Hate Your Legs?

skinny legs

I’m not happy with mine either, and here’s why: The model above.

Just look at how skinny those legs are! Hmph, bad photoshopping, right? That’s what I told myself. But then, I accidentally started a video, and the skinny legs marched toward me confidently, even though their owner looks like a polio victim.

Now, we all know that our culture has screwed up our body image, and we know intellectually that legs this skinny aren’t desirable (or for most of us, attainable.) But after seeing enough images of bone-thin models, a normal-sized woman looks hefty.  Hefty and meaty.  Hefty and meaty and unworthy.

How are we supposed to even know what a normal leg looks like?  Personally, I only wear shorts at home, no matter how hot it gets. I may have run out in shorts to walk the dog, but in general, I don’t want to impose my legs on innocent bystanders. I wear a size 4, which is fairly small, but no way will I get my legs out and submit them to judgement. And I’m not thrilled about my lack of a waist.

No matter how many magazines print sanctimonious, preachy articles about eating disorders and the pressure to be unnaturally thin,  these images aren’t going anywhere. A couple of beautiful plump models will appear every so often, as if to prove there’s no bias in the fashion industry. But the ideal of a size-nothing body remains entrenched.

If you have a daughter, your work is cut out for you. Not only do you have all those pop singers writhing around like desperate prostitutes, you still have these fucking legs to deal with.

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15 Responses to Hate Your Legs?

  1. Sam says:

    You are on your own about those legs.

  2. sheriji says:

    Personally, I think her legs, and arms are quite unattractive — like a skeleton’s. No shape, no muscle tone; ick. And if you are a size 4 and won’t let your legs be seen in public you have let all of this crap get to you WAY too much. Put on a pair of short shorts this minute and go to the mall.

  3. David Duff says:

    No, no, no, ‘Sis’, “hefty and meaty” is good! And you’re reading the wrong magazines. Just ask your husband – nicely, mind! – for a peek at his copy of ‘Playboy’ then you’ll see ‘hefty and meaty’.

  4. ali says:

    I don’t know, I’ve seen a photo of your legs and they look good to me – and I am fairly judgmental when it comes to this issue. Oh the hazards of growing up with an anorexic mother (5’6 and weighs 98lbs) ! Her legs look like a pair of two tooth picks stuck together by bulbous play dough knobs.

    Personally, I feel much more pressure to have skinny arms and a flat, defined stomach.

    Maybe the anemic leg thing is more deeply entrenched in LA & NY. The consensus from the urban hipster communities of Seattle, Austin, Denver, Dallas, SF & beyond is slightly different. At the moment, these towns are all about big booties and shapely thighs. – so many “larger” “curvacious” girls are vindicated by the current body trends.

    Personally, I interpret it as pressure to do lots of squats 🙁

  5. Dj says:

    Sister, you are letting this pale, anemic, wobbly urchin get to you?? If you were a man would you want to seduce this x ray? I have always had LEGS, not thin not heavy, somewhat muscular…and now at 60, I don’t care…veins, cellulite, bruises…I would rather tone up and stop fixating on 20 year olds. When I weighed 112 in my 20s still didn’t have legs like that…also, no one ever complained……you are stunning and far more interesting

  6. Steph says:

    Fuckit. Everyone is built differently. There is always someone somewhere who will be attracted to a person, no matter what size or shape they are. Just like there is always someone somewhere armed with a scathing critique of a person’s anatomy. Like most, I have a running internal monologue letting me know how flawed I am. I do my best not to focus on it. As hard as it is (and yeah it’s fucking hard) I try to focus on just being healthy and comfortable. I guess that’s the thing most of us should strive for.

    I hate seeing anyone singled out and mocked because of their body. I spent years thinking I was a hideous, skeletal freak because I was constantly bombarded by disgusted “OMG YOU”RE SO SKINNY!” exclamations. Then I grew an ass and was given the privilege of hearing about that, too. I’ve had boyfriends who’ve wanted me fatter. I’ve had boyfriends who’ve wanted me thinner. Regardless of the fact that my weight rarely fluctuates more than five freaking pounds in either direction, sometimes I think I’m scrawny and sometimes I think I’m pudgy. The media tells me I look all wrong, and I can buy my way to aesthetic perfection as if there even were such a thing. It’s all fucking ridiculous.

    At this point, when I find myself wishing a piece of me was bigger or smaller or longer or shorter (AKA all the fucking time), it’s tempting to just punch myself in the face. Instead, I’ve started reminding myself that I can still do cartwheels at 42 and yes, it’s ridiculous, but it’s a better indicator that this body is working for me than measuring how I look against any body on the goddamn planet that isn’t and can never be mine.

    Your legs are fucking awesome, Sister. Use them to kick the next person or thing that makes you feel otherwise.

  7. Sister Wolf says:

    Sheriji – I know, I wish I weren’t so suggestible.

    David – He does like ‘meaty,’ you are absolutely right.

    ali – Yep, it’s all fucked. Abs, butt, whatever it is, we can’t be good enough, we can’t measure up. Squats are the worst punishment of all.

