking about, and in my own life I have come a very long way toward full self-acceptance from that vulnerable pre-teen & teenager I was. This whole post was about exactly this, in my mind – accepting ourselves and others for who we are, as we are.

      My problem is with the pervasive tendency to attempt to claim that power for oneself by putting others down. That doesn’t serve anybody. I think many of us do it subconsciously, to our own detriment in the long run.

      But acknowledging that what others say really has nothing to do with me doesn’t mean I should ignore it when I see people making those negative comments about others’ bodies under the guise of body acceptance. We aren’t all in a place of absolute internal strength and self-acceptance, and even if we are, it’s ok to hurt when people deride us. Part of my self-acceptance includes accepting my feelings as valid.

      By not saying anything, we encourage people to continue that hurtful behavior, unexamined. I don’t think that’s the high road.

      -Joy

  • Jennifer – I am clapping and cheering! Bravo, for what you just said! Self -love is important, it’s more than important, it’s something most people struggle with – it’s something I talk about a lot. It’s something that took me the better part of my life to even begin to embrace!

    That said, I think this post was about calling out a mentality that does affect women no matter what way we dice it! Why can’t people love themselves, because of what goes in their minds, what they see, what they hear. It matters – we even have our own voices inside our heads that start to agree with the pervasive societal messages about what true beauty is. We need to shut them up – we need to speak truth to ourselves that no matter what, we have worth, we have value and we are indeed uniquely beautiful!

    But your words are so fundamental to how we need to shift our thinking and renew our minds with the truth – beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, starting with our very own eyes. And it’s never an outward surface issue ultimately.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel like there is such appulause when phrases like “strong is the new skinny” or “real women have curves” are uddered. But that is leaving out everyone who is skinny, weak, and fat. I am a skinny girl, always have been, and I agree that we ALL need to love our bodies and get away from telling other people how they SHOULD look. I wrote a post about the Crossfit “strong is the new skinny” thing from a skinny weakling’s perspective and some people thought it was sad because I said “I never will be strong. I hope to be healthy.” Well, if a someone else would have said “I will never be skinny. I hope to be healthy.” it would have been appaulded. Why can skinny people not say the same thing as everyone else when it comes to body image? Why do our views not count? I love your post and I love you getting out the message that EVERYONE needs to love their body! Thank you.

  • I’ve been skinny and I’ve been fat… I just want to be *healthy*!! I’m trying desperately to recover from a 7 year bout of chronic illness only to backslide again this year with a stressful move and stressful circumstances. One of the most hurtful things that was said to me in the middle of Lyme+ treatment was my FIL telling me (during the breakfast celebrating his 60th anniversary so I was enjoying some real eggs, bacon, etc) that if I would just lose some weight I would feel better. Ouch! Only my love for my dh kept me from causing a scene!

    BTW, I was flat when I was skinny and I’m flat now that I’ve fat, oh well, lol.

    • Joy

      That’s so hurtful and wrong. I’m glad you knew better than to believe that stuff! As for the flatchestedness, I know what you’re talking about! Those proportions don’t have much to do with weight gain for many of us.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks, Lydia. My youngest daughter’s name is Lydia, so I’m a fan. =)

    “we even have our own voices inside our heads that start to agree with the pervasive societal messages about what true beauty is. We need to shut them up”

    This is where we need a strong foundation because, try as we might, we can’t shut them up. We can’t force them to think we’re beautiful. We can’t force them to be confident enough with themselves not to tear others down. People are going to say cruel things. That’s what people do.

    Can we discuss it? Absolutely. This is the internet. We can talk about anything we want. Unfortunately, though, at the end of the day we can’t control anyone’s thoughts or words except our own. We aren’t going to make it illegal to “A is better than B!” So how much merit are we going to give that statement?

    For some reason we believe *anything* that other people say are true (positive AND negative). This is where I become confused. What on earth happened to make us accept what other people say as truth?

    Is saying things like “real women are ____ ” destructive? Sure, if we acknowledge it as something of any substance. I feel like if I said “real women have brown hair” most people would laugh at me because that’s quite an absurd statement.

    We’re so insecure with our bodies (me included! But man I’m trying hard) that if someone says “real women are a size 2″ or “real women have curves” we actually hear it, acknowledge it and justify it with a retort. Why.. ?

