Let’s Talk About the Word “Skinny”

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 | 2 comments

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m starting to work out again after having our 3rd and final baby.  Some things I may not have mentioned before on this blog…

  • I’m a fairly average person in terms of build/body-type; at times I think I’m curvy, but others I’m not so sure- my rear end is rather flat (at least from what I can see of it).
  • I’m not necessarily an athletic person, but I’m choosing to pursue getting fit for the benefit of myself and my family; I want to set the example for my kids that it’s important to be healthy and fit.
  • I think it will be a challenge for me, given my DNA, to ever be what one might consider svelte or thin;  I’m okay with that.  I did once strive to be thin and I did the South Beach diet.  It made me cranky.  I did lose 40 pounds, but man, I was starving and cranky.
  • I love food and am sort of in a place right now where I’d rather eat (and drink wine, of course) and enjoy myself than suffer or deprive myself and hope it helps me lose some weight.  If I develop health issues related to my diet, I’ll change.  For now I’m eating happily but not crazily.
  • I want to raise my kids, especially my two daughters, with the belief that if they are healthy and taking care of themselves then they are doing the right thing.

Those things being said, I’m seeing this thing fly all over Pinterest, and it’s starting to…

Piss. Me. Off.

I started to see it pinned here and there as I clicked through Pinterest hunting for new things for my own boards.  The more I saw it, the more it got me to thinking.  I did some digging and found out that Kate Moss said this was her “motto” in 2009.  Interestingly enough, she followed with, “You try and remember, but it never works.”  But you never hear or see that last little part added.  (See here for article link.)  I was shocked to read in this article that there are also “pro-anorexia” websites.  Good God.

Have you Googled the word “skinny”?  I did.  I also Goolged images using the same search word.  It’s scary.  I couldn’t look for long.

Then I went to Pinterest and searched “skinny.”  Also disheartening.  But then I got more creative (it is Pinterest, after all.)

I searched the phrase in the photo above, and it floored me.  Currently there are 65,100 Pinterest boards with the same title.  Look at that number again.


What is WRONG with people?  Now, I browsed some of the boards, and many of these women share the same goals that I have- they want to get in shape.  They want to lose weight.  They want to get strong.  Could someone please explain to me how the word skinny fits into any of those goals?

Here and there you’ll even see people have pinned a pillow with the same phrase on it.  It’s done in needlepoint, as if it’s something cute to say, or heaven forbid, you could make one for yourself!  Or for a friend as a gift!   Throw it on your couch to inspire your fat friends!  I don’t even want to know how much people would pay for it.

Some other board titles centered around this theme that freaked me out:  “Thinspiration” and “Thincentive.”  It was at this point that I threw my hands in the air and took my flat ass to the couch to write this post.

Where does this fascination with being thin or skinny come from?  WHY is it considered desirable by so many people to be “skinny”?  I have many friends who could possibly fit into this term in a natural way- they are, by their genetic makeup, long and lean people.  I have heard through conversations that the word skinny is not their favorite either.  I have one friend who told me that often, when people call her skinny, usually there is also a reference to her being malnourished or unhealthy in some way.  That ain’t cool either.

What makes me the most angry, though, is that people who pin this stuff are not thinking about young girls and women who are on Pinterest and other places who see this image, and they don’t have a role model in their life to tell them “skinny” is NOT something to work towards or aspire to.  Or they have an eating disorder that they are trying to get under control, and then they see this and lose it.  Or they have flashbacks to people calling them fat in high school or junior high.  Skinny is a negative word in so many ways.

Let’s get it together, people.  Skinny is not a goal. 

Healthy is.

Fit is.

Exercise is. 

Strength is. 

Active is.

Skinny can kiss my ass.

So I’m starting my own little movement.  Maybe it will stay small.  Maybe it won’t.  I don’t really care.  But I can’t just sit and not say anything.  I made this graphic on Picnik and am throwing it up on my “Don’t You Know” board.  If you are with me, please pin it, too.  Not on Pinterest?  Maybe you could link on Facebook or just leave a comment and give me a “holla holla!”

 And either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this stuff, too- am I the only one?  Are you tired of any other words?  Do any words get under your skin the same way “skinny” gets under mine?  I’d love to hear about it. :)




  1. Not on Pinterest or Facebook, but if I was I’d definitely pin it! My teenage daughter loves loves loves pinterest and has been stumbling across some of this “skinny” propaganda and commenting about it. I’d seen a little of it, but we were both just chalking it up to random snarky idiocy until I saw a long list of diet tips yesterday that was just SCARY. We hear all day every day how all of our children are obese…and then we get bombarded with THAT… what’s it going to do to our teenage girls?

  2. Pinned under “Sew Readable”! :)

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Wordless Wednesday #3