Jul 2012
10

From This Fatty’s Mouth

I came across a blog today that made me a bit mad and a lot frightened. It’s called Skinny Gossip and it has been in the spot light recently because of a post that was written about the model Kate Upton. You don’t know Kate Upton? Well this video will explain plenty about her. She’s young, a sport illustrated model and she is probably every guys wet dream. I would say she is smoking hot but the writer of Skinny Gossip thought otherwise. Click here to see the post where she refers to Kate Upton’s appearance as thick, vulgar, calls her a “little piggie” and tags the post under ‘fatties’. She asks if American women are now striving for the lazy, lard look and states that “Fashion is supposed to be aspirational – and the kind of people who aspire to look like this shop for clothes at Wal-Mart.”

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After reading her blog I wanted to leave a comment; however, I wasn’t able to because she only has a forum that I couldn’t seem to register on. I should have dropped it, I should have gone and done chores while the boys were playing quietly and baby girl was sleeping but couldn’t.

So, I sat down and I wrote her an email. I didn’t want it to sound angry because I really wanted the writer of Skinny Gossip to actually hear what I was saying. This is what I wrote:

I just wanted to write to you because after looking over your site I can see that you really believe in what you are doing. You are obviously witty, you can write better then most young people and I commend you for the time and effort that you put into your blog.

I wish I could have visited your blog and not bothered wasting my time to write to you. Honestly, I have so many other things I need to be doing right now, but I really wanted to reach out to you. I’m not going to attack you to try to convince you that what you are doing and writing is wrong because I know you believe in your words. I am just going to say this: I am positive that one day you are going to look back on this blog and many of your posts, like the one from June on Kate Upton, and you are going to cringe in embarrassment. I know you are probably rolling your eyes right now because you really feel that the person you are today is the person you are always going to be but, I promise you that really is not going to be the case. When you have experienced more and gained some insight and empathy because of those experiences, you are going to wish that you took your gifts and abilities and focused them on something more positive.

I struggled with an eating disorder as a teenager, I was that really skinny little girl that everyone told to eat who eventually turned into a skinny teenager who was terrified of being anything but thin. When I eventually did begin to eat in my 20s the weight packed on like you wouldn’t believe. I am now a full figured 31-year-old with 3 small children, the youngest of whom is a 1-year-old little girl. I have to say, I would die if I found her reading a blog like yours. I would die because I want to raise her to love her body whether it be stick thin, curvy or if she grows up to be what you call a “fatty”. I want her to know that I had the most awesome skinny body and men and boys were always all over me. I could wear any clothing I wanted, any bikini and I knew I looked good and yet, I hated myself. If I ate a proper amount of food I would go home and write line after line in my journal telling myself I was going to be fat and gross and that I shouldn’t eat. I abused laxatives, I purged and I was very unhealthy and unhappy.

Now, by your definition I am a fatty and yet I just spent the weekend at the beach with my family and I felt sexy in my swim suit and happy. My husband loves my body and I love my body. I wouldn’t mind finding the time to hit the gym to tone up a bit but I LOVE MY BODY and I am happy. I want to raise my daughter and give her a gift my mother was never able to give me: Happiness comes from inside, focus on being healthy and confident and not on being skinny.

Unfortunately, the scary and sad thing is that even if I raise my daughter that way for 16 long years, she could get on a blog like yours and have all my efforts erased. She could look down at herself and stop seeing herself as beautiful and start seeing herself as a gross, fatty.

That is the power you hold.

Do you understand that power?

Do you take responsibility for that power?

I think we both know the answers to those questions.

Sincerely,

Kimberley Aitken

I don’t know if the words of this fatty will make a difference. I don’t even know if my own words can make things easier for me. The truth is, I struggle with my appearance all the time. What I wrote is true, I have never been more at home in my own body than I am now and I am very happy but, I still have moments of pure and extreme self loathing. I still wake up and tell myself I’m going to starve myself until I lose that 10 or 20 pounds. I DON’T WANT THAT FOR MY DAUGHTER. I want her to be healthy and happy and have a good relationship with food and embrace her shape. I don’t want her to aspire to be like a two dimensional picture in a magazine. I want her to aspire to be a whole, complete, multifaceted woman who knows that weight doesn’t define who she is.