    EVERY woman is a real woman, so why should saying otherwise have any kind of impact? Real trees are tall trees! What?

    I didn’t try to love myself until I had two daughters of my own. There’s absolutely nothing in the world I want more for my girls than to love and accept themselves. The only way I know to do that is to love and accept myself.

    The only way I can love and accept myself is to ignore the comments that other people say (both positive AND negative). A person’s worth isn’t dependent upon what’s written on the comment cards.

    We’re *all* beautiful. That there are “sides” on this “issue” makes me horribly sad. =(

    I’m not trying to belittle Joy’s post. And I’m not saying that her feelings are wrong. I just think this whole thing with women goes deeper. Much deeper. We have generations of self-destructive conditioning to overcome.

    • Joy

      “I just think this whole thing with women goes deeper. Much deeper. We have generations of self-destructive conditioning to overcome.”

      I agree, and I also think that a *part* of that process of overcoming the self-destructive conditioning we all deal with is having an open discussion about the ways in which we perpetuate it.

      In my opinion, Ann Marie’s post was subconsciously perpetuating the very self-destructive conditioning you’re talking about. I don’t think ignoring it and letting it slide helps us create a better world for ourselves and our children. I think that examining it allows us to move forward in a more positive direction for all people.

      -Joy

  • Tawnya

    Reading her replies back to you and others just seemed a bit snarky, it made me unlike her page.

  • Jennifer R

    There is NO bleeping way that anyone arguing on here that Joy is taking it wrong is thinking critically about this at all. This is what I just read on AM’s post:

    cheeseslave April 27, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    We are brainwashed to believe that skinny is attractive. I do not believe that it is “inborn”.

    Are you kidding me? Really, how are you kidding yourselves? AM is absolutely advocating one body type over another, and not for health reasons. The ironic (one of several, actually) thing is that she used photos of women using corsets and other apparatus to achieve an hourglass figure because THEY DIDN’T HAVE ONE to promote the shape! Anyone that is a semi-regular reader of TLK or did a simple google search can find plenty of articles and comments from Joy that advocate acceptance of ALL people.

    • Joy

      LOL, thanks for sticking up for me, Jennifer :)

      I’d missed that quote in the cheeseslave comments. Holy crap, that was mean! Somehow people still think that’s empowering. I do not comprehend!

  • Maybe applause for you saying this!

  • Vienna

    I’m going to jump back in with one more comment. I think there are two points the “real women have curves” ppl often make, which are not often adequately shot down.
    1. People blame thin models on magazine covers or thin stars in Hollywood or thin people in their school/office for their bad health as much as for their body image issues. It’s absolutely true that not seeing a figure similar to yours in entertainment can lead to a bad body image. It is absolutely NOT true that it’s the thin people’s fault. Those models/classmates/stars/coworkers aren’t mean, hurtful people. They don’t intend to upset you. Their thinness isn’t about you. People are so quick to say that thin models need to be banned, for example. Is there one single thin person the world over who has forced someone to binge eat to obesity or skip/purge meals to emaciation? I’m thin, and I often get blamed for making women feel bad about themselves, called a bad example, and told that I’m ‘what’s wrong with America.’ But I’ve never in my life had a say in someone else’s health. I don’t put the bad food in their cart and make them buy it. I don’t force feed anyone. I don’t make anyone skip or purge meals. People need to accept responsibility for their own choices. Only you decide what goes in your mouth. Only you. Should a thin model lose her job because others wrongly think that her thinness is an affront? No. 2. Why is that when someone wants to insult thin people, but also wants to come across as NOT insulting thin people, she resorts to saying “unhealthy is what’s ugly”? Well, who are you to say someone’s unhealthy? How do you know? If you’re guessing just by looking, then you’re being as horrible as people who assume a heavy person is unhealthy, just by looking. People always call me pale, emaciated, and gaunt. They always say “I can just tell she’s NOT healthy.” But I am!!! So if hundreds of people are wrong about me, it’s not a far cry to say that these say people are wrong about the other thin women (or curvy ones!) they judge. Deeming her unhealthy first, then insulting her based on that false assessment, is still horrible. No brownie points for subbing out the word ‘unhealthy’ in place of ‘skinny’ or ‘fat’. It’s still a judgement one was never equipped or right to make.

