Friday, 11 July 2014

When did 'skinny' become a compliment?

I'm curious, when did the word 'skinny' become a compliment? When did it become acceptable to say to someone, 'you're so skinny' and the recipient would smile, blush, say 'thanks' but coyly claim they were nowhere near as skinny as the compliment suggested but inside, well, inside they'd ride a compliment high.
When did this become a good thing?

 I don't get it if I'm honest. If you went up to someone and said, 'you're so fat' I highly doubt they'd take it as a compliment. We all know it's an insult, we know it's an offensive thing to say to someone, even kids in school are not allowed to say it. Years ago, when I was a teaching assistant in a primary school I referred to Henry VII as a 'fat' man and the kids were mortified. 'Miss, Miss you can't say the F word, it's not right'. And I agree, it's not, and it was wrong of me to refer to him in such a way, but why is it ok to use the opposite word? Why can we use the S word?

I’m on the slim side and I've battled body confidence for as long as I can remember. For me, it started in high school, year 8. There I am, around 12 years old, somewhere between a size 10-12, small chested with a larger lower body, puberty shaping my frame and hormones sending my mind and body into a frenzy. I was convinced, thoroughly convinced that I was fat and that if I could be 'skinny' I would be happier. If I could be 'skinny' then the bullying would stop, I'd be less awkward, life in general would improve greatly if I could just be SKINNY.

But I couldn't be SKINNY. I was already pretty slim but peer pressure and magazines made me think otherwise. For most of high school I spent my summers wanting to change, wanting to go back to school in September a skinnier version of myself. This was a mind set that would stay with me for years, right through school, college, even university. This was all in the days before Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter. If I thought things where bad back then, well, it's safe to say I wouldn't stand a chance in today’s social media society. 

What does the word skinny mean to you? What does it look like when you close your eyes? I won't lie, for a long time, the image I had was the one we've all been programmed to see. You know the one, all airbrushed and 'perfect'. Why is that something we've been programmed to attain to? Why do we WANT people to call us skinny?

I don't know about you, but the word itself scares me now. It implies you've been under fed, that you're starving, that you don't look HEALTHY. Now, do you still want someone to pay you that skinny compliment?

I know most people when they say it mean well, they, like me, have grown up in a society where skinny is something attainable, something to strive for. Lets face it, it’s not. We shouldn’t want to be skinny. We should WANT to be happy, healthy, glowing, energetic, full of life, brimming with vitality. Being skinny doesn't carry any of these connotations. We should want to look and feel good in our own bodies, and that is something that is different for everyone. There is NO universal body size, shape or image, skin is not a one size fits all garment. There's a reason we all look different and we need to embrace that, not only in ourselves but in others too.

There are better compliments you can pay someone that don't involve the word skinny.

Thoughts? Feelings? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

I know this is a little different from my usual posts but it’s something that’s been bothering me a lot lately. I’d love your feedback on this sort of thing and if you’d like to see more posts like this one?


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    1. It can mean different things to different people and that's ok! I just think people should be careful how they throw the word around sometimes when they are so many other beautiful words out there the could use :)

      Sarah :)

  2. I think words are difficult. Especially when it comes to appearance. I prefer getting compliments like "You look lovely," or "I love your dress." When you're a woman and are insecure about the way you look for whatever reason, things can get misconstrued in your own mind.

    It's tricky...I think the whole compliments thing is so personal that it depends on who you're paying the compliment to. And unless you know the person really well, this can be difficult!


    1. It can totally depend on who the person is paying you the compliment, and when it's someone you don't know all that well or you're not too sure about it can be hard to know how to take it. I just think in general, the word itself can give off some bad vibes if you've ever battled body confidence issues (let's face it, we're female, we all have!) I don't think it should be thrown around all that much.

      This is where I go out and say it tomorrow now lol!

      Sarah :)