Delusions of Slender: Why “Skinny Shaming” Isn’t Real

June 6, 2016 — 91 Comments

skinny shaming

Skinny Bitch.

I heard that most of my life. It’s called “skinny shaming.”

As part of the body positive movement, thin people, primarily women, are speaking out against being marginalized.

It is categorically wrong to make someone who is thin feel bad about it. To tell a thin woman that she looks ill, or that she should eat more, is unacceptable.

BODY SHAMING OF ANY TYPE IS UNACCEPTABLE.

What I object to, is the use of the word “shame” associated with being skinny or fit. In today’s society, there is ZERO shame associated with being thin.

I’m genetically predisposed to being slender. I was a skinny kid, and once I grew into adulthood, particularly after pregnancy changed my body and age slowed my metabolism, I worked out and ate a very body-conscious diet.

Throughout my entire life, from childhood on, I was teased, shamed and ostracized because I was thin.

People even admitted to me that they hated me at first, just because I was a size zero.

Now that I am average sized, I no longer get skinny shamed. But I am writing this from the perspective of someone who was disliked on sight, simply because I was very thin.

And skinny shaming is NOT the same as fat shaming. 

 

To clarify, I’m not talking about women who are thin because they are ill. I’m also not referring to people who cannot gain weight and would love to, for medical or aesthetic reasons.

I’m talking about the average thin woman. Women who may simply have a fast metabolism, or, as is the usual case with women who have either borne children or grown older, work out hard to maintain that body, or watch every mouthful of food, or both.

These are the women who enjoy “Thin Privilege.” Thin privilege is receiving elevated social status, workplace advantages, media attention, popularity with friends and dating partners, greater access to healthcare, association with positive traits like being hardworking, disciplined and responsible. And lots more.

 

In a video in which two fitness vloggers discuss being shamed for being thin and fit, Bex says to Amanda Russell,

“I don’t set out to represent the average women. Ever. And I don’t think you do, either. I think that we’re trying to represent the extraordinary woman.”

THAT RIGHT THERE. Thin Privilege, captured on YouTube. Thin women are in an exalted place in society, and make no mistake about it – they love it.

 

When I was skinny shamed, I felt under attack. But I never wrote about it as an issue, because I was not comfortable complaining from my throne of entitlement.

We ALL have the right to feel how we feel about being body shamed, and to write about it. It hurts to be attacked for your body type. But I feel that airing grievances from a privileged position lacks compassion for those who suffer from brutal and pervasive oppression.

Yes. Weight discrimination is alive and well, and it is as damaging as racial discrimination.

 

SKINNY SHAMING VS FAT SHAMING

1. Thin people are not outcasts in society for having slim bodies. Not now, not ever. In fact, they’re the envy of every person in the room. Fat people have to work extra hard to be accepted, because they are targeted or ignored. This is a documented issue, even globally, in countries where it was once thought that to be bigger was desirable.

2. Thin people do not get discriminated against in the job market. A Yale study published in the National Journal of Obesity showed that those who are overweight earn less than non-overweight people in comparable positions, are less likely to be hired or considered for a promotion, and are often viewed as lazy or lacking in self-discipline by employers and coworkers

3. Thin people do not have nearly as much difficulty finding lovers and spouses. Every single online dating service I’ve been on, men request that the women be trim and fit – even overweight men whose pictures show that they would have to lift their stomachs up just for me to find their penises. Overweight people have more trouble finding romantic partners, and are less likely to date and get married than their thinner counterparts.

4. Thin people don’t have trouble buying clothes. Fashion ruthlessly discriminates against bigger people. In an interview for Business Insider, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch came right out and said he doesn’t even stock extra large sizes in women’s clothing because he only “wants thin and beautiful people” wearing his clothing.

These are just a sampling of the differences.

 

Perhaps to write about being “skinny shamed” is a way of creating solidarity with overweight people on the other end of the spectrum. A way to say, “See? I get shamed for MY body size, too.” I appreciate this, because all body shaming is wrong. And unity, rather than divisiveness, particularly among women, can ultimately create change.

Unfortunately, this is not always the motivation. In a well known “skinny shaming” essay by author and journalist Emma Woolf, she says, “I’m fed up with being judged for being physically disciplined, for being careful about what I eat, and for exercising regularly.”

THERE IS THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM. Her implication that bigger people are UNdisciplined, careLESS about what they eat, and DON’T exercise regularly. This is a dangerous mindset, and at the root of thin privilege.

