In Defense of the Skinny Humblebrag

Skinny women are evil? No, have a seat. Photo credit: Paul Punzo

I’m putting my thick skin on for this one.

I recently realized I am guilty of the skinny humblebrag. It’s despicable, I know. (If you don’t know what a humblebrag is, look here or here, and there’s even a book!) For you snarky types, this post can also be summarized as “waah, waah, waah, boo hoo hoo.”

Here’s what happened. The other day, I posted this on my Facebook page:

Never been a fan, but I won’t even lie: The Black Eyed Peas make perfect workout music.i bounce ALLADIS weight off me! LOL ‪#‎cardio‬

My friends and family posted “What weight?!” and protested that they had more weight than I did, or that I had no weight struggle to speak of (the latter was in response to my joke, “YOU DON’T KNOW MY STRUGGLE!”). I love them; it was all in good fun. 

I have been small my entire life, never having passed 4’10”. It took me a long time to accept not only my stature, but also my size and weight. Bigger is better, right? Anything outside of average gets you noticed in somewhat uncomfortable ways, like these:

How much do you weigh?! I could probably bench press you.
You mad low to the ground!
Skinny Minnie!
I’m taller than you! 
(says every 4th grader I know)

Prego Dara with basketball belly.

At times, being short and small is funny; there is shortage of short jokes. (See what I did there?) Other times, it’s tiring.

In 2012, I had a baby, after which I experienced weight insecurity. I had not crossed 100 lbs prior to pregnancy, but there I was, softly bulging in places where I wasn’t used to roundness. Some of the awkwardness remains. I have a pudgy stomach with an obnoxious belly button. People marvel at how much weight I lost, but they don’t know that I suck in my stomach in public.

I inconsistently exercise, trying this #weightlosschallenge and that #squatchallenge, only to quit by the fourth day. And yet, I am relatively okay with my size overall. Inadvertently, I benefit from a culture that prizes thinness and indulges in thinly veiled fat shaming under the guise of health concern. Realistically, I’m still a small woman. I do not know if am unashamed to share my weight because it is close to “normative” or if my battles with self-confidence have given me that boldness. I can only hope it doesn’t reek too badly of skinny humblebrag.

When I say that I’m going to take some pounds off, I’m not trying to be the skinny chick who slyly points out how out-of-shape you are. It’s because I tussle with body confidence as much as the next woman, whether or not you think I deserve to.

I’m just a girl, in the world/ That’s all that you’ll let me be.  Photo Credit: Reggie Eldridge (www.whoisrjel.com)

When Allure magazine posted Zoe Saldana’s weight on the cover, I cheered a bit. Black women are often expected to be “thick” but not “fat,” slender with roller coaster dips in their frames. It’s up to me to shrug off skinny shaming because I’m not a thickums, as much it’s up to full-figured women to shrug off fat shaming. Who is going to rep for women like me, women who often have more angles than curves, no booty meat to twerk with, and can barely reach five feet tall wearing heels? Every woman is a real woman, and we should all rep our beautiful thick thin short tall selves. Without inward or outward shame.

So, hi. My name is Dara, I’m 4’10”, I weigh 102 lbs, and while I’m not 100% satisfied with my post-baby body, I work daily on loving it.

Love yourself some you today.

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7 thoughts on “In Defense of the Skinny Humblebrag

  1. Love your view D! I think where the comments lie is in the struggle to conform to what is “normal” even by doctors standards. I love seeing you post Bean and seeing the roundness and curves on you and still envying that with the added weight you are still considered normal for your weight and size. The struggle in those naturally disposed or medically stunted into the “black normal” of obesity is a hard cookie (pun intended) to munch on. Love your transparancy! Love you!

    1. Thanks, ladybug 🙂 I try to tread really carefully around this topic. In some cases, people sound full of themselves. I honestly just wanted to express that small chicks have issues, too!

  2. Great post! I thought it was weird that everyone freaked about Zoe Saldana’s weight as well. Was she supposed to pretend to be heavier for everyone’s peace of mind?

    1. You know, I wondered the same thing! I hear so often, “Models and celebrities aren’t REAL women!” Well, then, are they androids?

      If that is normal, healthy body weight, then let the woman be 115 pounds! It makes no sense to shame her into being heavier to appease our insecurities. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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