Let's End the Skinny-Shaming, Shall We?Becca Sands

I recently had dinner with two besties. As we caught up with each other’s lives, my one friend tells me the story of a woman at work who has been trying to lose weight without much success. They held an Easter Egg Hunt at work for everyone and, of course, inside the eggs was candy. My friend, in her efforts to stay healthy, didn’t indulge, while her co-worker did. And who got reprimanded? I wish I could say no one did, because a person should feel free to eat or not eat candy, but that’s not how the world works lately. No, my friend, who chose to not eat candy, had to hear grief about her choice.

I will fully admit that I am a mid-twenty-something  who has done the classic Regina George, “I really wanna lose three pounds.” I’m pretty sure most of us have done this even while knowing that it’s obnoxious of us. But we say that because 1) we feel obligated to feel bad about our bodies. If we feel good about our bodies, we’re snobs and bitches, and we’d rather feel fat than snobby or bitchy, and 2) if we say what we’re really thinking, no one is going to believe us anyway.

When a person starts working out, they tone up, lose weight, and may even look better. And you know what happens then? They’re punished for it. Remember when Lea Michelle dropped weight after the first season of Glee? Honestly, you’d think she had slaughtered a billion cows and then refused to eat any of them, because clearly, her only reason for losing the weight was because she thought she was fat. That was the whole world’s assumption. “She’s too skinny!” people shouted across Tumblr. “She looked fine, what is she doing to herself, what kind of message is she sending to the children WE SHOULD BURN HER AT THE STEAK.” Steak, stake, see what I did? Never mind.

When a picture of a thin girl comes on Tumblr, she’s either creepily turned into an ideal being, or thrown under the bus. There’s no middle, “Oh, she’s pretty,” because if you are to have a shred of self-worth and slight feminism, you must hate the skinny girls and rather die than look like that. That wasn’t hyperbole, by the way. I saw an image of a very attractive, skinny girl with the caption, “I would rather kill myself than be so [expletive] skinny. Whore.”

Well you know what, ladies and gentlemen? These women have stories. And sometimes they are not stories you are meant to know.

Maybe that “skinny whore” is a girl trying to redefine her beauty as she struggles with anorexia. Maybe that girl who’s suddenly toned up and dropped a few pounds is working out with new vigor because of a health issue that’s risen. Maybe they all just enjoy it.

We’re not supposed to judge plus-sized women because that is wrong, and I am in full agreement with that. So how did that judgment morph into the judgment of small girls? I’m genuinely curious: what’s the ideal weight? At what point is a person going to say, “You look really good,” and be totally fine if looking good means overweight or skinny? When is the skinny-shaming going to stop?

Back in February I joined a gym and I love the way I’m feeling, but I always end up feeling guilty afterwards, as if I am betraying the current mindset of women. Why should I feel guilty for working out? I’m a small girl whose mother has cancer and father has diabetes. You know the best way to avoid following their footsteps all the way to the hospital? Exercise. But when I do it or talk about it, I feel judged. I have a workout application on my phone that encourages me to have a friend who can be my “sponsor,” someone who I can share my successes with as I work on bettering my body. It pained me how long it took for me to think of someone I could trust, because the first friends who came to mind I was afraid would get annoyed or judge me, as if everyone thinks I’m doing it for some superficial, Hollywood, anti-feminist reason for which I should feel ashamed.

No. The world should feel ashamed. The world should feel ashamed for not considering for one second that I, along with every person at the gym, could have a good reason beyond the superficiality of appearance. I understand your drive: you want boys and girls of all sizes, all types, to feel normal and welcome and beautiful, and I can get behind that. The problem is that in trying to embrace everyone (namely, the overweight), we’ve openly hated the other extreme. Why punish those trying to do something good for our bodies? Or for doing something required by our doctor? Or doing something for enjoyment!

I know there are boys and girls out there with problems. I have friends who have struggled with eating disorders. I also feel inclined to mention that their disorders did not stem from trouble with, or fear of, weight. It manifests for all sorts of reasons, and anyone who would sit there and tell either of my friends, “OMG, but you’re like, so skinny!” deserves a few choice words, starting with, “You are the shallow one.” Stop making it about weight and start making it about health.