I’ve been skinny. I’ve been average weight. I was intensely attracted to, and married, a man who is overweight.

I believe in being empowered by your body, AT ANY SIZE.

 

Sometimes, when I write these articles, I wonder if any of it matters. Because the people who already agree with me will share and comment. I hope someone who was of a different opinion, even ONE person, reads this and feels that they were perhaps enlightened about something they hadn’t thought of before.

That’s how we end oppression.

One person at a time.

 

Have you ever been body shamed in any way?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so I can have friends without leaving the house. 

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91 responses to Delusions of Slender: Why “Skinny Shaming” Isn’t Real

  1. 

    God, I adore you. Thank you for this!

  2. 

    I have been thin, average, and clinically obese. I agree totally. (Sorry I couldn’t change my mind. But I do think it matters that you, someone, said it.) For me, it is like race, I don’t see weight, I see a person and I could care less what size that person comes in.
    What I will say is… we are living in a world of shamers. It will never go away. I just wish that we could teach people that people who judge them are people whose thoughts about us we shouldn’t give a shit about.

    • 

      I don’t see weight, either. I fell in love with my ex for his sense of humor and his intelligence. And his sex appeal, despite being a big guy!

      We ARE living in a world of shamers, but I think, we can change that.

  3. 

    Part of the bullying I suffered through in my younger days was due to my skinnyness.
    As a result, I will always be conscious, not of my weight, but how that weight appears to others.
    Perhaps, I am aware of thin privilege, and perhaps that has worked to my advantage, but I am not sure it is the same as if I were a female…

    • 

      I think being thin is MUCH more problematic for a man. Totally!
      I think, people associate being big and buff with masculinity. So, while it works to your advantage to not be fat, it doesn’t work to your advantage to be thin, either.

      You’re kind of fucked, aren’t you?

      I actually wrote something about eating disorders in boys. They have it doubly tough, because they can’t be fat but they can’t be skinny, either. I plan to submit the article to a bigger publication.

      I wish I knew you when we were little. We could have banded together and kicked those bullies asses.

  4. 

    It is really true that finding proper cloths for the plus sizes is really difficult. You end up with such a limited options that the cloths you do get, make you feel even worse about your size. Or at least this has been my experience while shopping. I’ve never been skinny so I can’t comment on that.

    • 

      It doesn’t help that clothing designers come right out and discriminate like that, and refuse to make bigger sizes.
      What an idiot that CEO is!

  5. 

    Everyone can be “shamed” for something. Skinniness. Fatness. Richness, poorness, ugliness, prettiness, helicopter parenting, free-range parenting, on and on and on. I totally get and agree with what you’re saying. But I also kind of feel (I say ‘kind of,’ because I’m still developing my thoughts here) that the more we talk about this stuff, the more pervasive it becomes. In part because, like you said, those who disagree with you aren’t likely to change their minds. I don’t know. I hope I’m making sense.

    • 

      You are making sense. But I hope that talking about this doesn’t perpetuate it. I’m hoping that someday, people will not feel comfortable making remarks about anyone else’s body. I think it can happen.

  6. 

    I’ve never been “thin”, and most likely wasn’t even thought of as “average” when I was younger, though technically, I was of average size. I’ve been obese, and now I’m slowly beginning to accept what I have to work with, because thin isn’t, and never will be me, as it just isn’t in my genetic make up.

    So needless to say, I do know about being shamed for being overweight, and I appreciate you writing about “thin privilege” and acknowledging that it does exist and that it is alive and well in the world.

    I just hate always feeling bad about my body.

    • 

      Fuck. I hate that you feel bad for your body, because you are beautiful.

      I have many friends, some of them very close in real life, who go through this. I hate it for them. I hate that they get treated differently for their size.

      Someday, maybe size won’t matter. To anybody. I hope so.

      • 

        I hate that anyone feels bad about what their soul is housed in, because it’s not the essence of who we are, but that’s what people see first.

        What’s even worse is what men assume about me because I call myself a “fat bottom girl”, and what they ask of me on social media. It’s just fucking sick and disgusting.

      • 

        Well, we know about the men on social media, don’t we?

        My Ex is overweight and we had the best sex and the hottest chemistry ever. His personality (and skills) turned me on. His body size was not important.

  7. 

