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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

361 Responses

  1. Shana says:

    That said, the fact that this so-called privilege exists & thrives is not our burden. Minaj and the like are better off saying ” fuck the dominant narrative”. That would be more accurate and constructive. We should not be targeted indirectly or otherwise (as per your logic) .Secondly, I don’t deny societies obsession with a specific body image/shape. I take great pride in my body shape and I’ve personally inspired many of my female counterparts to embrace a healthier path. If this contributes to this so-called ” skinny privilege”, then I’ll be a life-long proponent. I get the gist of the article in terms of context & comparison but it raises graver concerns specifically relating to the growing obesity epidemic & what is arguably one of societies biggest failings and challenges to date. Your statement, ” insulting someone for their body-type is unproductive and hurtful”. Hurtful, sure. Unproductive (in the case of the not skinny,dare I say fat/obese), I’m not so sure. Countless people will attest to the positive outcomes of their efforts to lose weight to achieve a healthier appearance . This on the heels of receiving criticism. Better to note the difference between insulting a large person for the sake of hurting them and taking the time to propose means and ways to get society to shift from a fat vs thin mentality to a ” let’s all try to be the best versions of ourselves ” so that there is privilege for all.

    • Martine says:

      The whole idea of liberals get to decide what is racism, and what is hurtful is not really working for anyone, even most liberals. People skinny shame far MORE then they fat shame. Fat shaming is usually fat people being sensitive to any mention of their size. While everyone is only to happy to hurt a slender woman with vicious comments most every time you see one. Sorry, but we all bleed the same. If a black person kills a white person because of racial hatred, they die the same way as if it was the other way around. If a skinny woman is oput down, called a bitch, and told no man will want her because she is thin, it hurts her the same exact way as if she were overweight. I am so tired of this liberal excuse machine. “Oh sure, its terrible, but its really no big deal, because you know…privilege.

  2. Shana says:

    In conclusion, it’s safe to say that I would prefer to live in a world without extremes. The fact is that we live in a society where 65% of the world’s population live in countries where being overweight and obesity kills more people than being underweight/slim (like me). Being cruel to fat people is not necessary but when first world countries shrug their shoulders and call it normal, I doubt that I’ll ever stop sounding off about this- and not in a hurtful way.

  3. Juxta says:

    This article makes an incredible argument in the controversy surrounding skinny-shaming. In my opinion, there is a large similarity with similar arguments that also have the same type of underlying facts, as white privilege (let’s start using the term “white ignorance though, because this term somewhat gives whites a reason to stay ignorant because the see it as a privilege and not as a problem…something about theirselves they cannot change, since they were born white…I hope this makes sense).

    Nicki is a strong, opinionated, powerful, black woman. Black women are extremely oppressed, especially in our society. Obviously Black people
    are in general, and it’s a evil, evil, kind of racism that is not predijuiced, it is on a much larger scale. When black people, especially those that are in the public eye, display a strong argument, they are easily shushed and shamed like a child by their abusive mother/father/parent.

    I realize this comment is a little scattered. But I must say, although there are major VALID similarities in arguments of skinny shaming and white privilege (anything surrounding racism), they don’t lie on the same type of foundation.
    Black people and all people of color, have been fundamentally oppressed through absolutely every type of system we have on this earth. Nearly every damn business that has ever existed, when it comes to employment or being a customer. I am not directing this comment towards the article AT ALL or to anyone on the comment board. I just felt it was necessary for me to voice my opinion on that.
    Thanks for reading, whoever got through my rambling :)

  4. Nrs says:

    So it’s okay to body shame if the person a good body. Like it’s okay to be racist to white people because they have “more privileges” this article is straight bull.

    • Morgan says:

      Completely agree. It’s like giving fat or overweight people an excuse to make me feel like shit over something they can control.

    • Juxta says:

      Nope, looks like my point went right over your heads due to my shitty ass writing.

      Let me clarify,
      I never stated that its okay to body-shame. The entire reason I wrote my reply to this article was to clarify that although the author makes a strong argument, fat-shaming is incomparable to our disease of racism in this country.

      I was replying to this:
      “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.”

      I was specifically replying to skinny priv being in the same category as white priv. There is no excuse for body-shaming, period.

      Again, I do not believe in any sort of body shaming. That includes skinny shaming, I believe it all to be awful. I believe in the power of feeling empowered by your body, at any size.