I want to feel good. I want to be able to run a mile again. I want to be able to lift a bag of groceries without my shoulder popping in pain. I want to be able to go on a walk with my boyfriend and not huff and puff after twenty minutes. The bonus will be I will tighten up, things will look and hang better, and I can wear that super-fabulous dress from Modcloth that DOESN’T FIT ME ANYMORE, THE NERVE. And I will be so fantastic and you won’t judge me for it because now you understand that I have a story. And so do others. And you probably do, too.

Can we let it go now, ladies? Can we just let each other make healthy decisions without the raised eyebrows and points and mock-concern? You’ll know when you need to be concerned, and maybe there will come a time when you do need to sit down with your over-zealous friend and discuss her health choices, although I truly hope not. But until then, trust that most of us are making healthy choices for the right reasons, and your support will help us get there quickly and happily.

Featured image “i’m bigger than my body gives me credit for” by Chris Setty

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jmodea Jordan Maureen

    As one of those “skinny whores”, a *super* awesome, double hi-five to you, Becca! I should be allowed to love my body, exactly the way it is and not feel guilty that I wear a smaller size of clothing. As well as being a mid-twenty’s girl also, I’m learning that my metabolism is a little different than it was five or more years ago. And while others may still see me as a “skinny b*tch”, I personally know that I need to be healthier with my lifestyle. Alas, any comment I make out loud about it to anyone, is poo-pooed and scoffed at. “I would kill to be that skinny!” “You’re not allowed to say anything about that because I’ve had such a hard time keeping my weight down!”, etc. We, as human beings, have all had enough negativity and adversity to struggle against in one form or another. We should be focused on building each other up and being gracious enough to see each others’ insecurities, concerns, or whatever as VALID. I have always been a skinny girl, mostly due to a very unstable childhood. I often compare myself as a child to an emotionally strung out chihuahua. For me to finally be at a healthy weight so that my body functions properly is a big friggin deal. But then there’s the other side of the sword: I look at spots on my body and think that I’m getting fat. In reality I know I look good to everyone else. But in my head I think “I could have a more toned stomach and butt. My thighs could stand to be slightly thinner, also.” Where is that happy medium? What is “too skinny”? When do we cross that most feared line of “fat”? Who sets these standards? I say screw ‘em all!! We should be telling each other what we love about each other: “Holy crap! I love that friggin shirt!”, “You’re hair is killer today! I kinda hate that it isn’t mine!”, “I wish my eye lashes looked like a Kardashian’s. You’re so lucky!” etc. There’s enough in the world bogging us down one way or the other, being skinny, fat, or even for loving ourselves exactly who we are. However one may come about setting particular standards for themselves, it wasn’t an easy road. Pain is pain is pain. What may not be a big deal to one person, can seriously hurt another. Someone may relish the idea of being told to eat more because they look too skinny. But that can be just as hurtful and guilt-inducing as someone inadvertently enforcing the stigma of being or becoming fat. Lets AMP UP that positive people!! These stigmas need to be nipped in the bud! WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL EXACTLY AS WE ARE!!!!! What business is it of anyone else’s how or why we get to a place where we truly accept the way we look. If I can look myself in a mirror and love everything about who I am, inside and out, that is enough of a feat for me to not give a crap about how anyone else may see me. Everyone’s got an opinion about everything. It’s a person’s choice, and maybe even struggle, as to how much one lets those opinions influence their self-image.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mollsmcaleer Molly McAleer

    I love this piece– I have been on both sides of this argument and I strongly agree with Becca, but also understand where everyone who disagrees is coming from. It’s always difficult to know what someone who has something that you view as desirable or interesting is coming from and it’s even worse for that person if it’s being held against them. Bottom line is, no matter what your body looks like, every single person, regardless of gender or socioeconomic background or WHATEVER, has days where they hate being in their own skin and feel sensitive to the reactions of those around them.

    Anyway, I’m glad that there’s a real conversation going on here and that people are interacting. HelloGiggles should always be a safe place for conversations like this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/maggie.voorhees.3 Maggie Voorhees

      Bottom line is, no matter what your body looks like, every single person, regardless of gender or socioeconomic background or WHATEVER, has days where they hate being in their own skin and feel sensitive to the reactions of those around them.

