Recently I was listening to the song, “all about that bass” by Meghan Trainor, in which a line says ‘skinny bitches’.
I have many slim friends and non of them I would term a bitch.
Why should big people hate small people and vice versa just for their size.
You can listen to our message on The Beard Of Zeus Podcast if you can’t read just now!
So I asked friend and fellow Personal Trainer Charlotte Blake to give me her opinion of being small, along with mine of being big.
I was asked by the lovely Charlie Shotton- Gale to write my perspective of size shaming emphasised by the recent song “all about the bass”. The pros, the cons and the perception of society as a small person.
I found it hard. While I consider myself small- I rise to the dizzy heights of 5ft 3 in the morning, and a size 10 on “fat” day. But I consider myself to have more junk in my trunk than the average carboot sale, and bigger “guns” than most guys. So this took a lot of thinking.
- Cons of being small
I need to get a step or a tall friend to help me reach stuff…or learn parkour…
low bodyfat means I get cold quickly, so while my clothes are smaller, I actually probably spend more on clothes and layering.
- Vulnerability, because I’m small I feel vulnerable, in crowds I stand a foot lower than everyone else, don’t dominate as much space as everyone else. In terms of being a female, it would be stupid to deny that the risk of getting into a vulnerable situation is very real whether you are large or small. But I am often aware of how I may be seen as an easy target to pick off the runt of the litter….this may be part of what fuels my passion for fitness!
- Perception: Social perception views smaller women as “dainty” and is synonymous with “feminine”and not in a good way. Hands up, I am guilty of sometimes playing to this. Cant be bothered to cue at a bar? Flutter your eyelashes and job sorted. Cant be bothered to carry your own bags across the train station? No worries “oh gosh, i’m terribly sorry, I don’t suppose you could help me could you?” *flutter flutter flutter* however as a professional I have seen it in many companies, not just to myself, but other small stature individuals, especially in the fitness industry where they have been overlooked because they are perceived to be “just not up to the job”
In a study in America, taller men were perceived to me more successful than shorter men.
Pros of being small:
- when you do get underestimated as just another “small girl” it opens opportunities that others may not see. Often you get to see the true colours of an individual, and get to see through those who are just blowing smoke up your arse, and those who you would genuinely want to work with you.
- Turned 30 in July….still get ID’ed….WINNING!
- Childrens section…VAT free.
- I am EPIC at hide and seek.
I think we can add to the ‘pro’ list the fact that society sees her as an ‘attractive’ or ‘sexy’ size to be.
My pro/con list.
- I am big and STRONG. This body of mine had led me to being 6 time British powerlifting, British and commonwealth record holder along with a ranking of 4th in Europe and 5th in the world.
This means I can lift what most men cannot. This doesn’t bother me, because I know if those men started training they would soon overtake me. It’s more that my big physique, that I was bullied about at school, has amounted to a huge something as an adult.
I found my niche with being big, and it feels fantastic!!
- I do not fear life as much as I would imagine I would if I were small and dainty, I feel I have the strength, size and confidence to defend myself.
This is a personal thing because I know many small ladies who can perfectly well defend themselves!
- I feel I have the freedom to say ‘I enjoy eating cake’ and people don’t think I’m a secret eater stuffing myself. Equally they don’t look at me and think ‘lucky cow can eat what she likes’. They realise that if I eat this I have to work harder in the gym.
It’s more like a realisation that you can enjoy food but you’ve gotta be sensible. I’m not lucky, I just work hard.
- I used to think my size was a downfall as a personal trainer. However, I received more feedback that people enjoyed the fact I looked like a ‘woman then a little girl’.
Once again, this is not to negate the look of smaller leaner women, it’s just that many people still believed in my ability as a trainer even though I didn’t look fresh out of a magazine.
- and although this is my final point it’s the most important – I have found the love of my life who loves me when I am 90k and when I’m 80k. He loves my curves and wobbly bits and wants me to be happy whatever size I am.
If you don’t truly think your loved one feels that way…. Maybe it’s not truly your love.
- I go through jeans like no ones business because of the size of my legs.
Also, jeans waists are never the right size to my legs so I always have to wear a belt.
- if I’m in a group picture with 3 small ladies – I do look weird!!
- I can’t wear skin tight fitting clothes. Oh wait, I’m not a chav. So who cares!
We shared this message to others for their opinion and found the following:
- Jacob Paul Common and caveman attitude: small = weak. When I’ve had verbal abuse in London, I wonder if I was 6ft. how the story would pan out. Perhaps more accurate than small = weak, is “smaller than me = weaker than me”.
Katie Sandford Sometimes when I tell people I lift, they express shock that someone “of my stature” actually does that. I’m 5’1″. People seem to believe that strength sports are reserved for big men and a small woman is automatically disqualified. Sometimes I do have to get things off the top shelf in tesco by using other items to knock them off, then catching them. Also I can’t reach the ceiling handholds on the tube so if I can’t grab a pole I can end up falling. Sometimes people lean on the poles while holding the overhead handholds so small people can’t hold onto anything. Also I can’t buy trousers like a normal person. I always have to take them up. Always. Well… I can always fit on a skateboard withorut considering the weight limit. I know that sounds weird, but I have a big lifter friend who wants a longboard and actually has to check the weight limit. I don’t ever have to think about it. I always have legroom on planes and trains. That’s pretty nice.
- Sarah Louise Mawby i am a bigger taller woman who has dealt with massive confidence issues due to my size! Over compensate for these insecurities with faked confidence and make up to make myself more attractive to everyone potential friends and partners. Clothes are a massive issue as nothing fits right and feel there is too much shaming in the world for being bigger! However being tall has its advantages in my youth as Charlotte knows. Looking older due to being taller! I could write an essay on this subject!! Lol if you really need me to go into it hun I shall email you lol!! Is this what u had in mind?
