Body positivity is extremely important. It is important that everyone feels comfortable and confident in their body, no matter what. Over the last few years, the “Body Positive Movement” has become more and more popular. The movement aims to create a society “in which people are liberated from self-hatred, value their beauty and identity, and use their energy and intellect to make positive changes in their own lives and in their communities”. While a lot of body positive movements include fat women, there are also many that incorporate skinny women into the message as well.
Everybody deserves to love their body, no matter the shape or size, so it is great that women of all sizes are being included in these types of movements.
However, many people make the mistake of equating skinny shaming with fat shaming, which is not at all true. Skinny shaming is making someone feel bad for having a skinny body while fat shaming is making someone feel bad for having a fat body. Although it is never okay to shame someone for the way they look, there are many reasons why fat shaming is on a whole different level than skinny shaming.
First of all, the skinny body is still seen as the “ideal” body type for women. Almost all supermodels are stick-thin, and there are many advertisements in the media promoting weight loss as if being fat automatically means you are unhealthy. Our society has created the idea that you have to be skinny to be considered beautiful, and if you are not, then you aren’t worthy of loving yourself.
Next, there are the double standards placed on fat women. Anything that a skinny woman wears will be considered “outfit goals”, but a fat woman cannot wear anything she feels confident in without receiving gross, unsolicited comments. We see this all the time in the media, especially online. Skinny women can stuff themselves with fattening food, and they will be praised for not listening to society’s standards. Yet, a fat woman eating one burger from McDonald’s will cause a whirlwind of comments about how she is disgusting for not caring about her weight.
Skinny women are praised for the exact same things that fat women are shamed for. Because of that, it is impossible for skinny women to completely understand the struggles that fat women go through.
Lastly, discrimination against fat people goes way deeper than discrimination against skinny people. Many fat people have talked about the discrimination that they have faced in the workplace because of their weight, as well as the struggle to even find a job. Fat people can be denied the same opportunities that skinny people receive solely because of their weight. The prejudice against fat people is embedded deep in our society, which can make even going out in public a struggle for fat men and women.
So, yes, skinny shaming does exist, and it is wrong. Not every skinny person is completely confident in their body and not every fat person is insecure. But, our society has created body standards that have resulted in fat people facing prejudice and discrimination that skinny people just cannot understand and empathize with.