Fat-shaming and Skinny-shaming, Neither is Okay

The other day my mom and I were listening to the radio, and All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor came on. Somehow not even half way through the song my mom and I started talking about body-shaming. However, she was on the defense of what society calls “fat-shaming,” and I was on the defending side of the almost unheard of “skinny-shaming.” Needless to say, she, of course, was confident that thin women were criticized just not as much as women who are – according to society – “plus-sized.” Meanwhile, I was convinced that although women who are considered bigger are criticized more than they should be, women on the opposite side of the spectrum were criticized just as much. By the end of the conversation, we were both a little mad at each other for not seeing the other person’s point of view of the situation, but we both agreed that there is too much criticism of how people’s bodies look.

To be honest I don’t have much of a problem with the song. I think it’s a great song, with a real message, that unfortunately wasn’t said correctly. Because I’ve probably heard All About That Bass 100 times, and it starts off great, it’s about being confident about your body.

Until we reach “You know I won’t be no silicone figure, Barbie doll” and “Go ahead and tell them skinny b-tches’ hey, no I’m just kidding I know you think you’re fat.” These two lines have caused such controversy, and I almost have to agree. It can easily be interpreted as: it’s bad to be skinny, better to be curvy, and all thin people think they’re fat. Which I don’t think that’s what Meghan Trainor meant either. As this is how she responded to all the criticism about her song in an interview with Pop Justice:

“I don’t criticize skinny people! I would never shame a skinny person!” she exclaimed. “I don’t know who would want to. I guess they stop listening immediately after I say ‘skinny b-tches’ and just turn it off. But I say, ‘Just kidding, I know even you think you are fat.’ For instance, I have skinny friends and some of them will stand in front of the mirror and go, ‘Eugh, I’m just like so big.’ And I’m standing there going, ‘Jesus! If you’re big then what am I?’ That’s not right. So I was just saying that. There was a huge Twitter account that made a blog about ‘This is a body shaming song.’ I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, okay…’ I don’t get it. No, I would never shame a skinny person. It makes no sense.”

Personally, I don’t think her goal for her song was to shame skinny people, but instead to help empower curvy women and even thin women as well, to embrace their body and learn to love themselves.

After this line: “Go ahead and tell them skinny b-tches’ hey, no I’m just kidding I know you think you’re fat,” she then goes “But I’m here to tell you, every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” Therefore did she technically just shame skinny women by then going “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”? I don’t think she did, but I can also see how many people have interpreted the song as a skinny-shaming anthem.

Before I started this post, I did some reading on fat-shaming and skinny-shaming because I wanted to see what was being said on both topics.

When I searched for fat-shaming, it brought up titles like: “fat-shaming doesn’t motivate obese people to lose weight”, “fat-shaming linked to weight gain in overweight people”, and “fat-shaming doesn’t work to motivate them”. Can we take a look at those titles, and just realize how screwed up they are. Are people putting down overweight people to help motivate them to lose weight? There are so many other ways to motivate someone, but putting them down and criticizing isn’t one of them.

When I searched for skinny-shaming, it brought up titles like: “Why is skinny-shaming OK, if Fat-shaming is Not?”, “On Skinny-shaming, Not All Real Women Have Curves!”, and “Skinny shaming and Thin Privilege.” There are also so many problems with these titles as well.

The biggest issue is that it shows how this debate of body-shaming is split in two. Granted I see where these titles are coming from. Because let’s be honest, according to most of society it’s okay to bash thin people because they’re apparently “privileged,” but it’s pretty much a crime to bash someone who is overweight.

Growing up as a child, I was rather chubby like most children until I was about 12 and then I started to slim down and grow in height, like most children when they start entering their teens. I’m now at a healthy weight, athletic build, and I’m around 5ft 7in. I never once had anyone comment on my body when I was a chubby little kid, but now that I’m thin I feel like people are constantly commenting on it.

With things like: “must be nice to be that small”, “you could use a few cheeseburgers”, or “why do you eat like a turtle, and exercise, you don’t need to”.  Now if I were to switch those comments for someone who is overweight for example: “must suck being that big,” “do you think you should eat those cheeseburgers,” and “why do you eat like that, and not exercise, you need to.”

If someone were to say any one of these things to someone who is overweight, they would be the biggest jerk in the world, but some people think it’s okay for them to make comments about skinny/thin people. When in reality when you criticize someone’s body, no matter what size they are, it hurts just the same.

People have even gone as far as insinuating that I have an eating disorder, and I know this happens to other thin people as well. First, I would like to say, most of the time you can’t tell someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them. Second, not just skinny people have eating disorders, people who are overweight can and some do have eating disorders.

Also if you or someone you know has an eating disorder, or if you honestly think someone you know has one, please go to http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/. When a friend of mine struggled some of the stuff on their website, helped them, and if you want to talk about it, you can message me through a social network or email me by going to the Contact Page.

At the end of the day are fat-shaming and skinny-shaming the same thing? Yes, and no. They’re not in the way that fat-shaming is criticizing someone for being overweight, and skinny-shaming is criticizing someone for being thin and apparently “privileged”. However, they are the same thing because at the end of the day these things are titles for the two types of body-shaming people do.

I hope that people start to realize that we’re not going to stop one type of body-shaming, by doing another. That means that if you’re skinny-shaming someone to try to stop fat-shaming, it’s not going to work, and you’re just making the problem worse, and the same goes for fat-shaming someone to motivate them to lose weight.

We all need to stand together, quit picking sides in this debate, and learn to love ourselves and stop telling other people how they should look or how they shouldn’t. Because at the end of the day what they do with their body, isn’t any of our business.

What’re Your Thoughts?


Here, you can read part two.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.
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Comments

  1. As a thin person, I get entirely sick of the skinny-shaming. The “real women have curves” mantra is an example of it. Attacking thin people is not the way to empower people who are not thin. (Oh, and I can’t stand that song.)

    • I know what you mean, Jolie, skinny-shaming is more acceptable in public situations as it’s seen as a compliment, when it’s not realized by many that it’s in fact not a compliment. It’s sad that it’s something you have to learn to deal with it. I completely agree with you. I’ve reached a point where I can’t stand to listen to it, because of all the praise of how it powers the idea “real women have curves”, which of course isn’t true.

      Thank you so much for commenting.

      Ally

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