Today I saw this video about skinny shaming on the internet. It more addressed the “real women have curves” bullshit and other body image issues, but I read some of the comments and it got me thinking. I wrote Stop the Shaming last year addressing that we need to either shame both or shame neither. It’s not a one-way street. I wanted to address this a little more in depth today and hear your thoughts on the issue of skinny versus fat shaming. More specifically skinny shaming. As I said in the post linked above, I think we can all agree that it is bad to fat shame and that it shouldn’t be done. However, I feel like skinny shaming is more accepted in Western/American society. Maybe it is because we associate being fat with laziness, lack of will power, lack of caring about their appearance; and skinny with an over-exertion of energy, of will power, of caring about their appearance. It has been my experience that you do not want to say anything to people who do not try hard enough. I am not saying that people who are overweight do not try hard enough, I’m just making an argument. In my experience it has been more accepted for people to tell over achievers to calm down. In high school I was told to stop trying to much. Today I’m still often told to take a break and stop being so stressed out (actually valid points as I do get stressed a lot). But it seems to be that telling someone to work harder can be insulting so we do not like to say that to people very often.
I am not sure why skinny shaming is more accepted. I’m not saying people think it is a good thing, I’m just saying less people get up in arms about it when people see a photo of a skinny person and write “ew” in the comments. That’s a big deal for people who are overweight. Part of me believes this is partly due to insecurities about oneself. I mean, why else do people say anything rude to someone else? Because they are insecure about their own appearance or abilities, or any number of things. Maybe it’s also because of the “real women have curves” ideal that goes away. Maybe it has to do with jealousy. Maybe it’s all of those things combined. Either way it has to stop.
I’ve been skinny shamed before, and when I was deep in my ED I absolutely freakin’ loved it. Because it meant that people thought I was skinny when every time I looked in the mirror or stepped on the scale all I could see was fatness. In high school people threw their extra food at me at the lunch table trying to get me to eat more. I loved it. Today, I am absolutely disgusted by it. I still get skinny shamed today, even despite people knowing about my past with anorexia and knowing I am still recovering. I’ve been in cold places and have had overweight people that I’m fairly close with tell me I’m cold because I don’t eat enough, but I’m well past weight-restored now. I’ve had people tell me I need to eat more; that they’d like to feed me a sandwich every time they see me; that I look skinnier now than I did when I was underweight; that I need to gain weight, and on, and on, and on. Doesn’t matter that I suffer from an eating disorder. Doesn’t matter that I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years (other than last quarter’s lack of sleep). It doesn’t matter because I am skinny and therefore it is okay to tell me I need to do X, Y, and Z with my body. Skinny shaming is real, and it doesn’t matter if you’re naturally skinny or if you’re suffering from an ED or if you worked really hard to get there, it isn’t acceptable to do ever.
I wanna know what you think. Why do you think skinny shaming is slightly more accepted than fat shaming? And have you ever been skinny shamed?