Posted by: littlegirlyone | November 7, 2008

the appeal of littleness

someone recently pointed out that a disproportionately large number of "big women" (his term) seem to be drawn to the little girl moniker. (he was, i think, rather rudely, implying that i might be undesirably large, since it seemed, his "dominance" could only properly manifest itself with a very small (literally, short and tiny) woman. but, i digress.) in my reply to his observation, i explained that, from a psychological standpoint, that connection made some sense. eroticizing something painful, humiliating, or embarrassing seems to be a common psychological coping mechanism. i recognize my own use of this tool: i eroticize the daddy/daughter relationship because my own was rather painful (in my formative years, anyway); i eroticize humiliation (not tied to anything specifically, but i think most people dislike being humiliated); i eroticize being called a little girl because i am deeply self-conscious about my size.

i remember hating my body as young as 9 or 10 years old. i remember feeling fat, ugly, helpless. i developed breasts at a rather young age (around 3rd-4th grade) and was totally humiliated by it. i just wanted to be a normal little girl. i had no interest in "blossoming" into anything, but unfortunately, my body didn't listen. blossom i did, and how.

rather than feeling proud, sexy, or empowered by these changes, i really felt exposed, vulnerable and humiliated. i must have read judy blume's are you there god, it's me, margaret 100 times, and wondered at the glee the girls in the book felt at becoming a woman. they did exercises to increase their busts, and all i wanted was for mine to shrink away. i remember how my cousin's well-meaning mom bought me a training bra for my 9th birthday, and it threw me into a hysterical fit. even she had noticed, and now she was telling me i had to wear a bra! (turns out her daughter and all her friends were buying these, and she just thought i would be into the same trend.)

throughout middle school and high school, my self-image worsened. my mother was overweight (has been my whole life) and she was very conscious about developing my self-esteem. she wanted me to judge myself on what i could do, not what i looked like. and she reminded me all the time that she thought i was beautiful, and that my figure was very nicely proportioned. turns out, when i look back on pictures of me from those years, she was right. i was a size 6-8, 125 pounds, 5'3", a 36C, and really quite lovely. but i didn't believe it for a second at the time. i had no way to see myself objectively. i only saw what i felt: fat, fat, fat.

nothing about "big" women wanting to be "little girls" surprises me. in light of my own life experience, it makes perfect sense. but what is more subtle, more interesting, and very easy to overlook, is that "big" is in the eye of the girl, not necessarily the beholder. there's nothing to say that all "little girls" are objectively "big," but maybe there's a defensible thesis that most "little girls" feel or felt big. it's the feeling of bigness, of unweidly, undesireable, of awkward, or of different, that we attempt to change in our fantasies.


  1. i can relate to this, as you well know. for me it’s the height. i’ve often been called a “big girl.” even though people more often comment on my slenderness, those “big girl” times echo in my head over and over and over. and like you i crave the feeling of littleness. sometimes so much that it’s painful.i wonder too if it’s got to do with “big girl” expectations rather than, or even in addition to, physical body shape. maybe we crave littleness because we were given more responsibility as children than we should have had– denied the right to *really* be little? it’s just conjecture really. it fits for me, but i’m not sure if it would fit for everyone.

  2. i never got called “big” for either height or weight, i’ve always been “average” on both counts. never stopped me from feeling fat, tho.i’m inclined to think that i like being “little” because i took adult feeling upon myself as a kid. i was never one of those carefree kids running around giggling and screaming her head off. i worried alot, and couldn’t wait to grow up. then i grew up and all i want is some “carefreeness”, the kind i didn’t have (allow myself?) as a kid.

  3. i am in fact physically quite a bit shorter than both men to whom I am/was submissive, and neither one is skinny, so despite being rather overweight i actually do feel small in their presence, both in actually and psychologically. but what affects me more than perceived size is a feeling of being very young, especially in my submission to the philosopher, who exerted his dominance on my daily life. and here this IS in contrast to real world reality, given that i am 7 years older than the fiend and 21-22 years (depending on the month) older than the philosopher.i think this doesn’t figure as much into my current submission to the fiend, because while he does call me his pet, i am his pet poet, and this seems on some level a more equal, collaborative relationship, even as i am extremely submissive to him. i was (and am still in a way) the philosopher’s kitten, and that accentuated my feeling of being very young and cared for.

  4. Great post. I really relate to it. I think I crave the feeling of littleness for a lot of reasons, and really resonate as well with persephone’s point about being given too much responsibility as children. I was the caretaker of my family from the time I was 8 or 9 years old. It was my job to take care of little and big sister, and both parents. I kept everyone grounded in the midst of chaos and dysfunction.And, as you pointed out, I think it has much less to do with our physical proportions (though I am most assuredly a plus-sized girl), than with the way we feel.I do know that despite my size, when I am feeling truly little, I really FEEL physically small and safe and held.

  5. Believe it or not, this is normal for everyone. šŸ˜‰

  6. i am in reality, not very tall, but having grown past most of my classmates at an early age, i’ve always felt like i towered over everyone. it was only recently that i realized that i’m actually quite a bit shorter than most of my friends. go figure.i never made the connection between that and my craving for littleness until now. interesting post.

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