    2 other things I’d like to add are this: if people don’t like the thin models or actresses, then they shouldn’t buy what they’re selling. I’ve never bought a magazine in my life. Not one. No one makes those things jump into a person’s arms or shopping cart. Also, if magazines or blog posts that champion thinness are evil, then so are ones championing curves. Either way, even if the only language is positive praise and no insults, they’re still putting one body type on a pedestal. That inevitably makes the other body types feel bad.

    Thanks, Joy, for your response to my earlier comment. I really needed the support!

    • Joy

      Hi Vienna,
      Thanks for sharing more of your thoughts. I’m glad I was able to provide some support when you needed it!

      As for the unhealthy thing, it bothers me on at least two levels. First is what you pointed out – you can’t tell just by looking at someone what their level of health is, and it’s none of your business anyway!

      Second is that so what if someone is unhealthy? Does that mean they deserve to be ridiculed or put down? That’s certainly not going to help them feel better. Even unhealthy people deserve love and acceptance. We can try to improve our health, but there are no guarantees. If we don’t succeed in curing all that ails us, or the path to healing is long and difficult, we still deserve love, acceptance, and kindness, both from others and from ourselves.
      -Joy

  • [...] triggered some backlash from women who do not fit that body shape and felt slighted by her wording. Joy from the Liberated Kitchen weighed in with her own words as a woman with a body shape on the other side of the [...]

  • Good thoughts! I’ve been on the receiving end of the “Oh, shut up! You’re so skinny!” and “What do you weigh? 100 lbs soaking wet?” type comments all my life, so I totally get where you’re coming from.

  • lulu

    It is interesting, isn’t it, how when a woman mentions a part of her body she doesn’t like, everyone immediately thinks that if she would just change her diet, it would fix all those issues? The simple fact of the matter is that the issues aren’t really with her body at all, they are with her mind. How do I know this, because I live it… I feel like less of a woman all the time because of my very small chest. I know, however, that even if I had a way of achieving a larger chest, it would be like putting a band-aid over a gaping wound in the hopes that it would just go away.

    I know what my problem is. My problem is that I judge myself based on what I see around me. I compare myself to every other woman out there. I haven’t yet come to that blissful moment of just loving myself and not being envious anymore. I’m getting there, but just not there yet. It is a difficult thing to do when everything out there keeps telling us how to improve our looks and be sexier. But dang it, you know what? I’m stronger than all of that and I will beat this!

    • Joy

      Yes! It is so disrespectful to just jump on people for supposedly being unhealthy, or by assuming they haven’t looked into different options. It’s one thing to offer up an idea, it’s another to invalidate those people’s experiences and perspectives because they aren’t following your advice.

      You’re right that it is an internal process and the negative stuff out there is irrelevant to that. I just want to be one of the people out there who is making it easier for people to achieve that self-acceptance and immunity to the crap that’s all around us, not someone who is making it harder!

      • lulu

        I think you have a very positive voice on this issue. You are definitely helping to make it easier, no doubt about it. If more people thought the way you did then not only would there be less judgement going on about weight, but people would start looking at others not as a sentence but as a story. No one would ever be so brazen as to say that they only need to read one sentence to fully understand a novel like “Les Miserables” or “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Why do we have the audacity then to think that one glance of a person is all we need to understand each other?

  • Wow, very interesting conversations happening in the comments here! Joy, thanks for speaking out and speaking up for women of all sizes. You inspired me to write my own post: http://www.chicken-tender.com/2012/04/all-women-are-real-women.html Keep up the good fight. :)

  • Michele

    I read Ann Marie’s initial post and then read Chandelle’s response post as well as this one. I appreciate immensely what both of you have said. I am a 36 year old mom of two and while I am still considered thin, I am nothing like I was during my teenage years and early 20′s. I was always thin (in 5th grade a boy told me I shouldn’t go on a backpacking trip because I was “too skinny”) but during my teenage years I shot up in height so quickly my weight couldn’t keep up. I ate constantly but stayed very, very thin. People would stop my mother in public and take her aside to tell me she needed to get me help for my anorexia. I fainted once in church and was taken to the ER and the doctors questioned me repeatedly about when the last time was I had eaten (I’d had breakfast just an hour earlier) and refused to believe me when I told them. Instead of trying to find the real reason for my fainting, I was told, “Just eat. Your body needs food,” and sent home. A year later I had a physical and was told by the doctor “you are dangerously underweight and I am not even going to begin to talk about your other health issues until you gain some weight.” So hey, it’s not just fat people who get their size blamed for all health problems.

