Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Am I Thin? A Followup to Brittany's "Am I Curvy?" Post

Brittany recently posted a phenomenal entry called, "Am I Curvy?" If you haven't read it, you should read it now, before continuing with my post. You can find it HERE.

This question I'm proposing isn't asked as often here on the blog, or in the emails, but I think it makes perfect sense to address both adjectives in the title of the blog.

Am I thin? Am I pretty enough? Am I a small enough pants size for people to find me attractive? Is my waist small enough? Should I lose 15 pounds? If I wear a XL, does that mean I'm fat?

The media bombards us women with immense insecurity regarding weight. The women you see on billboards have had their arms and thighs thinned out, their waistline smoothed, their cleavage enhanced... you get the picture. It's impossible to live up to the standard of someone who's half-photo, half-smudging tool.

I think now is a perfect time to address the elephant in the room. Y'know, the one who's been eating an extra cupcake here and there, and I'm going to ask myself a very serious question. Am I thin? Curvy has never been a concern of mine, and when Brittany and I first met in college, thin wasn't a concern either.

Then law school happened. There are two main types of stress reactions in law school: stress eating and stress-forgetting-to-eat. I fell into the former category, heavily. In addition, I moved from an area where walking around downtown involved endless hills, where my job had required me to walk up and down stairs every 20 minutes while doing rounds, and where taking hikes in the mountains was a common activity. I moved from a place that celebrated the outdoors and moving around to a place that celebrated shopping malls and restaurants. I was spending a great deal of my time studying, outside of commuting between class and home. When I took breaks from studying, I went out to eat with friends almost every time. I hardly cooked for myself those entire three years, which was very strange, considering that I'd almost decided to go to culinary school.

Unsurprisingly, I gained weight. And now, writing for this blog, I knew I'd be faced with criticisms about my weight. Why am I writing for Thin and Curvy, when I'm not "thin" by some people's standards?

Here's the thing. No matter what label you want to attach to me personally ("fat", "not thin", "sow", "elephant", or whatever other creative thing you can think of), I still love my body.  It may not be nearly as thin as Brittany's, nor will it ever be. When it comes to bra fit, she simply has a much smaller ribcage than I do. When it comes to clothes, she has a narrower waist and hips than I always have had. However, "thin" is not one size. "Thin" does not belong to one shape. "Thin," quite frankly, is all a matter of perspective.

So, am I thin?

For this blog's purposes, certainly. This is something that Brittany and I have discussed specifically. My ribcage is still small enough that I'm considered a smaller back size in bra fit. Edwards and Millers, the new lingerie company releasing in 26 backs and specializes in big-busts-small-bands, is going up to 34 bands. That's me! And for the majority of my bra-wearing life, I was a 32-band. I only, literally, went up to 34 a few months ago. That can be 100% attributed to "moving" stress.

For the real world's purposes? I have no idea, and quite frankly, the real world's opinion of my size doesn't matter. I love writing for Thin and Curvy and speaking to another audience of Brittany's. I don't want anyone thinking that I am trying to replace Brittany, or that I can provide the exact same advice about the exact same sets of problems. I am here to add another voice to this amazing blog, and am quite honored that Brittany asked me.

But what about you, dear reader? Are you thin?

That's something that only you have the power to determine for yourself. Everyone's going to have their opinion, of course, but the real problem with defining "thin" (just like defining "curvy") is that everyone's going to draw comparisons. Put me next to Brittany, and sure, I don't look as thin as she does. But put me next to the heaviest man on earth, and I'll look teeny tiny. What's most important is, just how important is being "thin" to you, anyway? As long as you feel beautiful/sexy/confident/cute/loveable/intelligent/witty/charming/etc., what does "thin" have to do with it?

Love your body, whether it's straight, curvy, thin, fat, tall, short... It's the only one you've got.

30 comments:

  1. I've been feeling a lot better about my body since I started thinking of people in similar terms to dog breeds. Dogs have a pretty wide range of acceptable weights based on their size category. A medium sized dog could be anywhere from 30 to 70 pounds. That's a huge difference! Why can't people be categorized like that?

