Something that really bloody annoys me is skinny shaming. My understanding of the definition of skinny shaming is: to make someone feel inadequate or comment on their appearance because they have a slim/thin figure. You wouldn’t call someone out or make comment on them being larger in weight right? Then why is it okay to do the opposite.
As a naturally petite person and I have been all my life, I know I can heavily relate to this issue. Throughout school people loved to man handle me because I was so light, wrapping their hands around my corpse like wrists was always fascinating to them, and being hugged was almost always followed with ‘gosh, there’s nothing to you!’ To be honest, it doesn’t feel great being told to eat more or eat a burger (when in reality I could easily eat the entire contents of the fridge! Ask mum!) and being referred to as bony or having no meat on you is also not exactly a term of endearment. I hate being called skinny- like the actual term ‘skinny’ especially when there’s not much I can do about it as I have a naturally high metabolism.
If you think about it on the other end of the spectrum, you wouldn’t call somebody fat, or say that they should probably eat a salad because we know in society that’s just rude. However, people think it’s okay to skinny shame which baffles me!?
In the wider picture I totally understand where this behaviour has come from and why it’s seen as okay or to be honest not noticed at all! Throughout society and modern history, we’ve all associated being ‘thin’ with being sexy, attractive, beautiful that has all come through the influence of magazines and television. The 20s considered the most attractive figure as one resembling a boy like image and the 90s had heroine chic as a fashion style. Classic individuals such as Kate Moss and Twiggy further advertise the skinny image as the goal for women’s body image. So in essence I know why this whole argument is deemed as ‘okay.’ If the desire is to be thin, then why should such a comment on someone’s slim appearance be so offensive!?
And the answer is simply the comment. Often an insensitive or boarder line rude comment that is not actually a compliment (although you may think so). It’s the way you say it. Instead of saying ‘Gosh you’re so skinny there’s nothing of you!’ ‘It’s like hugging a skeleton’ maybe you could try ‘you look lovely and slim’ ‘you look great in that’ or something along those lines? It works in the same way in that you wouldn’t say to a larger person ‘you look so squidgy and jiggly!’ You’d perhaps say ‘your curves look lovely in that’ or ‘oo that dress really flatters your figure.’ Or simply if you want to pass a comment or compliment, why not just ‘you look beautiful, fabulous, amazing!…’
People don’t realise that these underlying rude and negative comments on slimmer people’s body image can be so hurtful and really damage self confidence. You never know if someone is fighting a more serious body image battle like anorexia and a comment that skinny shames is just not kind at all. I know someone who doesn’t like to get there legs out for the fear of being told she’s too skinny or has horrid knobbly knees which is such a shame. It can make people feel like their bodies aren’t beautiful because they’re more petite or that they aren’t feminine enough as they aren’t voluptuous. It can make people feel like they’re ugly and it can ruin self esteem. As a result, with all these issues being able to be caused from skinny shaming comments then there is no way they can be categorised as compliments.
As the term ‘skinny’ has been used in such a way that feels of an insult. It now represents to me connotations of ugliness, looking dead (looking like a skeleton), unhealthiness and disgust. So please stop skinny shaming and think about if your comment is actually going to benefit the person and be kind and sweet to them. Otherwise it’s best just to move along.
Like my mum always said: if you haven’t got anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
Thank you for reading and let me know what you think about this topic!?