    Amen sister. I had twins (3 kids total) and I had a woman come up to me in Target and argue with me that they weren’t my kids because there was no way I could be so tiny after having had twins. I’ve always been thin and I’m sick and tired of feeling bad about it. I’m sick of people telling me I won the genetic lottery when in reality I drew the short stick because I have a family history of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease to look forward to. So high five for this!!!

  8. 

    As a skinny (the fast metabolism/small appetite kind) person I actually do have trouble buying clothes- when something only comes in S/M/L, sometimes S is too big. But that’s just another example of thin privilege… I have the option of getting the item tailored and no retailer would ever say the reason they don’t sell XS is that they don’t want people that size shopping in their store.

    • 

      And that dude STANDS by what he said. That’s just cruel.

      I always had to get pants tailored, even jeans. The length would fit, but never the waist.

      I had to shop places where they carried xs, or xxs, or 00. Otherwise, forget buying clothes.
      Thanks for reading. xoxo

  9. 

    Believe it, we guys get a version of this too. Thanks to genetics, I got chunky in my teen years (the worst) and then rail-thin as a young adult, then heavier again after 35. I had food nazis try to put me on diets as a teen, and people tell me I was too skinny as a young guy. Biologically, the younger heavy years were about growth; I would put on a bunch of weight, then grow several inches. I’m now 6’6″.

    Of the two ends of the spectrum, I prefer being thin, because everything is easier when you’re light on your feet, and there are less health consequences.

    I think we humans have evolved a biological preference for body shapes in the middle weight range because odds are that there are less likely to be health issues present, but being on the receiving end sucks if you’re out of whatever those parameters are. I can only imagine what it’s like for a woman. Once I got over 250 lbs at this height, few people offer an opinion. I don’t think gals get that kind of break. Either way, I’m not chipping in…

    Dan

  10. 

    I agree with some of what you said, but I have to disagree with a lot of it, based on the time period that I grew up in. I was part of a generation whose “supermodels” were curvaceous, with large breasts, not emaciated size 2s. I was teased ferociously by the boys and girls alike in my class for not having a “womanly” figure and it was very painful. Being a stick didn’t make me “entitled” or “privileged”–it made me ashamed and embarrassed. I couldn’t find clothes that fit me–anything below a size five didn’t even exist when I was growing up–size 0 is a modern phenomenon. I realize that things are different for young women today, and I’ll probably take some shit for what may be perceived as my “privileged skinny whining”, but things are never as simple as we’d like them to be. Catherine Piggot has a wonderful essay called “Chicken Hips”, about body image in Africa and cultural perceptions of beauty, that’s certainly worth a read. By the way, I really do like your writing style–very engaging.

    • 

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, and for feeling comfortable enough to disagree.

      It is really hard to grow up skinny. I couldn’t even find jeans to fit me when I was a teenager. I had to have everything taken in. I understand that struggle.

  11. 

    Being thin was always difficult for me. But it was important to be as thin as possible in the world I came from so….Men liked me more a bit heavier. When I was in my late 30’s I got skinny, skinny. I loved it. My BFF loved it. All my ribs stuck out. I turned out to be very sick. But when I recovered I remained thinnish. Then I moved to Riverdale for a few years. All those hills and steps, plus I worked in a building where it was easier to walk up and down 6 flights of stairs than take the elevator. I was in my 40’s and in the best shape I had been in since I was 20 and lived on a kibbutz.
    When I moved back to Manhattan I walked constantly, I exercised. What I forgot about were those hills and steps. I ate considerably less and weighed considerably more.
    I’m in my 60’s and hell I’m fat. Moved from NY, and no matter what I do…Last week I went to a wedding in NY. Felt like the only woman who was above a size 8. I wish I didn’t care so much. It’s not like people don’t like me. My blood tests (except for thyroid) are excellent. Still this is way too important to me.
    I blame living in NY and growing up when Twiggy reigned.
    Still I will lose weight and remain healthy if I have to kill myself to do it. I like being complimented. I love looking good. I love clothes. I’m shallow.
    I’m sure people body shame me. I could feel it at the wedding. But mostly I body shame me.
    Love this post!

    • 

      Please don’t feel like you have to lose weight, even if you have to kill yourself doing it! I don’t want you to die!

      I’m vain, too. Ugh. SO vain. It has taken some getting used to, all this extra weight. I refuse to starve to lose it. I will say that having boobs for the first time in my life has given me something to celebrate about gaining weight!

  12. 

