Featured Writer: Leighann Lord
Women & Body Image
Leighann Lord talks about how body image cuts both ways, and why we should try to NOT hate on that skinny girl at the gym.
Okay, we're coming up on New Year’s resolution time. If one of them is going to the gym, do yourself a favor: When you get there, please don’t hate on the skinny girl.
I know that’s not your intention. Your workout and health goals are all about you. But, sometimes when you’re on the treadmill, finally hitting your stride, keeping a pace that’s challenging but not impossible, it’s natural to let your attention wander. And that’s when you’ll see her: that effortlessly slim woman who makes everybody in the gym look bad. She might be on a machine nearby or just leaving the gym because, of course, she got there before you did. “OMG does she live here?”
Look at her. No muffin hanging out over the top of her spandex—the spandex in that rich, pretty magenta color that they didn’t have in your size. She’s got no discernable arm fat, back fat, or fat-fat. You catch yourself staring and quickly switch to giving her the side eye before she senses your kettlebell-penetrating glare. You pick up your pace a bit and think to yourself, “Dammit, she don’t even need to be in here. Skinny bitch.”
But, don’t take the hate bait. Skinny is heavy with a lot of assumptions.
Just because someone is slim does not mean they have strength, stamina, low-cholesterol, or good credit. Yeah, okay, pound for pound the scale is definitely tipped in her favor, but genetics play a role too. You can’t always see the hand DNA has dealt. And maybe that skinny chick is also a sick chick; taking meds she can’t pronounce to manage a condition you’ve never even heard of. Repeat after me: Skinny does not mean immortal.
But maybe, just maybe, the skinny girl at the gym is a Fembot, sent here by a race of superior beings from another planet to be on the front lines of the coming alien invasion. It’s all a part of a plot to keep you unfit so you won’t be able to fight or flee when it all goes down. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Ok. Full disclosure: I may or may not be the skinny girl at the gym. (Sometimes I am. Sometimes I’m not. It all depends on how close we are to sweet potato pie season.) But when it’s not me, I’m smart enough not to hate on her just in case she really isn’t from around here. And maybe, just maybe, my humanity will inspire her to intercede on my behalf when the alien overlords arrive with their hard chiseled abs and perfectly sculpted tentacles. That’s what inspires me to keep my New Year’s resolutions. Silly? Yes. But whatever works, right?