    I am tall, muscular, busty, and large-framed. I've decided I am a Large Breed female, maybe something strong, elegant, and intelligent like a German Shepherd. My tiny, feisty friend might be a Dachshund. That takes all the sting out of the thin/fat question. We're not competing; we're just different breeds in different categories.

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    1. That's a pretty cool way to think about it! Now I've gotta figure out what breed I would consider myself to be...

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  2. I don't consider myself thin because I am certainly overweight at the moment (extended schooling can be rough on keeping up good habits, as you mention!), but before my weight gain I considered myself average. Yes, I have a 34 band size and it will never be smaller, but in terms of bra fitting, I actually have a lot of 'thin' problems. I have almost no squish (less than 1" difference between my super tight and relaxed underbust measurements), which gives me a lot of issues in common with the small band/large bust crowd. Do I let the band ride up or do I let the wires warp, or do I go for a bit of both? What's the best balance between comfort for my ribs and comfort for my back?

    One thing that fascinates me as I learn more about bra fitting is just how different our bodies can be. I can be short but not have 'short' fitting issues because my breasts are low-set and I have a longer torso. I can be short but not have 'petite' issues because I have large ribs and broad shoulders. I can have lower-set breasts but still have 'high-set' issues because of my tall breasts. And of course I can have a larger band size and still have 'thin' fitting problems! We are so much more diverse than a few labels suggest.

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    1. I 100% agree! A word like "thin" or "curvy" just does not cover what a woman's body can comprise!

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    2. I have fitting issues that I "shouldn't" have as well.I sometimes feel like I'm made out of body parts from different people.haha.I'm average height at 5 foot 6,yet I often need pants with a petite inseam.I'm bigger and plus size,my shoulders are not small,though maybe a bit sloping?And I often have issues with bra straps cause of it...going into my armpits,not being where they should be.

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  3. I'm not thin, but I am thin for my bra size of 34G. I have a large-boned body type, but I am also an hourglass. The only part of me that has ever objectively been thin by society's standard is my waist and stomach area. However, a thin waist and a full bust/hip does make me "curvy" at any weight or clothing size. I'm not curvy in the sense of round; I'm curvy in a swoopy in-and-out sense. I would not describe myself to others as thin, but I have most of the fit problems described on this site. (I lack the tiny ribcage, however, as I am built like a Viking.)

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    1. I'm so glad to hear we can help, even if you don't personally describe yourself as "thin". :) Join the club!

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    2. Usually when I think of curvy I think of swoop in and out,not round,but it's a matter of opinion.

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  4. I never really considered myself thin, but in the last couple weeks, I've had several men mention that I was thin. It really got me thinking in a way because I don't like to use weight-related adjectives to describe myself. I find it can feed into those latent inadequacy feelings I battle if I start down that path, and I am so glad you addressed this subject and encouraged people to look for attributes aside from thinness. In our superficial society, it's easy to fixate on external descriptions and miss celebrating the wonderful internal characteristics that make us special.

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    1. I'm glad this post resonated with you! It really can be so easy to get dragged down by terms like "thin" and "fat". I'd rather celebrate things that are a bit more concrete that I really can get behind. I do appreciate my intelligence, my sense of humor, etc.

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  5. I've always considered myself "pleasantly plump" and after getting married 3 years ago, I put on 20lbs. Though I've lost those 20lbs over the past 6 months, and still feel I need to slim down a bit, I have come to be much happier with my body over the past couple years. After reading an article that suggested focusing on parts of the body that we like, that's exactly what I've done. I'm not a fan of my stomach area, but I don't let that overshadow what I love about my body: my legs are full and make me capable of lifting over 150lbs; my arms are thick and strong; my hair is soft and curly; my eyes are sparkly! These are the things I have taught myself to focus on. While I don't always succeed in this attitude, it has been helpful when it comes to thinking positively about my body. =] And it's not just thin/thick/short/tall/etc people who have insecurities. I have a friend who eats and eats and still can't put on weight. She's told me before that she'd love to have a "thicker" frame like me. So needless to say, we all have insecurities. Thank you for this beautiful article, Laura!