      I am VERY sorry that I didnt convey my message with more directness. I believe the scatter-brained approach quickly led to confusion.

      Also, NRS, there is no such thing as being racist against white people. You can be prejudice, but you cannot be racist against white people.

      • Juxta says:

        Just to bring the clarification home, I do NOT believe in body-shaming.

        I wrote my reply in order to state my belief that the problem of racism/white privilege, belongs in a class of its own and cannot be compared to the other privileges listed in the authors writing.

        Jane Elliot once told a man that claimed to experience judgement the way P.O.C do, because he felt judged by being chubby, “You can get rid of your chubby, they cant change the color of their skin.”

        The main purpose of my post was to separate the underlying foundation of body shaming and racism.

        I feel that we all share the constant struggles of accepting our bodies, and its fucked up. We have been conditioned to feel ashamed and to shame. I dont mean to sound like the cupcakes & rainbows girl from Mean Girls, but I think our biggest struggle overall is just learning to love ourselves. I feel that when we take self-love into the argument, and practice love towards one another, thats when things become productive.

  5. Morgan says:

    How fucking DARE you say I have “privilege” because I’m skinny. I eat like a fucking cow and I can’t gain wait at all. While some women who are larger can control their weight through their eating habits, I can not. Now THAT is privilege, having the CHOICE. So don’t you dare say I’m privileged that I literally can not gain weight, while people that are overweight are that way because they choose to eat fattier foods or foods with more calories, but can choose to lose the weight by controlling eating habits.

    • Feli says:

      That’s just it thought that right there is a PRIVILEGE you CAN eat like a cow and the most someone will say to you is “my god where do you put all that?!?” where as a lot of ‘fat girls’ feel like they have to eat minimally out in public if at all, hell I went to high school with a boy who would literally “accidentally” knock the ‘fat kids’ food on the floor then laugh about how they didn’t NEED to eat they’ve had enough. You further prove the stereotyping by saying “because they choose to eat fattier foods or foods with more calories, but can choose to lose the weight by controlling eating habits”. You can also choose to gain weight. Is it hard for some? Yes; but I’m sure it’s just as hard to those who are very over weight and literally carrying double to triple of your weight on their bodies. Not to mention there are many reasons why your statement is a factual lie. I personally have many medical issues and am stuck in a ‘limbo’ of sorts; not skinny not fat just meh. While other people with my issues waste away to nothing and other blow up like a balloon I consider myself lucky for this but since I know their medical issues I can also sympathize with them because like myself we literally have ZERO control over it. Between the actual issue, treatments, medication, and how we’re personally emotionally handling ourselves it’s not as easy as “eat better and work out” just like for you it’s not as easy as just “eating more”. You do nothing to benefit any cause when you trivialize some one else’s plight while saying how much ‘worse’ yours is.

  6. A says:

    So honestly, is it hard to be a fucking moron?

    “Being skinny isn’t a privilege because it automatically means you’re more healthy and sexually desired”

    You’re the same kind of person that would say a woman’s value isn’t defined by her attractiveness when it pushed your “all straight white cis men are terrible” speech about how they sexualize women, but than you say it is when it pushes your “feel bad for fat people spiel”

    Being skinny doesn’t mean healthy? There are so many issues someone could have that are just as harmful, and they don’t always see themselves as a perfect image of health anyways?

    How about instead of saying that all fat people are disabled and crippled little people, they go to the gym and put down the cheeseburgers once in a while?

  7. Megan says:

    The woman behind this article is really trying to make a point, but this is just a complete double standard and ridiculous notions of trying to justify your own prejudice. I went from chubby to a bean pole overnight as a team and was told men don’t like skinny women/boobs and butt aren’t gonna grow in because I’m too skinny/etc. and there was nothing I could do about it the weight just never came til my 20’s.

