Let’s be real, today’s beauty standards are extremely unrealistic. From a heteronormative perspective, men want girls who have the perfect size boobs, a small waist, and thick thighs… Last time I checked this isn’t build-a-bear. Everyone comes in all shapes and sizes. The social stigma of obesity, also known as fatphobia or fat shaming has been apparent for decades, yet as we progress to 2021 where things have become more inclusive, why hasn’t weight?
Fat Phobia and Shaming
Fatphobia and shaming are simply the hatred of fat bodies. The term itself is offensive and can go as far as having internalized negative feelings toward yourself. Often compared to skinner girls, plus-size women have vocalized that there is an obvious privilege when it comes to people smaller than them. This isn’t to say skinny people don’t have eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and negative feelings towards their appearance, because people of all sizes do. However, the argument is thought people don’t face or receive as much oppression because of their size.
Opposite of fat shaming, skinny shaming entails criticizing someone based on how thin they are. There is the common misconception that since being skinny is the “standard”, it isn’t bad to make comments on one’s appearance. That is wrong. Thinner people can also struggle with eating disorders and feel envy towards those bigger than them. The same way someone bigger might feel envious towards someone because they’re skinner.
Common phrases associated with the two are:
“Wow, you haven’t lost weight!”
“You’ve lost so much weight!”
“Stop saying you’re fat, you’re beautiful.”
“Do I look fat?”
“You’re only bones, there’s no meat on there”
“You look like you have chicken legs”
“Did you eat today?”
“You look so skinny!”
These phrases sound harsh, don’t they? These are just a few examples of what skinny-shaming and fat-shaming look like.
So what are the beauty standards?
Well, that depends, on what your definition of beauty is or beauty standards are. If it’s anything like today where the standard is arguably being curved in all the right places, having a flat stomach, having a full face of makeup that looks natural then oh boy… In the past women were expected to have these same standards but to a harsher extent. What differs from then and now, is society has come together to showcase how different we are as individuals. Nobody on the face of the Earth is perfect, it’s that simple. Women, in particular, shouldn’t have to alter their bodies for anyone’s liking other than their own. Internalized fatphobia is something many on the internet have been guilty of and can very well make up as a form of toxic positivity. Telling someone that they’re beautiful followed up with a comment regarding their weight, can be insensitive and invalidating to that person. As we began to express our uniqueness, the more inclusive things have become. If we can learn to feel this way about weight, then we’d be making progress towards a brighter future.
We as a society can’t move forward until we begin to ask ourselves what is wrong with being plus size or being on the skinner side. My outlook is you can be the most beautiful person in a room but have the ugliest personality. Size is also just a number. Everyone is beautiful in their own way regardless of weight. Beauty to me will always be what is on the inside. Always remember to love yourself unconditionally and you’ll come out on top every time.
Sources: Dolgoff, S., & Dolgoff, S. (2021, April 30). Implicit Weight Bias Is a Major Problem in Our Society — And It’s Getting Worse. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/a35422452/fat-phobia/
Gunnars, K. B. (2019, February 27). The Harmful Effects of Fat Shaming. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fat-shaming-makes-things-worse
Thapa, S. (2021, January 24). Skinny Shaming Explained In Seven Points. SheThePeople TV. https://www.shethepeople.tv/health/what-is-skinny-shaming/