MY TOUGHTS ON SKINNY SHAMING
A few weeks ago, I was walking in Santa Monica with a female photographer I was shooting with, when a homeless woman sitting in the street screamed at me “You’re too skinny! Got any money?”
After the initial disbelief in how someone could expect charity after yelling what was clearly meant as an insult, Fernanda (the photographer) and I started exchanging a few stories about the times we witnessed skinny shaming. And boy, were there a few!
If you’ve ever heard the term “fat-shaming” then it must be pretty easy for you to understand what I mean. If not, Urban Dictionary defines skinny shaming as:
“When someone is naturally skinny and people tell them that they need to eat a cheeseburger. Basically, shaming someone for being skinny because you think that they are choosing to be skinny when in fact they aren't. Often confused with pointing out someone is anorexic. That's different.”
While I’ve certainly been told many, many times that I needed to eat a cheeseburger, or called anorexic, these occurrences just happen too often for me to pay attention anymore. Oftentimes, I’ll just answer “thank you” or ignore it.
But certain events are just baffling to me. For example, here’s an exchange I had with a man when I just came to LA, as I was waiting for an Uber on the sidewalk.
Him, abruptly stopping next to me: Excuse me, I’ve never said this to anyone before…
Me *thinking*: Oh, shit, here we go!
Him: You’re really attractive… (5 second pause) But maybe you should gain a little weight. Do you eat?
Me, taken by surprise: Of course I eat!
Him: Do you eat bread?
Me, clearly annoyed AF: Yes….?
I shit you not, he then proceeded to open his bag, take out a loaf of bread and tried force-feeding it to me. YEP!
I love telling that story, because quite frankly, I find it quite hilarious how people have no shame, boundaries or any form of basic social decency.
I’m not even sure if that man was pulling a prank or if he was just legitimately (very unskilfully) trying to help, but in any way, I found it more funny than hurtful or insulting.
When I have a real problem with skinny shaming is when I try imagining myself telling a "fat" girl that she needs to drop the cookies and go for a run. That would be considered rude AF, mean and uncalled for.
Hell, even using the word “fat” is considered politically incorrect these days. You have to say “curvy” or “voluptuous”. Unless you're Jim Gaffigan, who even wrote a book about being fat.
And I agree that it sucks to make fun of people for being fat. I’m really happy to see Ashley Graham on the cover of Sports Illustrated and I think it’s important to show young girls that not everyone needs to be a size 0 and that beauty is much more than your size.
I agree that more than one body type is beautiful and that as long as you’re healthy and feel good in your own skin, you shouldn’t be pressured to change your appearance just to fit the mold or look the way society says you should look.
I absolutely believe that diversity is beautiful and interesting and that the world would be a really boring place if everyone looked the same. I’m also a strong believer in those body positivity campaigns and I believe that no one should feel entitled to tell you to alter or change your physical appearance, simply because it’s nobody’s fucking business.
But I loose any empathy and compassion real fucking quickly when I hear curvy girls say bullshit like “Men don’t like bags of bones” or “ Real women have curves”.
Like, really, girl? You’re gonna try to sell me on the fact that you love yourself and your love handles when you can’t even bring it up without bashing skinny girls? Why can’t you jut say you love your body and feel good in it and leave it at that? Honestly, that kind of BS only makes you sound like you’re jealous and over-compensating.
And really, it just baffles me how most traditional media are happy to feature interviews spreading such a shitty message for young girls. No one would never consider printing or airing an interview of Paris Hilton saying she likes that her ribs are showing, because she’s happy not to be a fat cow*. That would make the whole world outraged, the magazine or TV show would be forced to apologize and Paris Hilton would probably get a few gigs cancelled.
So to start setting the record straight, I wanna quickly raise my hat to the beautiful AND real Ashley Graham, who did a body positivity interview in which she talked about how she loves her thick thighs, big booty and boobs, without even once needing to hate on skinny girls to get her message through.
I would also love to follow her example and say that I’m slowly learning to stop being so hard on myself and love my body the way it looks. I love my long, skinny legs. I love how I get naturally defined abs without even working out. I love my small, defined waist. And while I still sometimes have a hard time being happy with my small breasts, I’m learning to love how they’re perky and probably won’t get too saggy as I age.
And no, I'm not bragging, I'm trying to be kind to myself. Just like any curvy girl is praised for when she talks about loving her voluptuous curves.
I think being kind to others starts with being kind to yourself. So in a hope to start yet another positive movement (there can never be too many, IMO), please share one (or 5) things you LOVE about your body. I don't care what your weight is, I just want to know what you love about it.
Also, please send me any stories you might have about learning to love your body, I love reading those. You can leave me a comment below or slide in my Instagram DMs.
Love, Jenny xx
*Just to be clear, I don't think calling anyone a fat cow is acceptable, I just used it for emphasis, in a totally fictional situation.