The myth of skinny-shaming


As Nicki Minaj’s highest charting single ever, “Anaconda” has elicited a lot of controversy since its release. While the most prominent discussion seems to center around its salacious music video, which has garnered over 100 million views on YouTube—where comments oscillate between denouncing the video as “pornographic” or “disgusting” and heralding it as a sex-positive black-feminist masterpiece—what I find to be the most interesting argument against “Anaconda” is the accusation that Minaj is promoting an unhealthy body image. Indeed, opponents of the song have criticized its lyrics for “skinny-shaming,” contending that Minaj’s call to “fuck the skinny bitches” marginalizes thin women in the same way that larger women are marginalized. Here’s the fault with that argument: while instances of “skinny-shaming” may seem like as much of a problem as fat-shaming—and may very well be just as hurtful—the two phenomena are neither comparable nor equal, because the fact of the matter is that we live in a society that systematically and structurally privileges those who are thin and marginalizes those who are not.

It wasn’t until last weekend that I first heard the term “skinny-shaming.” I was hanging out in a friend’s common room listening to music when “Anaconda” began playing. About 3 minutes into the song, there’s a section where Nicki raps, “Where my fat ass big bitches in the club?/Fuck the skinny bitches/Fuck the skinny bitches in the club/I wanna see all the big fat ass bitches in the mother fucking club, fuck you if you skinny bitches.”

When I mentioned afterwards that I respected Nicki for saying that, to my surprise, my friend replied, “What? But like, skinny-shaming’s also a thing, which is just as shitty.”

“Skinny-shaming,” as I later learned, is the term that’s been coined to describe the act of degrading or insulting someone for being thin. It’s often mentioned in the broader context of body-shaming and women’s body image and is typically offered as a type of other-side-of-the-same-coin alternative to fat-shaming. Often, it’s heralded as more important than fat-shaming, because fat-shaming gets more attention in the media and general discourse. And with the growing discussion surrounding beauty standards, the media, and “real women,” this notion of skinny-shaming is one that’s received a lot of attention lately.

The core of the skinny-shaming argument can be best be summed up by the top comment on Meghan Trainor’s YouTube video for “All About That Bass”—another song that’s proven controversial recently for Trainor’s claim that she’s “bringing booty back” and planning to “tell them skinny bitches that.” The comment reads:

“What happened to everyone is beautiful?! Calling someone a skinny bitch is the same as calling someone a fat bitch. I bet if someone made a song calling someone a fat bitch everyone would hate that person. We’re all beautiful, no matter what size and we need to stop calling each other names or saying things like ‘only curvy girls are real women’ or ‘that girl would be pretty if she wasn’t fat.’ We are all BEAUTIFUL!!”

The basic premise of this argument, my friend’s argument, and all other arguments against “skinny-shaming” is this: skinny-shaming, like fat-shaming, is a form of body-shaming, so it is just as hurtful, dangerous, and problematic. Therefore, skinny-shaming should be discussed, analyzed, and combatted just as seriously as fat-shaming. Basically, “skinny-shaming’s a thing, and it’s just as shitty.”

But not all body-shaming is created equal. Skinny-shaming is absolutely not comparable to fat-shaming, nor should the two issues be weighted equally. And by pairing Trainor’s or Minaj’s or any other person’s individual criticism of “skinny bitches” with the systemic and cultural condemnation of all those who are not “skinny bitches” is to completely ignore the hierarchy of power associated with body-type and weight in modern American culture.

Being skinny is a form of privilege, in the same way that being white, wealthy, heterosexual, cisgendered, or able-bodied is a form of privilege. There are a series of societal benefits and advantages that come with being skinny, and these benefits serve to marginalize those who do not fit into a very narrowly defined notion of the acceptable female body type. These privileges include, but are not limited to:

The ability to find clothing in your size at the vast majority of retailers;

The assumption that your body type is at the very least “normal,” and most often sexually desirable;

The assumption that those who do find you sexually desirable are also normal, and not merely satisfying a fetish;

The assumption that you are healthy and physically fit;

The lack of character judgments (e.g. lazy, greedy, undisciplined) placed upon you for your body type.

These are all privileges enjoyed by those who are skinny, and these privileges are important to recognize when analyzing what exactly body-shaming means, who it affects, and how it affects them. Fat-shaming represents a larger social system of oppression. Skinny-shaming is an individual insult or criticism against those who are already in a position of power. Fat-shaming is nearly constant, ubiquitous, and often unacknowledged. Skinny-shaming happens sometimes. Yes, fat-shaming and skinny-shaming are both forms of body-shaming. No, they are not equal.

What differentiates individual instances of prejudice from large-scale discrimination is the system of power inherent in the latter. In “Developing a New Perspective on Race,” Pat Bidol defined racism as “Power + Prejudice”—I think this is true for all “-isms.” What transforms individual instances of prejudice into larger systems of discrimination is the existence of a power disparity. To be discriminated against is to be constantly placed in a vulnerable position in society—it is to be told, explicitly and tacitly, that you are unworthy and thus deserve less.

This is why even using the term “skinny-shaming” is dangerous; drawing the parallel between a system of oppression and individual grievances serves to conceal the ways in which body-size privileges or marginalizes certain groups. In the same way that affirmative action does not constitute reverse racism, or a concerted effort to recruit women in the workplace does not constitute reverse sexism, an angry comment towards skinny people does not constitute reverse fat-shaming (i.e. skinny-shaming). Being in a position of power means that while you may encounter individual instances of prejudice, you will never be subjected to a system of prejudice. Thus being told “fuck you” by Nicki Minaj is not “skinny-shaming,” but rather an instance of skinny-prejudice.

To be clear, by no means am I approving of or endorsing skinny-prejudice; insulting someone for their body-type—regardless of privileged status—is unproductive and hurtful. What I am saying is that comments like “fuck you if you skinny, bitch” have a context in which they must be considered. In a world in which a national retailer (ahem, Brandy Melville) labels size small clothing “one size fits most,” the dieting industry brings in $20 billion in revenue per year, the media routinely and publicly criticize celebrities for weight gain and herald Jennifer Lawrence as a “curvy woman,” non-skinny women are given very few avenues for attacking and criticizing the culture of oppression to which they are subjected. Add to that the history of patriarchy associated with female weight management, and it becomes clear that insults against those who are skinny are not an attack, but rather a response to a much broader issue.

So when Nicki Minaj says “fuck the skinny bitches” she’s not personally attacking women who receive skinny privilege, but rather combatting the system that gives it to them. She’s publicly recognizing the power dynamic that surrounds the female body, and she’s attempting to disrupt the dominant narrative that allows this dynamic to exist.

Yes, I understand “fuck the skinny bitches” might hurt your feelings, but no, this one instance of skinny-prejudice is not comparable to the pervasive culture of fat-shaming we live in. And by ignoring the fact that there is a difference, we deny the fact that this system of privilege and oppression continues to exist.


Illustration by Julia Kittle-Kamp

319 Responses

  1. Raven says:

    Here’s the thing. I can’t find clothes that fit me well in most stores. If I want to find something that is long enough, I have to shop in the Junior/Ladies section, but then everything drowns me. If I don’t want it to drown me, I shop in the little girl’s section, but then it’s too short. Yes, I could buy clothes and then take the time to take them in myself and make them fit, but why should I have to? Because I’m skinny, aren’t I supposed to have the “privilege” of finding clothes in my size, according to you? You talk about discrimination and shaming against groups of people who have more approval in society as if it should be applauded.

    Here’s a little clue about how to be a good person: Don’t shame anyone.

