Skirt Collective recently published an awesome piece about skinny shaming. And while I one hundred percent agree that shaming anyone for their body size is uncool (and especially uncool to demand some chick “go eat a hamburger”—ugh!), I have a bone to pick with the title.
Skinny shaming is not the same as fat shaming, and it’s not just as bad. Is it bad? Yes. It’s terrible. Can it make someone feel as bad as if they were fat shamed? I’m sure it can, but I can’t speak to someone else’s feelings. But when you shame someone for being fat, you aren’t just hurting their feelings.
You’re reminding them of that well of memories and feelings inside of them that make them feel useless, ugly, lazy, and overall less worthy of living. You’re another voice, another brick wall to fight against just to feel OK enough to walk outside in public and not feel like some burdensome cyst-monster.
I’ve been fighting with my weight since before I hit puberty. That’s when I was first made aware that I was somehow “wrong” as a bigger girl. I remember dieting when I was eleven. ELEVEN. I remember how terrible it felt when my skinny friend gawked at my weight, and how good it felt to loose ten pounds. My Spongebob Squarepants baby doll tee looked so cute all of a sudden!
But it didn’t end there. I’ve been sick with this yo-yo dieting fever for thirteen years, and it’s hard for me to admit it to myself. I try to keep it very private, because I’m a very confident person and I don’t like to show weakness. But the truth is, I go back and forth like Oprah, and each time I get thin I think, “this is it!”
I learn each time as I get skinnier how many cruel things are said behind my back. And not just by peers, but my friends’ parents and my own family. But it’s OK, I’m prettier now! It can’t possibly sting! The fat person I was last year has nothing in common with this new, improved version of myself!
And yes, I have dealt with people telling me I should look out, that I shouldn’t get “too” skinny. Or that boys don’t like girls without curves. Yes, it’s annoying. I don’t appreciate people telling me that I need to be a certain size to remain “womanly.” But it’s infinitely better than being told that “you would look so much better if you just lost ten pounds.”
Because I’ve always been trying to lose ten pounds. I hate admitting it, because I haven’t ever truly accepted this fact. But I can’t remember a time or a weight where I wasn’t, somewhere in the back of my mind, fantasizing slipping into a smaller pant size.
This may be hard to understand for some, but imagine not feeling comfortable in a simple t-shirt. Bigger girls who have had issues with their weight probably know where I’m coming from. While I’ve come a long way, I still bristle when I see myself sometimes, and wonder for a second if I should put on something more “flattering”.