Flacas Get Teased Too

eva smith and denise mitchell

Eva and daughter, Denise.

Ed. Note: These essays are part of the series, Accepting the Self: Latinas on Body Image. To enjoy the full series, please read the introduction.

A Mother and Daughter on being Flacas

Mami Dice:

eva smithBy Eva Smith

I was raised in a community where voluptuous women were the norm.

For many years I struggled with my weight, not weight loss, but weight gain. “Too flaca?”, “Do you eat?”, “Oh my Gosh! are you anorexic?”

These were some one the whispers I would hear. I allowed the ridicule and taunts to affect me during my youth. However, overtime, I learned to mute the voices.

By the time I was in middle school I was towering over all my family members. A “very tall and very skinny” girl, or at least that’s what I was told. In high school I started participating in sports and extracurricular activities and noticed that exercise gave me muscles. I was still very skinny, but finally I had some tiny muscles and hooray! I had some nalgas!

I remember looking at the girls in High School, one of them particularly curvy and saying to myself, when I grow up I’m going to have boobs and curves. But, unfortunately, the boob train skipped my room during High School and during college and also during my young adult life. Onwards to college which was more of the same. I remember looking into a mirror, I wondered is this it? Will I have to be skinny all my life. Oh well, I guess I’m always going to be flaca. As a young adult, I kept working out to maintain my muscles, but never managed to develop into a curvy or voluptuous woman.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I didn’t gain very much weight. I actually looked like a filled out woman – - sort of the way I wanted to look. After the pregnancy I lost all the weight and all the muscles and found my self at a lower weight then when I was pregnant. What happened?! Stress was plaguing my life. In an instant I realized that my skinny body was normal for me and that I needed to embrace it.

Are you flaca?

Yes, I am. Thank you.

Are you anorexic?

No I am not, Thank you.

Soon the whispers stopped.

Today, I am still a flaca… and I finally have some curves. Not the curves of my youth that I wished for, but the curves that were made for just for me.

If you are a flaca, this story is for you. Embrace it!

Hija Dice:

denise mitchellBy Denise Mitchell

There is nothing more awkward than puberty.

Characterized by glasses, curly hair, and unsightly braces. Middle school pictures were dreaded for most of us and high school didn’t lighten the situation. These were the years when girls finally received their “mangoes” in flattering proportions. But some of us didn’t receive our mangoes at all.

I was one of those ugly ducklings with long arms, bony legs, and no curves. When would my mangoes come?

I was 11-years-old when I first began getting teased for my appearance. During these years I was called “anorexic” as if it was my first name. I had a very small figure but by no means was this forced or induced. I was genetically thin. And although I had a big appetite my weight would not budge. Boys at my school would gang up on me, teasing me during lunch and on the bus. I quickly grew to be defensive and while I did not understand the teasing I understood at a young age that it was important to stand up for myself.

When I had entered high school the teasing and taunting did not lessen. The comments became more obscene and crude. I had honestly thought by this age I would receive mangoes, or at least plums, but I had not. My body was still transitioning.

During this time I was never completely comfortable with my appearance. I questioned myself a great deal and felt as if I was an easy target for disrespect. I began to double up my pants by wearing a pair of sweats under my jeans to thicken the sight of my legs. I did this everyday. I drank nutritional supplements in hopes that it would add on a few pounds, but they only made me sick. I hid my figure in large sweaters and coats, and never drew attention to my shape. I just wanted to get through high school as discretely as possible.

It is important to equip our young girls with self esteem and acceptance. Girls of all ages are teased because of their appearance. Whether it is because of weight, style, or physical features. High school can be a brutal experience for many and if our girls do not have our support and encouragement they will become victim to that bullying and cattiness. I have my mother to thank because she enabled me with strength and she restored my confidence by reminding me of how beautiful I was everyday.

There are countless definitions of beauty, and each are has valuable as the next. Remind your loved ones to embrace who they are, and to accept themselves just as they were created.

I finally received my mangoes, but more importantly I receive the love of my mother and family who instill in me the importance of appreciating all body types and images.

Diversity is a beautiful thing and we are all beautiful women.