    Just because a person is rich, white, skinny, male, straight, or any other quality that may make you think that they have an easier life than you doesn’t give you ANY right to talk about them as if they don’t have feelings. “Fuck the skinny bitches” is not something to be celebrated. Ever. Sure, maybe she is railing at the system, but she is certainly not doing it in the right way. If you want bigger bodies to be celebrated, focus on bringing them up, not bringing others down.

    Because all of this hurts. “Fuck the skinny bitches,” “silicone barbie doll,” “only dogs want bones,” etc, all of that hurts people like me just as much as the fat, lazy, unhealthy stereotype hurts larger people. And it’s just as wrong. And to justify it with “But skinny people can find clothes in their size in stores, so they have skinny privilege” is laughable. Yeah sure, magazines idealize skinnier frames, but guess what? People still assume that I have some sort of eating disorder because I’m skinny. So most actresses tend to keep their fat down, but guess what? The internet still tells me that I’m an arrogant prick simply because I’m skinny.

    Get over yourself and step off your high horse for a minute. It is not fat-shaming that needs to be addressed by the body positive movement; it is body shaming in general. Skinny shaming is not okay. Racism against whites is not okay. Hating someone just because they are rich is not okay.

    Discrimination based on race, class, gender, sexuality, or size is not okay. Not even to bring down a corrupt system. You want to do something positive? Be positive.

  2. Jane says:

    As a teenage girl who is under 5’2 and weighs barely 100 pounds I am extremely self conscious about my size. I am always asked if I want the kids menu. I am old enough to drive a car but still buy my clothes in the kids department. When ever people see how much I eat (alot) they act suprised. Teachers have asked for years if I ate that day. A friend of mine is tiny about 4’8 and 80 pounds (she’s 16)and thats because of a deficency in growth hormones. The fact is that there is no way of knowing about why someone is a certain size and attacking them or saying they are privileged is an assumption that is often untrue. Please take into account that us SKINNY BITCHES cry in front of mirrors and dislike how we look.

  3. Bailey says:

    Go to any second hand store or low end clothing store, and tell me how many pants you find from size 4 down. Not all thin girls want to pay mall prices. $50 for jeans is unreasonable. Also, how many people comment on your weight per day? It’s like a broken record of mostly negative thin comments. Oh, I don’t follow celebs or models, because fashion is too shallow for me. I don’t get validation from airbrushed images of strangers. If I have enough respect to not even feel tempted to comment on a large woman’s body, I think I deserve the same respect. I have no idea if fat shaming or thin shaming are the same, because I’ve never walked in their shoes. But does it really matter who has it worse? If you ask me, minorities have it worse. Gay people have it worse. Nobody is in fear of being killed for being thin or fat. The media has polarized women with different figures, because if we band together, magazine images would no longer hurt us into buying unnecessary products. All body shaming is bad. Get off your high horse, and wake up.

  4. Elizabeth Blake says:

    I find this very hard to read. As a naturally “skinny bitch” I have never been able to put weight on like a normal person. I even had to be on medication to help me gain weight as a child. I have been called things like anorexic, twigs for bones, and other very hurtful things. People don’t realize that just like a person who is made fun of for being heavier, skinny people will try and do things to make them gain weight. I tried. It didn’t work. But I stopped that because it wasn’t healthy. I had to change the way I looked at myself and turn it into a positive light, because everyone around me was telling me my weight was a negative thing. I am a very active girl. I do mma and bjj. And I am an ex gymnast. Recently my whole family went organic. We don’t eat processed foods. I am healthy and I am tired of hearing that “real women have curves”. Because no. Real women have vaginas. That’s all you need to physically be a girl. I’m also tired of hearing “real men go for curves, only dogs go for bones” because if we reverse that and say “real men go for thin girls, only dogs go for meat” people would be very upset. Just as we are upset. We can’t help our weight. Don’t tell me it’s not as important. Because it is.

    • ariana says:

      Yes. People some were happy with our bodies because they think we have “ideal” bodies. We’re supposed to be happy with what we were blessed with, our complaints aren’t valid. I used to try so hard to eat food that would make me gain weight but I just never did. Working out is actually the only way I can gain weight. Not a problem most people have. But I try to eat only organic food now and I just eat what’s healthy & what I like & I’m so much happier with myself now that I’ve stopped trying to change. I sure do get tired of people asking me everyday what I’ve eaten that day. It’s no ones business. Especially NIR a stranger. & if I say so it’s always oh I was just concerned about you… Well no. I see an overweight girl I might sorry about her health but I do not walk up to strangers & tell them they need to stop eating so much & lose some weight & I’d appreciate if i didn’t have to hear the equivalent to that from them.

  5. guest says:

    Maybe this article is thinking of thin/in shape women and not actually skinny girls? Being skinny is not ideal, being thin and in good shape is. Being a skinny, bony girl my whole life I have been harassed everywhere. In school, at work, walking down the street people say things to me like “ew, go eat a cheeseburger, go eat a donut, you have no ass” and these are mostly men saying these things. I read comments under pictures of skinny girls “ew who would want to sleep with a bag of bones? no man likes that” It’s like people think the media is portraying skinny as ideal so it gives them the right to say anything negative about the person they want. I have gone through many unhealthy options to gain weight including weight-gaining shakes and pills. Body-shaming is wrong. Let’s stop arguing about which is worse fat-shaming or skinny-shaming. And please don’t tell me there is such a thing as skinny privilege. My bony ass has not helped me get anything in life.

  6. Charlotte Alyce Jane Markwick says:

    Well said!!! You took everything I was feeling and turned it into words!!!

    And honestly, people get all hung up on the words and start getting all “what are we teaching children, won’t somebody think of the children!” -come on, can’t we just enjoy brilliant, catchy music?

  7. Angela Hargis says:

    I absolutely hate all of these articles that im seeing recently taking about how it’s not at all the same. I call bullshit. Since I was a child I’ve been extremely thin and have never had any luck with trying to gain weight. I’ve discussed it with my doctor and they said though I’m technically underweight my body itself is perfectly healthy. Yet growing up and even currently just because I’m thin I get asked if I have an eating disorder and now with the body equality instead of people actually trying to be equals we get the people that claim that I’m not a “real” women because I don’t have curves. And who says that just because you’re thin you can get whatever clothes you want? I have to shop around so much because my breasts or ass aren’t big enough. I find it absolutely disgusting that to make one type of body type feel better the majority of people feel the need to bash any types that are different. I have friends that are all different body types. We are who we are not because of how fat or skinny we are but because of our personalities and I just wish that people would actually realize that.

  8. Sarah Bickford says:

    Have we completely forgotten about eating disorders?? If you were to see an exessively skinny person then there is a rather likely chance that there is some kind of eating disorder attatched. There are around 30 million Americans with an eating disorder where they cannot help being skinny. I agree that skinny shaming doesn’t have the history that fat shaming does but you have to understand that SKINNY SHAMING STIGMATIZES MENTAL ILLNESSES!! By saying ‘fuck the skinny bitches’ you are saying ‘fuck you for being thin’ to everyone with an eating disorder. I’m not saying all skinny people are annorexic/bulimic.. But MOST annorexics/bulimics are skinny.

