“Here. It looks like you need to eat this more than I do.” I looked down at the sandwich a girl placed before me on the lunch table. I gave an awkward, forced smile as I slid it back over in her direction. “No thank you, I’m not really hungry.”
She looks at me with disbelief as she says, “I know you’ve managed to convince yourself that you don’t need food, but you do. You look like a skeleton, and you need to eat.”
I hear remarks such as this on a regular basis. I’m used to random individuals making comments regarding my size. To them, it’s harmless. They think, How could this be offensive? What could she possibly be insecure about being that small?
You wouldn’t just walk up to an obese person and say, “Wow! You’re so big. Do you ever diet?” This is essentially equivalent to asking a skinny person if they eat. So to answer their question, yes, it is offensive.
In the past, media demonstrated that it was ideal for a woman to have a thinner figure. This led to an increase in young women becoming anorexic or bulimic to achieve such an image. This epidemic was slowly put to rest with the rise of the body positivity movement. Ads were shown with thicker women and people began to be more vocal about their struggles with eating disorders.
In today’s society, it’s ideal to be thicker. A woman is praised for having a larger chest and butt while maintaining a smaller waist. There is no problem with this. In fact, I love that women are no longer having to starve themselves in order to feel beautiful. The problem arises when girls of naturally smaller sizes are being ridiculed or looked down on. They are being called “anorexic,” “skeletons,” and let’s not forget everyone’s favorite, “toothpicks.”
Body positivity was originally developed to encourage the acceptance and appreciation of bodies of all shapes and sizes. Ironically, this social movement has evolved into this mentality that it’s acceptable to put down one group of individuals in order to bring up another.
This wouldn’t be an issue if skinny shaming was approached the same way fat shaming was. When I complain about this issue, my thoughts are discarded and I’m told that skinny shaming doesn’t really exist. I will never forget when one person told me, “You’re just upset that skinny people are finally at the other end of the stick.”
Why does anyone have to be at the other end of the stick? When has it ever been okay to put people down? I see countless posts online with things like “Skinny girls wish they looked like this!” or “Girls please. Real men like girls with curves, only dogs go for bones.” The same people who preach about body acceptance are out here putting down others to boost their confidence in their body type. This is beyond hypocritical!
“I was raised to treat others how I want to be treated, so I made sure to never comment on someone’s weight or size to make myself feel better,” said TeeKayy King. “A lot of people don’t have that same mindset so they love to call me anorexic to make sure they convince themselves that they’re not anorexic.”
There is a whole other aspect to skinny shaming that is rarely addressed. Imagine how it is for men. Men have always had the expectation of being heavy set and muscular. Like with women, society is becoming more accepting towards bigger guys. The same can not be said for guys who are smaller. They are often teased for being weak.
Drayton Holmes, another who has also dealt with his own form of skinny shaming said, “I’ve had girls tease me saying that they aren’t interested in me because they’re more attracted to bigger guys. That really hurts my feelings, I mean I can’t help the way I am.”
Stop kidding yourselves. Shaming one body type to promote another is not being “body positive.” It’s called being a bully, and it has never okay. My message is not to accept just skinny people. You need to accept everyone, regardless of their body type.