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Skinny Shaming

“You need to gain weight”
“Are you anorexic?”
“You’re gonna break”
“Real Women have curves”
“She’s as flat as a board”
“Why are you so skinny?”
“If you eat more you would be normal!”

These are just a handful of the remarks we get on a daily basis. It’s got to the point where when I meet new people it is the first thing people comment on.

The hot topic for most of our Family gatherings is, how thin I am.  I may not always be super healthy, and I don’t eat a lot, but when I do, I eat till I’m full. Everyone who knows me know how much of a burger, pizza, doughnuts, and Bubble Me fan I am. To be honest, name any junk food, be it 2 in the evening or 2 early morning I’ll be down for it. Genetics and a rapid metabolism have made me who I am. Some may say I’m lucky to be able to eat the way I do and not gain weight but only a handful would understand the frustration and struggle we must endure on a daily basis with the remarks we get, and also points in life where we try to give into those remarks and struggle to increase at least one kilo of our weight. 

Thin women face the same challenges as overweight women in terms of finding fashionable clothing that fits. Women’s clothing is not available in small enough sizes. While the outfits in the kid’s section were generally well-fitting, they frequently had too many glittery embellishments or frills. I’ve never worn a dress from the ladies’ section in my entire 21-year-old life; all of my dresses are from the kids’ section, and I’m sure not everyone realizes how difficult it is to get a decent dress there.

It’s easy to get away with skinny shaming. Unsolicited counsel and jokes are used to make the comments as subtle as possible. Most of the time, the person will give me a small grin as if that will make it okay. Because I’ve been on the receiving end of similar remarks, I’m quite sensitive when it comes to how I talk about other people’s appearance, therefore I’m baffled as to why someone would say such things. It could be a case of envy or jealousy. Maybe the person is attempting to make themselves feel better by putting me down. Is it possible that there’s more to it than that? Perhaps people are really unaware that these remarks are insulting.

Body positivity has garnered considerable attention. This makes me happy, but people often overlook the fact that there are various varieties of physiques. Artists are composing songs on body positivity, but they overwhelmingly favor only one type of body frame. The catchy tune of “All about that Bass” by Meghan Trainor has been topping charts and receiving praise for encouraging women to celebrate their curves. While I respect and admire Trainor for encouraging many women to embrace their bodies and reminding us of the rampant use of Photoshop, I’m not sure why she mixed these messages with body shaming and name-calling of others who don’t meet her perception of beauty. I’m a big believer in individuals accepting themselves for who they are. But I’m completely put off when she adds in the opening stanza, “so go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that.” So, just because someone is skinny, they’re a bitch? When someone is annoyed at a slim girl, quite often, the first insult we receive, especially on social media, is “anorexic bitch”. It’s infuriating that a life-threatening illness is being used to define our physical appearance. The person expressing these statements usually does not consider the possibility that their target might actually have an eating disorder that they are so effortlessly criticizing with. And that’s not something they can control.

Because being slim is viewed as desirable in contemporary societal structure, skinny people find it more difficult to speak out against body shaming or express their frustration. However, all forms of body shaming have a long-term impact on the victim’s self-worth. The negative attention pervades daily life and serves as a continual reminder that there is something wrong with our appearance.

When it comes to slim shaming, common decency doesn’t seem to apply, because even those who see it never speak up. The holy grail of “slim” is still tied to aspirational beauty stereotypes. If you’re slim, you should be proud of it and keep your mouth shut.

People must understand that slim shaming is just as harmful as fat shaming. It has the same unfavorable psychological effect. It’s why, since I was ten years old and sat at countless family gatherings and meetups with friends, I’ve had so many body issues and up to date struggle with insecurity. It’s why I’m still self-conscious about my appearance.

This was written to show people that thin shaming is never acceptable. Every woman or man is a feeling-filled human being. You are not any less of a person because you have less fat on your physique. Just as having more fat on your body doesn’t diminish your humanity. Thin people should be given as much space and consideration as plus-sized people.

It’s high time for us to embrace our bodies and spread body positivity to people of all shapes and sizes.

Written By: Rtr. Sandithi Jagoda

Edited By: Rtr. Abinaya Sritharan

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