About a month ago, I noticed many “unpopular opinion” posts floating around on social media. Many people were talking about their opinions on different subjects and I decided that I would like to share my unpopular opinion on what constitutes body shaming.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, body shaming is defined as “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.” All body shapes and sizes are included in this definition of body shaming. This means that anyone and everyone is susceptible to be a victim of body shaming. So why are we not seeing this new trend of body acceptance for all body types?
With the recent trends in self-love and body positivity, many people are failing to acknowledge the problems that come with being too skinny in our society today. Everyone wants a big butt and to be thick. Friends and family might say remarks such as “Ew you’re so skinny I see can see your bones” or “Do you know how much prettier you would be if you just gained 10 pounds?” Friends for some reason think it is ok for them to call you names such as “chicken legs” or “pencil neck.” Family members discourage you from eating healthy and force you to “eat a couple hamburgers.” There is a pressure for skinny girls to eat unhealthy foods to gain weight as if we are not vulnerable to heart disease or diabetes like everyone else. Moreover, if someone catches you working out, they freak out and ask you why you’re trying to lose more weight as if that is the only purpose of exercising and living a healthy lifestyle. In hopes of keeping up with society’s new set of body standards, skinny girls stuff their faces with unhealthy junk food and spend hours at the gym doing squats.
Rappers nowadays rap about how they don’t want a bony girl or a girl with a flat butt, further hurting the self-esteem of young girls with fast metabolisms. Singers come out with songs like “All About That Bass” and “Anaconda,” dissing “skinny bitches.” These people believe they are spreading body positivity but the truth is these statements are merely thinly veiled examples of body shaming.
This has quickly become a trend of society telling us that “real women have curves.” The reality is that women come in all shapes and sizes and there is not only one type of a real woman. Hollywood is now telling young girls that they are too skinny. Models who are skinny are also keeping up with trends by going through surgeries, injections, or Photoshop to get a big butt and bigger boobs while keeping their slim waists and flat stomachs, further skewing our perceptions of healthy body standards. Once again, one side of the body spectrum is at a loss. Instead of body positivity, what we are seeing here is body acceptance for those who are slim thick. Placing an emphasis on weight, rather than health, is detrimental and creates body image issues for many girls.
Somehow being skinny has become a trait resented by many. As if society’s pressure wasn’t enough, there is a pressure from family members. No tits. No ass. No man. This is the thinking of some of our family members who might constantly nag at you about your body. I have gotten my fair share of hurtful comments about my body size from my family growing up. Visiting aunts from India would say remarks like, “jeez even the kids in the villages back home look less malnourished than her.” Just a couple years ago I was meeting my friend’s mother for the first time and she looked me up and down before proceeding to ask, “Does your mom not feed you? Here, come, let me feed you properly today.”
I was in shock. Here I was, forming my self-esteem from within during my prime teenage years. And this was the first thing that came out of this adult’s mouth upon meeting me?
This past year, I began wearing longer shirts to cover my “bony butt.” I even began wearing less black as it is a slimming color. I go to university on a beach and yet I still refused to wear shorts and some of my favorite dresses due to my “chicken legs”. I have spent hours during the past year in the gym trying to get thick and have had no success. This is not ok. Young girls should not ever have to feel ashamed of their bodies. People take one look at your body size and feel so comfortable to direct their body shaming towards you. Because I am skinny, I am not allowed to feel hurt. There is no remorse for being rude. It is not seen as abnormal or shameful to say hurtful things towards a skinny woman. When most people hear the term skinny shaming, there is never sympathy. Skinny shaming has become so normalized in a society that it is virtually unrecognizable and immediately brushed off.
Certainly, while we all should acknowledge that thinner women do, in fact, have some privilege over thicker women in certain contexts, women shouldn’t be tearing each other down in the process of gaining confidence. Body shaming is deeply rooted in sexism and a patriarchal society. Men continuously give their opinions on women where they are not needed and where they do not belong. Patriarchal capitalism, as seen in the fashion and dieting industries, benefits from this body shaming. The structures of society benefit from having insecure, oppressed women.
Society is always telling girls we are too thick or that we are too skinny. Why can’t we ever just be good enough? I cannot wrap my head around why it cannot be accepted by society that there are different beauty types and sizes. Not everyone wants to fit into the latest Hollywood trend. Today, the trend is a big butt. Tomorrow the trend might once again go back to being skinny. Why is there not enough love in this world to be able to love all women at all times? Why are we so frequently pitted against each other that there can only be one ideal body standard at any given time?
Let women be their natural selves, unapologetically, whether that be skinny or thick. The world has enough love to share around. Women need to stick together because skinny shaming can be as harmful as fat shaming, and it needs to stop.