    I think the biggest problem is how we judge what we see. In the case of Emma Woolf’s quote her issue seems to be more of people assuming that she is naturally thin and not understanding that she has to work hard to be that way. I don’t think she meant to imply that fat people are lazy. Although you are right, the dangerous implication is there, even if unintended.

    As a fat person, some of this latest research coming out is rather depressing. Turns out losing weight mucks up the bodies metabolism and slows the resting heart rate. Which is why we are predisposed to gaining the fat back. Which means if we do lose the weight, we still have to be twice as active as a normal metabolism person just to keep it off. They can never ever stop exercising and I think for a lot of people that much exercise is untenable. There are other things they want to do with their life.

    The research into gut microbes looks promising though. It would seem not having healthy intestines impacts fat gain and depression. Those little bugs sure are more important than we thought.

    • 

      My Ex husband has to exercise like a demon and starve himself to get down to a healthy weight for him, 200 pounds. His body just likes an extra 50 pounds.

      I liked it, too. I mean, I loved him so what did it matter?

      I wish people would only focus on being healthy and not care about size.

      • 

        Yeah, the BMI is a load of bollocks. It’s why I try to not say gain or lose weight. We are too focused on weight. The problem for us fatties, though, is losing the fat is now looking as unhealthy as keeping the fat. So how do we find a place that is healthy? And how do we know when we are there? It’s a mystery, to be sure.

  13. 

    I agree….and thank you for saying it. Because it’s hard to say “it’s not the same thing” when your very skinny friend is feeling hurt.
    Then again if everyone could just play nice, there would be no need for shaming at all…

  14. 

    This is a great article. As for my own size and shape, I have, as an adult, collected jeans with waist sizes from 30 inches to 44 with even a few periods of stability in the mid-high 30s, which is were my body seems to like to be. As for the women in my life, from 5’1 and 95# to 5’10 and about 200, which i guess means I consider the person more than the packaging. I suspect I may be a bit out of the mainstream. Anyway, you hit the nail dead on about the difference between fat and skinny in this society..

    • 

      I’m so glad you care more about what’s on the inside. I’m getting there, where my own body is concerned.

      Thank you for the reblog! You’re awesome that way!

  15. 

    Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    Excellent

  16. 

    I actually teared up reading this. If you’re wondering, as you wrote, “if any of it matters,” let me assure you, it does. From this fat girl, it matters. It matters a whole hell of a lot that you get it.
    A few years ago, I grew a thyroid tumor, and my healthy, athletic body bloated like a badger left on the side of the highway. I gained more than 130 pounds in 18 months. And doctors couldn’t do anything. I dieted like a mo-fo, and it mattered not one bleeping ounce (I don’t know how much you condone cursing in your comments, so I’m trying to be courteous.)
    Going from a size 10 to a size 22-24 was a shock. People treat me QUITE differently. I am literally ostracized in many social situations. People avoid me. They assume I’m a myriad of things I’m really not: lazy, lacking in all forms of self-control, someone who has dump trucks deliver fried chicken.
    People treat me like I am disgusting.
    And it’s hard NOT to feel that way when people repeatedly send (if not downright tell me) those signals.
    I’ve had strangers moo at me. I’ve had men catcall me and then tell me that I’m too fat to turn them down. My mother once offered to send me to fat camp as a birthday present. (I wrote about all that here: (http://www.theomgspot.com/2015/06/17/that-time-my-mom-offered-to-send-me-to-fat-camp-on-my-birthday/)
    Getting fat is literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It brought on a depression that almost killed me.
    Yesterday was a perfect example of the obstacles overweight people face. Now that I’m off all the steroids and hormones I needed as treatment for my tumor, my doctor thinks I can start to (sloooooowly) shed some of the pounds. But I can’t just start running. I weight almost 300 pounds. That’d ruin my joints. So, she suggested swimming.
    I ran to Target to buy a swimsuit.
    The “new and improved” plus size section was LITERALLY two racks. And not those long racks. Rather, those four-pronged racks that can hold, at best, 12 items?
    There were four “plus-size” swimsuits. Two of those were a size 16.
    And they all cost more than $50.
    The “regular” swimsuits? Rack upon rack upon rack. And they cost about $20.
    So, now I’m about to head out to specialty stores, where they may or may not have the item my doctor said I needed to complete the workout that would help me get smaller. But I’ll be paying an arm and a leg for them. And, yes, I know I can shop online, but I wouldn’t have it in time for the class my doctor suggested I attend.
    It’s disheartening. And then, to turn around and hear/read complaining from women who have affordable swimsuits readily available to them to wear to a pool where they will not be stared at as a gross creature… it sends a message.
    And it makes me feel less. But not in the only way that matters — on the scale.