  8. K says:

    Do not tell me that being skinny is a privilege. You say that people think that we’re not lazy or greedy and that we’re seen as more sexually desirable. Maybe for some, but not for all. I don’t have the ability to put on weight, as much as I try.
    Tell me it’s a privilege after living in my shoes. People yelling “Anorexic” at me on the street, people telling me I’m disgusting, people watching what I eat all the time. People thinking I’m sick. People think I’m a cold hearted egotistical bitch because I’m skinny.
    I’m not saying that fat shaming is any better, it’s awful, and I feel sorry for everyone who goes through that. But don’t say skinny shaming has any perks, it doesn’t. And one thing about skinny shaming is people know better not to say things about people who are bigger but people think it’s perfectly fine to point out when someone is skinny. “You don’t eat enough no wonder you’re so skinny” is a regular comment, and no one sees an issue with it. Now imagine saying “You eat so much no wonder you’re so fat.” That’s offensive and unacceptable, so why is it okay to say it to a skinny person? Because people don’t think skinny people get sad for being skinny, they think it doesn’t hurt us. It does.

  9. TK says:

    This culture exists but throwing more insults isnt going to help fix it.

  10. Yas says:

    While I agree with a good portion of this article, one has to be mindful of the fact that just like not all body shaming is created equal, neither are individuals’ backgrounds and lived experienced. Yes, being thin definitely is not frowned upon like being overweight is, and thin people (particularly women) are likely to experience privileges, and in general society has a more positive reaction to these people. I can see how labeling “skinny shaming” and saying it’s dangerous, inappropriate, and just as awful as fat shaming can seem like a skewed way of thinking, and even borderline offensive to many people. With that said, I can say that skinny shaming is definitely a thing, it’s definitely dangerous, and being that we never fully know people’s backgrounds and situations (overweight or skinny) it’s never ok to comment about someone’s physical appearance. Ever.

    I used to be morbidly obese. I know all too well what it feels like to be treated like total shit, or treated as if I don’t exist because I was fat. One day I had enough (there’s much more to it than that), but basically circumstances in my life led me to completely change my life. I changed my eating habits, increased my activity levels etc and transformed into a person I can hardly recognize. Not in a bad way, just in that I’m a complete health nut who wakes up at 4 am to go to the gym etc. I hated those 4am gym people before and now I am one. While I’ll admit I get treated quite differently by society because I’m skinny…random acts of kindness, free drinks at Starbucks, people holding doors open for me etc…all kinds of things that never would have happened when I was 260 pounds; this privlaged attitude I receive from society comes from a group of randoms who don’t know me or my history. They assume I’m this fit girl and probably can’t imagine that I was ever obese. Now, my friends and family…totally different story. As I’ve gotten down to my goal weight, one that I feel is healthy & my doctor has said I’m healthy; the people who have known me through this whole process seem to think it’s appropriate to make comments to me like “why are you so skinny? If you walked outside the wind would blow you away. You need to eat something you look gaunt..you’re skeletal” Over and over again every time I see them, specific comments about my eating patterns, weight, and physical appearance are made. These are not only hurtful and socially inappropriate, but damaging to someone who has struggled with body image/self-esteem issues her whole life. When I hear those “skinny shaming” comments, they’re no different to me than when my family used to comment on how fat I was. Hurts me the same, sends my insecurities about my body into a frenzy just the same, and most of all it makes me look at myself and question or doubt if I’ll ever be good enough, or pretty enough, or feel accepted. These insecurities lead to self-deprecating thoughts and negative self-dialogue, contribute to disordered thinking about my body and weight. The “you’re to skinny” comments trigger the same exact feelings within me, as the fat comments. I realize not everyone who is thin and receives these comments shares my experience of having been overweight at one point, but the takeaway here is you don’t know what that person is going through and while you might think they have it so great, wear what they want, eat what they want (and that’s not that case most of the time), that person may have serious body dysmorphia, or an eating disorder, or maybe had a crazy parent who was obsessed about weight their whole life so they grew up being obsessed about being thin. Whatever it may be, don’t give yourself permission to comment about other people’s physical appearance in anyway, and don’t minimize shaming one type of figure look over another. I’ve been a fat girl, and now I’m a thin girl; so I can say from both perspectives, being shamed, is being shamed. Makes you feel degraded and worthless.

  11. janet says:

    I think a lot of people missed the point of the article, sorry for your folks. It was very well-written.

    I too have been on both sides of the spectrum. Obese to conventionally ‘skinny’. *Everything* changes when you become ‘skinny’. Friends, family, everyone you know will treat you differently, look at you differently. Platonic friends suddenly don’t want to be platonic anymore, yes the doors get held open, the free drinks get offered, the envious people who see you feeling good about yourself try to bring you down with phrases like “don’t get too thin!” or “are you even eating?” just because you took the watermelon slice over the cake slice after dinner. I was just at the table with you, didn’t you SEE me eating?