      So well said! I really enjoyed this article. Two years ago, I went to Remuda Ranch, a rehab facility for a life threatening eating disorder. The most important life lesson I learned from my time away was how important it is to love ourselves and to love others. I know, sounds like an after school special but hear me out. As women, I feel that instead of judging on another and jumping down each others throats, we should band together, fight this image shaming, and help each other get through those days when, like Molly said, we just don’t want to be in our skin. This comment is coming out very girl power….But I really think we can be our own worst enemies sometimes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.forrest.790 Natalie Forrest

    I’m very happy about this article. Due to a fast metabolism, I have always been really thin. I understand that comments about obesity are terrible and hurtful (many of my friends struggle with obesity), but I can tell you I have been just as hurt by comments made towards my weight by others and I am thankful my friends are understanding and don’t judge me because I’m skinny. Doctors have been concerned I’m anorexic and have in fact been screened to make sure I wasn’t. I’ve been called a “Skinny bitch” and people have judged me for not eating lots of sweets or greasy foods, saying I could afford to do that and I shouldn’t worry about my weight. Fact is I’m not a big fan of sweets and greasy foods, though I eat a ton. I’ve been called out on my lack of curves and been called a boy when I was in high school. It’s wrong that I hoped to gain weight and that I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. Whenever I would express my hurt over things said about my weight, people would just laugh, saying I was lucky and basically have no right to feel bad about my weight. Luckily, one day I stopped caring what others thought and started to focus on making myself happy with who I am. The problem with judging people, overweight or skinny, is it could have lasting consequences. Someone overweight might become anorexic or bulimic. People who are thin and want to gain weight might eventually be able to and then not stop which would lead to being overweight. Overall, people need to stop judging others on their appearances. My word of advice that I ended up realizing is to stop worrying about what others think of you. Be comfortable with who you are because each of us is uniquely beautiful. Enjoy who you are, no matter your size, because there is only one of you and trying to live up to societies standards will only make you miserable. I wish all of you all the happiness and blessings in the world because regardless of what others say about you, you deserve it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.forrest.790 Natalie Forrest

      After rereading that last sentence, what I meant by you deserve it is all the happiness and blessings in the world, not what people say. No one deserves to be criticized.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Kendall.De.Jong Kendall De Jong

    Interesting the range of responses your article garnered. What I’ve taken away from it is that our society puts too much stock in APPEARANCE, in general. Not necessarily fat/skinny is harder than the other. I think the comments for more overweight people are definitely different than the ones for skinny, but it all can hurt the same. I’ve been at a point in my life where someone approached me and said (in a way that made me feel like I had a giant problem and they pitied me), ‘You’re too skinny’. At that point in time, yes, I was depressed and struggling with my life, but that comment stressed me out even more! He didn’t know my back story or how his comment would affect me and it was something I was working on. I completely get where you’re coming from with this article. Now I maintain a healthy weight and work out because I found an activity I love! I don’t really care what people say about me and my activity level/weight anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still get comments. Enjoyed this read, thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenaroseevans Jena Evans-Turnbull

    i didn’t read the comments above for fear of finding some about how wrong this post is. I love this and often express my hatred toward people thinking it’s a complement to basically make fun of me for being thin, or constantly comment on my weight I am a NATURALLY THIN PERSON, it doesn’t mean I don’t eat and it doesn’t mean I have a problem. We have to stop shaming all shapes and sizes. After my pregnancy I was actually embarrassed at how quickly I lost my pregnancy weight – EMBARRASSED! How stupid is that? It’s genetics, I can’t help it and I shouldn’t feel bad for it. I am tired of not being “allowed” to be upset with how someone talks about my body, because my size is supposed to be considered ideal. I have feelings too and telling me you hate me because I am skinny hurts just as much as if I turned around and said I hate you because you’re fat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alison.borden1 Alison Borden

