Body Shaming: Confessions of a Skinny Girl


Prejudice. Shame. Hate. These are more than just words. These are real, painful actions that affect people everywhere. Chances are, you’ve experienced some sort of hate in your life and can probably recall the memories of how it felt. An alarming trend has been building on social media sites such as Facebook and Tumblr that developed out of a seemingly good cause.

It’s no secret that models and women portrayed in popular media are usually very thin. Some say that this promotes unrealistic expectations of body images and leads to eating disorders among those who desperately want to look like such celebrities. Recently, though, groups have been starting campaigns and releasing photos meant to promote more realistic body images. They aim to show that average and larger sized women are beautiful.

One recent campaign, Dove’s “Real Beauty,” offers photos of curvier women in undergarments. While this aims to show that beauty comes in all sizes, the campaign neglects to really show women of all sizes. Does this mean that smaller women do not have “real beauty” as well? The way I see it, all women need to know to love their bodies, not just a certain group.

The Dove campaign is harmless, especially compared to more hateful comments and pictures going around social media websites. Photos appear, showing one obviously-skinny woman compared to a curvier, full figured woman. “Which do you prefer?” the captions ask. Comments on the photos are rampant with statements accusing the smaller girl of being anorexic or unhealthy. “Eat a cheeseburger,” they say. Users tell that she is ugly, while the full-figured girl is more desirable and real. Still, some will call the larger girl “fat” in some inappropriate terms. Comments like these confuse me. Preferences are just that, they are opinions. Insulting the other side can only hurt, especially when the insults are directed toward another person’s looks.

More malicious-seeming are the campaigns to actually ban models of certain sizes, such as the “Say No to Size Zero” petition. The petition, which will be sent to British officials, aims to ban size zero models from the catwalk that have a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 or below. To discourage eating disorders, models will be banned that are deemed too skinny to participate. I understand the need to celebrate all body sizes, but banning smaller models to make way for larger ones isn’t exactly promoting acceptance. The petition furthers the assumption that most underweight women have eating disorders, and lumps all women of smaller weights together, regardless of health.

Eating disorders are other issues, themselves. When disorders are made fun of like they are light matters, it only encourages further hate and dislike of women who do suffer from them.

Body shaming is a real, serious issue. Whether in the form of “skinny shaming” or “fat shaming,” body shaming is when one puts down another’s body, whether because of weight, body shape, BMI, or any other factor. It seems like instead of promoting healthy weights, society is promoting body shaming. Throwing insults and hateful messages around is not the way to deal with the issue of body image. One extreme will always dislike the other, unless true tolerance and acceptance is taught.

Now for my personal story. I’m size 00, 5 foot 6, and 95 pounds. My BMI is 15. According to the “Say No to Size Zero” campaign, that classifies me as suffering from “starvation.” I have experienced the same kind of backlash against my body almost everyday. Questions come up regularly, the most common being things like “Are you anorexic?” “Bulimic, then?” “So you have a different disorder?” Excuse me, but I am not starving in any way. I eat more than many people I know, but I can’t gain weight. It’s just the way I was built, and I accept that I am perpetually tiny. I’m not ashamed of my body. I love the way I look. What I don’t love is the sickening feeling I get every time I read something like “real women have curves” or “only dogs like bones.” Words hurt. Bullying and hate hurt. It sickens me that people say such things to boost their own self confidence and promote other weights, when they should be leading to the acceptance of all body types instead.

The irony of this situation is that the drive towards body acceptance has left the skinny women behind. Skinny women are now bashed with messages claiming that they are inferior because of their body size, like they don’t matter. I know from personal experiences that some women can’t help being skinny, just like some can’t help being curvy. Body size and shape are relative, so why is society constantly judging them?

Not all women are the same size, not by a long shot. Not all women have curves, either. In reality, every woman is unique. It seems ridiculous, then, to idolize any one body type and criticize the rest. It is not okay to judge someone’s body type or make them feel inferior. So please, stop the skinny shaming. Stop the fat shaming. Start practicing acceptance, instead.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for telling it from the skinny girl’s side. I too, have been skinny my whole life. I’m 46 years old, have two children and still wear the same size as when I was 17. It took years for me to learn to feel fine in my flesh. This world is full of haters and we need more people like you. Good job!

  2. samantha says:

    im 5’7 in a half weighing 178 pounds my bmi is 27.9

  3. I love that you wrote how skinny girls feel when they see comments telling them to eat a hamburger. I weigh 120 pounds and don’t have ‘real’ curves. For a while I became depressed since a lot of my co-workers teased me that I might be anorexic or bulimic because I ate more than them but I never gained weight. Everyone is different, we have different bodies but at the end of the day we all feel a little insecure every now and then. I have a friend who does all she can to loose a bit of weight but her body stays the same. She’s still beautiful the way she is and I’m beautiful the way I am.

Trackbacks

  1. […] gal,’ neither has she been called more of a ‘real woman’ than the skinnier girls (because Dove just loves to skinny-shame – our writer Kat has already talked about the way that she is sometimes made to feel bad […]

  2. […] ‘curvy gal,’ neither has she been called more of a ‘real woman’ than the skinnier girls (because Dove just loves to skinny-shame – our writer Kat has already talked about the way that she is sometimes made to feel bad about […]

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    Body Shaming: Confessions of a Skinny Girl – Candor News

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