    However, thin privilege is a definite thing, but you’re not going to see it if you’ve been thin your whole life. That’s how privilege works. I’m sure Paris Hilton doesn’t consider herself privileged either.

    When a person walking ahead of you let’s the door slam in your face a couple 20 times, have people body check you at restaurants, grocery stores, strangers oink and grunt at you from their speeding cars while you’re out taking a walk, the absolute creepiest men in the world stalk and give you attention because hey, you’re fat, you’ve got low self esteem, you’ll definitely go for them, and be grateful no doubt (dry heave) and people say things to you like “You’re a 1x, be careful not to become a 3x! With the way you eat those chocolates, it could happen!” and you’ve had 1 goddamn chocolate.

    Here’s the real, and I know naturally thin people don’t want to hear it: Though you may have other disadvantages in your life, your body is at least not one of them. People say a comment to you once in a while and you think that’s bad enough to be considered shaming, you have *no* idea.
    People have comments no matter WHAT.
    But talk is cheap.

    It’s our actions and behaviors that show how we really feel about people.

  12. Charlie says:

    You are completely ignorant!!!!! Never want to attack someone in anyway for doing there job, but years of depression for this very reason makes the inner teenager get super frustrated.

    I’ve always been silly small, hated myself from a young age because i realised being able to see your bones wasn’t normal or considered healthy and unfortunately so did everyone else around me.

    This so called “privilege” makes people believe they are allowed to say whatever they like to someone with a small frame.

    Im grateful that it made me tough and im confident in my own body, but i refuse to let me future children who im assuming has a strong chance of having the same body type to endure this shaming for something they cant control.

    Women should be promoting confidence at any shape.

    • Brittany says:

      Thank you so much for this. I’ve had the exact same struggle and its sickening. Our thin figures are not an invitation for people to voice their opinion’s on our bodies.

      All women deserve to love the body they’re born with.

      • Anonymous says:

        OMG! Thank you! The fact, when I was a little, it’s okay for someone to call someone who is fit or just slim an “anorexic bitch” but it’s not okay to call someone just “fat”. That’s a double standard and fucked up. Not everyone who is skinny have privileges. Attractive people do have some advantages but that does not necessarily require a fit or slim body.

  13. Brittany says:

    So essentially you’re saying that because I was born with a high metabolism and am naturally thin that the hurt I’ve experienced from bullying, from the names I’ve been called, from every doctor and teacher assuming that I have an eating disorder, from stores never having clothes that fit me (its not just for bigger girls), from being made to feel inferior by EVERY lingerie store I visit to buy underwear is LESS valid than women who are fat shamed? That my feelings don’t matter because I have so called “privileges”?

    Well guess what, we don’t have privileges we have our own set of unique struggles that we apparently aren’t even allowed to feel badly about since we have some sort of hegemonic “power”. Unless you’ve lived as a naturally underweight person in America you have no right to assume that we have it ANY easier.

    All body shaming hurts. All body shaming is harmful. Not one person has the authority to decide that one form is MORE destructive to self-image or self esteem than the other. Women picking on women in the name of feminism and the right for everyone to love their body has to stop. Love your own body and shut the hell up about your neighbor’s.

  14. Youder says:

    Sorry, no one is going to apologize for living a healthy lifestyle and staying in shape. Be happy with YOURSELF, but don’t try to force others to respect things that are biologically unattractive. The United States has a HUGE problem with obesity. It is surpassing smoking as the leading cause of cancer here, as well as in the U.K. We’re trying to make fat shaming this terrible thing, while shaming smokers is perfectly fine. Criticism about things that are detrimental to public health should not be taboo. I think we need to focus more on helping people live healthy lifestyles instead of catering to people who don’t respect their own bodies.