    It’s unfortunate that negative comments often make others feel bad. But, I try to encourage my clients to assert control over their feelings and how they allow others to make them feel. It seems your point is that that’s not always possible. A point with which I agree. However, sometimes positive comments can elicit negative feelings, as well. This post which is meant to make others feel good seems insensitive to me. The privilege to which I was referring is that of the sociological concept of privilege and oppression. People deemed overweight in our society are simply treated differently. People who conform, whether it is by choice or not, to the American ideal of beauty, which includes being “skinny” receive un-asked for special treatment because of it. And that is complete bullshit. I feel this article is insulting t people that might be considrered overweight. If the point of the post was simply to encourage people to be less judgemental and keep their comments to themselves, I feel it could have been done in a more inclusive, culturally competent way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenny.sims2 Jenny Sims

    I really like this article and the message it is delivering, and I was surprised by many of the comments completely missing the point. however, within these comments I could see a worrying issue, in that it seems to have become ok that some people are clinically obese, because ‘every body size is beautiful’. I am not saying that extremely overweight people are not beautiful by any means, but one cannot ignore that even though an obese person may be incredibly attractive, he/she is most likely incredibly unhealthy, and I think.it’s dangerous to promote the message that big is ok. It seems that in many countries all over the world, as the average dress size increases, we have become accustomed to accepting bigger bodies in society, but we are failing to remember that overweight people are putting their lives in danger. In looking at some of these comments it is clear that many people are just blissfully ignorant, and even though accepting big as beautiful will improve self esteem, it will certainly not improve physical health. I think what we should all be saying is let’s look after our bodies, and as controversial as it may sound in this and age, overweight people should start thinking about the long term strain they are putting on their bodies. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of overweight people are active in their target to be healthier (including myself) and that’s brilliant, but it’s clear that some like to hide behind this ‘big is beautiful attitude’ which society has adopted, and are failing to remember to be healthy as well as beautiful. I know this sounds harsh and I don’t mean to offend anyone, I do truly believe that every woman of any size is beautiful, but health-wise, it’s a different matter which needs to be addressed.

    I realise this comment is not directly in response to the article, but is more my reaction to some of the comments left.

    • http://www.facebook.com/leandra.medina1 Leandra Medina

      I don’t exactly disagree that people should be compaciant with being unhealthy, but thats not my call to make. Neither is it anyone else’s call to make. At least that’s what I got from the article. When I was heavy, it was very difficult for me to hear from other people that I needed to lose weight. Because, obviously, I owned a mirror, so I obviously KNEW I needed to lose weight to be healthy, but I had to figure something out. What was good enough for me? Which is an incredibly difficult question to answer when you have many different outside perceptions from people who are well meaning I’m sure, but really have no place to tell me who I SHOULD be or what I SHOULD look like. The thing that turned everything around for me was the idea that I started dwelling on that larger people serve an important social role within society, the role of making everyone else feel better about themselves, to feel sorry for, and to finish off that last half of the cake, because, you know, they’re already fat, so who cares? I knew I would never fulfill the role of the skinny girl, but I was also uncomfortable with the role of the fat chick everyone feels sorry for, so rather than trying to figure out what role I can cram myself into, Now I know I just need to re-define what my role within society is going to be, regardless of what anyone else thinks it SHOULD be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabesaccol Gabriela Saccol

    I translated your post to portuguese and shared it here:

    It is an amazing thing, what you are doing. I’m glad there are people like you, who share this message.