    Anyhooooo… Sorry for writing a novella here, but you really, really touched me with this one. Thank you. Thank you for getting it.
    (And, for the record, NOBODY should be shaming ANYBODY for their body. What the literal effs is wrong with people?!)

    • 

      I was really moved by your comment.

      First, I hope you’re well. Hopefully, the tumor wasn’t something life threatening?
      Second, curse all you want.
      Third, Fuck Target and their shitty little plus size offerings! How can they only have four bathing suits in larger sizes? That must be so hard.

      I got teary eyed when you said people treat you differently, like you’re disgusting. I pray for the day when that changes.

      Thank you for reading. xoxox

      • 

        Thank you! The tumor is no longer a threat, but it’s still a barrier to a healthy weight.
        And, truly, I didn’t get good and fat until I was 28 or so, so I had a good, long time of the thin privilege. And while I don’t enjoy being heavy, I will say that being on the other side is quite enlightening and probably made me more aware of the divide.
        I’ll get back down to a manageable weight eventually, but in the meantime, I’m definitely going to be vocal about how uncool people are to heavy people (women in particular.)

  17. 

    My whole life. I’ve always been bigger. I was taller and more robust that the other little girls in grade school. I was the biggest cheerleader on my team in high school. I had to starve myself to lose 30 pounds in college. And even then, I was still bigger than most of my friends. A size 12 is the smallest pair of pants I’ve ever owned, and I would kill to wear a 16, now.

    You’re right. So. so. right.

  18. 

    I am convinced that half (at least) of our country’s obesity problem is linked to the hormones and chemicals we are exposed to, put on our bodies and ingest. I’ve been making this argument to my husband for years (he works in Diabetes medication.) Recently, there have been a few studies that point to this. (I’ve had my theory for years. Apparently I’m brilliant with my armchair hypotheses 😉 ) There’s a reason that Americans are heavier than Europeans. There’s a reason that I have friends who eat healthy and work out and are still overweight. There’s a reason that kids these days struggle with their weight more than their parents did as kids. And add poverty in to the mix and the effects are magnified. SO. Yes. I 1000% agree with this on so many levels. Being bullied when you were young for being skinny is awful. And obviously you’re not saying it isn’t. But it’s not the same as the judgement and comments and hate that obese people are on the receiving end of daily. Love you sister. ❤

    • 

      Me too! Hormones and chemicals and processed foods and all that added sugar, to everything. I think the environment and the foods we eat in this country is what’s causing many things we just never saw to this magnitude. I speak from the experience of aT1 diabetes parent – it’s breathtaking how much more prevalent Juvenile (type 1) diabetes is.

    • 

      There might be something to what you’re saying, about the hormones.

      My BFF lived in Spain for a semester, and she said, the reason why no one is overweight there, despite all the food they it, is because they move around and walk so much. Everyone walks to work or school. Even on a Friday night, when they’re partying, they go from one tapas bar to another, walking, eating, meeting up with friends. It’s not a sedentary life. That might have something to do with it, too.

      Love you right back. xoxoxo

  19. 

    This is an excellent post.
    I have not been fat-shamed about my body, in that no one has directly shamed me. But I certainly feel the hovering shame of it, in that I am not the ‘ideal’. Truth be told, I have been skinny-shamed, when I was younger. Much going on about the bony knees and tiny waist and tits too small.
    I think the better part of my life has been the average, usually invisible shape.
    I have a thin friend, eats whatever she wants and does fuck all.
    I have a thick friend, eats carefully and runs marathons, coaches kids.
    These two people are viewed VERY differently, even though they’re both intelligent, hard-working, interesting, pretty.
    Being friends with both of them has taught me a lot about how society sees weight. Thin is rewarded. People say things like, “She takes good care of herself” to thin women and “She’s let herself go” to the thick ones. I’ve heard them say it, to me, as we approach them.

    • 

      Wow. That’s so unfair, how differently their viewed, and how much these judgements are not even based in the reality.

      This IS rewarded in our society. I hope someday, it all evens out and everyone is treated the same, regardless of weight.

  20. 

    If only everyone were as reasonable and logical about this stuff…think how nicely we would all get along.

  21. 