    • HIIT girl says:

      I workout 3-4 days a week. I include HIIT, pilates, and strength training into my routines and I’ve had people get angry with me when they ask me how I manage to stay so thin, how I have such a small waist, or how I got such a perky butt. They get angry with me when I tell them it’s all down to watching what I eat and being active. Or I’ll get dismissive comments; I remember one time in particular where my step mom asked how she could get a butt like mine, once I showed her and explained to her what I do she just looked at me and said “eh, never mind”. I’ve had so many derogatory comments thrown at me about my level of fitness. I’ve gotten so tired of it, I purposefully piss people off now by lying and telling them it’s all genetics. They just don’t want to hear that it takes hard work and discipline, but they get even more frustrated when you tell them you just lucked out on the genetic lottery, because you know, life isn’t fair. I don’t expect anyone to be able to be in my level of fitness, or even to make it a priority like I do, however it is exhausting when they ask YOU what YOU do and when you reply they don’t like the answer and they’ll insult you or say something they deem is “smart” just to make themselves feel better, (I think the one I thought was the funniest was the whole “oh well I’d rather know what ice cream tastes like”) funny thing is I sometimes use ice cream for my smoothies.

  15. kitty says:

    Okay, but how many of the thin commenters crying on this website would be just as happy to be fat? Since, apparently, being thin is just as hard and everything.

  16. Avery says:

    Well this article makes me mad. I’ve been skinny my whole life. saying that I have the “ability to find clothing in your size at the vast majority of retailers” is a blatant lie. I can never find ANY CLOTHES. ever this article is super biased.

  17. Beth H. says:

    You people who think skinny-shaming is the same thing as fat-shaming sound like the “All Lives Matter” crowd. Do you also think racism against white people is the same thing as racism against those of color?

    • Perry99 says:

      I’m just going to chime in here. None of the women on here who are saying it is as hurtful to be shamed for their thin frame as it is for a larger person to be shamed for their large frame are saying that they would prefer to be large. And that misses the entire point of what they are getting at. Of course they would not want to stop being shamed for being thin just to begin being shamed for being fat. They are saying it is just as hurtful to be called names and put down on a regular basis for being skinny as it is for those who are fat. And it’s true. As a skinny person myself, I have been in this category from the age of 5. I’ve heard terrible comments about my size since that age and I am now 30. I had to change high schools 3 times because of being shamed for my size. When I go out, strangers tell me to “eat a hamburger ” as they walk by me, my husband’s father asked him if I was bulimic after he met me, I saw a girl standing at a bus stop wearing a shirt that said “zero is not a size” (I am a double zero and 5’7″), I have been called anorexic from so many different people, you can’t even imagine. I have a terribly difficult time finding clothes that fit me. I used to wear track pants under my jeans to make my legs look bigger. I’ve stayed in when I had plans to go out because every outfit I put on makes me look too skinny and I’m ashamed to go out in public so I cancel at the last minute. People assume I starve myself to make myself this way. The privileges mentioned in this article are enjoyed by women who are in a “normal” thin range. Being a size 00, 5’7″ and 98 lbs does not fall into the category that gets to enjoy those privileges. Perhaps I don’t get out of breath as often and perhaps it’s easier for me to wear high heels. Aside from that, I really fail to see how I am benefitting by being skinny.

    • Kate says:

      Yes – racism is racism. And it exists. But not in the way you so smugly suggest.

      When Americans speak of racism they mean a great deal more than this. Nevertheless, the dictionary definition of racism is a clue to understanding what Americans do mean. A peculiarly American meaning derives from the current dogma that all ethnic stocks are equal. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, all races have been declared to be equally talented and hard-working, and anyone who questions the dogma is thought to be not merely wrong but evil.

      The dogma has logical consequences that are profoundly important. If blacks, for example, are equal to whites in every way, what accounts for their poverty, criminality, and dissipation? Since any theory of racial differences has been outlawed, the only possible explanation for black failure is white racism. And since blacks are markedly poor, crime-prone, and dissipated, America must be racked with pervasive racism. Nothing else could be keeping them in such an abject state.

      All public discourse on race today is locked into this rigid logic. Any explanation for black failure that does not depend on white wickedness threatens to veer off into the forbidden territory of racial differences. Thus, even if today’s whites can find in their hearts no desire to oppress blacks, yesterday’s whites must have oppressed them. If whites do not consciously oppress blacks, they must oppress them unconsciously. If no obviously racist individuals can be identified, then societal institutions must be racist. Or, since blacks are failing so terribly in America, there simply must be millions of white people we do not know about, who are working day and night to keep blacks in misery. The dogma of racial equality leaves no room for an explanation of black failure that is not, in some fashion, an indictment of white people.