This whole thing reminds me of the lyrics of an Ani DiFranco song that I have always adored called 32 Flavours.

squint your eyes and look closer
I’m not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
and I’m beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cause someday you’re going to get hungry
and eat most of the words you just said

both my parents taught me about good will
and I have done well by their names
just the kindness I’ve lavished on strangers
is more than I can explain
still there’s many who’ve turned out their porch lights
just so I would think they were not home
and hid in the dark of their windows
til I’d passed and left them alone

and god help you if you are an ugly girl
course too pretty is also your doom
cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
for the prettiest girl in the room
and god help you if you are a phoenix
and you dare to rise up from the ash
a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
while you are just flying back

I’m not trying to give my life meaning
by demeaning you
and I would like to state for the record
I did everything that I could do
I’m not saying that I’m a saint
I just don’t want to live that way
no, I will never be a saint
but I will always say

squint your eyes and look closer
I’m not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
And I’m beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
Cause someday you might find you’re starving
and eating all of the words you said

What do you think, will we ever really be able to raise daughters who love themselves indefinitely? What are your thoughts on Skinny Gossip? Please put your thoughts in the comments.

 


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10 Responses to “From This Fatty’s Mouth”

  1. AR says:

    Wow! That’s crazy. Why do women constantly feel the need to put other women down? As a woman who had/ has weight issues (well let’s face it, I’m sure we all have sadly!) especially after having children I find that post disgusting and disturbing. I have a young daughter whom I hope will look at me one day as a role model not because of how I look, but because of the healthy (well, mostly healthy!) lifestyle we are teaching her and my son to lead. I always joked with my husband that if I worked out consistently for a certain period of time,he would pay for my tummy tuck. But after thinking about it, I decided that I do not think I would go through with it because I do not want her thinking that a nip and a tuck will solve her body image problems. I am damn proud of my muffin top and take pride in what my body has gone through especially in the last 5+ years. As long as my husband finds me attractive that is all that matters. My body image does not define me. It’s how I live my life with love and respect for myself, my family and my friends!! Good for you for sending that email Kim! I hope she takes it seriously.

    [Reply]

    modishmama Reply:

    I hope she takes it seriously. From her most recent post on the blog I think she does have some insight into her words. If she was trying to say that Kate Upton has bad eating habits and shouldn’t be a role model to young girls then she could have written a different post outlining the differences between being healthy and fit and being thin and unhealthy. I hope our girls grow up and see themselves for the beautiful people they will be and not the person they thought they should be because some stranger told them they should.

    [Reply]

  2. KellyP says:

    Hmm… thought provoking and perhaps more than I can wrap my tired pregnant mind around these days, or at least articulate. I’m not sure we can ever raise our girls not to have body issues. I’d like to imagine we can, and perhaps there are better people out there than me who could, but I was raised by a very media-aware mother who tried to teach us that the media isn’t always right – think for yourself, form your own opinions, etc. Still I always felt fat. My sister didn’t help either. She’d make nasty comments and was always way smaller than me. And she was the daughter of a woman who didn’t buy that stuff and certainly didn’t encourage it. So where did that come from?
    Can we teach our kids to love themselves in spite was what the media and others think? That you don’t have to blow out someone else’s candle to make yours shine brighter? That I sincerely hope so. Of course, I also hope we can teach our boys the same thing about themselves and the right way to treat women. I saw a picture on facebook a few weeks ago of a woman’s stomach post-baby. Loads of stretch marks and all saggy. It had this great line with it about how each one meant something – her son’s laugh, his smile, whatever… each one helped bring that child into this world. Made me feel a little better about mine (though I’m still self-conscious and sure miss my bikini days). Some guy made some rude comment about how gross it was. I was super annoyed and stunned. We give up our bodies that we’ve struggled enough to love over the years to have children; they get ripped to shreds and are never the same. We wouldn’t undo it because our children are worth it, but then to have some jerk say it’s gross? I think there’s no hope for some people and we have to cross our fingers we can teach our children well enough to hold their heads high around those people and not let them get to them.
    How to do that? There’s the hard part.