  9. Liz says:

    You know what being naturally TOO SKINNY is not a privilege. The fact you even think this is a legitimate argument blows my mind. I have suffered with this my whole life and to think that because we are skinny we aren’t also receiving backhanded comments such as “you could use a cheeseburger” is absolutely outlandish. Never in my 5’7″ 100lb life have I EVER fit into a piece of clothing that said “one size fits all”! WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS “SKINNY PRIVILEGE” YOU KEEP BRINGING UP??? ITS NEAR IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND CLOTHES THAT FIT, IMPOSSIBLE TO GAIN WEIGHT, PEOPLE CONSTANTLY CALLING ME A SKELETON OR JOKING THAT I HAVE AN EATING DISORDER. This article is mean spirited and although you’re entitled to your opinion, you should consider who you’re writing about

  10. Rachel says:

    honestly just calm down smoke a jouint and love yourself who cares what other people think and also anyone that says anything bad about your body just give them a hug and say “ur gonna grow up one day and realize your a shitty person, until then stay away from me bitch cus i dont want ur negative vibes.” amen

    • Nikki says:

      I am 5’6 and I used to weigh 95 pounds when I was in high school. There were a lot of people that would say the same things to me. Although some of the guys would tell people that they were going to be nice to me because one day I was going to put on weight and look really good. When I was about 19 I put on a little more weight and people stopped commenting as much, but I was only 103 pounds. I had my son when I was 26 and my body became curvier afterwards and my stomach was still flat and I had no stretch marks. People were in awe of me. I am in my 30’s now but I look like I am in my early 20’s. I love my body I am now 109 pounds and I look great. I have a butt, hips, boobs, and a flat stomach. All of the people that made fun out of me when I was in high school are now struggling to lose weight. I can still eat anything I want and whenever I want and I look great. The day will come that you will finally appreciate having a fast metabolism.

      • Melissa says:

        Really? I spent a large chunk of my life 5″8 and 100 pounds – there honestly was never an issue finding clothes. Now at 5″8 and 165, however, with a BMI at the upper border of normal, I can’t buy pants at half the stores in the mall.

        There were people that made mean comments when I was thin, and it was hurtful, but it doesn’t come close to comparing the amount of time I now spend worrying about my weight, and then worrying about why I’m worrying, and watching what I eat, etc, etc. I never had store associates be rude to me before for asking for a different size (I’ve had a few give me an only thinly-veiled disgusted…”We don’t carry XL” followed by a quick body scan). I notice how much the world, through media, its values, etc, tells me that what I am is not good enough, and it’s not attractive. It’s so much more insidious, and really hard to fight against. Thinner women have been shown to have better chances getting employed, and certainly are generally accepted as being attractive. These things have tangible impacts on your life. They were all things I had no idea existed until I had to live them, and start battling the ideas that now I was the slob, the gross, lazy, undisciplined, ugly, vulgar, etc etc etc one.
        As the writer said, privilege isn’t living a life without anything bad happening ever. But as a thin woman, I certainly benefited substantially while living in a culture that valued that thinness to the point that people were literally dying to achieve it.

  11. Taylor says:

    I would like to point out that there are women physically harming their bodies trying to obtain the heavier and curvier body that is being preached in these songs. That should be noted. Skinny shaming has not been an issue because people have been practically ignoring it’s negative effects. Growing every day is the number of girls and women undergoing possibly dangerous procedures to give them bigger butts, breasts, lips and more. And while thin privilege clearly exists in our society, that does not mean that skinny shaming is not equal to fat shaming. When you consider the numbers of women who go through depression and other mental breakdowns due to being called “skinny bitch”,”worthless”,”anorexic,” and so much more… how can you say it’s not equal to fat shaming? Just because they can buy a t shirt that fits them easier?

  12. Tori Schuler says:

    I completely disagree with you. You are not helping anything because you explicitly state that it is not as big of a deal to skinny-Shane as it is to fat-shame. You may not mean that, but it is what you said.

    You also say that it isn’t a constant problem. I disagree. I cannot count the number of times complete strangers have stopped me in a public place and asked if I ever eat, if I’m okay, if I need help. All because of my weight. The worse part is that they don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s okay for them to ‘express concern’ like that, to my face. They go out of their way to do it. That makes me feel worse about my figure than most people could imagine. Being singled out by a stranger just to tell me that there’s something wrong with me.

    “You’re so skinny” is not a compliment. It’s also usually followed by “do you ever eat?” That is not what I want to hear. The compliment form is “you have a nice figure,” and it applies to people of all sizes. Start using it.

    In short, I live with the constant implication that I’m sick because I’m thin, people constantly judging me (not just occasionally, like so many people think). “Careful, you might blow away!” How does that sound like an okay thing to say to a stranger? A friend, sure, if you have that understanding, but never say these things to strangers.

  13. Jade Santiago says:

    In my opinion, this for the most part is bullshit. I’m skinny and I suffer with simular issues a fat person would struggle with since childhood. As ironic as it may sound to someone who clearly hasn’t clearly looked at it from another person’s perspective. Just because the media portrays skinny as good, doesn’t make them privilege or mean people want them. I have trouble finding clothes that fit right because I’m too skinny. I have struggled with a binge eating disorder for most of my life from useless effort to gain weight. I’ve been made fun of and bullied throughout school and life because I “look anorexic”. I’ve struggled with self harm because of the ridicule and solitude from a lack of friends or people just writing me off because I have “nothing to complain about”. I’ve been rejected and told I look “creepy” or “unheathy” or too skinny and that I should eat more. I feel highly offended when people dismiss skinny-shaming as unequal to fat-shaming. Its one sided and not fair to those who struggle with weight gain. If a fat person wants to lose weight it just takes eating right and exercise (which mind you is a normal part of a healthy life style). But gaining weight when you have an uncontrollable fast metabolism is nearly impossible. So maybe you should think again about your petty distaste towards skinny shaming and realize that it truly is just as hurtful and has the same impact.

  14. Elise Brady says:

    I think what everyone needs to remember is that the body type these women are promoting is not fat, it is curvy. They are promoting a round butt and big boobs – the “ideal” body. Don’t fool yourselves into thinking these celebrities are defending fat or over weight women. They are idealising and promoting the body type that women have been distracted into thinking they have to have through decades of propaganda. The image being promoted here is not a healthy one – the body type, in its own right is perfectly beautiful and healthy, but the image being promoted is more than the body type.

  15. Frank Howard says:

    “In this one instance” – give me a break. Thin shaming is very real, and very cruel.

  16. not including my name says:

    Thin shaming isn’t real?

    Please explain to me why thin women are accused of setting unrealistic and unhealthy standards of beauty but those very same people tell us it’s possible to have health at every side and to stop fat shaming?

    This isn’t a pro-health movement, if it was you’d attack obesity. This is THIN SHAMING.

  17. andyrolo says:

    Well, I guess getting into Yale is easier than I thought.

  18. LelaniFuchs says:

    I’m going to assume the author is a land whale and is trying to justify it being okay to shame the thinner bodies because it makes her feel better about herself.
    I too, used to be a land whale, but I sought to lose weight, to get healthy and now I am a lovely size 8, and people like you try so hard to make me feel bad about it. Ya know what? I don’t. I look fucking awesome now. In fact, whenever someone says things like “skinny bitches” or that I need a cheeseburger (this is actually fat promotion) I take it in stride. I take it as a compliment because there is something about us that makes you lash out. You can’t stand that you don’t look like us or have the will power to lose weight and get healthy, so you insult us. Have at it. Anytime you insult me for being a skinny bitch, just remember, you wouldn’t say that if you were thin.

  19. bananasmoothie says:

    I was one of the skinniest girls in school. Partly due to genetics. Partly due to not having enough food in our house. I was made fun of on a daily basis. The girls who were considered beautiful (cheerleaders, homecoming queens) were never skinny. Not obese, but not skinny. Just because Calvin Klein ads featured thin women does not mean the general public ever rewarded skinny women with any type of privledge. And no, I could never find clothes that fit in most stores.