      The logical consequences of this are clear. Since we are required to believe that the only explanation for non-white failure is white racism, every time a non-white is poor, commits a crime, goes on welfare, or takes drugs, white society stands accused of yet another act of racism. All failure or misbehavior by non-whites is standing proof that white society is riddled with hatred and bigotry. For precisely so long as non-whites fail to succeed in life at exactly the same level as whites, whites will be, by definition, thwarting and oppressing them. This obligatory pattern of thinking leads to strange conclusions. First of all, racism is a sin that is thought to be committed almost exclusively by white people. Indeed, a black congressman from Chicago, Gus Savage, and Coleman Young, the black mayor of Detroit, have argued that only white people can be racist. Likewise, in 1987, the affirmative action officer of the State Insurance Fund of New York issued a company pamphlet in which she explained that all whites are racist and that only whites can be racist. How else could the plight of blacks be explained without flirting with the possibility of racial inequality?

      Although some blacks and liberal whites concede that non-whites can, perhaps, be racist, they invariably add that non-whites have been forced into it as self-defense because of centuries of white oppression. What appears to be non-white racism is so understandable and forgivable that it hardly deserves the name. Thus, whether or not an act is called racism depends on the race of the racist. What would surely be called racism when done by whites is thought to be normal when done by anyone else. The reverse is also true.

      Examples of this sort of double standard are so common, it is almost tedious to list them: When a white man kills a black man and uses the word “nigger” while doing so, there is an enormous media uproar and the nation beats its collective breast; when members of the black Yahweh cult carry out ritual murders of random whites, the media are silent. College campuses forbid pejorative statements about non-whites as “racist,” but ignore scurrilous attacks on whites.

      At election time, if 60 percent of the white voters vote for a white candidate, and 95 percent of the black voters vote for the black opponent, it is whites who are accused of racial bias. There are 107 “historically black” colleges, whose fundamental blackness must be preserved in the name of diversity, but all historically white colleges must be forcibly integrated in the name of … the same thing. To resist would be racist.

      “Black pride” is said to be a wonderful and worthy thing, but anything that could be construed as an expression of white pride is a form of hatred. It is perfectly natural for third-world immigrants to expect school instruction and driver’s tests in their own languages, whereas for native Americans to ask them to learn English is racist.

      Blatant anti-white prejudice, in the form of affirmative action, is now the law of the land. Anything remotely like affirmative action, if practiced in favor of whites, would be attacked as despicable favoritism.

      All across the country, black, Hispanic, and Asian clubs and caucuses are thought to be fine expressions of ethnic solidarity, but any club or association expressly for whites is by definition racist. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) campaigns openly for black advantage but is a respected “civil rights” organization. The National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP) campaigns merely for equal treatment of all races, but is said to be viciously racist.

      At a few college campuses, students opposed to affirmative action have set up student unions for whites, analogous to those for blacks, Hispanics, etc, and have been roundly condemned as racists. Recently, when the white students at Lowell High School in San Francisco found themselves to be a minority, they asked for a racially exclusive club like the ones that non-whites have. They were turned down in horror. Indeed, in America today, any club not specifically formed to be a white enclave but whose members simply happen all to be white is branded as racist.

      Today, one of the favorite slogans that define the asymmetric quality of American racism is “celebration of diversity.” It has begun to dawn on a few people that “diversity” is always achieved at the expense of whites (and sometimes men), and never the other way around. No one proposes that Howard University be made more diverse by admitting whites, Hispanics, or Asians. No one ever suggests that National Hispanic University in San Jose (CA) would benefit from the diversity of having non-Hispanics on campus. No one suggests that the Black Congressional Caucus or the executive ranks of the NAACP or the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund suffer from a lack of diversity. Somehow, it is perfectly legitimate for them to celebrate homogeneity. And yet any all-white group — a company, a town, a school, a club, a neighborhood — is thought to suffer from a crippling lack of diversity that must be remedied as quickly as possible. Only when whites have been reduced to a minority has “diversity” been achieved.

      Let us put it bluntly: To “celebrate” or “embrace” diversity, as we are so often asked to do, is no different from deploring an excess of whites. In fact, the entire nation is thought to suffer from an excess of whites. Our current immigration policies are structured so that approximately 90 percent of our annual 800,000 legal immigrants are non-white. The several million illegal immigrants that enter the country every year are virtually all non-white. It would be racist not to be grateful for this laudable contribution to “diversity.” It is, of course, only white nations that are called upon to practice this kind of “diversity.” It is almost criminal to imagine a nation of any other race countenancing blatant dispossession of this kind.

