Friday, October 7, 2011

Stop skinny-bashing

 I feel like lately I've seen an increase in hateful posts directed towards very thin women. Skinny women seem to be the most PC group to openly deride, along with the rich.

I write this as a moderately thin person. I'm not particularly skinny, I've never had an eating disorder, I am within my medical "ideal body weight." It's part luck and part practice. My genetics are decent (my immediate family includes both thin and obese members), but I've also made a strong effort to develop good diet and exercise habits throughout my life.

It's not myself I'm standing up for here. I've never felt particular venom directed at me for my size, as I'm not extreme in any direction.

I'm standing up for the very thin, from the lingerie models to the anorexic.

I'm having a hard time grasping how in a society where it's risqué to refer to a clinically obese person as "fat," it's OK to look at an especially thin woman and openly recoil in horror. To overtly voice one's utter disgust in no uncertain terms.

I don't understand how the same people who stand up for the dignity of the overweight can so openly spit upon that of the underweight.

I do understand that this is backlash from discrimination and derision against the overweight. I understand that our culture, both through putting the ultra-thin on a pedestal and trying to sell the overweight a diet plan, has caused damage to the collective psyche of women across the board: skinny, fat, and (especially) in between.

That does not make it OK to rail against people with physical or psychological problems that cause them to be underweight.

It does not make it OK to spew hate at women who have chosen to work hard at sculpting their bodies according to societal ideals.

I don't even think it makes it OK to make fun of people who are just born with a fast metabolism. We will, of course. Having a perfect body naturally is like being born rich. We all kind of hate you, even if we know we shouldn't.

Before you openly talk shit about skinny women, I'd like to remind you of a few things.

  • People can be naturally underweight just like they can be naturally overweight. You can't talk about your thyroid problem out of one side of your mouth and make assumptions about a thin person being bulimic out the other.
  • Anorexia and bulimia are serious psychological disorders. They are diseases in the same way that alcoholism is a disease. If you wouldn't insult the depressed, the schizophrenic, the bipolar, or the alcoholic, don't insult the anorexic or bulimic.
  • "It's harder for a thin person to gain weight than for a heavy person to lose it." I'm putting that in quotes because I don't have a source or statistics for it, but it's something I've always heard. If anyone has a good article about this, please share it in the comments.

I understand that we want to give women who aren't size 2's their power back. We want to take back our pride in our bodies and the respect for "real women." If you want to fight someone, fight corporations who use rail-thin models. Fight people who discriminate against the overweight. Fight people who yell insults to heavy women on the street. But don't turn into that guy yourself. Yelling "Eat a sandwich" is just as bad as yelling "Moo."

Photo from here.


  1. very well said. I had the same thought when I saw this meme going around.

  2. Yes! It's great that you're standing up for this. I posted this on