  20. Izanami Mikoto says:

    I was overweight until developing an eating disorder and my BMI dropped down to 16. Negative comments on your body weight, body type and eating habits, whether skinny or fat can both be very hurtful. And honestly I got much more invasive questions and comments when I was very thin. Even without an eating disorder, I know I’d feel harassed.

    I’m all for body positivity and body acceptance whatever your size but one of my only qualms is fat activism trying to call doctors fat-phobic, when in reality you need to accept that your severe edema is caused by the extra 150 pounds and you’re setting yourself up for the most common cause of death.

    Does being fat and/or unhealthy mean you shouldn’t be valued as a person? No. But should you value your health, and is that something to respect? Yes.

  21. Rachel says:

    These privileges include, but are not limited to:

    The ability to find clothing in your size at the vast majority of retailers;

    The assumption that your body type is at the very least “normal,” and most often sexually desirable;

    The assumption that those who do find you sexually desirable are also normal, and not merely satisfying a fetish;

    The assumption that you are healthy and physically fit;

    The lack of character judgments (e.g. lazy, greedy, undisciplined) placed upon you for your body type.

    some fyi since you obviously are incapable of viewing life through different eyes, I give you a list of the privileges I’ve been given for having a slender frame(5’5″ 110lbs):

    I have an incredibly hard time finding clothes that fit. Bras are even harder. Size 2 is too tight in pants, but size 3 makes me look even thinner because they’re too baggy. My boobs are usually too small for shirts, giving them a funny fit.

    The assumption that I must be anorexic because I’m obviously too thin. That’s why random strangers and people I meet for the first time have no problem advising me to eat more, after all, they know more about me and my life than I do.

    The assumption that men who find me sexually attractive like “bony bitches” bones are for dogs right?

    The assumption that I am unhealthily skinny, like I said before, anorexic, emaciated, need to eat more, etc I already brought this up.

    The character judgments: I’m vain, a bitch, I’m a whore, I’m childlike and can’t take care of myself(because tiny people remind larger people of children), etc…

    I know this was written last year but I had to comment because these “privileges” you claim I have work both ways. I have been ridiculed and shamed my entire life for being so small, and now I’m being told to shut up and deal with it, because only fat women are allowed to have weight issues. Your assumptions are wrong and I really hope by this time your opinion has changed to accept that all women face body image issues and that we need to stand together and love our bodies rather than divide and argue over whose problems are worse.

  22. Matt says:

    So it’s a privilege to be made fun of everyday for being skinny to the point where self esteem no longer exists and day to day life is a constant cycle of fear and self loathing. That’s a privilege? With the rise of eating disorders in the media people automatically assume skinny people have disorders, tell us to eat cheeseburgers, and expect us to not lash back and to accept it. This is privilege? I hope since writing this article last year you have reconsidered your stance on the topic because skinny shaming and fat shaming are one and the same. Equal. They lead to the same feelings whether skinny or fat.

  23. Tesla Marline Danellen Reeves says:

    Wow… I hope you don’t say you all for “everyone is beautiful” or “equality” because this is a contradicting, twisted, and rude message… how can you say white people and skinny women are “privileged” wtf! You are doing no different than the topic you are talking about! No type is better than one other!!! And the only reason people think so is because people use their opinions to speak for everyone else! Like someone saying ” everyone loves pizza!! Its the best!” Well guess what not everyone loves pizza… and for you to say that fat shaming it worse than skinny shaming is wrong.. though I get what your trying to tell, your wrong. Obviously everyone knows about fat shaming and know how much it happens, yet you say it goes unnoticed… I’ve been skinny shamed my whole life, but because I supposedly have a “privilege” I have no reason to complain and it isn’t considered shaming… pretty much what I’m saying it the way people think is that a skinny girl should take it as a compliment when someone grabs your wrist and says ” your so skinny, do you eat?? .” Just because we are skinny???… that’s like grabbing a big girls belly and saying “your so fat, how much do you eat???” But it is wrong and gets noticed when its said to a big girl… nobody bats an eye when skinny shaming happens! I’m all for everyone is beautiful and blah blah blah but people need to stop putting other people down to feel good about themselves..but if your a big girl and have been fat shamed your whole life then you go and hate on some skinny girls, that makes it worse THAT is when skinny shaming is worse than fat shaming because if you know what it feels like to be body shamed, why the fuck would you go and do it to someone else?? It needs to stop ALL SHAMING!!!

  24. em says:

    Skinny shaming is not equal to fat shaming…. for now. Throughout the history in many different cultures there have been times when being plump was considered ideal and being skinny was shameful and other times when being skinny was visually appealing and being plump is called fat, etc. That is, sense of beauty changes all the time. Just a decade ago being super duper skinny was more praised and now more people say that is not good and they say they want to be healthily skinny. If we give an ok to skinny shaming just because it is not equal to fat shaming right now, sooner or later we will have created a culture in which being skinny, even if natutally and healthily skinny, is shameful. Culture is something people create over time. And as people change gradually, so does our culture and society. It starts from a small thing. We cannot justify any shaming at any time.

  25. Mark says:

    Love all the mental gymnastics you go through to try to argue that there’s no such thing as skinny shaming. What Nicki Minaj said in her song is a form of body shaming. Period. And trying to sweep it under the rug and hand wave it away makes you just as pathetic as she is.

  26. AquariusMoon says:

    If you want to trivialise skinny shaming then know this. None of the body positive movement has the right to ask skinny women to be allies. Our rights aren’t respected, we aren’t respected. Your views and cause are wholly self-indulgent and self-centred and purely focused on fat acceptance.

    Thank goodness I’m confident enough never to be shamed into eating a burger or more than what I’m used to. Thank goodness I can see through the agenda of the body positive.

    I’ll revel in my thin privilege because it was earned. Whilst I won’t deliberately torment the overweight, I’ll not take up their cause until they acknowledge the pain those who’re skinny shamed and who have body issues feel. In fact, I’ll call you guys out to any skinny woman for undermining the hurt caused to these victims and ask them if helping you guys with your cause is worth it

  27. donalda says:

    This isn’t necessarily morbidly obese verses height/weight proportionate. Women who are curvaceous, T&A, hour-glass shaped vs. boyish and athletic are being called fat! Having a curvy, womanly body is NOT fat. Jennifer Lawrence, Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian and formerly Marilyn Monroe are NOT FAT. That’s the kind of *ish Nicki Minaj is railing against.

  28. Skyeo says:

    Has anyone else who is naturally skinny gotten the degrading label of “anorexic” or had someone sneer about how you “probably shove your fingers down your throat after a meal”? That is why fat shaming and skinny shaming ARE on the same level. To insinuate somebody has a severe mental issue based on their weight is just as bad as assuming someone is simply “lazy” or gluttonous for being heavier. I have heard random strangers point at me and imply that they would look that disgusting if they didn’t eat too. It feels just as bad, it is just as bad, and it’s extremely ignorant to say otherwise.

  29. Joli says:

    My older sister used to call me “toothpick” and “popsickle stick” legs, on our walk to school, in front of her friends. It was skinny shaming. As an adult, I have curves, and a belly. I am not plus size, but I have body dysmporphia and feel like I am a large size. I am often ashamed of my curves and my inclination is to wear a lot of unflattering loosefitting clothing, but I’m getting better. Fat shaming and critical Women’s beauty standards have been harmful to me as someone who is technically a skinny person. In puberty and adulthood I grew curves and developed fat in new places, and I was ashamed of it.
    Now, it is empowering and healing for me to see so many different body types and skin colors in television, movies, in photography, and in blogs. I agree that skinny women, even ones with body dysmorphia like me, do have somewhere in the back of their minds a knowledge that we are able avoid a certain scrutiny that larger people don’t always have. It’s empowering for me as a skinny woman to see larger people embracing their size and looking so confident, and with killer style. I wish I had been able to see this in my teen years because I doubt I would have this body dysmorpia.

