Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Skinny Shaming

We have all heard of fat shaming.  We know that it is wrong, and most of us have no tolerance for it.  There is no argument about whether or not fat shaming is wrong, and we applaud women of a larger stature for being proud in their own skin.  We celebrate that confidence.  But when it comes to skinny shaming, I feel that people are very much the opposite.  You might argue that there is no such thing as skinny shaming, because they should just be happy with how they look.  But why is one ok and the other is not.  NO WOMAN, large or small, should be made to feel ashamed in her own skin, especially not by other women. 

I myself am guilty of skinny shaming, without even being aware of it.  I have always been against skinny shaming, and have celebrated women of all shapes and sizes.  But being a larger girl myself, I have been known to playfully call my thinner friends “skinny”.  I do this as a compliment, because for me, I would LOVE to look the way they do.  But I have learned that these comments are not always taken in such a way. 

I have a gorgeous friend, who has an amazing figure.  She could be a model if she wanted to be, every picture of her looks like an image that should be on the front of a CD cover.  I look at her and I just assume that she is full of confidence.  Why wouldn’t she be?  She’s stunning.  But she’s not full of confidence.  In the time that I’ve known her, I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen her get upset because of something that someone has said to her about her weight.  People have told her she needs to eat more (may I add that she eats like a horse), people have told her that she looks like a heroin addict and people (like me) continually call her skinny.  None of these things are ok.  If I told you that someone told me that I needed to eat less because I was too fat, you would agree that that person was an insensitive D-bag.   But why is one ok, and the other is not.

We celebrate singers like Megan Trainor and Nicki Minaj because they are empowering us to be confident in our bodies.  But they are not; they are skinny shaming women for not having curves.  “I’m bringing booty back, go ‘head and tell them skinny b****es that,” shockingly those are lyrics from Trainor and not from Minaj, I won’t even begin to quote her.  If you replaced the word “skinny” with “fat” there would be uproar, and she would be wildly discredited.  But when it’s skinny shaming, we celebrate it because she’s empowering us.

She’s not.  We should be celebrating women of all size.  We should be empowering each other and celebrate that we are all so different.  That’s what makes life interesting.  It doesn’t make a man shallow for being attracted to a more slender woman, just like it doesn’t make him any less shallow for being attracted to a woman with curves.  We are all beautiful in our own way, and hopefully there will always be someone out there that will be attracted to us, but none of that matters if you don’t absolutely love yourself.  We need to empower each other to love ourselves, not body shame and put down, in order to build ourselves up.

I am not writing this to put blame on anyone.  Like I have said, I have been guilty of this in the past.  But knowledge is power, and when I know better I do better.  I know the effect words can have on people.  We need to think not about how we mean for things to be taken, but about how they are received by the people we are saying them to.  We all have the power to build up or tear down, if we build each other up; think of how strong we could be.  Stop body shaming of any kind, and celebrate our differences, they are beautiful. 

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