      What if the United States were pouring its poorest, least educated citizens across the border into Mexico? Could anyone be fooled into thinking that Mexico was being “culturally enriched?” What if the state of Chihuahua were losing its majority population to poor whites who demanded that schools be taught in English, who insisted on celebrating the Fourth of July, who demanded the right to vote even if they weren’t citizens, who clamored for “affirmative action” in jobs and schooling?

      Would Mexico — or any other non-white nation — tolerate this kind of cultural and demographic depredation? Of course not. Yet white Americans are supposed to look upon the flood of Hispanics and Asians entering their country as a priceless cultural gift. They are supposed to “celebrate” their own loss of influence, their own dwindling numbers, their own dispossession, for to do otherwise would be hopelessly racist.

      There is another curious asymmetry about American racism. When non-whites advance their own racial purposes, no one ever accuses them of “hating” another group. Blacks can join “civil rights” groups and Hispanics can be activists without fear of being branded as bigots and hate mongers. They can agitate openly for racial preferences that can come only at the expense of whites. They can demand preferential treatment of all kinds without anyone ever suggesting that they are “anti-white.”

      Whites, on the other hand, need only express their opposition to affirmative action to be called haters. They need only subject racial policies that are clearly prejudicial to themselves to be called racists. Should they actually go so far as to say that they prefer the company of their own kind, that they wish to be left alone to enjoy the fruits of their European heritage, they are irredeemably wicked and hateful.

      Here, then is the final, baffling inconsistency about American race relations. All non-whites are allowed to prefer the company of their own kind, to think of themselves as groups with interests distinct from those of the whole, and to work openly for group advantage. None of this is thought to be racist. At the same time, whites must also champion the racial interests of non-whites. They must sacrifice their own future on the altar of “diversity” and cooperate in their own dispossession. They are to encourage, even to subsidize, the displacement of a European people and culture by alien peoples and cultures. To put it in the simplest possible terms, white people are cheerfully to slaughter their own society, to commit racial and cultural suicide. To refuse to do so would be racism.

      Stop. Please. Focus on what you are doing wrong instead of trying to blame another race. It’s getting you nowhere and never will.

  18. Kelly says:

    And skinny prejudice can also be driven by ableism, assuming that a person is skinny by choice. I did not choose to have my digestive tract revolt against me, to have a good portion of my colon and lower small intestines removed, and replaced with a bag to collect my human waste. But I have an invisible illness, and on the street I am just that “skinny bitch” who looks “masculine” (sexist too!) needs to put “meat on my bones”. I don’t think that people are often aware, whether we are above or below average weight, that often times any form of body shaming or prejudice can also be an exhibition of ableist attitudes
    .

  19. Laura says:

    I am considered to be skinny. People often tell me I’m too skinny. Men on the street say things like they could snap me in half. I hate my body so much. I really f-ing hate it.

  20. Anonymous Arsenic says:

    I apologize if I offend anyone with this but, this article was CLEARLY written by someone with a “normal” or “preferable” figure. I am 163 cm tall and I barely weigh 40 kg. My butt is boney and flat while my bust and waist are sitting pretty at non-existant. Dresses don’t fit me correctly, so I can’t wear those, nice looking shirts have necklines that dip halfway down my torso so I’m stuck with high collered T-Shirts. I’m the one who holds the door. I have been called every name under the Sun, Chickenlegs, Twiggy, SkinnyHo, etc. I am 16 and this is nothing new to me. It began shortly after I was born in fact, I weighed 7lbs and 2 oz. One of my uncles dubbed me Barbie (not even close to my actual name). I was nicknamed after a soulless piece of plastic whose only use was to look nice. Flash forward to kindergarten, it’s recess, a kid a grade above me sees my small frame and thinks up a fun game to play. The game was to chase me, pick me up (without my permission mind you), and promptly throw me, literally toss my body onto the rocky ground. This continued until 3rd grade, I switched schools. In third grade my peers manage to form words for the first time, these words were direct attacks on my intelligence and ability to be alive. I told my instructors, nothing was done about it. 4th grade, same school, the bullying continues, I become depressed and attempt suicide more than once, I chose getting ran over by an unsuspecting stranger’s car, forgot they could break… At the end of the year, I switch schools again, this new one had less people, they were just as cruel but not in the same ways, I existed to the children from the other schools, I did not exist at this one. Sixth grade comes with a new face but the face isn’t new to me at all, it is the face of the person with the super fun game, they join the rest of the school in ignoring my presence, at least they weren’t picking me up anymore. 7th grade, I switch schools again the next year. But go on, tell me how privileged I am to be lucky enough to have porcelain skin with the occasional blemish, a pretty little feminine face, perched on top of a young boy’s body. Tell me how lucky I am to have faced death while I was nine, tell me what it was like for me to be skinny. I would simply LOVE to read your interpretation.

