By Madelyn Adams
You’ve heard of fat shaming, now prepare yourself for a new phenomenon that has people up in
arms: skinny shaming. Similar to fat shaming, skinny shaming is defined by our good and
reliable friend Urban Dictionary as “shaming someone who is naturally thin by always pointing
it out, or making little comments based on their weight with the intention of making them feel
shameful about their naturally thin size”.
Where did this skinny shaming phenomenon start? Although it has been around for years, the
idea of skinny shaming skyrocketed in awareness with the release of 2014 pop hit “All About
that Bass” by Meghan Trainor. Although the song was meant as a body-loving anthem, people
were outraged by playful lyrics like “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night” and “I’m
bringing booty back/Go ‘head and tell them skinny bitches that”. With the release of “All About
that Bass”, Trainor was criticized for uplifting one body ideal in exchange for putting down
another, while implying that “real” women have curves.
With that I ask myself: Is skinny shaming really body shaming? Bottom line — yes, it absolutely
is. Any time you are intentionally belittling anyone’s body, whether it is stick-thin or voluptuous
with curves, it is still, without a doubt, body shaming. Even more so, “real” women do not
always have curves, and to insinuate otherwise is body shaming. A “real” woman is simply
someone who was either born with female anatomy and/or identifies as female, and your body
shape in no way defines how womanly you are.
However, you cannot argue against the fact that fat shaming is just as, if not more, relevant and
detrimental as skinny shaming. Whenever you see anyone praising curvy/plus-size bodies,
Marilyn Monroe is referenced – Monroe had a 22-inch waist. Since when is a 22-inch waist
considered plus-size, especially when the average waist measurement for the American woman
today is 34 inches? I’m not saying that Marilyn wasn’t beautiful, but she certainly was not plus-
sized. Additionally, you cannot argue against the fact that fashion retailers make it easier for
women who are a size 0-10 to shop, while women over a size 12 tend to have a hard time finding
things that are flattering, fit right, and just as stylish as non plus-size clothing.
When magazines are plastered with thin models and 350 tips on how to get your best bikini
body, it is clear that skinny-privilege is a thing. When calling someone fat is an insult while
calling someone skinny is a compliment, fat shaming is evident.
As someone who has been underweight, overweight, and everything in between, I can tell you
from my own experience that people looked at me differently when I was my thinner self –
however, despite the so-called “compliments”, my self-esteem was at its lowest when the
number on the scale was at its lowest, too. With that, I’d like to remind readers that, no matter
what, it is never okay to comment on someone else’s’ body. Even the most beautiful of women
have insecurities, as we all do. Skinny shaming, fat shaming, tall shaming, short shaming – any
type of body shaming, really – is unacceptable, and I challenge readers to stop focusing so much
on what other people say while remembering that every body is worth celebrating.