  30. jess says:

    lol forgetting that bigger women are praised in some parts of Africa because it shows signs of wealth. My family has always force fed me because I’m naturally skinny and to them that was ugly.

  31. M_Young says:

    “Being skinny is a form of privilege, in the same way that being white, wealthy, heterosexual, cisgendered, or able-bodied is a form of privilege. ”

    Whites are not privileged. White privilege is a myth.

    • curvaceouslyyours says:

      It’s not surprising that many whites don’t understand what white privilege is. It doesn’t mean you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or that you don’t have any problems. It is referring to a type of cultural and social privilege. The fact that as a white person in America damn near everything is about you, caters largely to your tastes, is a function of privilege. Being the dominate ethic group is a demonstration of privilege. Having movies that feature white characters in the lead is privilege. Being able to walk through a fancy neighborhood without the assumption that you’re there to steal, privilege. Not being stopped for owning a Mercedes, privilege. Not having to worry that your kid will be shot for no good reason, privilege. Being given the benefit of the doubt just because you’re white, privilege. Even white convicts are privileged over black ones and more likely to get hired and you can look up those studies yourself. White privilege is real and skinny privilege is real, too.

  32. Luna says:

    Skinny shaming does not have to be equal to fat shaming. It is STILL wrong. Thick girls always think it’s okay to empower themselves at the expense of insulting skinny girls. If you have to make other people feel bad about themselves to lift yourself up, you have a problem.

  33. thatwave says:

    Ignorant and wrong…and obviously from someone who has never been attacked for being skinny, (and someone who isn’t open-minded enough to think beyond her own small world view.)

    As a naturally thin girl and woman in a family of heavy women, I was constantly called “skinny,” “anorexic,” “weakling,” “stick,” “twig,” “wimp” and worse. I was constantly shamed, harassed, compared and made to feel like I was physically and mentally a tiny little worthless nothing. I carried that view of myself with me for over thirty years–feeling like my worth was as small and insignificant as my size, and letting people treat me as though that were true. There was no privilege in that.

    Like many naturally thin women, I was made to feel like I wasn’t good enough to be “real” or to matter. And…to make things worse, ignorant women write blogs saying that the bullying I endured wasn’t meaningful because I was “privileged.” Nonsense. If anything, it’s worse to be too skinny because no one is there to comfort you or empathize, there aren’t support groups and weight-gaining programs, and there isn’t public outcry to defend your right to be comfortable in your body.

  34. Still Skinny says:

    Skinny shaming is real, and if you think skinny women don’t get constantly criticized and judged for the way they look then you are deluding yourself. Have a scroll through these comments. There are many misguided attitudes of ‘thin’ women saying obesity is a choice (which for many it is, but for probably just as many it is the result of misfortune including medications and disease) but there are so many people calling anyone thin a bitch and other rude names and saying we’re overly sensitive if we feel hurt by ‘the odd comment’. This isn’t fair. All through my life and especially in my teenage years I was far thinner than the ‘perfect body’. Strangers would give me dietary advice for no reason. If I said I wasn’t hungry and only ate a small meal people would stare at me and say how I must eat more. I got just as many judgemental looks in the street as some of the overweight women do. I was unable to put on weight, I couldn’t buy clothing in normal shops as I was too tall for kids clothes and teen clothes were too big. I struggled against my body image and would never wear anything that showed my ribs, shoulders or collarbones because people would always poke them, pinch my skin and say how gross I looked for having bones sticking out. I was nicknamed Anorexic. It was horrible and there is no way you can marginalise that and say fat women get more hate than that. And what about the fact that thin women often have no ‘curves’? I was painfully VERY flatchested until I started taking a hormone based contraceptive and even now you have to squint at my chest to see my breasts. Whenever someone, male or female, meets you for the first time they look straight at my chest. I’m sick of being judged for being flatchested before people even know my name. I definitely don’t fit the ideal and yet I am a healthy weight so society hates my body type just as much as some aspects of society hate fatter women. You say you don’t want to be seen as sexual attractive only in the way to fill a fetish? Yeah, try having no tits. Sex with flat chested individuals is also a fetish. To summarise, a lot of your points as to why skinny shaming isn’t as bad as fat shaming are based of a misconception – I experienced as much body hate as fat girls except I guess now it is not acceptable to be mean to fat people but skinny bashing is continuously accepted as demonstrated by these comments. Lets go back to just sticking with everyone is beautiful and not trying to build up one societal groups self confidence by destroying anothers.

    • curvaceouslyyours says:

      Skinny shaming is prevalent in the black community. I was naturally thin growing up and constantly heard that I needed to eat more, that no man would want me unless I had some more meat on my bones. Illness made me overweight and I was fat shamed by people on the street and my own family as well. Now I’m what you might call pleasantly plump or “thick,” but I’d rather be slender again because that is my identity. Everybody gets sh** for something. The problem is the media ideal that an attractive woman should be a certain way and that’s thin, white and blonde. Let’s admit that right now. Sure, there has been a backlash against that ideal and those that are seen to meet it get sh** and a lot of that is our of envy and a lot of it is out of anger that I can full well understand. It’s real, but it’s also real that those who meet the skinny ideal have a cultural privilege that women built like me do not enjoy. If you’re skinny people assume you are healthy, athletic, disciplined and consider you more attractive in general. I think the shaming of slender women is wrong, but I would encourage looking at the policing of the female form in general and the pressure on women to meet a media created ideal instead of putting the focus on skinny or fat shaming.

  35. Jen says:

    Privileged? Go lose 30 lbs then come back and apologize to the Internet.
    The difference between fat shaming and skinny shaming is fat is unhealthy. Not big-boned, or naturally thick, I mean fat, fat. One doesn’t get that way without a reckless disregard for her health. Call it what you want, but there was not enough of a conscious priority on the part of an obese women to maintain her God-given body. Skinny shaming is sheer, brutal jealously.
    Here’s the real problem. Insecurity. I wouldn’t want to have anyone else’s body but my own. I own it so I maintain it and respect it with all of it’s uniqueness. Feel too skinny? Stop! I love the hell out of small girls – so do some men. Feel too fat? Stop! I love curves – so do some men. Obese? Do you like being obese? Some men like that too.
    These women-go out and get boob jobs-for what? To feel “confident”. It’s bulls**t. It’s not the media, or men, or other women. It’s your own stupid insecurities. When I grow old, I plan to own it like Helen Mirren.

  36. Aastha Khanna says:

    I have anorexia. i’ve had it my whole life. No, i have NOT become anorexic to be paper thin like a model. i’ve had it since i was born. I was EXTREMELY underweight when i was born. it got diagnosed when i was in the 5th grade! 5TH FUCKING GRADE. The amount of issues i have to face everyday because i am so underweight is not even funny. My mom has spent my entire life trying to feed me, i have had breathing problem because the ketones and acid in my body increased to fatal levels. i have been hospitalized on multiple occasions because i would faint or have breathing attacks because of the lack of nutrition in my body. Trust me, i’ve tried everything down to enzymes being injected in my body so that i would be able to eat. and i’ve recently found out two things, i have high symptoms of hyper thyroid which won’t allow me to gain weight easily. Also, that if i don’t gain weight i may not be able to have a baby in the future because i don’t have enough nutrition to keep my body afloat let alone another one inside me. Also that if i tried giving birth my hips might get damaged because they aren’t strong enough. So don’t give me that shit that thin or skinny women have more privileges than fat people. body shaming in ANY context is bad. stereotyping a fat person as lazy is the same as stereotyping me as a girl whose forcefully starving myself to be thin like a model. if fat people have their issues because of the size of their bodies so do thin. Imagine finding out that you may never be able to have a baby because you’re too thin because of no fault of yours! along with numerous fucking mental illnesses that come with it. give me a break, woman. have some decency. this article was so disgusting it made me sick. any kind of body shaming is bad. whether it’s fat shaming or skinny shaming. you NEVER know what the other person who you’re shaming might be going through.