Jess Attree Definitely have trouble getting trousers to fit length wise – same with length of dresses / skirts is always a bit off as well.
I’ve had to climb supermarket shelves, jump on kitchen counters to get things and have also used the hook by hanger method!
Whenever there’s a large cardboard box it seems to be assumed that I should be able to fit into it – same applies to small places in general
Gym wise – have avoided using squat rack on occasion as bar has been left full of weights above a height I’m comfortable getting them from – and only other people in free weights were idiots I didn’t feel I could ask for help. Plus the fun of not being able to reach overhead bars to start with! On the plus side I can happily watch something while on a treadmill whereas my 6’2″ husband has to basically lean over to watch the tv while running! I’m pretty happy being short – never really thought of it as a hindrance, easy to hide and blend in if required. I can happily sleep on most forms of transport as don’t have legroom issues! If I want to be taller I can wear massive heels!
- Christopher Keighley Having longer levers, I find some gymnastics stuff harder to pick up or learn as quick as shorter people. Otherwise my life is awesome.
Terri Newnham I was tallish 5ft 8 .and I have a 5ft sister. men always thought she was little and help less although she is far from it whilst I was the big capable one who didn’t have feelings and could do the donkey work. Now im older 51 people think I must be weak and in capable even though I squat and dead lift and have muscles and im stronger and fitter than I have ever been.
- Joe Whiteley I bang my head a lot, and little old ladies ask me to reach things for them in supermarkets. Finding skinny jeans with a long enough inside leg used to be an issue in the 80s when I wore them. Being tall and skinny attracts piss taking. If any of this is any use…
Matt Griffiths If blokes can play too then I am not the smallest chap in stature. I get comments from time to time, doormen all nod at you, security guards do as well. It’s not uncommon for people to point and or nudge their friends and talk about you, quite obviously as well. Silly little things like “Big enough?” get said which is interesting as I am certain similar rebuttals using observational skills such as “Fat enough” wouldn’t be appreciated.
I forgot about the clothes issue, I can’t often buy off the peg – usually I have to see something I like and search online for a xxxl variant. Shirts have to be tailored to fit, rarely jeans will fit over my bum or thighs and often even things like flannel shirts etc in a larger size etc I will struggle to get my arm into as they don’t make the girth of the arms any bigger. On the plus side, people move out of your way, you are always offered leftover food first. It’s easy to push to the bar in a pub. Most men and women in general are more respectful of you and has to be said you seem to get a lot more female attention being a big strapping chap.
- Sarah Frost As a person of the teeny tiny variety I often get an incredulous ‘really’ when asked my height and I tell them 4’11” – almost as if I’m lying or have chosen to stop at that height! I was always very slight weighing between 6 1/2 & 7 stone up to the age of 30ish and had to deal with the ‘your so lucky you can eat anything’ comments ignoring the fact that I exercised regularly and ate well, plus a little helpful genetics thrown in for good measure! However I have discovered over the past 15 years that it’s entirely possible to override all these factors with an increased consumption of cake & chocolate! Nobody says I’m lucky anymore lol!
- Laura Porter I definitely can’t throw my bodyweight around. And buying clothes can a nightmare (“petite” ranges tend to stop before my size).
anonymous I really really like being the size I am (no complaints here) but I can’t think of any real advantages! Except maybe that I can buy bras in fabulous brands like Curvy Kate and Freya?
Jo Whiteley Disagree with Katy! I reckon being big stops me getting buffeted and knocked around in a crowd. Little people would just bounce off!
- Sarah Hima I can reach things on supermarket shelves. I don’t feel the need to wear heels. I can see where I’m going in a crowd.
Katy Lee There may be something in the fact that because I am short, I have developed crowd-induced aggression. But I would love to reach things on high shelves
- Charlie Shotton-Gale well i’ll chuck in my 2p worth….i love being my size and the way i fill clothes, i love the way my hips look in dresses and trousers…although i stay aware from onesies! I also love my big thick legs because I get a lot of attention from them hahaha…
Sarah Hima I don’t think I can ever hide in a crowd. I’m over six foot in heels. I would like clothes to fit me better though, they are always too short in the body so the waist is never in the right place.
- Rachael Armstrong Very much with you on the big legs Charlie! I LOVE my quads and like wearing short dresses and shorts to show them off. It’s only since I got into lifting that I’ve appreciated them though, before I hated them and hid in baggy jeans. I think it’s the fact I see them as ‘strong’ now rather than how big/small they are x
Daisy Leahy Benefits of being tall: seeing EVERYTHING at gigs being over 6ft in heels has its advantages at a bar too! Disadvantages? Trousers and dresses… Too short every time. Size-wise, I prefer being this shape to a smaller size (nothing to do with clothes ) plus bigger bods should, in theory, lift bigger weights!
- Charlotte Blake Ha ha ha Daisy Leahy as a short person I used to love gigs until they banned crowd surfing. Now I just listen to the radio! Lol!
Molly Chapman Being 5ft on the dot is good because I fit into age 14 clothes etc which are cheaper but also a huge disadvantage with reaching things and finding appropriate sized men !!xx
- Kelly Phasey Being shorter and bigger, allowed me to become a very good scrummager
Naomi Wekesa I like being small but curvy, I can squeeze through in a crowd. I fit comfortably under my hubby’s arm. I’m very strong and people underestimate me because I’m small. I like my strong powerful legs good for cycling, running and hill walking. Since living in kenya I’ve learned to love my bum and hips which previously I hated. Being pregnant in enjoying all my extra curves.
- Karon Killick You really need to come and see the excellent razzle dazzle netball team, currently storming up the league, and all with curvaceous booties
If you have a story of how it is great being big or small comment below and spread the love of what you are and who you are.