  21. Kate says:

    Now I’ve heard everything. Being “thin” is a “privilege”? Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds? Why don’t you tell all the privileged in countries where famine and death due to starvation that they are” privileged”. Because I would bet good money that zero percent of them feel privileged in any way. In fact, in many cultures (China, for example) being fat is considered to be a positive thing, a desirable characteristic, because only wealthy people can afford to eat enough to get fat. Having a fat baby, especially a boy, is a status symbol and indicates good parenting, good health and that you’re wealthy.

    Some part of ones weight is genetic. There are people who are naturally smaller, slimmer and do not easily gain weight,no matter how much they eat. This is not due to anything they’ve done or achieved, it’s biology. So to say they are privileged is implying they have some control over their metabolism. Being fat, in rare instances are due to true medical issues (actually DIAGNOSED by a DOCTOR thyroid disorders, rather than the self-diagosed excuse) is actually not that common.

    50 to 100 POUNDS EXTRA
    70 to 85% of those with are there mostly due to poor choices.
    10 to 25% of which half of the extra is due to medical conditions.
    2% are due entirely to medical conditions (usually temporary)
    Less than one percent is due to incurable disease.

    100 to 150 POUNDS EXTRA
    40 to 60% of those with are there due to choices.
    30% have medical conditions that if treated or identified would reduce their weight 20 to 50 pounds.
    10% have medical conditions but removing them will result in little appreciable decrease (less than 15 pounds).
    a small percentage are due entirely to health issues.

    150 OR MORE POUNDS EXTRA
    30% due almost entirely to choices
    30% due partly to medical conditions(less than 50 pounds of the extra weight).
    30% due majorly to medical conditions (more than 50 pounds of the extra weight).
    Less than 10% percent due entirely to medical conditions. Of which less than half are incurable.

    When you boil it down, calories in, calories out, regardless of how many overweight people try to place the blame on something out of their control. If that were truly possible, you’d find fat and obese people in every culture, even those who are chronically underfed.

    Most of the time it comes down this: fat people are fat due to the choices they make based on the genetic make-up of their bodies. Maybe they they could make a change and lose weight, but they don’t feel like it. It’s not a high priority for them. So they stay fat and try to force everyone else to accept it while trying to convince themselves they look “hot”.

    Why is it anyone else’s business? It isn’t. Until you’re sitting on all of your seat and half of theirs on an airplane. Or when everyone’s health and life insurance goes up to cover your frequent heart attacks, diabetes, high cholesterol, bad knees, bad back, etc. When taxes go up to pay for extra large stretchers and wheelchairs and for morbidly obese people to be treated by EMT. When businesses have to charge more to cover the cost of remodeling to make doors wider and to buy more scooters because now having 5-6 per store isn’t enough. Fewer people will be allowed to ride on a single bus and that buses be become a few inches wider as well to add more floor space to them. A morbid fact: A coffin company called Goliath Casket started making triple-wide caskets in the 1980s that can hold up to 700 pounds but they averaged only one a year compared to current times where they ship out more than half a dozen a month. And this isn’t just the US, it’s every first world and even second world countries, for example the changes Sweden has had to go through to accommodate the growing size of the population they have to build their incinerators bigger to cremate the larger bodies and having to buy bigger MRI machines that aren’t the standard tunnel design because their larger population no longer fits.

    If you make choices that cause you to be overweight or obese, you cannot expect people around you who make different choices to “respect” your choice when it’s directly affecting them. Nor can you force people to think fat is beautiful when they don’t agree. “Curves” are not rolls.

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