I’ve been on Facebook lately. I’ve scrolled through my Twitter feed. Instagram. Pinterest. Really, any social media site that’s out there—I’ve been on it lately. And let me tell you something that I have found more prevalent as of late that I want to address right now:
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this phrase, it’s a term used to describe the hateful comments, pictures and any other means of communication that translate to putting down those of us who don’t have very much fat on our bodies: skinny women.
Now, don’t go rolling your eyes at this just because you have a few extra pounds on your body and think it would be “so much better” to be skinny. Being petite from a very young age, I have endured an awful lot of skinny shaming in my lifetime. And, don’t pretend that if you’re a bigger gal reading this that you haven’t ever body shamed a skinny girl. Have you ever been out to lunch with a friend and told her she had it “so easy” because she ordered a burger and you had to get a salad?
Believe it or not, this is body shaming. You may not realize it, but you have just made her insecure about the food she’s eating simply because she’s skinny. And, honestly, she may not have it as easy as you think.
A simple google search with the term “skinny shaming” will show you more than you need to know about the term, but here is a comprehensive list as to why skinny shaming needs to stop.
1. It’s bullying
Body shaming in any form—skinny, fat, muscular, wimpy—is first and foremost a form of bullying. You are putting someone else down because of the way their body looks. You’re attacking someone based on their physical appearance.
Didn’t we learn that this type of behavior is wrong when we were 5? It has to end because bullying is horrible and wrong, and can cause so many problems for the victim.
2. It’s hurtful
It’s really hurtful. What if the woman is actually struggling to gain some weight? What if she is really unhappy with her physical appearance, wants to do something about it and is constantly bombarded with these images and comments about how “gross” she is and how “no real man would want” her.
For the sake of this woman—and so many others just like her—skinny shaming needs to stop. They need to feel like they can open their favorite app without feeling down about the way they look.
3. We can’t help it
As much as I hate to bring up this point up because I know there is going to be a lot of disagreement, most women who are being skinny-shamed because of their lack of body fat really, really can’t help it. Honestly. It’s not like we all eat a leaf and a carrot and call it lunch. We can eat horribly or we can eat really well and our weight doesn’t change.
Heavier-set women who have a tendency to body-shame skinny women usually have had some control over their own weight issues in the past. In other words, many of them gained weight from eating certain foods and not being as active as they should be—although this is not always the case and there are many medical reasons why someone may be overweight. So, why are you skinny-shaming the people who really can’t do anything about their situation?
4. It demoralizes women
I’m not sure this even needs to be expanded upon because, really, it’s just that simple. Body shaming women of any kind means putting them down and making them feel bad about themselves. If that isn’t reason enough to end the skinny shaming, I don’t know what is.
5. There’s a double standard
This one really gets to me because there are skinny women out there who work hard to look the way they do and want to be happy about it, but there are also so many double standards associated with it! For example, I just saw a picture on the internet today with this caption:
“Men: I am not attracted to skinny women; they’re gross. I don’t want a bag of bones. I prefer a woman with meat on her bones. Curves are so sexy.
Society: What a great guy! Real men love big women. He is perfect and loves women for who they are!
Men: I like skinny women; they are sexy. I like a woman who takes care of herself. I don’t like dating overweight women; I find them unattractive.
Society: OMG. YOU’RE A SHALLOW PIECE OF SHI*T. GO DIE IN A HOLE!”
As you can see, skinny shaming needs to end because of these ridiculous double standards that are present in everyday life.
6. It negatively impacts women’s self-esteem
I can’t tell you how many times I felt self-conscious about my body because someone called me “too skinny”, “scrawny” or a “bag of bones”. I battle this insecurity every single day. Many of the women who are being skinny-shamed feel this way, too.
With the world so focused on how women look, no woman should go a day without feeling amazing about herself. This skinny-shaming epidemic that is making so many women’s self-esteem plummet needs to stop so we can feel happy and whole.
7. It pits women against each other
The fact of the matter is that skinny shaming makes women hate each other. Plus-sized women of the world hate skinny women and skinny women hate bigger women because of all the body shaming that is going on.
Society has put these body types into play as “wrong”. Anyone who has a heavier set body or a skinny body is just going to dislike the other one for it. Seriously ladies: we need to stop with the shaming and start standing strong together.
8. It can cause women to become unhealthy
I’m not going to lie: there was a time back in middle school and early high school that I got really, really unhealthy because I wanted to gain weight. All my friends would call me “chicken legs” and just poke fun at how skinny I was. It was also around the time that guys were starting to take notice of my friends who had “fuller” thighs, hips and booty, and paid no attention to me at all.
I ate as much junk food as I could just so I could gain a little weight and maybe get them to shut up for once about me being too skinny. However, all that did was make me extremely unhealthy. Skinny shaming causes some women to go to extremes to gain weight, and making people unhealthy just to fit a body “ideal” is just wrong.
9. It defines a woman by her body
“Only real women have curves” is a phrase that immediately jumps to mind as I write this point. Why? Because I see it at least five times a day scrolling through my various social media pages. This phrase defines women by their body types, and tells skinny girls that they’re not “womanly” because they just so happen to have less fat on their bodies.
Isn’t this what women are fighting so hard against in the first place? Don’t women want to be recognized for all that they can do in their work and community and not by their bodies? So, why do people continue to define us by our body types? And, why are we still going along with this?
It won’t happen overnight and it might not ever really go away, but someday, I hope that skinny shaming will be put to rest. And really, after all this article has covered, maybe it should be called, “Why Body Shaming Needs to Stop”.