What's the Skinny?

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According to Hollywood types—so, of course, we HAVE to listen because they know everything—calling someone “skinny” now is just as insulting as calling someone “fat.”

You know, there was that age in paintings where the artists did lots of nudes of, shall we say, hefty ladies. The copiously rounded physique was considered the ideal look for a woman. I guess I can see how, in those days, calling someone “skinny” would have been an insult. Being skinny back then meant you were not only flying against societal convention, you were depriving the dress makers of selling you large amounts of cloth.

Now, though? Considering the models who pop up in clothing ads on my computer look like they haven’t eaten anything larger than a single puff pastry a week in years, I find it hard to believe that “skinny” is in any way an insult. That would be like someone watching me play softball and me being insulted because they said I “hit well”. With skinny being the ideal in the fashion world, how were we supposed to know it was an insult in the talkative world?

We weren’t, of course.

A skinny person—excuse me, “chronically underweight” person—somewhere decided she was jealous of those who are oppressed by being called “fat” so she decided to be just as insulted when someone called her skinny. Wait, I’m being insensitive here. Why would I assume whoever started this nonsense was feminine? Men start just as many foolish things, including most wars and the designated hitter rule in baseball.

And the reality is that whoever started objecting to being called “skinny” probably wasn’t. They wanted to be skinny. They might have even been “slimmer than the societal average” but they were unable to make it all the way to skinny. Call it bone structure or just your garden variety addiction to Dairy Queen Dilly Bars, but they never quite achieved skinny. So, seeing that they were never going to be called skinny, they began to object to anyone else being called skinny.

Call me crazy, but this is how our world works. (You can even call me “skinny”. I won’t mind, but you’ll look kinda dumb because I’m not particularly skinny.)

The deal is, we live in a world that is increasingly without standards. Nothing is wrong or—heaven forbid, if there is a heaven—sinful. Do whatever you want, it’s OK.

Except that the human mind rebels against that idea naturally. We know there are standards, even if we don’t agree on what they are … usually. The next time someone tells you there is no right or wrong, punch them in the nose. See if they think that was wrong.

There are standards, but if people are being raised without knowing them, then they make up their own. So words like “sin” and “marriage” mean nothing, but words like “fat” and “skinny” do.

I’ll try not to call people “skinny” anymore, for the same reason I don’t call people “fat.” But these are just words, and subjective words at that. What if we discover one day that there really are standards to this world and we haven’t been keeping them? We’re going to feel pretty silly if it turns out the standards had nothing to do with cellulite.