Beauty & Fashion

Small-Girl Struggles

Small-Girl Struggles

Skinny? Battling to find anything that fits? We feel your pain…

Nobody would ever walk up to an overweight person and make a comment about the amount of food on their plate, yet thin people are fair game: they face intensely personal (and insulting) comments about what they eat and how they look all the time. Here’s what our skinny sisters face, all the time!

I would love to have your “problem”

In our thin-obsessed world, being skinny is simply not perceived as a negative. The assumption is not only that you are delighted with your boniness, but also that you have no right to feel unhappy or insecure about any aspect of your body – or with life in general, for that matter.

She must be anorexic, or on drugs
Because being taken for a junkie or someone with mental-health issues is great fun. Not.

Wearing the same size bra as a 12-year-old (if at all)
Don’t take your curves for granted. Believe us, if you don’t have them, clothes simply don’t fit right. And shopping in the “trainer” part of the underwear department gets tedious after a certain age.

Hard seats and thin mattresses hurt
If you don’t have any natural padding, pub benches and sitting still for long periods of time can become brutal. And did we mention you’re always cold?

The inability to gain weight no matter what you do
Ever been on a manic diet without losing any weight? Felt despondent? Frustrated? It’s the same for people trying to gain, except they have the entire universe rolling their eyes at them.

Being treated like a child simply because you’re small
Facing condescending behaviour and being perceived as weak are real consequences of being petite. Fighting for the right to be taken seriously is the reason why dynamite comes in small packages.

Being asked why you work out
“But you don’t need the gym.” As if losing weight is the only reason to be active.

Always having to justify what you eat
No one believes you love food and eat often and constantly having to “prove” this. Walking up to an overweight person at a cocktail party and remarking on the number of sausage rolls they’ve had is considered outrageously rude – nobody does it!

Skinny people are not afforded the same courtesy. Eat too much and you’ll be asked where it all goes. Too little, and food will be heaped on your plate. You can’t win.


Nakita Fortuin

The only thing big about Nakita is her laugh, although she’s tried to put on weight – with absolutely no success. “It’s a struggle,” she says. “It feels impossible.”

One of a few sisters, Nakita says she’s always been the tiny one, her siblings “not that skinny”. She loves fast food and says she would eat it every day. “I love eating junk,” she confesses. “I put on weight at varsity eating takeaways every day… but not a lot.”

Although happy with her body, she’s on a mission to eat healthily and hopefully gain a couple of kilos. She sticks to regular meals (skipping the odd breakfast) and drinks protein shakes, occasionally. Comments about what she eats and how she looks, Nakita says, she gets every single day. “I’ve gotten used to it – it doesn’t offend me any longer.”

As a fashion-conscious young woman, Nakita doesn’t struggle to find clothes and shops at Legit, Identity and Mr Price. Because she’s tall, too-short pants legs are a problem, but she prefers to wear dresses and skirts anyway.
“I would like to put on a few kilograms, but have learnt you can’t please people. Whatever I eat, I always get ‘OMG’ comments. I try not to notice them.”

Height: 1,67 metres
Dress size: 4/6
Shoe size: 4


Candyce Kilroe

Being skinny runs in the family, and although Candyce has “the biggest appetite”, she simply doesn’t put on weight. Not being taken seriously, or people assuming you’re much younger than you actually are, seems to be her greatest complaint. Now in her 30s, she admits it’s getting better, but comments about her weight? “All. The. Time,” she laughs.

Candyce says she “eats healthy to be healthy”. She’s had everything checked out and physically there’s nothing wrong with her. She simply has a fast metabolism. Eating three meals a day is standard and like everybody else, she loves tucking into a takeaway pizza or pasta. Sometimes she will drink an add-on shake and keeps an eye on her iron and magnesium levels. She also gets cranky when there’s no chocolate to be found in the house. “I get hungry all the time!” she laughs.

Finding clothes that fit properly is a problem, although she admits she might be one of the worst people to shop with, or for. “I’m comfy,” she says, “not a fashion dresser.” Even so, the struggle is real. “Something will fit round the waist, but not the hips. Or it will fit, but be too short. Smart clothes look funny; they sit funny.”

Even finding jeans can be problematic. “I go for the skinny range and they look ‘normal’. But then I have them forever,” she says. “If it fits, I keep it for a long time!”

Being flat-chested doesn’t help either and she’s given up on bras, she confesses, with a “what’s the point” shrug and smile. Most of her clothes need to be altered and sometimes a cycle or two in the tumble dryer has the desired effect on too-big items.

Candyce disagrees with the assumption that being a waif is a one-way ticket to Grootgeluksfontein; that it makes (or should make) you automatically happy. “That comes from within. I don’t necessarily think thin is the most attractive thing,” she says. “I find too skinny off-putting, but it is what it is. Our bodies and metabolisms speak for themselves.”

Height: 1,63 metres
Dress size: 8
Shoe size: 5

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