Before I begin my rambling, I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Courtney. I live in Brooklyn, NY with my husband and two awesome kids. I am an artist, a public school art teacher, co-owner of Yellow Hook Necktie Co., and a mother of a five year old girl and a four year old boy. Every year I am one of those people who makes a New Years resolution. I actually make the same resolution every single year. I am going to pick one new thing and try it out, a challenge. This year, my challenge is to write. Thanks Ariana, for giving me a platform.
Fat vs. Skinny
I am very careful and conscious about how I view my own body, the comments I make about it, and the clothes I put on it. I have a five year old daughter, and while I encourage physical activity and healthy eating, I want her to love her body whether she grows up to be skinny or fat.
Yes, I said fat.
I have been “skinny” all of my life. I write that in quotes because people feel that word is okay to throw at others. “OMG you are so skinny!” “Have you lost weight, you look so skinny?!” No one in there right mind would tell someone “You are looking fat today, have you gained some weight?” Or “Wow, you look fat in that dress!”. But “skinny” is acceptable because we live in a world where skinny is good and fat is bad.
Skinny isn’t always so awesome. I was teased my whole life for my weight. I was called skinny, boney, bones, stick, twiggy, and a million other words for being underweight. Clothes were always baggy, even the skinny fit clothes. I can tell you these words made me feel awful. I didn’t want to be “skinny.”
Back to my daughter, who is thin, but not skinny. She has a delightful booty, as she calls it. She plays soccer, rides her bike and scooter, ice skates, swims, and likes to run with her dad. At five years old she is in no way insecure about her body. I hope it stays this way. I will never moon over the shape of my own body. I won’t ask my husband if he thinks I look fat. I won’t diet or binge exercise or stress over the size of my pants… while she is around.
It doesn’t mean I don’t feel it. I have always been skinny, I still am by American standards but not in comparison to what I was. I have gained 20 lbs in the past few years. I am nearly 36 yrs old, I have carried and given birth to two babies, I work full time, and own a small business, and take care of my home and family. So my pants size has gone from a 24 to a 25 and my dress size from a S to a M. I don’t feel badly about this on my own. (Secretly, I love the way it feels when I rub my hand down my hips and they actually curve. It feels sexy and soft.)
A few days ago, one of my colleagues approached me with a question. “Since you are usually so thin, we (I have not yet figured out who all the we are) are curious if there is something you want to announce?”
So, I used to be skinny but since I’m not as skinny there must be some other type of explanation? Why does it matter if I gain or loose weight? Why does it matter what I or anyone else weighs at all? Some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen are considered “fat” by our standards. Marilyn Monroe, Christina Hendricks, Jennifer Lawrence. Heck, Christie Brinkley and Cindy Crawford are a friggin size 6, which in 2014 is considered plus size modeling.
Try as I might, the past five days have been focused on my weight and my body. I cringe at the idea that my daughter will think her body isn’t good enough the way it is. I want to project a positive body image but how can I do that when I have allowed someone else to make me question it?
This leads me to think about women and our war on each other. We live in a fat vs. skinny society. We will always judge each other. Or will we? What would happen if women supported each other instead of tearing each other down? Imagine what it would be like if what we like didn’t matter. What would happen if we told our daughters, sisters, friends that they are beautiful because they are smart, funny, kind, etc., regardless of what their bodies are shaped like?