There's been a growing trend lately that seeks to put an end to the classic image of the model: The tall, rail thin, size zero woman who does not represent the majority of women. While I'm on board with the movement and do think that the fashion industry upholds a very rare and impossible to achieve standard of beauty, I also HATE when people counter this message by saying "Real women have curves." This phrase only serves to put others down while lifting up a certain demographic. It makes it seem as though women who aren't a size zero should be THE standard, not included in it.
As a petite girl who has some curves that may not be easily discerned under my daily clothes, it annoys the ish outta me when people make sweeping comments about my body. So to help them out on what NOT to say to small/petite girls, here are 4 common phrases to avoid:
1. Girl, you're an itty-bitty thing. You know you can wear anything!
Just because someone is 5 foot tall or weighs in the double digits does NOT mean that she can wear spandex and booty shorts just because. There are many different body types on petite women. Some of us are bowlegged, have big butts, knock knees, etc. Therefore we cannot wear anything we put on and it magically looks good.
2. You need to put some more meat on those bones.
I don't understand why people think it is okay to say this. This is akin to telling a fat person they need get rid of some of their shamu blubber. It's offensive and rude. Some people are just naturally skinny, it's in their genes and there is nothing they can do about it. I can't tell you how many times people have said this to me and I'm not even skinny! Once again, petite girls are not all monolith when it comes to our body types
3. You must be (so and so) pounds soaking wet!
Yea, I don't weigh that much, but adding the soaking wet part just ventures into rude territory. I can translate this into: "Even if you were naked you'd still be heavy as an elephant!"--okay this may be a slight exaggeration but still, if its taboo to talk about a big person's weight, then apply the same rules when commenting on someone that's petite. I can't blame someone for commenting on my size, since I am smaller than average, but there are not so rude ways to do this, and this ain't it!
4. You're not short, just vertically challenged
Honestly, I'd rather someone call me short than "vertically challenged". I know most people say this in a joking way but it actually makes me feel more abnormal when its phrased in this way. Why bother being PC about shortness? Is it so bad that short people have to be treated with kid gloves? Yea I'm short and I'm cool with it, so you should be too!
5. Diet? What you mean diet? You KNOW you don't need a diet!
Contrary to popular belief, petite girls may need to diet. Whether we have thick thighs or are diabetic, small size does not automatically equal a healthy person. Yes being small does have its advantages but it does not mean that you can stop eating a healthy diet just because.
These are just a few things that irk me when it comes to how people respond to my size. Most of these phrases I don't mind being said, but its truly the frequency of the comments that annoys me the most.
Bottom line, I am a petite women who wears a size 0-2 and I am just as "real" as any woman that's a size 14. I agree that standards of beauty should be challenged but they should not be replaced with a new image that is impossible to live up to by others. Instead beauty standards should be all inclusive and appreciate all women, tall, short, dark, fat--whatever--because these types of women are all "real" women.