    Kisses from Brazil

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielles Danielle Samuels

    I felt bad that the main thing I took away from this article is the influence that other people’s potential judgement or implied judgement had on the writer. I can understand that we live in a world with unrealistic expectations of beauty, but we also live in a world where we can make decisions for ourselves. We live in a world were we can say “society can think how it wants, but I feel/think this way”. If you want to work on your physique so you look good in a dress, that is your right. It is not superficial. Who wants to look awful? Who wants to feel awful? Are we really trying to convince ourselves that if you worked out people are walking around judging you and this is deterring you from feeling confident in your decisions? Is this article implying that the burden of this judgement is causing an increase of negative reinforcement or “thin shaming” in our society? I don’t see any of this reflected in malls or on television or any other media. There continue to be more stores than I can count for smaller people to shop in and about 3 stores that larger people can shop in. When was the last time you saw an obese person in an advertisement for a Mercedes Benz? I just can’t make the connection with the writer’s thinking. This line of thought is even harder to identify with because I have seen this “fat shaming” continue in a steady stream all over this country and when traveling in Europe; I was never so aware of how big I was (thanks to toddler size airline seats) or when I walk with friends people have literally pointed and laughed at some of my friends as they walk ahead of me. As you can see from my photo I am not a small person and unfortunately I struggle everyday with the decisions that I am making to lose weight for potential health reasons, but mainly I want to lose weight because I love fashion and at this size, fashion does not love me! Most of the reasons I am so strict with my diet these last months are superficial! Since when is this a problem? Maybe I just don’t live in the same world as the writer. But regardless of the world you live in the piece seems a little self indulgent to me. That person judged me. A tumblr post called that girl a skinny whore. Let me share with you a old saying, “You walk into a store with a bag of your problems and see if you want to trade your problems with anyone else in that store. You will always walk out with yours”. Like one of the commenters earlier said, You will never know what it is like to have to walk in a body that limits your ability to express who you truly are. You will never know what it is like for people to literally laugh at you or your friend because they are fat. You will not know what it is like to hide in your home instead of going to a pool party. You won’t have these experiences because you work out. You made the right choices before this very moment. Some people are struggling to catch up and guess what they couldn’t care less about who is saying what if they feel good and look even better. The writer might want to take on a little bit of that attitude. You are an adult, you have every right to look how you want. I don’t feel bad that someone potentially judged you. I do feel bad if you have friends that would judge you because of you choosing to take care of yourself. IF that is the case than you might need to consider if this group of friends is what is best for you. Your friends are there to support you emotionally and build you up as a person. Your friends make you a better person. Friends that make you feel insecure or judged for bettering yourself are called enemies. Maybe its just time to check your own thinking and stand strong with what is right and ignore the other noise of life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1300236674 Melanie Mccauley

    I LOVE this article. I’ve always been a curvier girl, and I’ve (pretty much) always loved my body. When I really started to pack on the pounds, I didn’t even notice it. My parents were going through a divorce, I was taking all AP classes, I didn’t have to take PE anymore, and I really really *really* love food. It was like the perfect storm of unhealthy habits and good self-esteem. Now I’m a freshman in college, and according to the BMI scale, I’m “obese”. And I don’t love myself any less for it, but it made me recognize that I needed to get healthy again. So about a month ago I joined Weight Watchers, and I started exercising more. I’ve lost 15 pounds already, and still have about 30 to go until I’m back where I used to be. I’m not ashamed to tell people that I’m doing Weight Watchers, but a lot of the time I feel like I should be. Either they congratulate me and announce that “I’m glad, because I was really starting to worry about where you would be in 10 years”, or they’re shocked, “because I really thought you valued yourself too much to let society tell you what shape yous should be”. There’s no way to win. I figure that if I love myself while I’m fat, then I’ll still love myself when I’m not. And NO ONE should make someone feel bad about that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brittbulens Britt Bulens

    Great article, Becca! I always have to watch what I eat because I’m originally overweight and a lot of times at work people will say I don’t need to diet. But, it’s really not a “diet” anymore. I want to stay healthy….so I eat healthy foods. And I don’t feel like being criticized for it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rfuller622 Rachael Fuller

    Firstly, I’d like to say that this article was obviously not created with the intention of hurting anyone’s feelings. If you read this objectively, then it is clearly an article about how girls should not feel like they are being judged by their weight. Although I am slightly overweight, I never get comments about it. And you know what? I really appreciate that. In return, I don’t make comments back – something that I’m sure skinnier girls would also appreciate. Ultimately, our weight is a choice, and no one has the right to jump on someone else’s choices. This brings me back to the first comment: “Instead, [an overweight girl] gets to go home and cry and wish she could rip off her skin and be invisible.” Can an average girl not feel this? Can a skinny girl not feel this? I think it is quite normal to be uncomfortable about your weight: however, it is your choice to change that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tephna Stephanie Grant

      I completely agree with you. I think all women, men, people feel this way at some time or another. We’re all working everyday to love ourselves for who we are and to let comments slide off our back. But for most people it’s a daily struggle. Whatever we can do to be nicer to each other should be done! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/hellosoeun Soeun Lee