    All my life, being skinny has been a defining characteristic for me. It was something people envied me for–I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “You’re so skinny. I hate you,” in a half joking, half serious way. And I valued it. Now as a woman approaching 40, I find myself with thighs that touch, a stomach pooch, and some “junk in the trunk”. I eat whole, traditional foods and exercise regularly and this is how my body looks. I am really struggling with accepting my new body, especially since thin has always been my “go to”. But posts like this and the discussion around it helps. Thank you.

    • Joy

      Hi Michele,
      I used to pass out despite eating tons, too! It’s so awful when people won’t believe us because of their preconceptions. Our bodies do change as we age, even if we eat a “perfect” diet. My babies sure did leave their marks on me! This body acceptance stuff is an ongoing process, and the less we make it about celebrating how we fit one ideal or another, the easier it will be.

  • Michelle

    I saw your link on the healthy home economist, when I saw the title of your post I thought “Oh no, not another skinny hating post!” I am glad I read your article. I too was super offended by the cheese slaves post. I didn’t read any of the comments and just clicked off of it. Convincing people any size larger then me, to understand its not easy being skinny is near impossible. When people learn how I eat- traditional foods- they always want to know why, and tell me I should just eat junk food all the time. As if being thin means you are automatically healthy- or have no need for healthy foods. Its so frustrating and tiring.

    I lived overseas for a few years in my early twenties and for the first and only time in my life felt so comfortable in my own skin. Curvy by American standards is not what most woman around the world look like. So for Ann Marie to say that curvy is the healthy and traditional body seems very false to me- based on what I have seen in real life.

    Thanks for standing up for those of us who aren’t curvy.

  • Kristen P

    Your post smacks of authenticity and compassion, unlike a lot of what I have been seeing coming out of the “traditional food” bloggers. Cheers girl!

    I, too, grew up skinny. I know I have no where near the body issues of other people but it still gives me the creeps when I do a elimination diet (i.e. GAPS or 30 day paleo) to get rid of allergic skin irritation, inflammation, etc. and I lose a ton of weight. People seriously think I’m anorexic and ask where I’ve disappeared to. I’ve come to the realization that it is just my body type, my genetics, and nothing to stress out about!

    Kristen

  • Cyndi

    Joy, thanks so much for the wonderful post. Will come back to read more of the comments later.

    I’m continually frustrated at all the statements that one thing is good, so the other is bad. Yeesh! I’m still fighting the fat hatred of my youth that sent me dangerously close to anorexia at the time, and had to deal with the real thing (stress induced) when doing my dissertation. I fight every day to feel acceptable in my clothes, not even shooting for feeling like I look good. And all those health warnings about “apple-shaped women” freak me right the f*ck out (and always have). Even my own therapist says things like, “Let’s hope we don’t gain too much” around the holidays. (She’s awesome otherwise.)

    So, thanks for the call to accept *everyone* regardless of shape. And for us to love our bodies and selves. That could lead us all to be healthier, no matter what.

    • Joy

      You’re welcome, Cindi,
      Thanks for sharing your feelings, and your ongoing struggle.

      I really hate all those “health” messages that just correlate a shape or size to health problems. It’s not like you can just magically change your shape and suddenly have no risk of health issues!

      We’ve got the bodies we’ve got, and they *are* acceptable. But truly feeling that way is easier said than done, especially when even well-meaning folks undermine it.

      When making dietary changes or trying to otherwise better our health it can be so triggering for people who have dealt with eating disorders or body acceptance issues. (Most of us, I’d guess.)

      We do need to connect with our bodies and feel them in order to make choices that are truly healthy for us. That can be difficult, especially if we are used to tuning our body out either because of past trauma or ongoing discomfort. I think instead of practicing love and acceptance for ourselves, many of us have tried to just tune out the parts we don’t like.

      I think part of being able to tune into the how our bodies feel is being ready to accept that maybe we don’t feel good, maybe we don’t look the way we want to look, maybe we’re not healthy. But we are good people, and our bodies are an important part of what makes us who we are. If we check in with our bodies and feel bad, that’s ok. We can accept that. And knowing what doesn’t feel good is a clue as to what to change to feel better.

      I’m off on a tangent… I hope I’m making sense. I think this one needs to turn into a blog post.