    I have been overweight my entire life and have been on the receiving end of nasty comments, including several from my own father. It’s just not fucking cool.

    I LOATHE the assumptions/attitudes that all us fat people do is sit around shoving Twinkies and Doritos in our mouths while guzzling 2-liters of soda. Um, no. Most of the time I eat fairly well and try to be careful about what I put into my body. I don’t exercise much, but I can walk 3-4 miles in a day, sometimes more. I may be fat, but I am strong and healthy (for the most part). Fat shamers/haters can bite my ass thank ya much.

    • 

      I wish you never heard nasty comments from anyone, especially your own father. That’s really horrible.

      I can’t imagine judging my own child, but it does happen. I read lots of research on that.

      And yeah – the haters can bite BOTH our asses, thank ya much.

  22. 

    I have been moderately chubby my whole adult life, except when I got divorced and was a size 2. I’m also short. So, people love to call me “sweety” and “honey.” People who DO NOT know me. I’m not a lollipop kid. I’m a college instructor and writer. I’m 44 years old.

    Also, when I was a kid, trying to learn how to swim in summer camp, the other kids told me I was too fat to swim. I told them, “Nah ah, cuz fat floats.” I showed them. 🙂

    • 

      I think it’s great that you were able to joke about this at camp. Kids can be brutal.

      Can you imagine us calling some short guy “honey?” Don’t think so.

  23. 
    Gretchen Kellaway June 6, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    I have been thin and fit, I have been overweight. I have seen both sides. I don’t know where I was happiest because it wasn’t until the last 8 years that I began to love myself and it had nothing to do with my size.

    However, as a teenager, I would get bullied and teased, and my body image was tested. Because even though was I fit (because I was a dancer) someone always had to point out a flaw. “You could be thinner” “you have a fat ass”. When I was heavy, “you would be so much prettier if you lost some weight.” It went on and on.. do I believe that it is a societal thing- to be thin, healthy and fit, the world is given to you. But if you are not it is taken away and you are stepped on constantly just to be reminded that you are unworthy- yes I believe this. Sometimes people have marks on their backs whether they are fat or thin- because people see doormats that can step on and hold beneath them.

    I promote self love because once you get that it matters not one bit the opinions of others.

  24. 

    Envy is not shame. Clearly.

    • 

      I’d be lying if I didn’t agree that at the root of some of the skinny shaming is envy.
      Everyone wants to be society’s Thin Golden Child.

  25. 

    There’s skinny-shaming, and there’s skinny-jealous – but then there’s thin, and there’s unhealthy thin, just as with extra weight, one could be overweight or morbidly obese. And the people who look as if they have anorexia make me feel bad for them. You could call it shaming, but this wouldn’t be the word I’d use. Pity is too strong of the word, I guess, but something to that effect – it’s the same feeling I get when I see a girl obviously uncomfortable in high heels, or wearing a miniskirt in subzero weather…. wait… maybe this means I’m just getting old?

    • 

      No, I’m uncomfortable when I see someone with an obvious eating disorder. I’m not shaming them: I have empathy.

      And yes- you ARE getting old. 😊

  26. 

    Reblogged this on West Coast Review and commented:
    Bravo.

  27. 

    Skinny shamed all my life and once I was food shamed while eating my birthday cake as a “warning” not to get fat. I used to let it get to me, but I realized I enjoy my body and any criticism goes in one ear and out the other.

    • 

      Perfect! It’s no ones damn business what you look like or if you eat cake!

      Enjoy that body. That’s why we were put on earth and not just walking around as spirits. 😊

  28. 

    Damn, I am so glad I don’t have to lift up my stomach to see my penis anymore! Such a well written post. Shaming comes in many shapes and forms. Take it from this guy who is fit now but grew up a chubby kid who wore huskies and was made fun of. I know the pain.

    • 

      My Ex grew up being ridiculed mercilessly. Even when he loses weight, he always sees a fat person in the mirror.
      I happen to like a husky build on a man. Even if I have to lift up his stomach… 🙂

  29. 

    Oh girl, it matters. I’ve battled my weight all my life. Ironically, I am prejudiced against fat people, even though I am overweight. That’s because my mom fat-shamed me my whole life. Hard to love yourself when you hate yourself… thank you for sharing this.

    • 

      How brave of you to admit that you’re prejudiced against heavy people, even though you struggle with weight!

      Thanks so much for being here, and for being part of the conversation. xo

  30. 

