Skinny Shaming is Just As Bad as Fat Shaming
With the rise of the larger body becoming the representation of “real” women, thinner ladies have begun to come under fire for their smaller frames. Rahwa Woldu discusses why skinny shaming is so dangerous.
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has recently been in the limelight concerning her weight – no surprises there – but this time she is being called out for losing too much. Clearly she has had enough of the jibes and has decided to speak out. In a recent interview with the Evening Standard’s ES, she stated:
“I can take whatever [the press] throw at me after 13 years, what worries me is what it’s doing to the younger generation. And some of the people writing this stuff are women. There is no sisterhood”.
I can understand Cheryl’s frustrations and worries. I, for one, have endured years of skinny shaming. Growing up, I could not – I still cannot – seem to encounter a relative without someone asking if I have lost weight or why I do not eat more, and it has had a major impact on my confidence. What bothered me – and continues to bother me – is that people associate being skinny with being unhealthy, rather than understanding that some people are naturally built this way.
Moreover, an important thing I want to stress is that not everyone who is skinny is happy with their weight. I really struggle to put on weight and have come to accept that unless I start taking Protein World or I start popping out some babies, I’m not changing any time soon. I don’t need reminders or ‘friendly encouragement’ concerning my weight. For whatever reason, people don’t take skinny shaming as seriously as picking on someone who is fat. I doubt that I could get away with saying ‘you should really eat less’ or ‘you’re looking bigger these days’, so why is it okay for slimmer people to endure such comments?
Recently, there also seems to have been a rise in female artists celebrating curvier frames, which is great, but there appears to be a new victim. To prove this, all you need to do is look at lyrics in popular music. Take All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor as an example. Throughout the whole song, being skinny is associated with being fake, unhealthy and unattractive, which I think is totally unfair. There are many women like myself who are healthy as well as slim – my BMI confirms it. If the line ‘every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top’ was supposed to redeem her in any way, it didn’t.
And if you think that Meghan Trainor’s music is the exception, you’d be mistaken. Anaconda by Nicki Minaj includes the line “F*** them skinny b*****!”. I find these lyrics ironic and partly amusing since if you take away Nicki’s ass you’re left with a ‘skinny b****’ – to quote her. Oh, and might I add that there are slim women with big booties.
Mini rant aside, couldn’t these two women have produced the same smash hits without the female bashing?
As an adult, I am not too fazed by either of these songs if I am honest – I know enough about myself and who I am to not allow music to puncture my confidence. But I can imagine how I would have felt if I were in my teens when these songs were released. I am not about to start a campaign for women in the music industry to clean up their lyrics. I doubt they care. But I do want to stress that any type of body shaming is a form of bullying.
I also want to implore people to think twice before they give their unsolicited advice on someone else’s weight. It is not your place to shed light on someone else’s insecurity, or badger another person about something they cannot change.