“Oh cry me a river, skinny girl going to complain about being skinny,” is surely running through some readers’ minds. Welcome to skinny-shaming. And yes, based on the title of this article alone – I am fully prepared for the hateful comments and vitriolic “fan mail” to spam my inbox. But first, hear me out.
I just read a couple of articles entitled, “The Myth of skinny-shaming,” and “Why Skinny-shaming is Not the Same as Fat Discrimination.” One even went as far as calling being skinny a “privilege,” which according to the author, means that skinny people cannot complain about it – like being white, or a male. What is skinny-shaming though? It is an individual or group actively using someone’s weight to make the person feel like sh*t. Is that not by definition the same thing as fat discrimination? These articles proceeded by saying, “Not that I condone anyone making fun of skinny people, no one should make fun of anyone,” but then go on to preach just why it is that it is better to make fun of a skinny person about their weight than a fat person.
I was maybe 90 lbs. and 5’9” for most of my life, probably up until college. And this is the part where readers immediately start forming assumptions and opinions about me (“That’s disgusting,” “Did you not eat?” “Jesus, eat a f*cking cheeseburger.”) Yeah, I always ate like a pig to compensate for those very comments. So no, I don’t have an eating disorder – it is literally just genetic. The same argument about how some people cannot control being fat, some people are predisposed to it, etc., newsflash: it’s the same thing over here buddy. It is how my body is, I have no control over it, and I am not this way for the sole purpose of making you feel like sh*t about yourself. And simply because I am skinny, does not mean I am somehow not entitled to feel hurt by people’s comments, or I have no clue what it’s like to be fat and thus can never speak about the “taboo” topic of weight.
My best friend growing up was 5’11” and in the same boat as me. Want to know what we got called growing up? Skeletors. Skeletors! Because whatever people assume of models being the pinnacle of what society deems as desirous – I guarantee those people have been bullied too. My fellow Skeletor, she is beautiful on the inside and out, intelligent, kind – and still, she felt insecure because she happened to be tall, skinny, and good-looking. Somehow that makes people angry, makes them feel like they have to corrupt it, tear it down. No one gets to be that beautiful.
Guess what, the grass is always greener on the other side. If I’ve learned anything it’s that no one, I repeat no one, is 100% happy with their body. Everyone would change at least one thing if they could, whether it’s their nose, hair, they could lose a pound here, would like to have a pound there, whatever it may be. You can get to a place of acceptance, where you are no longer consumed or concerned with your physical manifestation – which is great, but no one thinks they are perfect. My friend, Skeletor, she spent her early 20s learning how to stand up straight because of the slouch she developed trying not to appear so tall her whole life.
I honestly couldn’t count the number of times in my life when people have made rude, mean, and frankly hurtful comments about my weight if I tried. Somehow, though, I’m expected to shrug or laugh it off, because maybe people assume that because I get to continue being skinny, the benefits outweigh the harm of their comments? Is that how it gets rationalized? As if that eye roll, or that snarky comment made to make me feel guilty about my body (despite that I have no control over it) is then okay – because I live on in skinny-land living it up with other skinny people drinking mimosas and rolling around in gold while eating cheeseburgers enjoying all the perks of being skinny? That’s not reality. I don’t just “get” things for being skinny, contrary to this privilege-theory. And no, I’m not so blinded by it that I don’t see all the things I get. I do earn things by working hard, being kind, striving to be a good person… but feel free to minimize who am I as a person simply because I happen to also be skinny, because that bothers you.
Do you know what someone making mean comments to a skinny person does? It’s alienating and polarizing. There’s the saying about how “no one wants to be around an angry fat person, but everyone likes the funny fat person,” and while that is a generally absurd and middle-school-like thing to say – if you think about the nature of skinny-shaming, it naturally follows that if you make comments about someone being skinny that make them feel like crap they will not want to be around you. No one wants to be around someone who is actively mean, dismissive, and cruel. So if you have a bad attitude about your weight and take it out on others, that will start having an effect on your life and friendships and how people view you. Not simply because of your weight, but because of how you take it out on others. That attitude makes it an “us vs. them” situation, where it really does not have to be.
I most certainly do not go around to people saying, “F*ck you for being so fat!” And fine, I won’t act like people don’t do that. I’m sure some people do, and it’s disgusting. Those people are immature, and insecure, and are most likely teenage boys in my experience. But because those people exist does not mean everyone is like that, and frankly these take-downs of all skinny people is equally as offensive as assuming all fat people are x,y, or z. I understand feeling judged about your weight, or being angry, or feeling insecure about it, but that’s not an excuse to turn it into something nasty towards other people out of insecurity, anger, or whatever it is.
Me saying, “I feel so bloated right now,” and my friend responding: “Shut the f*ck up and go eat a cheeseburger you skinny b*tch.” That would be like my friend saying, “I feel so bloated right now,” and me being like “at least you get natural insulation in the winter from all your fat.” Both would garner a “ha, ha” through gritted teeth. So how is one okay and not the other? How is skinny-shaming not as bad as fat shaming? Both are hostile, both are mean, and both make the other person feel extremely uncomfortable. Both also display glaring insecurities. I would rightfully be called an awful human being if I said something like that to anyone. So how is the other version okay? Because if you are heavier you have a chip on your shoulder and thus you are entitled to make those comments to me? If you honestly act that way, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone responded to you by saying, “Hey, buddy, you might want to run to the bathroom, your insecurities are showing.” No one asked you to take your problems out on them, and you don’t have to take other people down with you.
Comments like, “Men like women with meat on their bodies, no one wants to be with boney chicks,” “skinny girls are nasty they aren’t even people,” this stuff just goes on and on. Not only is it mean and unproductive, but it’s also wrong. Which is why I really have a problem with this “All About That Bass” song. I’m all for people loving their bodies, and being proud of being just the way you are. But just because anyone’s “mama” told them that “boys like a little more booty to hold at night,” does not make it true. All males don’t like the same anything – some like blondes, some like brunettes, and some, hey wait for it – like personality traits! Even between cultures there are completely different values and definitions of beauty. There is no universal “beautiful,” at least in the physical sense. I know some seriously weird individuals, and they have found some seriously weird counterparts – and I can assure you it has nothing to do with one having a big butt, or because one is skinny or anything like that. People like different things, people are attracted to different things.
Skinny, fat, wide, short, tall, none of these things make anyone better than anyone else, nor does it make it easier to find a mate simply because of one of the attributes. People also have to not be rude, they have to be enjoyable company, they have to have compatible personality traits with a partner, share similar interests, etc.
If you are attracted to someone thicker, good for you – you are a person, that likes other people, and that’s that. If you are attracted to someone skinnier, you are still a person, that likes other people, and that’s that. If you are thicker, or curvier, or skinnier, or taller, or smaller, or petite – you are still a person, and there are people who will be attracted to you regardless. People are attracted to different, random, unique, weird, normal, boring, interesting, bright, dark, funny, and weird things. Quit the animosity. Quit trying to say everyone likes one thing better than the other. To each his own, as they say. But at the end of the day, no matter what shape or size you come in: There is no excuse for being rude.