  • Rachel Ankrom

    This post was incredible!
    I’m still on my way to body acceptance. I’ve battled bulimia since eighth grade, and I’m a junior in college now. I refused help for five years because I didn’t “look” like I have an eating disorder. During recovery I’ve realized a lot of things about our bodies, and I firmly agree that if you’re treating your body right (and that’s not even eating only healthy foods, it’s giving your body treats, too!), it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be 80 pounds soaking wet. Also with having been an undiagnosed celiac for a decade and being an insulin-dependent diabetic, losing weight has always been hard for me, personally. However, I now realize that I will never be a size 2 because my body just is NOT meant for that, and I can look in the mirror and love myself, and not worry about that because I know I am taking care of myself to the best that I can.

    Absolutely wonderful post.

    Rachel

    • Hey Rachel – If you like this post, check out Chandelle’s post, all women are real women. She really drives it home!

    • Joy

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Rachel. We are all built differently, and that makes our individual “ideal” figures different. You are also right on that living with undiagnosed medical conditions for years can certainly change how our bodies look, and respond to things like diet and exercise. I’m glad you are recovering from your eating disorders. You are an inspiration!

  • violet

    More and more I am finding that people discriminate against that which they find different than their view of normal/beautiful. It goes every which way a person can think. Some people like thin, some people like curvy, some people like “fat”.
    p.s.- Olivia=trollface

    • Joy

      Yeah. I think that’s something most people have to make a conscious effort not to do. We can like what we like – that doesn’t mean we need to put the opposite down!

  • I think she wrote that post to prove eating pretzles and ice cream for dinner is okay.

    I disagree.

    I do agree that the anorexic models are not to be envied at all – they don’t look healthy, they look sick. But to say it’s healthy to be overweight is also wrong.

    • *pretzels

      I could take offense at her post since I am “naturally skinny” and can eat what I want without gaining an ounce. But I loved being pregnant because I had a nicer, puffier face (and arms, etc), and I actually would love to gain another 20 pounds.

      But me being skinny doesn’t mean I’m unhealthy.

      • Joy

        I know the feeling. On some level, I *do* think it’s ok to have pretzels and ice cream for dinner. I think the act of giving ourselves radical permission to make our own choices about what goes into our own bodies (healthy or not) is part of what makes it possible to make better choices in the long run.

        Another thing I took issue with that I didn’t really point out in the article was the way she equated starving oneself with being skinny, eating low fat with being skinny, and eating ice cream with being curvy. Plenty of people eat low fat and find they can’t lose weight that way. Plenty of people eat high fat foods and are lean. Plenty of people find that starving themselves doesn’t make them lose weight. Those mainstream ideas about how our body reacts to food are detrimental and I hate to see them perpetuated.

  • Mia Harrod

    Lea H, you totally distorted everything that she said here, go back and re-read it.
    Joy I understood what you were saying and it’s a great thing! I agree 100%!
    Great blog and great post!

  • I’ve got to say, I saw Cheeseslave’s post and didn’t even read it. I stopped at the headline, “Bottom’s Up to The Hourglass: Why This is Not Traditional.” I stopped because: why isn’t thin traditional? According to whom? I recently read “Deep Nutrition” by Dr Cate Shanahan and she asserts the very same thing. That the hourglass figure is disappearing because of a change in our diets.
    I fully embrace real foods. Most people around me think I am a crazy extremist, because of the amount of energy I dedicate to nourishing my family, especially after our 6 months on GAPS. I eat tallow, lard, properly prepared grains. All of it. Even the ice cream (with raw milk, of course)! I am not afraid of any foods. If it’s real, bring it on. I LOVE eating. I also LOVE my body. It has served me well. I will never be an hour glass. And I am totally fine with that. I have broad shoulders and thin hips with a waist. And no matter what I eat (as long as it’s real, I will be thin). But you know what? These thin hips have served me well. I have birthed two babies. The last was a water birth. I am due to deliver our third with a midwife in just 8 weeks. I tandem nursed and nursed through a pregnancy. My body is not an hourglass. And it doesn’t need to be. It is doing quite well, in its normal THIN state. Does this mean I am jealous of those women with more curves? Heck no. They are beautiful, just as I am beautiful. We are all different. Let’s embrace it. No more shaming of each other. There is no one “right way” or “right body.” We all need to do what works for us individually. And I totally agree with your radical acceptance policy. Shaming and judging one another doesn’t get us anywhere positive. Great post.