    I think what people are forgetting is that being ‘skinny’ is entirely a culturally prescribed phenomenon. So, while many cultures to emphasize being slim, there are ones that value the curvier end of that spectrum as well. I don’t think Becca meant to say that skinny-shaming was *worse* than fat-shaming. I think the message is that if one end exists (fat shaming) then, for the other half of the people, the other side exists as well (this so called ‘skinny shaming’). Sometimes skinny people want to be skinnier as ‘obese’ people want to be skinnier. Sometimes skinny people want to be curvier as already curvy people want to be even bigger. In the end it’s not about ‘just love the body you were given and stop complaining!’ it’s about ‘let’s not criticize what we can’t understand’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/arielle.nieshalla Arielle Nieshalla

    I can’t say how thankful I am to you for writing this.It’s something that is never addressed out of fear that it’ll offend someone. It’s automaticly assumed that if you’re skinny,you have no right to complain about…anything.And working out? If you work out,you MUST have a disorder,never mind simply trying to be fit. As a 5’8,120lb 23 year old ballerina,I’ve grown up with skinny comments my whole life.To the point where I had a skewered view of my body.I tried OVER eating in front of people just to prove that I ate.I don’t think people realize that every girl,regardless of her shape,is always going to be self conscious. I don’t think any one should ever be made to feel awkward or insecure about how they are naturally made.Thank you for saying something! I always thought I was the only one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alison.borden1 Alison Borden

    I’m beyond tired of seeing posts complaining about comments made to the writer about how “skinny” she is. No one is “obligated” to feel anyway. If you choose to be “healthy,” which according to the post, means “skinny,” and someone comments on that in a positive or negative way, they’re still affirming the choice you’re making. Stop finding pointless things to bitch about when there are other people dealing with REAL problems like anorexia or obesity (many of which I can guarantee do not stem from conscious choices that they’ve made). I thought it was common knowledge that one does not hold the right to complain about “discrimination” if they are in a position of privilege, which in the case of this post, is conforming and adhering to America’s ridiculous ideal of beauty, being ” skinny.”

    • Becca Sands

      Here’s the problem with that though, Alison: what happens when someone turns to someone who IS a anorexic and they make comments about their weight? Or about how they should be eating? How is that helping? The point of the article is to argue that you cannot know anyone’s story and why they make they choices they make. No one has the right to assume that I go to the gym because I’m trying to fit into an “ideal.” No one has the right to comment on a choice I am making for my body because they do not know my story. That’s the issue. I have a friend recovering from anorexia and it is not appropriate for anyone to say to her, “OMG girl, eat more,” whether they know of her condition or not. It can and does end up affecting those going through “real” problems.

      And to clarify, I in no way meant to imply that healthy = skinny, and if I did, I truly apologize for that, it was not my intention. It shouldn’t be about weight, it should be about health. Sorry if that got lost in translation :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lovegourd Amy Marie

    I absolutely agree that our culture lives and breathes to make all women hate their bodies, but to equate “skinny-shaming” with fat-shaming is absolutely way overblown. It’s like saying that reverse racism exists because a POC made fun of you once in grade school. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt, or that it doesn’t trigger negativity, but no skinny person will ever be publicly humiliated at an airport and forced to buy two seats, or told that they should be grateful to their rapist because at least someone wanted to have sex with them, or told that their rape didn’t happen because who would do that to a yucky fat person? No skinny person will ever have their body labelled a national epidemic. No skinny person will ever go to the mall and see only one store that might maybe carry their size (this, even, is a privilege afforded to fat people on the smaller end of fat!). Skinny people have the privilege of waking up every day, turning on the television, and seeing people like themselves portrayed as complex, normal, fully fledged characters, not as sidekicks or the butt of a joke. No skinny person’s child will ever be mounted on a billboard as an example of “what our world is coming to.” No skinny person will ever be turned down for a job for not “looking the part.” Skinny people exist in a world that is literally built for them, from things as small as the size of a park bench, to as massive and institutional as literally having your body labelled a public health issue simply for daring to exist and take up space.

