Blogging from Down Under

Why thin is a dirty word.

If someone were to tell you how thin you are looking, what would be your reaction?

Would you think, that’s great what a nice thing to say?

Would you think I’m really happy with that, thin is what I was aiming for?

Do you think being told you’re thin is a compliment?


Would your reaction to being called thin be the complete opposite?

Would you be offended? Would you see it as an insult or at the very least a back handed compliment?

Would you analyse? Is there more to this comment than meets the eye.

Is thin what we women aspire to be? Is being thin the ultimate success for us as women? The holy grail, our whole reason for being?

Want to know what I think?

I think there is so much more to us ladies than ‘just’ being ‘thin’.
I think thin is a doubled edged word. It can be said as a compliment, but I actually think that it can also be used to bring us down.

‘Oh you look so thin’ – Often used when someone is unwell.

How many times have you heard the word ‘painfully thin’ when describing a person with anorexia?

To me the word ‘thin’ just doesn’t sound pleasant.
It is not a positive word.
How can it be seen as a good thing when used in that context?

I actually wrote this post a little while ago but I hadn’t scheduled it to post when I came across this picture in my Facebook feed from one of those junk sites that you can’t get rid of.


It was supposed to be an article humourously showing the difference between men and women. A light hearted look at how women view themselves compared to how men do.

You get my drift, the mens version looked something like this.


It just struck a real chord with me, given the fact I had this post already written. Far from seeing the picture of the girl above as light hearted and funny, it actually made me really really sad.

Is that what we are teaching our children every time we look in the mirror, pinch an inch and bemoan how ‘fat’ we are?

To me, telling someone that they look ‘healthy’, ‘fit’ or ‘strong’ is far far more positive and powerful. There is much more meaning behind those words. The imagery when thinking of those words in your mind is so much more empowering.

As a woman my grandiose aspiration in life is not to be thin, it is to be strong, healthy, and fit, to be a good healthy role model for my children and to be the healthiest I can be to live as long as I can. When I am all of those things, ‘healthy’ weight loss follows, it can’t not in my opinion, but that weight loss is a by product of living a healthy lifestyle. I don’t want my children growing up with a mother on a constant diet, constantly analysing her body and not being happy with what I see, that is all kinds of the wrong message to send to my kids.

To me being thin conjures up images of people starving themselves, or manically exercising to excess in order to achieve the thin body ideal. The picture in my mind of a thin person is not a fit toned and vibrant person, but rather someone who is tired, a bit ill looking, sallow complexion, no muscle tone, no level of fitness;

but wait! Yey they managed to squeeze into a size 6 pair of skinny jeans.
That to me is not right.

So I say that yes, ‘thin’ is a dirty word and it is certainly not where we should be aiming for in our quest for feeling good about ourselves and being happy with what we see when we look in the mirror.

Strong, fit, toned and healthy, that’s what I want to be and what I’m working towards. Whatever size that puts me at.

What do you think? Am I overanalysing? Do you think thin is a dirty word?



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4 thoughts on “Why thin is a dirty word.

  1. Paula Cummings on said:

    Agreed! You just have to gaze at the front cover of glossy mags to see this unbalanced messaging – being thin for a celeb is equal to having their lives in order. When they are then snapped months later on the beach with some dreaded cellulite, the message is ‘they’ve lost the plot, they’re fat and unhappy’. We’re always being sold the idea that being ‘thin’ makes you a good person. What a load of rubbish! The goal (preaching to myself here!) should be good health. There are plenty of thin, unhealthy people!

    (Dismounts soapbox) 😉

  2. I always tell people they look great, fit, healthy, my parents generation use the word thin in a derogatory way – but thin doesn’t always equate to healthy… x

  3. flyingfree123 on said:

    I’d say being thin as an aspiration, unless naturally meant to be that way is sad. It’s weaker, and denies the other qualities that a woman may have. Or it’s sickness, or it’s poverty or an unbalanced life. Some careers demand it as a sacrifice that must be made (such as jockey) but apart from that, we need to be and love who we are. I wish I’d learnt that younger, preferably as a teenager! So much striving could’ve been directed elsewhere…

  4. You know Rhian, I’ve been wanting to write a post like this one for a long time. I just didn’t know how to formulate it. “Thin” is definitely a dirty word for me. I hate it when people look at me and tell me that I’m so thin. I don’t feel happy or feel that’s a compliment. It’s more like if they are reproaching to me the way I look. I’m not that thin. I have a really normal weight comparing to my height. People should definitely stop focusing on the way the others look. i’m sharing your post around.

I love reading your comments, it helps me to know I am not talking to myself. If you'd like to please leave me a comment below.

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