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Gender Block: I’m not skinny, it’s OK

Hillary Di Menna

When I describe my body type I cheerily say I’m chubby. Well-intentioned friends are soon to rush in, “No you’re not! You’re so pretty!” And while I have zero problems with my friends calling me pretty, I do have a problem with how we’ve been taught to think skinny is a word we’d find if we looked up pretty in a thesaurus.

Calling myself chubby is quite alright with me, to be honest. There is this skinny/fat idea of bodies and all us in-betweens are left without a word to describe our physical selves if need be, and in a body-obsessed culture the situations arise often.

To call myself chubby is to recognize that the first 22 years of my life, obsessing over my weight—counting calories since I was 5—are behind me. That now I am at a place where not being “skinny” is fine. I want to claim the word chubby, I want to let people know that when someone says they aren’t thin, that it isn’t always a complaint and there is no need to defend their body shape honour.

Now, this isn’t a call to action for us all to go around calling each other chubby, or fat, or skinny, or any type of description because that is not only presumptuous and rude, but totally not cool. However, if someone chooses a word to describe themselves, and it is obviously not in a self-deprecating way, let them own it!

A former This intern, Hillary Di Menna is in her first year of the gender and women’s studies program at York University. She also maintains an online feminist resource directory, FIRE- Feminist Internet Resource Exchange.

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