I’m sure you’ve heard about fat-shaming, but what about discrimination against skinny people? You might look at me and think: “You’re so lucky to be skinny,” rolling your eyes. But I want to tell you that skinny-shaming exists, and it’s wrong.
I know this because I’ve been on the receiving end of it many times. I know what it’s like to be looked at like you’re some kind of freak. For years I’ve been made fun of for my weight. I’ve been called names like “Sticks”, “Lollipop-head”, “Toothpick”…the list goes on. I know what it’s like to be ridiculed for working out because I did not “need” to. Oh, let’s not forget about the time in high school when I was rumoured to have an eating disorder, even though I pretty much had food in front of me almost all the time.
Calling someone “too skinny’’ can be just as offensive as calling them “fat”. I think the reason for this double standard is because of how media has conveyed beauty for the past years, telling us that fat is bad and thin is good.
As a petite girl, I find the term “skinny’’ offensive but, of course, many would call me silly. Not if the intention is to make me feel bad for what I look like. Linking my thinness to an eating disorder is hurtful. I don’t have an eating disorder; in fact I love a cheeseburger as much as the next person, but I just happen to have a high metabolism rate and a petite frame. This does not make it okay to shame me, and yet plenty of people feel justified to do so.
I’ve had family members come up to me numerous times and ask If I’m sick, offering to feed me. The basic message is I don’t look normal. The most frustrating is people asking me for diet tips. And they are not being funny, they are just ignorant. Just because I’m skinny doesn’t mean I’m on a diet, I often want to scream.
Social media is also flooded with examples of skinny shaming with pictures about how “real women” have curves and how only dogs enjoy bones. Is the size of my bum and hips what defines me as a woman? Celebrities like Tyra Banks and Kendall Jenner have also been victims of skinny-shaming. Our very own Bonang Matheba has been skinny-shamed countless times on social networks, too.
Skinny-shaming does not reflect on us thin people, but tells us that we are still ignorant and malicious as a society. Fat or thin, don’t bring down other people because of their genetics, it’s who they are. Skinny-shaming, like fat-shaming, is a form of body shaming, which is just as dangerous and shameful. It’s as simple as that.
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