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    1. It's always better to think positively! You're absolutely right in that everyone has their insecurities, and the grass always does seem to be greener in ALL the other pastures than your own. It's really better to think about how great your own pasture is, and how lucky you are to have it. :) Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  6. I'm a tiny, curvy person. I think that probably very few people find that off-the-rack clothes fit perfectly, but our particular problems with the fit of clothes are different depending on our body shapes and sizes. I often search websites looking for people who write about being curvy and slender because they may have good tips on finding clothes and undergarments that fit well. So far, the bloggers I've found that describe themselves as thin and curvy are never both. They may be thin for their curviness or curvy for their thinness, but not in as extreme a way as I am. This is not an attack on their sizes or their body shapes in any way - it's just my observation. So yes, for me personally, it would be helpful if you didn't call your website thinandcurvy.com because I end up spending too much time scanning it for ideas that just don't work for me. HOWEEEEEVEEEER, your tips seem to help a lot of people and quite frankly, this is your website and you can call it whatever the hell you want to. It would be completely selfish of me to ask you to change it and I never would, nor would I expect you to. I just wanted to show that maybe some of the people who are writing "But you're not thin!" have a valid point that is not a criticism of your size. I wish that conversations about size could just be about how clothes fit and not how it relates to character.

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    1. Well, I would argue that Brittany IS Thin and Curvy, and she's the one who created the blog! I'm just a contributing writer here. The mere fact that she has added me to her team should not mean that she has to change the name of her blog. Thin and Curvy is her brand, and she has helped a lot of women who share a similar shape to her. Actually, scratch that. She's helped a lot of women of all shapes and sizes, myself included! I learned about certain bra brands through her, and about companies that specialize in clothing for busty women. I'm a prime example of a reader of T&C who doesn't necessarily fit the description of "thin and curvy."

      If I had my own blog, would I call it Thin and Curvy? Probably not, but then again, it's already taken. :)

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    2. I'm writing about it off and on too these days.
      I'm 5'10, and measure 34-24-36.5; by any standards thin (Lose an inch on the hips and I could model, at least, if they were planning to make clothes for curvy figures as my waist would be max 23 in!). That, and I'd need to lose a few years too. Not my point to boast, more my point: I'm tall, skinny AND curvy.
      http://busydarlingstyle.wordpress.com.
      Maybe it helps!

      Also: Petite and Plentiful might be interesting, although she's a bra blogger.

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  7. I have an hourglass figure. I'm 5'9", weigh 145 and my bra size is 32G. I did start looking at this website because it was great to see someone whose figure was a fairly close approximation to mine recommending clothing. I would like to see more of that. I have always had a hard time finding dresses and blouses to fit my large chest but thin frame, so I selfishly am calling for more posts about clothing for people who are thin and curvy.

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    1. Well, Brittany and I are actually able to shop from a lot of the same places -- I just get things a few sizes bigger. You can also search through the archives, or go here for Brittany's compilation:

      http://www.thinandcurvy.com/2010/12/clothes-for-curvesbig-breasts-complete.html

      I am not Brittany's boss and cannot, nor would I want to, control how many posts she makes. She has provided plenty of clothing reviews for companies that are still in production. All I can do, and all I want to do, is help keep the blog active and help another segment of Brittany's audience.

      Here are some other blogs with reviews that may help you:

      http://brasihate.blogspot.com/search/label/Clothing
      http://www.weirdlyshaped.com/
      http://www.missunderpinnings.com/search/label/full%20bust%20clothing

      I hope this helps you in your quest to find a better wardrobe!

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  8. Does 'thin' mean narrow frame? Low BMI? Small measurement of some body part? I do not know.
    I don't care if your body is any definition of thin, or round, or robust, v-shaped, or hexagonal (okay, hexagonal would be kind of mind-boggling). You're a good and informative writer who presents information useful and entertaining to me and many others. That's wonderful and to be celebrated.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! :) A lot of people have opinions on what "thin" means, and some were applying those narrow definitions to me. Totally fine, everyone's entitled! I appreciate that my posts are helpful (and entertaining!) to you. That makes my day!

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  9. Laura, the fact that you write for this blog actually makes me feel a lot better for following and liking it. The name might deceptively make people think that this is a "thin girl's club," full of body policing and self-congratulation, but a quick skim through the entries here make it clear that it's not. You're mainly writing about the challenges of dressing a small frame and a large bust. And some folks who do start out "thin and curvy" might find themselves in the not-so-thin and curvy category without necessarily being able to take tips from plus-sized bloggers (because they're somewhere in between). This blog is useful, and I appreciate that it's inclusive!

