The body weight standards considered “beautiful” often project an ideal body type which is neither too fat not too skinny. In real terms, it doesn’t exist for most women. While humiliating women for being fat has been incorporated into pop culture since a long time, skinny shaming often takes place in hideous ways that are often not that easy to spot. In fact, the ignorance is so deep-rooted that in common understanding, body shaming is solely equated with fat shaming.

What is skinny shaming and why should we care?

Just like calling out a person for being overweight is fat shaming, teasing people for being too thin or skinny or underweight is known as skinny shaming. Body shaming of all types must be unacceptable as it invokes a strong feeling of self- doubt and loathing, which can be harmful in the long run. Not to mention, a lot of cases of eating disorders among people are in fact a result of a mean comment passed at the victim at some point in their life. Yet, while significant and due attention has been drawn to fat shaming, skinny shaming continues to a problem which most refuse to even consider a problem.

Bullying and body shaming of any form must be equally condemned for its harmful impact on the mind of the individual

“Go eat more”, “You must do weight gain exercises”, “Those look like chicken legs” or “You are just bones. No muscles?” are some forms in which a thin person is ridiculed in his or her life. Unnecessary advice, mean remarks or even “light-hearted” jokes are the tools of skinny shaming which aren’t even considered offensive by anyone. While being too fat is a sin, being skinny is also portrayed as being abnormal, undesirable and an awkward body type. We, as individuals, need to understand that being called “too thin” can be just as damaging as being called “too fat”. Bullying and body shaming of any form must be equally condemned for its harmful impact on the mind of the individual.

Read: Body shaming and popular media: the Selfie Culture

Promoting one body type at the expense of the other

Another issue that has heavily contributed to the rising instances of skinny shaming is the attempts at normalizing the fat body type. Even in the popular culture, appreciation of the fat and curvy body is often achieved by insulting the skinny body type. Why do we need to insult one body form to promote the other? Praising girls with curves shouldn’t make insulting thin ones acceptable in society. Thus when phrases like “Go tell them skinny bitches” appear in a song as popular as Meghan Trainor’s “All About the Bass”, it contributes to the general understanding that having a bony structure and a small butt is actually a problem. In such a way, instead of encouraging body positivity, we are throwing a new section of people under the garb of body insecurity. Extreme anxiety and doubt about one’s physical self can be a grave issue in the long run.

Be it fat, thin, tall, short, cellulite or non- cellulite, promoting all equally can help people, especially women, to become more comfortable and confident in their appearances

Positive Body Image

Instead of becoming insensitive to the other body types, we must adopt a holistic approach towards body positivity. Be it fat, thin, tall, short, cellulite or non- cellulite, promoting all equally can help people, especially women, to become more comfortable and confident in their appearances. Depression, social anxiety, eating disorders and heightened insecurities are some of the cruel demonstrations of body shaming effects. We, as women ourselves, must stop putting other women down for their body weight and their waist sizes.  As long as we internally don’t start a revolutionary change, the expectations weighed upon us by the popular culture will remain powerful and body positivity would remain a faded illusion. While physical appearance might be important, it can have different meanings and in any way, it must not become an end in itself.

Read: Revenge porn, Stalking, Body Shaming: Few heads of the Cyber Ravana

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