    In my case, I come from a culture that appreciates curves whereas I was skinny for most of my young adult life! It was hard to withstand the remarks that I had no cleavage or booty to offer! So, in a way, I could say that I was skinny shamed, but in a completely different way than how people are shamed in the US!

    • 

      Shaming of any kind is wrong. Why do people feel they have the right to make those kinds of remarks?
      This has to change. I hope it does, soon.

  31. 

    I was the girl with a metabolism on batteries, 5’2 and 110lbs. Now I’m 47, and and weigh in at 150. I hate it. I don’t feel fat, but I hate how clothes for and I miss those size 2 and 4 days. The biggest thing I worry about, is how I project my self around my 11yo daughter. She worries over being “bigger” than her friend, worries about being fat. …..she’s tiny and in the 50th percentile! And I think, did I say something negative about myself that she’s projecting on? I think it’s really important how we project our self image to our children, girls AND boys.

    • 

      I have a boy, and I used to worry that I was accidentally giving him an eating disorder. We never talked about weight, but he saw I was SO CAREFUL about everything I ate, and how much I exercised. Kids are like sponges.

      Luckily, that was not the case.
      And I’ll bet your a hot piece of ass at 150 pounds. So there. 🙂

  32. 

    While I agree with most of what you say I am really tired of the words Privilege and Entitlement being used in these kinds of articles because in most cases the words are used incorrectly. Luck would be more appropriate here – if you’re talking about the normal sized women who don’t have to worry about their waist (though I don’t think there are as many as we age). My BFF when I was a kid was lucky enough to have a pretty fast matabolism. She could eat whatever she wanted, and she did. I was not so lucky, though my brother was. While I have watched what I eat my whole life (and failed at more diets than I can count) they only recently have had to struggle with what they eat. My brother and I have basically the same genetic make up and yet I have hypothyroidism and he does not. He is not privileged, he got lucky, or I was unlucky. Either way wouldn’t it be nice if we just all minded our own business and didn’t worry about how others lived their lives?

    Again, agree with most of what you are saying, it’s just a shame you have to say it. Of course, there is no way to know who is thin because of an eating disorder, disease or simply someone who works out obsessively and eats a very restricted diet (some might call that an eating disorder), just as there is no way to tell if a larger sized woman has an eating disorder, a disease or is on medication. So, we should all assumer we are all doing our best and live and let live without judging each other for our dress size.

    • 

      I think the author used privilege correctly. It’s used here to mean that there are certain advantages to being born a certain way. It doesn’t mean anything about a person’s personality. Someone can have privilege and not act entitled.
      It means that, in general, our society (and all societies) tends to value certain characteristics and qualities over others, things like thinness, whiteness, wealth, ability, etc.
      The fact that you think being born thin is “lucky” speaks to the amount of privilege being thin carries. Your brother doesn’t have to fight being body shamed on the regular, and that is a privilege he enjoys.

  33. 

    I was sick thin. My mind told me thar I couldn’t eat. I never ever thought to make fun of someone who was overweight. Now I am on the other side of skinny because of the mindfuck I put my body through. I’m sure people say negative things about me. All I can say is for fuck sake chicas, may you remember your words of entitlement should you gain weight. I’m tired of it all. These are the times I wish our bodies were ether.

  34. 

    I was always crazy thin throughout my life until I started going to college. I definitely gained the Freshman 15 like many other people do. I was never ashamed of my body, even when I was really thin. It bugged me at times because if I wanted to donate blood, I couldn’t because I didn’t weigh enough. But I was never embarrassed by my thinness. It wasn’t until at the end of my Freshman year, a boy called me “pleasantly plump” that I started to feel self-conscious. At that point in time, I only weighed probably 115 pounds or less. It wasn’t until then that I started to feel the intensity of what is considered the “ideal” body. It scares me even now just thinking about it.

  35. 

    I’m totally critical of myself. I’m on a diet right now actually and every pound I lose I feel better and better. Having two knee replacements and steel rods in my neck from an accident, I cannot have extra weight on my body. It drags me down. Our bodies are our temple. Our physical selves feed our emotions and our emotions feed our physical selves. Having said that, shaming of OTHERS is not acceptable.

  36. 

    You’ve made some great points Samara. Thanks for a different perspective on a difficult issue. 🙂

    • 

      Thank you for commenting! I think it’s important that we remember how other people feel.

