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Ashley Solomon, Psy.D is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, trauma, and serious mental illness.

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Are skinny women shamed as much as fat women? [And, does it matter?]

May 23, 2012 55 Comments by Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul

For the “What I Wish You Knew” series over on Rage Against the Minivan, a blog I lovelovelovelovelove (in case you wondered), a reader submission addressed the topic of discrimination against thinner women. [Please note, the author makes explicit mention of weight, and the post could be triggering for some. Use your best judgment.]

Megyn shares her personal experience with food allergies that have caused her to be underweight and the subject of others’ critical stares and scathing comments. She makes some excellent points:

There is so much out there about loving your curves and accepting your body if you’re not thin. But what about us thin women? Is it ok to belittle and begrudge us? To make snide remarks and disgusted looks? Speaking badly of someone’s weight seems more socially acceptable of thin women than of heavier women. It’s hard to love my body when everyone else tells me I too should hate it and be disgusted. That I am wrong and not ok.

Megyn’s right. Discrimination against thinner women is not something that’s talked about very often. Society does seem to think that it’s okay to pour it’s commentary on how skinny women should “eat more” or “put on a few pounds” without a second thought. In fact, one of the very first posts on NTS addressed this issue, because I think it’s so important.

We all too often forget that creating a world in which weight stigma doesn’t exist means creating a safe space for people of all shapes and sizes. The truth is skinny women don’t all want to be that way. Some struggle with food allergies. Others with illnesses that have wrecked havoc on their bodies. Others may have been the victims of neglect or malnourishment in youth. And still others do struggle with eating disorders, but are no less deserving of respect. So, I understand Megyn’s frustration, dealing with health issues that not only cause her to have to eat differently, but to then be scrutinized for it.

Perhaps the comments she bears are born out of jealousy, discomfort, or simply our hyper-focus on others’ bodies. Whatever the reason, there’s work we need to do culturally and personally to address weight shaming.

So here’s where I disagree with Megyn:

I want you to know thin women are prejudiced against just as much as heavier women.

Perhaps I’m splitting hairs here, or playing right into the Pain Olympics (Waaa! We have it worse!). But I think that this statement is 100% untrue. To me, it’s like a white person saying, “I want you to know that I am just as prejudiced against as a black person.” I just don’t buy it. [Am I opening myself for a firestorm here?]

Everything that I know from reading countless research studies, following the HAES movement, working with patients across the full weight spectrum, and living as a person in a weight-focused world tells me that fat people have it worse. Period.

Larger folks are shamed at nearly every turn – in the workplace, at the grocery store, on the internet, at restaurants, on the playground, in the voting booths, and in their own families, as a start. While perhaps (and I say that tentatively), the comments are more underground when it comes to people we consider overweight or obese, the effects (in salary, opportunities, respect, etc.) are profound.

I think it’s important that we take a cold, hard look at the discrimination happening against larger people. We have to recognize privilege as it exists, or we are doomed to live blind and biased. That’s all.

Now that I’ve stated that fat people have it worse, I recognize that it’s not all that helpful to pit one side against the other, and that’s not what I mean to do. Really. It doesn’t make what’s happening to Megyn better. I just think that making the comparison doesn’t have to be part of her argument.

This actually shouldn’t be a battle of who is more shamed, because the real victims here are women in general. When fat people or thin people are shamed for their weight, we are all hurt. If we grow up fearing being anywhere but in the dead center of the weight spectrum, we perpetuate the stigmatization and we become terrified of letting our bodies find their natural rhythm.

My heart aches for Megyn and her struggle, because no one deserves to be stared down for their size.

What do you think?

[Speaking of not pitting people against one another, one of the best posts I’ve read recently also appeared on Rage Against the MinivanWhere Is the Mommy War for the Motherless Child? Go check it out.]

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54 Comments

  1. Amy
    2 years ago

    I’m not sure that women are shamed for being thin. However, people feel like it’s acceptable to comment on a thin person’s body much more openly than on an overweight person’s body. People don’t generally walk up to big people and say “you’re so big”, but people have said “you’re so small” to me on numerous occasions. I feel like part of it is jealousy (not that I think people should be jealous of me!), but also people think it’s okay to talk about “skinny” bodies.

    I am working on recovery from anorexia and comments about my body are difficult. As I lost weight, people told me how great I looked, not knowing what I was doing to myself. Then when I got scarily small, people would just tell me how small I was. The focus on my body was uncomfortable and contributed to my illness. Now, as I grow stronger in my recovery, I make a point to never comment on anyone else’s body. I wish other people would do the same.

    Reply

    • Katie
      2 years ago

      Thank you so much for posting, Amy. I went through the same thing, with people commenting on how great i looked etc the whole time i was slowly destroying myself. I still get comments sometimes like “you are so lucky to be thin and healthy” and they make me very uncomfortable.

      Reply

  2. Big Liberty
    2 years ago

    So, thin prejudice exists. Totally on board with that. I don’t think that something that’s really in question. And, like fat people, thin people don’t deserve to catch crap because of their body size.

    But the analysis by the author quoted in this article is short-sighted and just bogus when it comes to level of palpable discrimination against fat people.

