Skinny Shaming Isn’t Real Because Fat Shaming Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

This is a photo that came up for 'fat'.

This is a photo that came up for ‘fat’.

Skinny shaming isn’t real. Yes, people who are thin are subjected to attacks on their feelings by others for the way their bodies look. This is true and no one is arguing that it doesn’t happen however, skinny shaming as the opposite end of the spectrum to fat shaming isn’t real. It is not the same thing as fat shaming. It is a fault of language and understanding because when people speak of skinny shaming, 99% of the time they talking about hurt feelings whereas hurt feelings are only part of the issue when talking about fat shaming.

Fat shaming is a side effect of living in a fat phobic culture. It is the constant and insidious practice of uplifting a thin body type while systematically oppressing those that do not possess it. It permeates every level of culture from media, to healthcare, to social interactions.

So in effect, it is not some guy in the Subway line telling a large person to get a veggie sub, it’s the culture that allows that person to believe it’s ok for them to make that judgement and for the person recieving that judgement to believe that they are right.

When we are talking about fat shaming, we are using that as a blanket term for a variety of things. This includes medical issues being dismissed as simply needing to lose some pounds. The likelihood that you’ve been passed over for a job because you were fat and the employer had preconceived notions about what kind of worker you would be because of that. Your body type being considered a fetish so you’re not sure if the person you’re with actually likes you. Being constantly attacked through media to ensure that you know your body type is wrong, wrong, wrong.

These issues go above and beyond simply some harsh words and thin or skinny people are not subjected to these same things en masse. Yes, a thin person may have difficulty finding clothing from time to time or even experience one of the above mentioned issues but that is not the same thing as constant oppression.

Just because someone in the privileged class experiences some sort of negativity does not mean that they are no longer in that privileged class. Merely having someone make fun of a thin body does not mean that thin bodies are suddenly out of vogue.

This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt when someone tells a skinny person to eat a burger or any other terrible thing. That’s awful and in no way is it ok to be mean to another person based on their bodies. However, that being said, understand that skinny shaming, as practiced, is not the same as fat shaming. It does not have the same cultural effects and even if the abuse of a thin bodied person leads the person to dislike their body that does not mean that it has created a cultural shift in which society dislikes their body.

Fat Shaming is an umbrella term for a host of issues that affect people with bodies deemed undesirable due to their largeness. It is a constant attack and an uphill battle to just live. Skinny shaming is a term for when people are mean. These are not the same things.