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    1. Thank you so much! :) It makes my day to know I can help, and we definitely strive to have an inclusive environment here!

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  10. I'm thin and curvy. At 14, I have 32F breasts and a 35-20-35 figure. I am easily the curviest of my friends and I feel left out a lot when my more slender friends are trying on tight clothes and I know I'll look trashy if I wear those clothes. My breasts get in the way a lot. Plus I get a lot of unwanted attention. I was considering getting a reduction, but this blog has helped me realize that I like my body and wouldn't change it. Thank you! xoxoxo
    -Katerin

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    1. We are so glad we can help! I'm really glad you like your body the way it is. If you ever change your mind in the future and think about a reduction again, all I would advise is that you wait until you're in your late 20s -- at 26 years old, I'm still growing! If I got a reduction now, my boobs would probably just come right back. Not that I'm planning on getting a reduction, but if I were, I would wait until I was older to ensure that my boobs had stopped growing. I know you're not planning on getting them, and that's wonderful! This is just good information to pass along if you meet any friends later on who are thinking about it. :) Knowledge is power! Enjoy your body, and have a wonderful day!

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  12. I'm probably repeating what someone else has said here, but honestly I'm limited on time and I loved this post so I wanted to comment. :) It seems to me that 'thin' is just like you said, how you feel about it. If you don't feel fat, you're thin. If you wear a size two and you feel fat, then from that viewpoint you're not thin, no matter what anyone else would call you (though I would certainly say that learning to love your shape would be a good spot to start!). I find fat and curvy too easily confused in our society, almost like curvy has become a polite way of saying obese. That's just my opinion of course, but I think it's the view point (and from a bra fitting standpoint, the band size) that is most important. And a 34 band is the smallest you can find most places, which DEFINITELY falls under thin! From a health standpoint I think thin is any weight that's healthy. If you're healthy and happy, then I really could not care less about what any numbers are. I love that you love your body and I'm glad you write on this blog. Plus I think you look great! (From the dress review post)

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments! :) I really appreciate it. Health is definitely super important, and I really feel like people need to be more concerned about that than numbers. More importantly, as long as someone's happy with themselves, who has the right to judge?

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  13. Misinformation has lead most people to believe that being hourglass means big breasts,small ribcage, and huge hips. This is not true. You can be all of that and be a a busty pear or rectangle. In fact a small ribcage often means you're pear shaped or a slim rectangle. So if you wear 26 - 32 bra band size odds are you're not hourglass. As true hourglass women wear larger bra bands.

    A hourglass is having broad shoulders (Wide back), a narrow waist, and curvy hips. Broad shoulders on top and curvy hips on bottom makes the waist look narrow in comparison. With broad shoulders you can have more than a 10" difference in hip ratio and still be hourglass. So its the shoulders not the bust is the key factor for identifying your figure shape.

    So if you really want to know your figure, get a roll of 24" sketch paper, a pencil, and a friend. Strip down to your underwear, lay on top of the paper, and get your friend to trace your figure. When finished look at the picture, that's your figure. You can find out more here: http://pardonmyhips.tumblr.com/post/29946036722/identify-your-body-type#disqus_thread

    I think all shapes can be beautiful. But in order to dress better, we must be honest with ourselves. Clothes should work with our bodies not against it. If a pear shape woman dresses like an hourglass, she'll looks frumpy. But if she dresses emphasizing her small delicate shoulders and thin neck, she'll look so good no one will care if she's not hourglass.

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    1. This actually helps me a lot, as when I was smaller, I never knew quite how to define myself. I'd just go ahead and say, "I'm a stick with boobs and a butt." I didn't feel confident in calling myself hourglass, because my ribcage and my waist were so close in measurement, and my waist doesn't stand out as tiny in comparison.

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I always love to hear your thoughts! Please remember to be respectful. I may not publish comments that are rude, hateful, personal attacks, racist, sexist, or otherwise inappropriate. Dissenting opinions are fine, as long as they are respectful. Thanks!