I want to start by making it crystal clear that it is never ok to tease, bully, or ridicule someone’s body, fat or thin- EVER. It’s never ok to body shame someone and it needs to stop now. With that being said, I am tired of people crying about being “skinny shamed” and saying that it’s just as bad as being fat shamed. Skinny shaming is wrong, harmful and hurts people’s feelings but it does not compare to the systemic oppression that fat people face every single day.
Open up any magazine and a thin person will see themselves represented on every single page. They’ll see themselves on the catwalk, billboards, and find their clothing size in almost any store. At the end of the day, being skinny is considering positive and superior as it’s the mainstream ideal, while being fat is considered disgusting and repulsive by the majority of society.
Overweight people are less likely to be hired and they’re paid less at their jobs. Did you know there’s a hospital in Texas that will not hire anyone above a certain BMI and there are even studies that show that 54% of doctors believe it’s a good idea to refuse to treat obese patients?! So many people think it’s perfectly ok to mock a fat person, believing that it’s just a matter of self control and discipline when the reality and research is SO much more complex.
If a thin person and a fat person are both eating ice cream at the beach, only the fat person will be stared at, humiliated in public, or given unsolicited diet advice. It may be true that the thin person might have poor body image and feel terrible about themselves but their body is not being shunned by the entire world around them. We live in a thin-centric world that demonizes fat bodies and that is why I think fat discrimination is significantly different than skinny shaming.
I want to reiterate once more that it is 100% unacceptable to mock a thin person’s body. There are thin people who have been bullied and harassed because of their size and it’s heartbreaking and wrong. Their experiences should be validated and acknowledged. However, the point I’m trying to make is that fat shaming comes with underlying oppression and fatphobia which makes it a completely different story than someone being skinny shamed.
Check out 5 Ways To Improve Body Image.