    Dj – Oh, you’re 60 too?? I should follow you lead on this.

    Steph – If only I could do cartwheels! You’re right about everything, of course.

  8. Debbie says:

    If I were a size 4 I’d die of happiness. I’d wear shorts and sleeveless tops and I would be totally ok dressing in summer. When you are size 14 the summer idea of clothing makes you super depressed.

  9. Cricket9 says:

    Pfft. I’m 64, live in a place with a fairly big population of American expats, and just LOVE my legs. They get me wherever I want to go, they climb stairs and jump over the puddles. I wouldn’t make such a big deal out of this, but – so many people my own age or younger CAN’T WALK. Not the locals, of course, I’m talking about Americans and an odd Canadian. I’ve never seen, in my entire life, so many replaced hips and knees, so many joints giving up under the huge weight, so many people telling me that 15 minutes walk is “very far” and I should take a cab. Fuck the skinny legs, I love my well-functioning legs, even if they are, by someone standards, “meaty”.

  10. Katy says:

    I love my legs. They are not skinny or meaty, they are just legs but importantly they take me where I want to go, be it running, walking or climbing. They are often white and pasty, bruised and scarred but I refuse to bow to the fashion standard and thigh gap mania. Did she run a half marathon this weekend? Or manage to run for her train carrying a 20kilo suitcase in her arms? Probably not. That’s what legs should do. Having broken one last year my mobility and strength outweigh any visual worries.

  11. grass is not greener says:

    I am Black and very skinny. My legs look like that except hairy with tiny, tiny spots of vitaligo (my parents have bigger spots). Try being Black in a White world AND skinny in a Black world. You don’t belong anywhere, no man of any colour wants you and people judge you from all angles. They cannot imagine how a Black woman could be thin…people have asked if my mother was malnourished and if she was a teen mom, etc. People say the obvious that I have an ED which I don’t…just broke. I am the kind of person where my looks are *almost* pretty but I’m still just ugly enough to be up for constant debate…to my face or within earshot. White people might envy how thin I am but my skin and hair are considered undesirable…people have said shit to my face I am not just assuming. Black guys want a meaty light skinned woman. Most guys want things to jiggle during sex so all this dying to be thin is bull. Meaty girls know they are number one. Shitting on thin women who are usually very flat chested is not nice. Saying real women have curves makes A cup women feel like shit. We already know nobody wants us. All the guys I see have a girl with some jiggle. At least you have a husband who obviously loves you. I am almost 30 and never even had a boyfriend or a kiss or date or anything. I had gallbladder issues (most women do!) so I can’t eat a lot of stuff that would help me gain weight. Exercising makes me feel better and I think it helps with my digestion so I can’t stop doing that. Skinny is not everything. I may be skinny with my clothes on but naked I am very hairy (can’t afford waxing or laser), I have weird birthmarks, a line on my stomach, surgery scars, a crooked face (my doctor pointed that out!) and discolouration. Some things could be corrected but would require lots of money. I would love to be perfectly smooth and shiny like all those brown celebrities and grow a few inches in every direction. People stare at me because I look like an alien with a tiny body and a large head. I look like a boy/girl who is 12 but I am a grown woman. That is why transgender people frustrate me…yeah I’m going there. Why would you intentionally want to mess yourself up like that? Why does everyone else have to accept themselves or age with grace and they don’t? Some people look androgynous already or are actual hermaphrodites. I would love to get my crooked nose and jaw fixed or get laser hair removal and they spend thousands cutting off their genitals and breasts.

  12. Sister Wolf says:

    grass – This makes me sad. And angry on your behalf. You are lovable as you are. So am I and so are all women or all sizes, color, weight etc. Our culture has fucked us up so badly, through advertising. Hairy women are considered beautiful in some cultures, but ours is particularly averse to hairiness. Fuck it. Go out and socialize as much as you can or join a group on meetup.com. You deserve a man to appreciate you. xoxo

  13. Janet says:

    As the mom of a 12 year old daughter who’s strong and fit and (so far) seems unconcerned with her weight, I try very hard to avoid criticizing my own body or talking about weight or diets at all. In a culture saturated with talk about women’s bodies, I hope she can remain blissfully unaware of the obsession with “thigh gap” for as long as possible.

  14. Dj says:

    Miss grass, I am picturing the way you describe yourself and think you are probably very hard on yourself…yes, all kinds of beautification tweaking can be expensive. Few can afford total makeovers and most of the time they look unnaturally freakish. You have a unique look, just enhance it! Fashion from two of my favorite stores, Salvation Army and goodwill, can be a start. Create yourself. And then recreate again. Go to target or another store that has a big drugstore section and look at all the products offered for various needs and just try them. I don’t mean to sound superficial, but get out there and be unique. Be the girl who is sleek and stunning. Don’t hide yourself. Be bold. Show all those meaty, booty heavy, fake nail, fake boob, fake hair creatures who’s boss.

  15. Cole says:

    She’s also probably like 6 feet tall, that’s why they look even more exaggerated.

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