Trigger Warning: mention of eating disorders and weight.
There’s not a shadow of doubt that the title of this article has long been in discussion and has been discussed on various platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, and by many different creators, be that western ones or MENA/SWANA-based ones. But it’s one thing to discuss something and an entirely different thing to work on implementing it.
It’s almost certain that every woman has had to sit through comment after comment about her weight or her physical appearance on the whole. That being said, it’s also quite important to note that such an experience isn’t exclusive to women, in fact men often fall victim to the very same narrative.
So what is skinny shaming? Categorically, simply shaming an individual for how skinny they are.
The next question that might cross your mind may be, how can someone skinny shame?, which is understandable given that the beauty standards nowadays ,although changing, generally encompass a slim, petite body frame. Making skinny desirable.
Being slim was almost engraved to be synonymous to beautiful and desirable in the minds of many over the years, as media outlets and magazines used vile language to refer to celebrities’ bodies at the beach and how natural body features and characteristics, such as hip dips, cellulite and the likes, have been completely villainized, promoted as “unattractive”.
So again, one would peg the question of how someone could be shamed for having something that almost everyone strives to achieve?
First off, it’s highly important that we realize that being skinny isn’t all there is to life and admiring someone for how skinny they are or even congratulating someone for how skinny they’ve gotten, is incredibly harmful. For not only is that person reduced to their appearance, but it also promotes unhealthy standards. It could be especially harmful for individuals who already struggle with their eating habits and for those who have certain eating disorders. Essentially you’re feeding the narrative that pushes them to their very demise, that yes, skinny is what’s wanted regardless of the consequences.
Second off, skinny-shaming is just as problematic as fat-shaming. Both are degrading to the people being subject to them. Telling someone to eat a burger is just as harmful as telling someone they need to lose weight. On the one hand for some people they physically cannot put on more weight, due to high metabolism or otherwise and on the other, they just might not want to. Additionally, assuming someone has an eating disorder, simply because they are skinny is also very damaging to said person’s self esteem and self confidence.
The fact of the matter is, that even if the 7.7 billion people on this earth ate the same “healthy” foods and exercised on a daily basis, we’d all have very different body shapes. Humans aren’t one-size fits all and they’re most definitely not carbon copies of one another. There’s no guarantee that encouraging someone to eat more or less, the way you do will grant them the physique you deem fit. Nor is there a guarantee that if and when they do reach said physique they’ll attain eternal happiness. There’s also the question of whether an individual even considers their body and their weight so much. We should all strive to be healthy, regardless of how that looks.
Nowadays, social media has skewed up peoples’ sense of entitlement. Some believe that they’ve the right to comment on someone’s body or give unsolicited, and most of the time inaccurate, “advice”. What we should do is to keep our own opinions and our own standards of what’s healthy, attractive and desirable to ourselves.