  • I think you make some very valid points, however, I just read the cheeseslave post, and she doesn’t once mention that all skinny people are doing those things. She only calls out those who ARE doing those things in order to lose weight. The message I got was, “Enjoy your life (which includes don’t make food something that is going to stress you out), and be who you are, regardless of what society thinks is hot.” While it is true that her title says “Skinny isn’t traditional,” In the post all she says is the OBSESSION with being thin isn’t traditional.

    I do agree with you, though, that skinnybashing is all too common and too unnecessary a phenomenon. In college I was skinny and unhealthy, in early mommyhood I was 30 lbs overweight and unhealthy but getting healthier. In March my family went on GAPS, and by april I was wearing college clothes again…BIG change in a short amount of time, but NOW I am healthy. I even (while my son and Husband are still on GAPS) started adding soaked grains back in b/c it turns out my body type does better with some grains in the diet. Still haven’t gained any weight back. I am loving my new, MUCH more slender body, and I believe it is possible to be a healthy real foodie and have a fuller figure, too.

    I just don’t think Ann Marie’s post says exactly what you seem to think it does. I didn’t really see any skinny bashing, just encouragement NOT to obsess over body type.

  • I fall into that skinny category, and I could borrow the junior bras my 10 year old neighbor wears… I have never had a body image problem, but recently, due to some autoimmune issues I have, I went on the Paleo Diet. I hate calling it a diet, but more of a “healthier eating lifestyle.” In the process, I have lost 7 pounds off of my frame that is thin to begin with, and people have noticed. I am beginning to see their reactions to my even thinner frame, and perhaps they wonder if I have an eating disorder, or if I’m sick, or whatever. All I know is that since starting the Paleo way, I feel GREAT. I’m not sluggish, my thyroid results were normal, and I am eating my vitamins in food.

    I have found that if I am doing the best I possibly can to be healthy, it really doesn’t matter what other people think. Sure, I don’t like stares or comments. Who does?! But I don’t let it get to me like it may have a decade ago. In my old age of 33, I realize that this is the only body you get, treat it well, and ignore the haters!

  • Great post… Thank you for this reminder. I’ve been “at war” with my body for almost my whole lifetime. Just recently I started loving those undesirable parts (potbelly, brown eyes, flat butt) that make me uniquely me. Although I have to remind myself to love those parts on a daily basis, this shift in my mind has provided so much freedom.

    I have been on the chunkier side my whole life and I never really understood the “skinny perspective”. Thank you for shedding light on it… it was eye opening.

    • Joy

      Hi Nori,
      Thanks for your comment. So many of us struggle with accepting our bodies no matter our size and shape. I’m glad you are finding some love for your body and feeling more free!
      Joy

  • Alison

    Joy, have you read any of Matt Stone’s stuff? I was on the GAPS diet for well over a year until I realized that it wasn’t helping me and was only making my problems worse. I was at my lowest weight ever, had hair falling out, and plenty of other issues. I was packing in as much fat as I could. My body temp was below 97 and I wasn’t menstruating and having plenty of other issues. When I finally admitted that GAPS may not be the answer for me and started listening to Matt’s advice I finally started healing. I have easily packed on 20 lbs. and have temps in the 99′s post ovulation now. I am just telling my story because I thought GAPS was the cure all and it harmed me. You should read up on hormonal healing/Matt Stone’s stuff or do a consult with him. It was way cheaper than all the GAPS supplements and much less damaging to your health….hope I can help someone. I realize this has nothing to do with body image etc. But I don’t think enough people know that GAPS and other diets can damage your health, especially if your metabolism/hormonal system is malfunctioning. Which it most certainly will on GAPS.

    • Joy

      Hi Alison,
      Thanks for sharing your perspective. I have read some of Matt Stone’s stuff. I agree with his admonition to “Eat the Food.” That falls in with my Health At Every Size philosophy which is all about making peace with our bodies, listening to them, and getting away from control issues and feelings of deprivation around food. I also agree that low carb diets are not for everyone, neither is GAPS a cure-all. I don’t think any one way of eating is a cure-all for everybody.

