From “Real women have curves” to Meghan Trainor’s pompous MyMommaToldMeSo reasoning, skinny- shaming other wise known as thin-shaming has been around for years with little to no concern being pumped into this little mess of a tart by mainstream feminism.
The daunting term now hangs over us like a pimple slap bang on the most noticeable part of your face the morning of your wedding .
So what is skinny-shaming really? Well, skinny shaming is ultimately body shaming. Just like fat shaming, skinny shaming is a means of guilting women (and men) into feeling insecure or unhappy about their bodies. The tricky part is when looking at the source of it all. While fat-shaming has existed for various reasons, skinny shaming was birthed and feeds off attempts to eradicate fat-shaming. When people think of body image issues they often picture someone being criticized for being overweight and so we’ve subconsciously created a society cushioned against any form of negative attitude towards heavier people. Although this is inherently good –willed and perfectly plausible, we have both neglected and abused the other end of the spectrum.
All types of body shaming are equal in that they are encouraged and enforced by the media. We know that fat-shaming takes its turn in most main-stream media outlets; in fashion magazines, T.V shows, movies, even the porn industry has picked up on shaming people who are bigger. However, it’s the sad, unfortunate and unforgivable truth that it is the common campaigns and awareness methods to oppose body shaming that make up most of the breeding ground for skinny-shaming. This means it’s built up with stereotypes and fictitious scenarios that maintain the idea that being thin or skinny naturally is impossible and that to be skinny means to be “fake” or “plastic”.
This is of course grotesquely unfair. As a skinny sister myself I’ve found that the consistent mockery and prejudice around thinner people seems completely unseen by those claiming to be “activists” against weight criticism. Think about it this way, it would be incredibly rude to approach a heavier girl and tell her to “lose some weight”, so than why is it okay to approach a thin person and immediately retort to “my gosh you’re thin. What are you eating? Bird-food? You need to get some meat on those bones”.
The idea though, is that illness is a real thing which can lead to all sorts of weight issues in both directions. Eating disorders are the most easily criticized in our communities because of a lack of true information. People often disregard mental illness as not being real enough to pass as serious. This is of course completely ignorant. Stereotypes are something often used when referring to a person with an eating disorder. The idea that “skinny women starve themselves” or “skinny women force themselves to throw up everything they eat” or that “skinny women constantly diet” is an unbelievably insensitive thing to say about someone who may be battling a mental illness. It’s even more ridiculously inconsiderate when referring to women who are actually battling chronic illnesses such as cancer and therefore suffer weight-loss.
So hopefully by now we are all holding hands around the bonfire, agreeing in unison that all types of body shaming are wrong and need to end and that shaming one type of body does not make another type seem any better.
Let’s consider what I like to refer to as positive-weight-being-awarenessy-thingy.
Weight can be divided into two groups, namely “healthy” and “unhealthy”. Healthy weight can be big or little. Some people are naturally skinny or naturally big. It has nothing to do with unhealthy eating habits and it sure as hell has nothing to do with lethargy. This “healthy zone” is determined, not by the person’s weight, but by their BMI or Body Mass Index.
Sometimes being too skinny can be harmful, like when battling an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Sometimes being overweight can be unhealthy like when battling obesity. These people however are not enemies of the ‘perfect weight’ concept. Being proud of your body regardless of anything is super necessary. However, romanticizing and sexualizing unhealthy weight is a total no-no.
Recently model Naomi Campbell came under fire when she criticized the modeling industry for using plus size model Tess Holiday as a symbol for body positivity. In her rant Campbell maintained the argument “to glorify this woman is to glorify disordered eating”, and yip, she was mostly correct.
The basic concept is that if its seen as wrong to feature seriously petite women in magazines and on TV, than its just as dangerous to feature obese woman. Of course cutting models like Tess Holiday won’t solve the issue, but honestly it wouldn’t do much better to cut thin girls off too.
Every person should be satisfied with their bodies and how they look. All people deserve to be body-positive regardless of weight.