  37. Laura says:

    I have been shamed a lot about being thin, and had a hard time finding clothes – and I’m not even that thin. My BMI is about 19.
    Body weight is a medical question. A doctor might advise you to lose or gain weight for your health.
    But shaming someone about their body weight is not OK in a social interaction. And it’s amazing how I’ve been “diagnosed” as anorexic by non-doctors. People seem to feel they have the right to do this. I’m fine with my body weight, but some people want to make me feel bad about it.
    It’s part of a pattern, of women’s bodies being considered everyone’s property – so that people feel entitled to comment.
    I wouldn’t tell a woman – or a man – to lose weight. It isn’t a good way to treat people.
    It doesn’t help me that being thin is a societal ideal – when people shame me for it anyway!

  38. Kimberly Brown says:

    Whoa, whoa, whoa guys. Anaconda is not a good example of skinny shaming at all. I think it’s an amazing song with a good message, and I think anyone who’d be offended by it has issues. However, skinny shaming is a thing, and it isn’t about Anaconda. Skinny shaming happens to girls with eating disorders, or girls who look like they have eating disorders. They get called “flat-ass”, “anorexic”, “sickly” and everything, and it certainly makes body insecurity a bad thing for them. It isn’t as prominent in our culture as fat-shaming, but it’s there. Please don’t call it a myth.

    PS This is coming from a chubby person, so I’m not biased, kay?

  39. Josy says:

    “To be clear, by no means am I approving of or endorsing skinny-prejudice; insulting someone for their body-type—regardless of privileged status—is unproductive and hurtful.”

