I am Wendy Williams’ “fifth grade boy”

Talk show host Wendy Williams was recently quoted as saying she would love to see full-figured Adele naked in a PETA advertisement (whose images of naked women have somehow not convinced me to stop eating chicken). Here is Willimas’ quote (read the full article at the Huffington Post):

“I would like to see Adele naked,” Williams said. “As a woman of a particular size myself, there is no hating on skinny girls, but there is nothing interesting about their bodies. I think for women, curves and softness is what separates men from women. Three cheers for girls that are built like fifth grade boys, but there is something to be said for womanly women.”

Um, exsqueeze my bony ass?

Williams’ “no hating on skinny girls” is immediately followed by the arguably hateful “there is nothing interesting about their bodies” and “three cheers for girls that are built like fifth grade boys.”

Kind of like, “No offense, but you’re an asshole.”

Imma try this on you, Wendy:

“As a woman of a particular size myself, there is no hating on full-figured girls, but there is nothing attractive about their bodies. … Three cheers for girls that are built like Williams, but there’s something to be said for physically fit women.”

Now, of course, we all know that “thin” does not equate to “fit” or even “healthy” – crackheads, heroin addicts, and meth-heads are extraordinarily thin, but I wouldn’t want to follow their diet regimen – but I had to come up with something to go up against Williams’ idea of what makes a woman a “woman.” And apparently, that thing is more weight.

I recognize that over the years (decades) it’s been a kind of free-for-all on larger people. The media – to include news, television shows, radio bits, and movies – are very comfortable mocking them. There is no skinny equivalent of the Melissa McCarthy role in “Bridesmaids” unless you count Kramer from “Seinfeld,” but I never got the impression that his physical humor relied on his physique as much as it did on his mannerisms. Newman, with his build, could have played the same role. McCarthy in “Bridesmaids,” on the other hand, often made her weight the joke.

It’s been heartening to see heavier people fighting back. I was happy about the Dove commercials featuring women of different sizes. Thrilled to see all the reveals of Photoshopped images on magazine covers (and doubly thrilled when actresses whose bodies were “edited” spoke out about it).

But what hasn’t been as uplifting is the backlash on thin women. Far from the freeing and accepting “Women come in all shapes and sizes,” the message is shifting to an attack on the little ‘uns: “The only real women are the ones who aren’t thin!”

This is a counterproductive stance. It succeeds only in dividing women further (and do we really need any help in that area?). Rather than defending, and highlighting the beauty of, the fuller figure in general, it builds a wall between women of different shapes.

Granted, this insult-hurling is probably something thinner women have been doing to fuller women for some time – along with everyone else. But if the goal is to encourage acceptance of women of all sizes, shouldn’t the focus instead be on … well … the acceptance of women of all sizes?

I’ve never had anything against fuller-figured women (or bigger people in general), so when someone like Williams says very publicly that I, a petite woman, am built like a “fifth grade boy” – and, by the way, some men will also refer to thinner women as being built like boys, so I know it’s not just women who are guilty of this – I’m not sure how to take it.

Should I feel apologetic for being thin? For preferring how I look with less weight than I do with more? For eating a fairly balanced diet, exercising three (okay, two) times a week and rationing my cheesecake intake in an effort to maintain the size I feel works best on me?

Should I suck it up and take the “You look like a boy!!” insults because, hell, thin women have been on top for years and it’s our turn to take the abuse?

I guess I could. But I won’t. Reverse discrimination is still discrimination, and I, like anyone else, don’t take kindly to being insulted. Why would I? Because of my weight?

Wouldn’t it be nicer if acceptance of one’s own appearance could occur without the shaming of another’s? At least in the world of grownups, which includes Wendy Williams?

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4 thoughts on “I am Wendy Williams’ “fifth grade boy”

  1. Puffy

    While I agree with the sentiment here, you do realize *why* this backlash is happening, right? I mean, for decades “curvy” women have been labelled slobs, ugly, and all kinds of negative words. I’m all for mutual acceptance, but that’s truly not how the world works. People who have been beaten down by magazines, media, other women who finally find themselves in a place where they are at least seen as okay have this natural reaction to be harsh in return. World peace will never happen because someone has to be right and someone has to be wrong, according to human nature. Same thing goes with fat vs thin.

