There’s a lot of talk out there about ‘fat shaming’, which is clearly a disgusting practice; one which needs bringing to light so that it doesn’t carry on. In case you don’t know, it’s where someone faces cruel taunts, jibes or discrimination for being overweight, or being perceived to be overweight. The victims of such abuse are often female, but it’s not unknown for boys and men to suffer, too. The media talks about it a lot, and in 2016, most people know that it’s not at all okay to perpetuate it. However, it sadly continues, and is present both overtly and in a more subtle manner as well.
If you’re reading this and you’re naturally of a smaller frame, you could be forgiven for not being able to relate. However, that doesn’t mean you’re immune from body shaming. The kinds of people who direct nasty comments at others will often find any excuse to make someone feel bad about themselves, regardless of size. With smaller girls, such as models (who are often naturally very slim), bullies will target insecurities, too. At times, this might be in a very outward way that they might try to dress up as a compliment, but it might still make you feel very self-conscious regardless.
Of course, many people argue that skinny shaming isn’t as bad as fat shaming because Western society as a whole still deems slimmer people to be more desirable culturally than larger women. Whilst this may be true (reflected in advertising, Hollywood and people’s judgements and attitudes), there is certainly still a lot of shaming directed at women of ALL sizes, and this isn’t okay simply because one shape or another is more represented.
It makes absolutely no sense to turn the tables on smaller women or men in retaliation to fat shaming. As they say, two wrongs do not make a right, and it would be hypocritical to call for an end to the nasty names that larger women are called by simply using smaller women as a scapegoat. Not sure what we mean? How many times have people attempted to make larger women feel better by directing such ‘words of comfort’ as “nobody wants a bag of bones, anyway!” and “real women have curves!” at them?
Let’s get one things straight – a real woman is any woman who exists, no matter her size. This doesn’t change because of her weight, no matter what size she is on a spectrum. No girl or woman is imaginary!
Sometimes skinny shaming comes from jealousy, sometimes it comes from genuine preferences, and other times, it comes from a place of good intentions where people don’t realise that they’re putting others down to build someone else up. If you wouldn’t dare call someone too fat, you shouldn’t dare call someone too thin! You don’t know the struggles they may face with their body, and you don’t know what’s normal for them. Either way, another person’s frame is not your business to comment on.
The simple solution is to stop categorising human beings into the size of their bodies. Although modelling is an industry that can often call for a certain ‘look’, there is space for everyone in some way or another, and you should not put other people down for the way they are. Whether you’re insecure or confident, making cruel remarks about another person’s figure or appearance simply isn’t right in 2016.
If you’re a model and people at school, work or daily life make comments about your shape, eating habits or anything else about you, don’t feel you have to put up with it. Although there will be times where people may be genuinely concerned, this should be handled with sensitivity and respect, not with humiliating assumptions and comments.
It doesn’t matter what’s ‘worse’ out of fat shaming and skinny shaming. Anything which makes another person feel bad about themselves simply shouldn’t be happening, regardless of the context. You are more than the number on the scale!
Have you experienced body shaming? Do you have any advice?