What You Didn’t See When You Looked at A “Skinny Mom”: A Response.

Posted on Posted in Body Image., How to Love & Be Loved., Pregnancy and Motherhood.

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This is an open rebuttal to an extremely damaging article currently making its rounds via Scary Mommy.

I’d like to first openly suggest that had this original post been written from a “skinny mom’s” perspective that, for one, it would have been a truly sad and unfortunate eating disordered experience of life and, for another, it would have been less of a completely judgmental, destructively stereotypical post-slash-rant.

Moreover, had this article been written about a “fat” mom, it never would have been published.

However, it’s apparently perfectly okay to perpetuate horribly damaging and un-true stereotypes of “skinny” moms.

Because skinny does not equal eating disorders or body dysmorphia, any more than a slightly overweight mom should be seen as lazy or self-hating.

That last part of my previous sentence was cringe-worthy to read, no?

Yeah—had this article been about “fat moms,” it wouldn’t have been birthed.

Seeing women as dichotomously “skinny” or “fat” is not only terribly and obtusely stereotypical, but it’s a shallow portrayal of the depth of women, and of people in general and, in relation to this particular article, definitively equating “skinny” with “eating disordered” is unfortunately wrong, damaging to understanding and healing true eating disorders—and it’s still body shaming.

I’m a “skinny mom.”

I’m not tan, because I just had a baby and her eldest sister has fair skin, so we often hang out in the shade or with sunscreen slathered on. The rest of this could describe me, though.

I lost my baby weight quickly, after both births.

I do still have signs of this, although I didn’t have C-sections–but I bought a new belly ring yesterday and its little blue gemstones are shining alongside my still-present Linea nigra and my fairly chiseled abs.

I do workout a lot.

I began exercising regularly in high school and I never stopped.

I didn’t stop during either pregnancy and I didn’t stop after having children.

I move my body because it feels good, and for that reason alone.

And, no, you didn’t “see” me.

You, apparently, didn’t see how much I love my body.

You didn’t see that I’m proud of the butt that I’ve toned doing squats in my basement while the baby is in her swing and her older sister is at preschool for a couple of hours.

You didn’t see that I’m teaching these two little girls to love their bodies too—I’m teaching them to not sneer at women and judge the way some women do—the way your article did—and I’m teaching them that just because some people don’t love themselves enough to love others, this doesn’t mean that we should be any less kind ourselves.

I am compassionate with myself.

I’m compassionate with my body, too—and I’ve never loved my body more than after it gave birth to my second child.

I felt proud of what it could do and of how my body worked for both of us during my labor and delivery.

I love, equally, the skin that still hangs loosely from giving birth last October, as well as the arms that someone recently called “Michelle Obama arms.”

I don’t shed tears when I try on bathing suits.

Actually, I just tried on bathing suits with my oldest daughter at a store in the mall two days ago—we had a blast.

I left without buying one, though, because, as it turns out, I’m fine wearing my old Speedo one-piece, that I bought four years ago for my daughter’s first mommy-and-me swim lessons at the Y.

Because when I’m running through the sprinkler with her in the backyard, the last thing that I’m thinking about is how I look in a swimsuit. Instead, I’m focusing on how cute she looks in hers, on the way the water goes into my eye and makes my contact lens blur and on her squeals of delight.

I feel sorry for moms, whether thin or not, who can’t experience their children’s babyhood because they are in the throes of an eating disorder.

I’m not.

I’m a thin mom who loves to move my body, who loves to eat healthy food and have a glass of wine and some dark chocolate every night, who loves to sit on the front porch with my husband after the kids go to bed, who loves to read, who loves my children—who, frankly, is a person beyond my physical exterior, and I recognize this.

So, no—you didn’t see me.

You saw either your own fears and demons or a stereotype, or both.

You didn’t see how much more I am than my body and how happy I am living inside of it.

Because if you had seen me, you surely would have noticed my athletic physique—but you also would have taken in much, much more.

 

Photo: Flickr/Mother and daughter running through the fountain.

4 thoughts on “What You Didn’t See When You Looked at A “Skinny Mom”: A Response.

  1. thank you for this post! I’m not a mom but I’m skinny, it’s my body type and I cannot be another… And it’s sometimes very difficult for me to accept my body with all the “skinny sharing” everywhere, all those people who see me like a woman with an eating disorder or so..

  2. The article you are referring to isn’t about you or your experience of your body. You sound lucky and happy, which is great. The article on scary mommy was autobiographical, about a Different woman’s experience her body.

    1. That may be the case, but it wasn’t written as an autobiographical experience. It was written saying “this is what’s really going on when you look at a skinny mom.” That was the type of language and the framework the original author used. If she had written in the first person and made it about herself instead of offering it up as a truth about what skinny moms are actually going through, it would have been a much less offensive, much more helpful article. As it is, it feeds into incredibly offensive body shaming stereotypes. Sorry…not all skinny women are starving themselves or full of self loathing.

    2. Kate summarized eloquently my thoughts and the express reasons for writing this response. However, I’d like to note one more problematic aspect of this article.

      As a writer, I’ve spent my career sharing myself with people while simultaneously practicing healthy boundaries for both myself and my family. I’m also committed as a writer to producing heartfelt, helpful work that isn’t being published solely for “clicks” or “views.” Specifically, the way that this post is written—from a jealous woman’s perspective, rather than courageously as a “skinny mom” with, clearly, some eating disorder/body image issues—preys upon a population of insecure, jealous women who perhaps covertly want this to be what “skinny moms” are going through. In short, it’s written manipulatively and this invalidates it as a helpful, vulnerable share because it’s the opposite of vulnerable. It’s the opposite of a powerful, autobiographical piece. This is truly an issue for me, and for other writers, who do actually share vulnerable, realistic, yet ultimately useful material with the world.

      And, additionally and not lastly, eating disorders are not a joke. They aren’t something to beg sympathy for or get views for or mock. More, many “skinny moms” practice self love, and to equate, as I state clearly within this article, “skinny” with “eating disorder” isn’t helpful to healing eating disorders and, frankly, this article isn’t about a “mom” at all.

      Let’s call a spade a spade.

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