Periodically, the internet goes mad because somebody somewhere called someone a skinny bitch. It went particularly mad in 2014 when Meghan Trainor released All About That Bass, and think pieces galore sprung up entitled ‘All About That Bass might actually be bad for female body image’. These articles generally went like this:
“All About That Bass is terrible because calling people skinny bitches is just as bad as calling them fat. It’s skinny shaming; and skinny shaming is WRONG.”
If you’re not in the know, All About That Bass is one of several songs around at the moment encouraging women to embrace their curves and to love their body, even if it isn’t thin. These songs are part of a wider movement known as the Fat Acceptance Movement, which – as you might have guessed – encourages women (and men, but primarily women since women’s bodies are more readily scrutinised by society) to reject the beauty norms that tell them they must be thin.
It’s a great movement.
Unfortunately, the movement is often criticised for throwing thin women under the bus and making the feel like they’re not worthy because they don’t have ‘all the right junk in all the right places’. And these are legitimate criticisms. We shouldn’t raise one body time up by bringing another body type down. (Well, in an ideal world we wouldn’t have to raise any body type up because everyone would stop telling women that their worth is defined by their size. But y’know, patriarchy).
But those people that are crying out that skinny shaming is just as bad as fat shaming are seriously ignorant to the world we live in, and they need to pipe the fuck down.
Skinny girls can open magazines and see images of women whose bodies look like theirs. Fat girls open magazines and see their bodies being torn down.
Skinny girls can walk into Topshop and find an array of clothes in their size. Fat girls have to trawl the shopping centres looking for stores that stock their size.
Skinny girls earn more than fat girls. Really skinny girls (that weigh 25 pounds less than the average) earn $15,572 more than women of average weight. Fat girls earn $13,847 less than their average counterparts.
Skinny girls get more sympathy from their doctors than fat girls. Fat girls get every medical problem blamed on their weight.
Skinny girls are more likely to get away with murder. Or at least petty crimes. Fat girls are more likely to be labelled ‘repeat offenders’
Calling someone a skinny bitch is nasty, that’s true. But when you call someone fat you’re implying so much more about them that just their size. If you’re fat, society views you as lazy and unworthy. If you’re thin, society views you as an acceptable member of society. So telling a girl to go eat a sandwich might make her feel bad for a little while, which is wrong, but telling a girl to lose weight tells her that she is currently socially unacceptable.
So no. Skinny shaming isn’t real, and it isn’t as bad as fat shaming. When society stops treating fat girls as less than human, then you can tell me that skinny shaming is real.