    Reading through all of the comments, I think that a lot of the people don’t really see what the author is trying to say here. With good reason, but nonetheless. She never says, not once, that it is somehow okay, or meaningless to insult people for their body type. No matter what body type that is. Of course, bullying about your appearance is always, always cruel and wrong, but this is not what the article is about. She simply compares the extent of skinny shaming compared to fat shaming in our society, not their effect on the individual, nor does she state that one is more devastating than the other.
    She does, however say, that, in terms of numbers, fat shaming is a far more frequent phenomenon. Just look at young people developing eating disorders (and here I only mean anorexic girls and boys who stop eating to fulfill some unrealistic ideal of perfection, not those with a medical condition) Why do these people think they aren’t good enough until they reach a size zero, that they aren’t worthy, sexy, beautiful until they have the “perfect” figure? Because of the media induced image that being skinny is THE goal. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a woman on a magazine cover, that did not have a super slim body.
    At this point I would also like to point out, that people have different perceptions of the term “skinny” While to many of you, who have had terrible experiences with intolerance and insulting behavior from other people, and thus see the word in bad light, skinny is your own body type, while the in TV and Magazines advocated body type is Curvy and Womanly, to others, for instance the author of this article, skinny is exactly that, a beach model body, and curvy would be a Megan Trainor. This is also a problem our society has: Distorted views on what is healthy. While both a naturally thin person and a naturally chubby person can be in good shape and perfectly healthy, both are often immediately dismissed, as anorexic or fat. Which is of course, negative. But I can’t deny the fact that the body type promoted by movies and Hollywood stars IS more on the slim side of the playing field. How many magazines have articles titled “The Perfect Bikini Body”, “Hot Legs for those Fall Leggings”, “Get rid of that muffin top with ten Easy Moves!” How many mention vegan diets, low calorie recipes, detoxicating smoothies, all with the goal to become what you “should” be, a perfectly slim woman? Does that suck beyond belief? Yes, yes it does. For both very skinny and big girls. But does it say anywhere, that you should eat more? Pack on a few pounds? Get more womanly hips? Enjoy comfort food? Of course not. And that’s how the author arrives at her conclusion. Not in debating which form of shaming is worse for individual people. But which one is more present in our society. Thats also what she means by saying that a criticism about “skinny bitches” by Megan Trainor is addressing a system that focusses on fat shaming. While it is of course generalizing and marginalizing to assume that all skinny people are alike or skinny for the same reason (which is in my opinion, not what she is doing, but I’ll get to that later), to a “curvy” girl, it can often SEEM, that, even if skinny girls aren’t perfect either, or are unhappy about their bodies, they still are at the better end of the spectrum. Which is why they find it empowering. Of course you shouldn’t put others down to feel better about yourself, but again, I don’t think thats the song’s message, which I’ll discuss later.
    Another prominent example for fat shaming would be Hollywood, where skinny actresses like Keira Knightley or Emmy Rossum are much, much more common than “curvier” girls like Rebel Wilson or Melissa Mccarthy. While the former get all sorts of roles, be it comedy, drama, action, the latter are, unfortunately still often reduced to comic relief or funny sidekick jokes. And from the top of my head, I can’t think of other not slim woman playing big Hollywood movies at the moment. Just look at Pitch Perfect. A movie watched by so many young, easily influenced viewers. All of the girls in it have perfect, slim bodies, get their own character, their own jokes, that might sometimes be on their expenses, but not about their appearance, in the protagonist’s case, there’s even a boyfriend in it. The one chubby girl on the team gets fat jokes, is depicted as being unmotivated and lazy when working out, when she’s angry at someone she threatens to “finish him like a cheesecake”, and actually calls herself fat, so that other, mean spirited girls don’t beat her to it. Can you see where I am going with this? While NOBODY wants to belittle how horrible any kind of shaming is, it simply doesn’t happen on the same scale.
    Assholes who shout out to you on the street and make derogative comments about your weight like it’s any of their business, are naturally completely in the wrong.
    But from my personal experience, when confronted with a choice, they would rather go for a skinny girl than one they consider a whale. She might need a few sandwiches, of which he graciously reminds her, but at least she’s not a big fat disgusting beach whale, right? Right? She’s not hopeless, hasn’t given up on life and on herself. This is also linked to the dumb prejudice that while very skinny girls or guys MUST have a sad life, be anorexic emos, etc… Fat people are complete and utter losers, simply disgusting, trash. Again, this is only what I have personally witnessed, and I’m NOT saying this is true for everybody, I just want to introduce another example of how the media can infiltrate people’s mind. Guys who, online for instance, see pictures of relationships, for instance that ridiculously stereotyped “JustGirlyThings” series, the girls will always be little, fragile dolls. On porn sites, slim bodies are the norm. I’m not saying you can’t find „plus sized“ porn, there are plenty, but the first thing you are greeted with upon opening such a site, or a porn magazine, is flat abs, long, slim legs, etc..
    It already starts when we are kids, watching Disney channel, to come back to the Hollywood example. Main characters of shows like Hannah Montana, Lizzie McGuire, Maddie and London in Zac and Cody, or more recent shows like Liv&Maddy, are ALL perfectly skinny, and thus worthy to be the cute, funny protagonist. And it doesn’t end with Disney. What high grossing series for adults can you think of, that portrayed a not skinny person as an actual, well developed, interesting main character? And NOT a quirky sidekick, like Sookie on Gilmore Girls, who the main characters best friend and essentially exists to make her look good, is bubbly, easily distracted, and of course, a food loving cook, because fat people MUST love food! Or Patrice, from How I Met your Mother, Robin’s over eager work colleague who is super desperate and always wants to be her friend, oh lets just laugh about this fat person, How Hilarious!
    Only examples of a well rounded, realistic character I can think of are Hugo (from LOST) and Sam and Brian (who’s more on the heavy-boned than the chubby side) from Game of Thrones. Surrounded by a SEA of shows like True Blood, Gossip Girl, Supernatural, House of Cards, The Walking Dead, House MD, Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, Suits, Shameless,The Big Bang Theory, you name the genre, where practically all of the main characters have “perfect” bodies.
    Thus, if we don’t talk about the personal level, (which is also what the writer of this article is addressing, but the culture we live in and the image it creates, of a fake perfection) she is right about fat shaming being more frequent. I am not saying, that there isn’t some definite hypocrisy in the way everyone is preaching SKINNY as the ultimate goal, while people who actually are really skinny are still frequently victimized, like so many of you. (which I am really sorry about. I truly hope those of you with medical issues or those who were bullied about their body are better now :) )
    But the fact remains, that is what everyone and everything in our surroundings talk about. Not being healthy, which would be a supportive message, (this should be clear and I’m only mentioning this because some people claim fat shaming is justified since being fat is bad, right? It’s unhealthy? It’s done by people who destroy their body, right?
    This CAN be true for people who are obese, which is also a form of an eating disorder. (Still, just like there are many reasons people become skinny, there are just as many to put on weight)
    But nowadays, the limit between a healthy weight and a “couch potato” have been blurred heavily. I have seen perfectly healthy girls with normal BMIs being desperate and sobbing because their thighs touch. Now AGAIN, because I will never get tired of repeating this, this behavior and negative self image isn’t any worse or better than skinny girls being reduced to tears about their “flat asses” or having smaller breasts. But, as a psychologist, the reasons for their unhappiness the latter girls give me are usually things like: “That girl who sits opposite from me asked me if I’m still not wearing a bra. And she’s always pointing at me and making everyone laugh when we undress for Gym.
    “Did you have an operation or something? You’re as flat chested as a guy!“
    I hate her.
    This man in the bakery shop asked me if I was sure I didn’t want a piece of cake or something, and I didn’t get it at first, and then I was like, Oh great, he thinks I’m bulimic. Not another one.
    Last week, my grandmother asked me to have a word with her in private and asked if I was unhappy, if I ate enough. We’d literally just had dinner and she’d seen me eat totally normal, yet she was convinced there was something wrong with me. It was awful.”
    Their reasons are, for the biggest part, personal.
    However, the former, girls who believe they are fat because they are bigger than what OkMagazine tells them to be, or those who truly are larger than average, tell me:
    “It’s everywhere. I need a thigh gap to be beautiful, I need to be more toned to be sexy. Look at all those women in the movies. None of them have hips like me. Every billboard reminds me I’m a fat, disgusting cow. Whenever I eat something that’s not a salad, I can feel people sniggering. Being all like, there she goes again. What, it’s fine for you to eat meatloaf, but I’m disgusting when I do it? He just replied, Bitch you look like you’ve had enough meatloaf for two life times.
    They enjoy it when I don’t manage pushups in Gym class. Even when the other girls aren’t much better, or better at all, than me, everyone’s looking at the fat pig. Of course. I just hate how I can’t walk into a store without seeing ads with clothes on skinny models. How I can’t walk into a electric store with pics of super skinny actresses on the DVD covers, with beautiful pop stars in tiny outfits showing off their perfect body on the CD covers. Stores selling clothes for the average woman, H&M and others, have hardly any plus size models. Hollister often doesn’t even sell clothes over a certain size. It’s just everywhere.”
    And this is precisely what the author is trying to say: Not comparing individual fates, nor proclaiming that people with a “perfect body” (or what Hollywood tells us is perfect) have no problems whatsoever, just like white people, or men, don’t have a carefree life simply because they are white or male. She acknowledges that both forms of shaming exist, just like sexism against men or racism against white people exist. BUT, the system does favor white people, men, and the “skinny” type of body that is considered attractive. As I already mentioned before, your own definition might be different or thinner than this type of body, but in our society, the dream body is Skinny. None of this makes any kind of shaming okay. Not EVER. But it is a fact that magazines advertise ways to become SKINNY, not put on weight. It is fact that there are commercials advertising powders and pills for easier weightless, not weight gain. It is a fact, that in movies and TV shows, chubbier actors are the exception. There is no equality, they are a tiny minority. It is a fact, that lingerie ads show women with completely flat abs, super toned legs, etc… And all of these depictions create an atmosphere where slim women seem to be the status quo, the standard, and everyone who steers from it, is a freak. Be it because he or she is too thin, OR too thick.
    In addition to this, I don’t believe songs that insult skinny bitches are meant to discriminate all skinny people, especially those who are naturally skinny or have a medical condition. It is rather a (although badly formulated and inconsiderate) shoutout to those people who believe their so-called perfect body makes them a better, sexier, more valuable human being. As a response to being called fat over all these years, saying, “I love my body and feel beautiful in it, how do you like that?” is the idea behind it.
    Yes, the choice of words is unfortunate, but since the people passing judgement are frequently slim themselves, both Megan Trainor and Nicki Minaj use the phrase in a way of protesting against the constant criticism by saying “No matter how skinny you are, you can’t touch me” Similarly to a very thin girl who might be shouting “You busty bitches” because she was put down by girls with that feature and addresses them (without hating on everybody who has large breasts), Megan and Nicki address girls who are skinny and believe only that type of girl is desirable. Megan herself said, when asked about the alleged skinny shaming, the idea never occurred to her. That she said this because she is always genuinely surprised when she sees thin friends of hers complaining about their weight in front of a mirror. And that, right after the line about skinny bitches, she sings: Just Kidding, I know you think you’re fat. Thus admitting that even people with a supposed perfect body can still have low self esteem and still see themselves as overweight, and thus not good enough.
    People come in all sorts of shape. Being judged on the way you look always sucks. And thats exactly why the author of this text rather sympathizes with someone like Nicki, who calls out the very people who did it to her. But I tell you what. She would also sympathize with a girl who is extremely thin by nature, and thus, also a victim of the judgement, the body image. I said this before, and I say it again, if you were to rap about how blonde bitches think they’re so fly, you wouldn’t be randomly hating on blonde people. It would be a reaction to previous injustice. Maybe not helpful, maybe not appropriate, but understandable. In a similar way as a black person might be derogative about white people, for either a bad experience they had with some white people themselves, because one of their black friends was beat up by white guys, or, in the worst case scenario, shot by a white police officer for no apparent reason. Does it mean they are racist against all of white people, that they truly hate them and blame all of them? Of course not. BUT we can all understand that their initial impression of white people has been damaged, and that they might have a harder time trusting them now. Of course this was a rather extreme comparison, but if you think about it, doesn’t it seem almost natural (not correct or okay) to develop a dislike for a group of people after having bad experiences with a few of them? It is the very reason some people still refer to Germans as Nazis, even though Germans today can’t be held responsible for what their grandparents did 50 years ago.
    The idea is always the same. Once we have been wronged, especially if we have been wronged multiple times, by one group or ethnicity or type, we develop a suspicion towards all of them. Of course this is not a good thing to do, but it is quite human. This article rather addresses those people who truly do have a magazine type of body, who are considered desirable, who are that very narrow norm the author is talking about. Being shamed on the few instances in these songs, she doesn’t feel their situation is as grave as that of a “fat” person, put down for years. And while she doesn’t explicitly mention it, she indirectly says, ANYONE who doesn’t match this perfect type, be it because they’re too big, or too thin, has a more justified reason to call out girls who think only their perfect bodies are sexually desirable.
    My piece of advice is, even though it might sound hard, or even impossible, just ignore it. My High School days were full of mean and insulting comments as well, and I will spare you the sob story, but at some point I just realized, so fucking what? Why should I care if someone thinks I’m too big or too thin? Yes, I will take every opportunity I get to speak up for people who are insecure, and easily hurt by dumb comments and media imagery. Yes, I believe NOBODY should discriminate. But if we could all laugh it off (not the fact that shaming is happening, because it is, but all the individual, dumb insults we get) it would be much easier to like ourselves, no matter what type of body we have. Next time someone tells you to eat a burger, tell him to go screw himself, or simply ignore the moron. Like all of you said, there are many reasons why a person can be skinny, and it’s MUCH too easy to always put them in the same bucket of anorexic people who want to be models, just like it is MUCH too easy to call all bigger people undisciplined losers. They don’t know you, they don’t know why you are who you are, and frankly, it’s none of their business.
    Thus, let’s try to like ourselves and not depend so much on what anyone thinks of us. Even if Megan Trainor calls her next album “I hate skinny people!!“ Even if Melissa McCarthy gets rejected for the lead role in a romantic drama because she’s just not “the type” (aka not thin enough) let’s try not too care. Let’s hope one day, if we keep being tolerant and positive, people will finally understand how much that sucks.
    The magic trick is, neither the media, nor personal comments can make you feel ugly unless YOU let them. And if you don’t want to listen to a random lady on the internet, listen to a very wise one instead:
    “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
    -Eleanor Roosevelt.