      • 

        Interestingly, this topic came up today in my staff meeting. We were talking about how in this culture, “thin” is both the preferred body type and the most hated one. People who struggle with weight (like me) tend to be judgmental of people who appear never to have had a weight problem (like my husband). I learned early on–I have a number of skinny people in my life–that being thin is not the answer to all life’s woes and that I’d prefer to keep my problems than trade with any of the skinny folks I know. 🙂
        I wrote a post about our American distraction with weight a few years ago. You might enjoy it. http://wp.me/p3ddtz-6J

  37. 

    I’ve never heard of skinny shaming, but I do feel pressure working in the media to be as thin as possible. The constant pressure wears on me. Great points!

  38. 

    This is a brilliant article, and I’m glad you weighed in on such a heavy subject. I think more than anything, it hurts my heart that people I love, ANY of them, have been subject to ridicule and prejudice because of the way they look, however that is.

    That said, I’m a quandry and a mixture, because I’m fat on the inside, thinnish on the outside, and constantly shame myself for the thinner I’m not, and the skinny I wish I was. I have envy, jealousy, whichever, and I DO compare, in the most disgusting of ways, and think “I WISH I was like HER” and “Thank GOODNESS I’m not like HIM”, even as I see people on the streets! I think all that is more to do with disordered thinking crashing headlong into societal expectations and the prejudice and ridicule I’ve endured myself.

    BUT. I love LOVE how you’ve researched, presented, and most importantly, ENDED this. How we change the world – one person, one connection, at a time. With LOVE!

    Thank you, Precious, for this piece 😀

    • 

      So many of us have internalized societal standards and are so hard on ourselves. I’m a work in progress, working on letting go of my old size and embracing the new.

      Comparing oneself to others is not as bad as judging or discriminating against them. You don’t do that. Your friends come in all sizes. 💜

      • 

        My friends are all super-hugely-WONDERFUL. And no, I would fight tooth and nail for any of my friends who experienced such prejudice. I love them all just as they are.

  39. 
    wordtotheweirdblog June 12, 2016 at 4:30 am

    I am guilty of shaming my super skinny friend in middle school. I know I threw around the word anorexic a lot, but I realize now, I was projecting my own insecurities and jealousy onto her. I haven’t thought about that in years, but you really made me aware of how horrible we are to one another. Of course, I would never say those things now, but I am still ashamed of myself for not realizing that some of us can’t help what we look like and I hope to never make anyone feel badly about their body again. Thank you for this refreshing perspective

  40. 

    Hello! As a 27 year old woman who has dealt with being “skinny shamed” I could not disagree with this article more! Firstly how dare you flip it into “skinny privilege “?! I for one have been discriminated against because of my size. I’ve faced ageism in the work place where my peers saw me as a “kid” bc of my small stature and where my ideas were not taken seriously because so. Shaming is shaming no matter what and no one should be made to feel a way about it. There is no “privilege” or entitlement when you are REPEATEDLY asked if you are sick or have an eating disorder when you KNOW none of the above are true. In this day and age I can BARELY get a 2nd glance bc I don’t have a big ol fake Kardashian booty! Fuck that idea that being made to feel different for being skinny is EVER acceptable.

    • 

      Being made fun of for your size is never okay.

      However, there is no denying that overweight people are oppressed in our society in ways that will never, ever happen to you. Being ridiculed or questioned by ignorant people is not, in my opinion, the same as being systematically oppressed and demoralized by the healthcare system, airlines, clothing companies, etc.

      Thank you for taking the time to read this and comment. I appreciate where you’re coming from and I hope you don’t continue to experience this.

  41. 

    I have been, literally hunted, by people out in real life where they feel emboldened to follow me while shouting insane, rude, abuse that if it were racial or religious persecution, would be deemed unacceptable but because I’m just “fat” public opinion, I must deserve it. Is Shamu still alive? Online trolls & people you may consider friends, find the LOUD & PROUD abuse, perfectly acceptable. Name-calling. Instructed by “well meaning” morons about calories & exercise. (REALLY? Is that so? I am 51 years old & have never been on a diet…. only all my fu@king life.) Seriously, it matters but in the grand scheme of my own journey, they don’t matter. Sure it hurts & they don’t realize they’re only showing who THEY are… it never was about me or my thigh gap. All this behavior on these brain-washed puppets plate, is their problem & once I figure that out I can decide, working on ME, is all I can manage today. I have my own ugly that I need to balance out & the width of my arse, is the least of it. Thanks for the article.

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