      I’ve been blogging primarily about GAPS because that’s what our family has been doing and it’s what has finally made us feel better. I hope others can see that saying “these are the problems GAPS has helped us with and this is how we do it” should not be misinterpreted as a very different idea, that GAPS is the answer to everyone’s health problems!

      I believe Matt Stone’s advice would be very bad for *my* body. (Although I must say, GAPS does not need to be low carb, in fact I eat lots of carbs and when we took our daughter’s food journal to a mainstream nutritionist she said there were plenty of carbs.) When I stick to GAPS intro, I have fuller hair, no more bloating, lots of energy, better sleep, no more digestive misery, mental health I never dreamed I would achieve. My hair is nicer, fingernails are stronger, menstrual cycle is more normal (less PMS, too), BO is gone, bad breath is gone, dental health is better, skin is nicer, migraine auras are gone, hypoglycemia is gone, paresthesia is gone… I could go on.

      And when I introduce starchy things, sugary things, legumes, most dairy? Bad symptoms come back. (I won’t go into details here for lack of time… I think this is blog post worthy, though). The rest of my family has been able to introduce a lot more than I have. My guess at the moment is that I am dealing with SIBO.

      I don’t think my metabolism is malfunctioning to make me thin. I think it’s the way I’m built. I don’t think GAPS inherently messes up people’s hormones and metabolism, but I do believe there are people out there for whom it will. That’s why I think it’s important for all of us to remember never to set one person up as a guru and drink their koolaid.
      -Joy

  • Amy

    Just ran across this article. Thank you for posting! I am naturally thin. My family and friends have always made me feel bad about my thin figure. I too don’t understand why it is ok to replace an unhealthy standard with another one. Very few women actually have an hourglass figure. Why not apple figures or pear? People have suggested I eat lots of fatty foods as if this would automatically fill me out in all the right places. The hardest thing to deal with although I try to ignore, is the fact that people go out of their way to essentially tell me my body isn’t good enough the way it is. Real women have curves. Well I have a 1 year old daughter whom I take care of on a daily basis and I can assure you I am a real woman! Accepting my body and dealing with body image issues is something I deal with on a daily basis. God made us all different and He doesn’t make mistakes.

  • Tiffany

    THANK-YOU!
    This was a really empowering article to read! As a 6foot female, i’ve always been made to feel ‘bigger’ then everyone else. I’m a size 12-14 and I jog, hike and am generally a lot more active than many of my ‘skinny’ friends. People sometimes need to realise that if your HAPPY with yourself everything else falls into place! The ‘real women have curves’ issue was really big in my family… try explaining to your little sister (who is also 6 foot!) that there is no such thing as fake women!

    Ladies find out where/what makes you happy and go for it!!

  • Brian

    As a guy who’s a big fan of the curvy women, I hadn’t really thought about the anti-thin movement. I always see the very thin celebrities and think that our media is wrong to hold that ideal up as the ‘desired’ look. Your post was very enlightening. I agree wholeheartedly that there are women of ALL shapes, sizes, heights, colors and ethnicities who are absolutely beautiful. What one man or woman sees as beautiful, another may not. We just need to be a lot more accepting of one another and look more for character and confidence.

    • Joy

      Thank you, Brian! It’s wonderful to see another person joining in who appreciates curvy women and is also a fan of character & confidence. Our attractions, while they may lead us to one partner over another, don’t have to prevent us from valuing all people of all shapes and sizes as worthy human beings deserving of love. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  • Rhianna

    A turned-on, happy, healthy woman is gorgeous no matter what her size.

  • Jeanmarie

    Terrific post. I, too was bothered by Ann Marie’s post, though I’m sure her intent was positive. I’m neither hourglass nor flat as a board, somewhere in between (tall pear-shape), and I generally find comments on weight or appearance to be annoying, other than a general “You look nice!”

  • I really appreciate this post!! I love real food blogging, but sometimes there does seem to be this attitude that goes around something to the tune of “there’s only one right way that works for EVERYBODY–and that way is my way.” If you oppose, based on REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE, to their universal, generalizing, paradigm, you get bullied and derailed.

    I like the addition of feminist language in your post to explain away that faux-minism. Of course we’ve got a lot of work to do to change the oppressive standards of beauty in this culture, and we SHOULD be celebrating fat women, but If you are doing that by shaming one group of woman to promote another, you’re doing it wrong–even if you’ve got ONE picture of an indigenous women completely of out context to back it up. Thanks for calling this out!

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