    [Reply]

    modishmama Reply:

    That is exactly it, I know for a fact that Poppy will have body issues because every single girl/woman does. I think we can’t appreciate what we have and we are always striving for something else. Even a woman with a seemingly perfect body has body issues. I guess we can all only try our best.

    [Reply]

  3. Ivett says:

    Hello Kimberly,

    WOW, I am speachless. The worst part is that my doughter who is now 10 is constantly worried about her weight. She is so skinny I have a hard time finding clothing for her, because her hight. She is too tall and way to skinny, but not because of an eating disorder. YET anyways. How ever if she is worried about her weight now, I can only imagine what it will be like later. And as long as we have people like this out there, the kids are not going to be safe.
    Having gone through the exact same eating disorder as you, I am scared to death that I will not be able to protect her, as they can are influenced way more today (through all the tv shows they watch, internet, and school) than 15-20 years ago when we were teenagers.

    [Reply]

    modishmama Reply:

    Kev asked me that last night, what it was like when I was a teenager and I said it was bad but we didn’t have blogs like this or the internet. So scary.

    [Reply]

  4. Simone says:

    One of the things I admire about you is that you always stand up for what you believe in. Good for you for sending that letter!

    I looked over the Skinny Gossip blog and it make me feel ill and also really sad for the author. It’s really sad to see someone who is educated and a good writer using her talents to write a blog that hates on other women. Also, I have reason to believe that she also has a case of “body dysmorphia” – I read the article where she calls Lindsay Lohan’s Playboy photos “fat” Ummm, are we looking at the same photos?! She’s teeny, tiny! So as much as I think she’s intelligent, I think the author is also slightly delusional and probably has some issues of her own to deal with.

    I’m glad that Poppy has you for a Mom :)

    [Reply]

    modishmama Reply:

    I agree she is very likely suffering from a few issues one of them being Body Dysmorphic Disorder. That is the only explanation for someone who strives to have what she calls “xylophones” on their chest to describe their protruding chest and clavicle bones and sees that as something every woman and girl should strive for.

    I am glad I came across her blog though because I feel the more information I have the better I will be able to parent Poppy and Oskar and Angus.

    [Reply]

  5. Carmelle Whiteley says:

    I was shocked to read that someone in the world thought Kate Upton is approximately thirty pounds overweight. She has an awesome body!

    I agree with the previous comments that every woman has body issues, or rather, particulars she doesn’t like about her body. Those dislikes can happen so quickly, and before you even know it, a passing incident is imprinted in your memory for the rest of your life. I wish I could go back in time and tell my Grade Seven-Self to ignore Terena Kenny when she said, “You’re chubby.” Or better yet, reply with a resounding, “No, I’m beautiful!” But like so many thirteen-year-old girls, I didn’t have the confidence stick up for myself.

    As a parent, one of my greatest challenges will be to raise my children with self-confidence and self-love. Accomplishing that would be a gift to them, myself, and our society.

    [Reply]

    modishmama Reply:

    I have to say I was raised by a mother who struggled with body image. I remember when I was young she would stand in front of the mirror and called herself ugly and fat and then she would cry. My grandmother (my mom’s mother) also had an eating disorder for the last 40 years of her life and only weighed in at 65 pounds before she died. So you can image the type of things that were flying around in my head when I was young. I was that girl you described Carmelle. I told my best friend in grade eight that she was too fat. I actually pointed out the layer of fat she had on her stomach. I am totally mortified by that now. How could I have been so cruel? My only excuse is that I was totally fucked up yet, I doubt that helped her out much. She already struggled with her own body image and that continued all through high school. She later became friends with people who made her feel better about herself and introduced her to crack cocaine. The moral of the story is: What Skinny Gossip does and what I did can be a contributing factor to dangerous behaviour.

    As mother’s of girls I hope we can take all this and talk openly about it to try to teach our daughter’s there can be another way.

    [Reply]