    I’m not saying that skinny people are immune from having hard times in their lives. Again, we are all so programmed to hate our bodies, and that is a massive massive cultural problem. But don’t come up to any fat person and say, “I face as much as you do!!!!” because you just don’t. No one is trying to make you feel terrible about your privilege, but you have to recognize it.

    • Becca Sands

      To be fair, I never said, “THIS IS A HUGE ISSUE AND WE ALL NEED TO STOP AND FOCUS ON THIS!” because it’s not, it’s just an essay on something in my life. At the same time, nothing is ever an immediate epidemic. People’s perspectives take time to shift, and I’ve been noticing a shift based on the comments I’ve been receiving since the change in my lifestyle. I think all you need to do is read some of the comments here, on the facebook, and tumblr to see that there ARE girls who have felt ashamed or embarrassed by their smaller size, even felt bullied because of it. I have received FAR more girls reaching out to me expressing thanks for this article than I have people who disagree (maybe they’re just the silent types, who knows). And keep in mind that there are skinny people out there for whom being skinny isn’t a “privilege,” it’s something they work hard on maintaining, and they do not deserve to be judged for it (and calling it a privilege and assuming that their lives are as such is, in fact, judgment). If we want to accept everybody, we have to accept EVERY BODY.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alison.borden1 Alison Borden

      most intelligent post on this page. thank you!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3230199 Amanda Hardwick

    Okay, I am personally glad this article was written because I have always been a very thin girl and I HATED it growing up. I’ve said this before and its often treated with skepticism, but I got a lot of flack for my weight growing up and I’ve always been self-conscious of it. That may sound ludicrous to some people, but its not enjoyable to be a skinny person when people assume that having an eating disorder is the reason you are that way. I heard it all growing up. I was called bulemic, anorexic, beanpole and it was mortifying. I remember my mom taking me for my annual check-up and the doctor scolding me for being underweight and it was frustrating because I would try so hard to gain it. I didn’t want to be skinny, I didn’t associate my weight with being pretty, and I felt awful about myself. I was merely a tall girl that didn’t hit puberty until like 16 which made it even more difficult to gain weight. And I guarantee I put just as much effort into eating and gaining weight as some girls put into losing it, but to no avail. I totally understand that its difficult to be a fuller woman in our society but its damn hard to be 14, 5 ft 8, and 100 lbs too. People are not always kind and it goes both ways. Being accused of having an eating disorder is just as hurful as being accused of being fat. I have since grown to be comfortable with my body and accept it, but I had body image issues for a long time. I’m proud of how I am now and wish everyone would keep their opinions of others figures to themselves. Would have made my adolescence, and others, a hell of a lot smoother.

    • Becca Sands

      Thanks for sharing your story, Amanda, and I’m so glad you’ve grown comfortable in your own skin! All that matters at the end of the day is how YOU feel, and you deserve to feel fabulous! <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/leandra.medina1 Leandra Medina

    Additionally, I only have love for a naturally thin girl who maintains it by being healthy. The one thing that perturbs me is when the general perception is that naturally thin girls are automatically perceived as healthier than I am, even when they freely admit to eating nothing but cheeseburgers, and is allergic to exercise, and my running 5 miles per day means nothing just because I’m a little thicker than the average athlete.

    • Becca Sands

      I can definitely get behind that frustration, and I’m on the other side of it. I’ve had friends ask me to go running with them and I always turn them down because honestly, I can’t even run a half-mile without wanting to collapse. They think it’s crazy because of my size, but it’s not about size, it’s about my health. I’m simply not healthy, and people don’t get that, so they look at me funny when I insist I need to change my lifestyle. You could outrun me any day, girl, and I’m jealous! <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/leandra.medina1 Leandra Medina

    As a formerly overweight person, after losing 70 lbs, people can finally treat me like a normal human being! But as a consequence, everyone thinks I’m a freak when I say no to a piece of cake or a cookie. I do this because though the process of losing weight, I discovered that I am hopelessly addicted to sweets, to the point that I wouldn’t stop eating sweets, even when I felt satisfied, and overly satisfied. So when I’m told that just one cookie, piece of cake, cupcake, or whatever assortment of sweets is at watever get together I’m at won’t kill me, I’m like, ok not THIS one, but the 20 subsequent ones just might.

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