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Fat-Shaming vs. Skinny-Shaming

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So often do we call people out for what is known as fat-shaming, the act of bullying someone because they are considered overweight or obese. But do you ever stop and notice all of the skinny-shaming that happens? What is it that makes skinny-shaming seem okay but
fat-shaming not? 

As a girl with a slightly bigger body than others, part of me wants to submit myself to skinny-shaming because I think it will make me feel better about myself. I’ve spent so much of my life dealing with bullying because of my weight, so why not turn it around on others? But that’s exactly the problem.

We are all well aware that the thinner figure is one that is more widely accepted by pop culture and society today. This makes skinnier people easier to target because we feel as if (1) our words towards them will not be as harmful and (2) society seemingly worships them, so it doesn’t matter what we say anyways. Now listen, I am not condoning skinny-shaming in any way, but there are two sides to it. While I do believe that body-shaming of any type needs to be stopped, I will say that it does seem easier for a skinnier person to be shamed and deal with it than a bigger person. Being skinny is the media’s idea of beautiful, so even if one person, no matter their body type, shames you, there are plenty of others who will worship you.

Even while I write this post, I hesitate to use the word fat. Sure, it’s an easy way to distinguish one body type from another, but just because one person has fat on their body doesn’t mean that should define them. The same should go for the word skinny. Someone’s lack of body fat or curves should not define who they are as a person. Society’s use of words like fat and skinny reveal how much we center a person’s worth on their appearance.

It’s not necessarily that words like skinny and thin can be offensive to people, although they definitely can. They can make people self-conscious about their bodies, especially those who may suffer from some sort of eating disorder. The fact of the matter is that there is no ideal body type and we should not declare one better than the other. Fat-shaming vs. skinny-shaming all ties in with the body positivity movement, the idea that every physical body should be celebrated, not one versus the other.

Like it or not, we will always be a society centered on appearances. Everything we do, from the clothes that we wear to the products that we buy and the workouts that we do are all because we care about how we look. And maybe we care so much because others are so quick to judge.

As for me, I say this to all those, including myself, who participate in skinny-shaming: putting someone else down will never make you feel better about yourself; its effect is less than temporary.  

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4 Responses to “Fat-Shaming vs. Skinny-Shaming”

  1. riseandgrind

    I absolutely love this. Everyone struggles with their bodies – why would we make it any harder on them?

    Reply
  2. sonder-wanderlust

    I think the hardest part about a body-positivity mindset is the constant reminder that you’re not the perfect weight/shape/proportion, even if you do fall under society’s categorization of skinny.
    Even within the categorization of “skinny,” there is a such a small dissection and so many requirements for the “right” kind of skinny. The skinny you are may not be skinny enough. Or maybe it’s too skinny. Or not curvy enough. Or too curvy. Or not the right proportions. Or not the right amount of body fat. Or not enough muscle.
    I like how you turned around body-shaming with placing self-consciousness.
    “The fact of the matter is that there is no ideal body type and we should not declare one better than the other. ” <– I like that.
    I love your ending remarks.
    "[…] putting someone else down will never make you feel better about yourself; its effect is less than temporary."
    Interesting read. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  3. theelephantintharoom

    I love this post. Being a bigger girl I often used to struggle with wanting to put other girls down for being smaller than me. Just like you said, we have to remember that putting someone else down isn’t going to help us feel better about ourselves.

    Reply
  4. hoffha

    Wow, this article was a great read. I’ve been wanting to hear someone speak to this issue so badly. None of my friends understand but I don’t feel like I have an ideal body and I don’t like people telling me how I should feel about myself!!!

    Reply

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