    Sure, theoretically it would be nice is everyone was fit and everyone loved their bodies and accepted everyone else’s. But let’s not pretend that’s the world we live in. Avoiding the harsh realities certainly won’t change the world either. Personally, I find all of this “I’m thin, I”m still better than you!” rhetoric hilarious. It’s the same as religious vs atheist, childfree vs parents.. What was once popular is losing it’s luster and shine and it’s difficult for any long-lasting majority to see their popularity or importance waning.

    Personally, as someone who has fought her whole life just to be a widely acceptable weight, I find your outrage hilarious. You’re experiencing a teeny taste of the hate I’ve had to deal with, and you’re doing it with anger, hostility and a clear lack of grace. You’re not even participating in your typed desire for everyone to accept everyone as you draw clear thin vs heavy lines yourself. Fat people aren’t going to feel sorry for you for being thin, just as you have done the same to fat people. Do you know why “the jolly fat person/she has a good personality” stereotype exists? Because fat people have had to be better people, funnier people, happier people to be accepted. Now it’s time for skinny people to learn to be better people as well.

    Oh woe is you for exercising maaaaaybe two times a week and being skinny. Puh-lease. Maybe the world would be a better place if people understood the nature of popularity: once a market is inundated and over-saturated with a certain type of product or person or ideal, it losing its shine and importance. If people understood that their chosen everything (music, clothing, personal style, weight, hair…) will never be the lasting norm and they accept themselves outside of media’s influence, they wouldn’t be so upset at the quotes and comments made by people whose only redeeming quality is fame or fortune. But really, you’re no better that what you’re attempting to lambaste. All I’ve read is “I am skinny! I’m not supposed to be insulted!” and that’s pretty sad itself.

  2. I’m not sure where you’re getting “I’m thin, I’m still better than you.”

    I also never asked anyone to feel sorry for me. I just said insulting thin women isn’t an effective way to encourage acceptance of women of all sizes.

    I don’t know that I’m outraged, necessarily – but does the difficulty larger people have necessarily have to cancel out the difficulty others have? Am I not entitled to defend myself and strike back at someone who insults me/my “kind” simply because I haven’t had a hard time of it in the last few years in the exact same way someone who weighs more has? How do you determine who is allowed to feel, who should suck up the insults? What’s the magic poundage?

    “Oh woe is you for exercising maaaybe two times a week…” You’re reading so much into what I wrote. I was saying people are different sizes for different reasons, and people prefer themselves at weights that suit them. I’ve weighed more, I’ve weighed less. I prefer weighing less. I’ve seen other women who look silly when they lose a lot of weight, because the weight they had before they lost it all just seemed to fit. My point was that I intend to be this weight – I eat less than I used to, I try to balance my diet, etc. It’s not something I’m going to apologize for, was the point.

    “All I’ve read is ‘I am skinny! I’m not supposed to be insulted!” Well, you didn’t read very carefully, then. What I said was, fat or skinny, neither should be insulted. Yeah, the world is a certain way and people are a certain way, but why accept it? Why not try for something better?

  3. Thanks for this. As a former very-skinny-person who then gained a lot of weight, lost it again and now hovers in the somewhat-overweight category., I’m sick of the hate from everyone. Fat people certainly don’t have it easy in this society, but I’ve been the recipient of far more ridicule when I was underweight, desperately trying to gain. It’s lovely to be accused of having an eating disorder multiple times a day, every day, by random strangers, no less, when there is a medical reason you can’t gain weight. The only person who’s ever said anything to me about being overweight, was my mom.

    Why do people feel the need to comment on anyone else’s body type? Frankly, unless you’re my doctor and concerned about my health, it’s not your business! (Mom, take note!)

    While I”m here, I’ll add that I hate the whole “Real women have curves” bit. First of all, “curves” often seem to be code for “fat,” Secondly, “real” women come in all shapes and sizes. There is beauty to be found in every body type, and we are more than just our bodies.

    It would be really, really nice if we could all get over the need to put others down so we can feel good about ourselves. I really wish Wendy Williams had been able to get her point across without getting snarky about slender women.

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