Eva Smith is an Engineer, Wife and Mom who lives in Southern California. Born and raised in Mexico, she blogs at Tech.Food.Life. and is a contributor to MomLA and Latinos in Social Media.

Denise Mitchell is a College studying English who lives in Southern California. She blogs at Denise’s Blog.

Share, por favor!

By Contributor on July 1, 2011 · Posted in the habla habla

15 Comments | Post Comment

Joscelyn @ MamiofMultiples.com says:

Wonderful series! Latinas truly come in all shapes, sizes and colors. We are the beautiful salt of the earth. :)

Posted on July 1st, 2011

Alexandra says:

I hear you, I hear you.

I hear you.

This was my life.

“Larga, flaca y amarilla.”

Posted on July 1st, 2011

Maria Amelia says:

I wish I had the flaca problem. My whole life it was you can’t fit into the “americana” clothing. You have hips. You’re latina. S’OK with me, though! Latina and proud. (But I wouldn’t mind losing a few libritas and keeping the curves.)

Posted on July 1st, 2011

rachel says:


in high school i was made fun of for being skinny.

Posted on July 1st, 2011

Maria Amelia says:

De jovencita era delgada, pero con curvas. Me decian que no me iba la ropa de las niñas americanas por ser latina. Ahora tengo unas libras de más. Me gustaría perder peso… pero no las curvas. :)

Posted on July 1st, 2011

Aurelia Flores says:

Thanks for sharing this mother/daughter story. Lovely! I was also tall and skinny for a long time, especially as a young girl. I think it’s important to remember that kids will tease about anything and equip ourselves and especially our girls to recognize and appreciate all body types, like Denise said. Good job, Eva, for supporting your daughter, and nicely said Denise. Great post!

Posted on July 1st, 2011

Lisa says:

This reminds me of my cousin. She was so skinny (ate a lot!) and our abuelo used to call her “Bacalao.” Til this day I don’t know why he called her that – is a bacalao thin and skinny? LOL

Posted on July 1st, 2011

Silvia says:

And I was always, “la gorda” or “la gordita” I hated it!!

Posted on July 1st, 2011

Jenny says:

such a wonderful post! Learning to love and embrace ourselves is something we all struggle with at some point.. it’s good to know we aren’t alone!

Posted on July 1st, 2011

Bren says:

I love the two stories here. My knickname growin up was (and still is) “flaca” while my sister was “gorda.” that was b/c i was very tall and super thin. no shape. my sis on the other hand was chunky and curvy… that was all the way through HS when I started developing some wonderful and thick thighs which at the time I hated… For my height and frame, I thought they were too big. But, I love them now. I’m not flaca by any stretch of the Latin or even American imagination, but like you, I’m the way I’m supposed to be: small boobs, small waist, pently of hips and thick thighs with some nalgas. And I love it all! :)

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Accepting the Self: Latinas on Body Image says:

[...] if we looked in the mirror and celebrated what we loved, instead of noting our short-comings? Eva Smith and Denise Mitchell give us a mother-daughter essay contribution on growing up Latina and flaca. [...]

Posted on July 3rd, 2011

Sujeiry, 1st Lady of Love says:

“…When I grow up I’m going to have boobs and curves.”

That’s exactly what I would say. Flacas do struggle with body image, just in a different way. I am glad that this post, as well as my post on Tiki Tiki, has shined a light on our story.

Posted on July 3rd, 2011

Ana L. Flores says:

So important to talk about this and I love the mother/daughter perspective. it allows you to realize that the flaca gene does exist and that one mom’s experience can help her guide her daughter in accepting her body

Posted on July 3rd, 2011

Presley's Pantry says:

I remember crying all the way home once after school because two girls wouldn’t stop calling my “Chicken legs.”

Posted on July 4th, 2011

Pia Guerrero says:

I grew up with my family calling me flaca and my sister gordita. She got it way worse than me. But I was still told to eat more. All the time. Like there was something wrong with me for being thin. A friend of mine has an extremely fast metabolism despite protein shakes and purposeful trips to MacDonalds. When with family she stays extra long at the table to make sure those who are watching don’t think she’s going to the bathroom to throw up. You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t, I guess.

Posted on July 5th, 2011