Jessica Rainier-Pope - September 30 2020

Skinny Shaming is Not Okay!

Learn to love your body.

My whole life, I’ve been tall and skinny. In my younger years, I was lanky and awkwardly taller than all my peers, like a baby giraffe still finding her legs. Now: I’ve found my legs – I’m still tall, and I’m still skinny – but I’ve come to find confidence in that, and in my body.
I’m also fit, and I’m healthy – and no, I don’t need to eat more burgers, thank you very much.

My whole life, people have felt entitled to comment on my body. Telling me I need to eat more. Telling me I’m too skinny. Telling me I have stick legs. Telling me I need to eat more burgers.

I still receive comments like this, and I still don’t know how to respond other than to laugh uncomfortably. I eat just enough burgers, thank you very much, and I’m healthy, and I eat just fine. And, anyway, it’s none of your business to comment on how I look.   

IWhat’s important to realise, is that the ramifications from seemingly innocuous comments on someone else’s body can be harmful. Such comments can have serious effects on a person’s self-worth, and their own body image perception. Maybe I am too skinny; and maybe I am unattractive because of it.

The thing is: just as much as fat shaming is a thing, skinny shaming is too. Yet – there is a commonly held belief amongst women that, although both forms of shaming are problematic, skinny shaming is less problematic than fat shaming (Caprino, 2017). This makes it harder to speak up against skinny shaming experiences and the fact that such experiences are just not okay.

What it comes down to, is the fact that it’s simply not okay to comment on someone’s body.

As it is, I’m sure the majority of us have complicated and fluctuating relationships with our bodies – and it should never be someone’s place to provide their own opinion on something that shouldn’t even concern them.
 

It's simply not okay to: 

1. Give unsolicited dietary or exercise advice. It’s never anyone’s place to tell someone what to eat or what not to eat, or how to exercise (unless, of course, you’re a professional in a professional setting).

2. Make statements like ‘real women have curves’. A woman is a woman so far as she chooses to identify as one. Having curves is not the sole reason someone is a woman. Not having curves does not mean someone is not a woman.

3. Comment on someone’s body in a way that is shaming, and that shouldn’t even concern you. Go wild with your genuine compliments. But any form of telling someone they’re ‘too much of this’, or ‘not enough of that’ is not okay.    

The thing about being human is that we all come in different shapes and sizes.

We are all incredibly unique and different, and that’s the beauty of it. This also means that one person’s healthy can look different to another person’s healthy.

One person’s beauty can look different to another person’s beauty.

And that’s okay: it’s valid. What’s not okay is giving opinions on someone else’s body. Body shaming of any kind is simply rude, and the bottom line is, nothing entitles anyone to comment on someone else’s body.

Reference: Carpino, T. (2017). Young Women’s Perceptions and Experiences of Skinny and Fat Shaming (B.A. (Honours). Carleton University Ottawa, Ontario.