    • Shell says:

      Omg YES! Thank you! Finally a commenter that understands…. Instead of ALL the people giving their life story and individual experiences, you see the bigger picture. It’s a long comment but SO worth the time…

  40. Come on says:

    Not all “frameworks of oppression” are created equal.

    You can’t just copy-paste very real and legitimate studies/frameworks on race, gender, and ethnicity onto weight or body image. It is disrespecting that hard-won framework and applying it to something that makes it look like a sham because it just doesn’t work.

    The “power inequality of weight” is not the same as the “power inequality” associated with race.

    As a Yale grad myself, I find it a little pathetic that such frameworks are thrown around with such lack of concern and care. It is disappointing and shows an acute lack of empathy.

  41. Ellyn says:

    Weight discrimination is more like age discrimination: it does in fact work BOTH ways. It’s not a case of “reverse oppression”. It is also not “exactly the same” as fat shaming. But to say that severely underweight people do not suffer actual discrimination is to ignore these facts:

    * Some insurance policies charge more to those who are above OR BELOW “normal” BMI.
    * Severely underweight people cannot find clothes in their size because their size does not exist. When a size 00 pair of pants drops right to the floor because you can’t hold them up, it is not a “privilege”.
    * Severely underweight people are turned away from jobs because they are assumed to be sick and therefore a risk.
    * Severely underweight people are often shocking in appearance and do not have the privilege of blending in. Some are thin to the point of being deformed – unless this author is saying DEFORMED people are privileged? When people involuntarily flinch at the sight of you, that’s a privilege?
    * Severely underweight people are an extreme minority. It is impossible for the plight of the underweight to be “the same” as fat shaming because obesity is so widespread and affects many more people. However, that does not mean the discrimination, bullying and oppression is any less severe. Unless, of course, this author is arguing that discrimination faced by extreme minorities doesn’t count?
    * Fat shaming and thin shaming should never be compared to racism for reasons I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone claiming to be progressive. It is not the same thing. It does not share the same history. Being slender has only been the ideal for a relatively short period of time. And a failing to meet beauty ideal is not the same thing as being classified as three-fifths of a human.
    * Being severely underweight can only be accommodated by a middle class (or above) income. Unless you can find a size quadruple zero at Walmart? Only middle class women can afford to buy a much too large size 00 and have it tailored to fit. The rest of us need to use safety pins to keep our clothes on. (Oh wait… that’s a privilege too, right? And shoes that fall off our skinny feet when we walk… also a privilege?)
    * The studies often cited by white middle class academic feminists do not include those who are severely underweight. “Thin” is almost always defined as “normal BMI” (or just slightly below).

    I could go on, but do I need to? No one is denying the privilege of slim to average individuals. Anyone in the “normal” BMI range is in fact privileged, and yes the normal BMI (as defined by the medical community) is skewed toward the slimmer end of the spectrum. I am tired of pleasantly slender middle class white women claiming to share the experience of the severely underweight, and feeling entitled to speak for us. I am a life-long thin woman, and have ranged from severely underweight to pleasantly slender. The two experiences are NOT the same; not even close. One is privileged and the other is not. Please, unless you can tell me about your vast experience of being severely underweight (BMI below 17) for an extended time, then you cannot speak for me or my experiences.

    • Melissa says:

      I spent time being underweight! It was not horrific. I found it way easier to get cheap clothes than I do now. (But I also don’t shop at Walmart…I actually find it more expensive than other stores, i.e. Forever 21).

      I think the flaw in this argument is a question of scale. You present an image of thinness that is, in your words “come to the point of being deformed.” You know what it takes to feeling too fat, gross, etc, in this society? Being an average, healthy weight. That’s the difference. Thinness is valued to such an extent that if you deviate only slightly into “fatness” you feel the negative effects. There’s no need to be morbidly obese to notice it.

  42. Ellyn says:

    And… wasn’t a woman kicked out of Yale for being too skinny? Oh right, that was Frances Chan. We have already established that the author doesn’t think minorities count.

  43. says:

    Lots of mad skinny girls commenting.

    This is important, for those of you that have a problem with the article, I suggest reading it more thoroughly and checking your privilege.

    Thank you for finally putting into words what so many women have tried to explain. Keep up the good work.

  44. morganne says:

    Josy said a lot of what I feel about the issues raised by the commenters on here. The author did not downplay what skinny women experience. She called it prejudice. The difference she indicated was in the systemic experience of women who are seen as thin vs. women who are seen as fat. Both women experiencing and criticism and an assumption by others that they have a right to correct their diet. The differences are visible in some of what commenters themselves have said. They said they have been called “not a real woman” and various types of thin objects and people are always suggesting that they eat or wondering if they are okay. They state that clothes don’t fit and hang on them. They are often seen as children. These are fair complaints…being put down sucks. Fat women experience the other side of this, clothes they bulge out of or being assumed as stupid or juvenile because of their weight. The difference that these commenters are failing to see is that their character is never called into question. They are never seen as undisciplined failures. They are never seen as less than human. The dietary criticism is often proactive as in if you do something you’ll be fine, here let me help you. It is still insulting, but with women who are fat the criticism is the opposite. Should you eat that, you already did too much, you glutton. You took and took and took. You don’t deserve help. You should be able to do it yourself but you are weak and don’t care about living. Both perspectives assume facts not available and like all judgments are unfair to the object. The difference in fat vs. skinny criticism down to a core generality is that skinny women aren’t “real women” but fat women aren’t “humans worthy of life or help.” Fat women are more likely to be turned down jobs, denied service because of size (clear example: airlines), refused aid relating to food (you’re fat enough already right? because body shape and diet are the only correlation, genetics and nutrition have nothing to do with it :-P) or heathcare (it’s wasted on you, you don’t care enough to help yourself do you?), medically advised to a life threatening degree based on their fat and not on their symptoms… And there are plenty of mental health issues on the fat end of the spectrum…depression, eating disorders, failed diets, self esteem issues….to the same degree or greater.

    Skinny prejudice is hurtful and horrible, but it is not nearly as dehumanizing or socially condemning as fat prejudice/ shaming is.

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