    – Is there a War Against Thinness?
    – Do thin people make less money than fatter people?
    – Does there exist a multibillion dollar industry with the sole purpose of making thin people fatter?
    – Are we bombarded with 300,000 messages a year about how to gain weight if we’re too thin?
    – Is global warming being blamed on thin people?
    – Are thin parents being told they can’t adopt?
    – Are there immigration restrictions in certain countries that say if you’re too thin, you can’t enter?
    – Are articles/books published about how the author is just convinced that the sex lives of thin people is lacking/bad/broken/absurd?
    – Are thin people given the up-down and told they have to buy an extra-expensive ‘thin’ person’s seat because the airline thinks they’re wasting the seat space they don’t end up using?
    – Are thin kids given an F on their BMI report cards? (maybe this one’s true, I don’t know)
    – Do thin people ever have to give a moment’s thought that their body won’t be physically accommodated, whether they’re traveling, going to a sit-down event, attending a lecture, buying a new car, etc?
    – Do thin people generally get everything blamed on their thinness when they go to the doctor’s office — colds, sprained ankle, sore back, headaches?
    – Is there a TV show called The Biggest Gainer?
    – Do we hear on the news and radio and read in newspapers and blogs that our health care system is going to go broke because of those dastardly thin people?
    – Are young children more or less likely to want to hang out with the thin kids or the fat kids?
    – And so on…

    Thinness isn’t just NOT hated in the measure that fat is hated, it’s GLORIFIED.

    – There is a multibillion dollar industry centered around dressing thin people, then taking pictures of them
    – The vast majority of movie/music celebrities are very thin
    – There is a multibillion dollar industry focused on making fat people and not-so-fat people as thin as possible
    – The word “skinny” is a compliment. The word “fat” is a grave insult.
    – Blogs and magazines that give tips on how to effectively starve oneself and get skinnier are run-of-the-mill. Gainer stuff is taboo, unless you’re a skinny guy trying to gain muscle.

    The author quoted by this article also fails to recognize: what drives thin shame is FAT SHAME. That in many cases thin people are hated not because they’re objects of straight-up disgust, but because the rest of us are told that thinner is BETTER. The frustration of living daily with messages that our fat in any measure (be it 10 lbs ‘over’weight or 200) is unacceptable makes some of us lash out at the ones who are held as arbitrarily superior to us. Thin shame is a product of fat shame, not the other way around.

    The ideal woman as trumpeted by the media is some very tall, very thin, white, perpetual 23 year-old. There’s a couple different forms of sizism there, racism, and ageism. But thin discrimination? It seems to be quite the opposite.

    Also: the author quoted in this article gets a giant eff you from me, in trying to dilute the virulence and true damaging nature of hate against fat people. Another instance of a person with privilege trying to make it all about them and thus preserve that privilege, whether they’re doing that intentionally or not.
    Big Liberty recently posted..Other reasons why fat person cost calculations are bogus

    Reply

    • Amy
      2 years ago

      There may not be “a multibillion dollar industry with the sole purpose of making thin people fatter”, but having weight loss products thrown in my face all day does not help me want to gain weight. As a person who is trying to gain weight, it is quite difficult when every magazine, commercial, etc. is all about losing weight. I feel shamed that I am not trying to lose weight like the rest of the world.

      Fat talk and body talk amongst women does not help either. Sometimes I feel like an outsider because I’m not complaining because I can’t lose weight.

      Reply

      • Big Liberty
        2 years ago

        But the shame you feel from not wanting to lose weight is directly derived from fat shame (which is what drives the countless articles on weight loss in magazines and pretty much anywhere else).

        And fat people who choose not to lose weight go through the same thing you are, getting weight loss products thrown at us and appearing everywhere we look, except other *expect* us to be losing weight *without deviation*. When we do we’re not just opting out of the discussion and feeling ‘left out.’ We’re scorned. We’re ridiculed. We’re told we’re everything that’s bad with the world.

        Definitely not the same experience.
        Big Liberty recently posted..Poetry is for Beautiful People?

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        • Anna
          2 years ago

          Big, Liberty, don’t project your frustrations on everyone who seems to even remotely defend their thin side. Weight loss products are there for a reason. Most of them are there to help people lose weight to a healthy one that will also make them look better. Having in mind how unhealthy and damaging to health is the ordinary American diet, which most Americans follow, I think it is a good thing that there are so many weight loss ads and products out there. You sound rather comfortable and looking for an excuse to just stay comfortable and not do anything to make yourself feel better and healthier. Instead, you’re just attacking every poster who says they are thin becaue that’s just easier to do. I am sick of people like you.

          Reply

      • anna
        2 years ago

        although, amy, you do bring up an interesting point. all the fat shame and fat fear doesn’t just harm fat women (and men), it harms thin women (and men?) who might benefit from gaining weight but live in fear of it because they know they will face stigma.
        anna recently posted..Xocolatl Cupcakes, a Guest Post

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    • Rachel
      2 years ago

      BOTH sides are discriminated against. I’ve seen both sides and they are equally nasty to each other. Most women on tv and in media who are thin still have big boobs and butts even though most women who are skinny are not built like that. So seeing a skinny girl in a magazine with DD’s doesn’t help the 20 year old women everyone chuckles at saying she looks like a 12 year old boy. It makes them feel like less of a woman. I know bigger girls have it really bad as well and they shouldn’t, but in my personal experience every women I’ve come across that praises her curves will make a snide remark about skinny women. You want to know why all the ads you see are for weight loss? Because America is fat. Yes we have women who are naturally healthy on either ends but it’s at the point where most “curvy” women are placing fast food over their health (I’m actually in THIS category). A while back the opposite was true and yes, there was products being sold to help you GAIN 10-25 pounds to help you become attractive and healthier. A while back I came across ads for these products and I found it so out of place, but hey back then it was better to be bigger.

      Reply

  3. Samantha
    2 years ago

    Well if you ask me then it doesn’t really matter…. it all depends on how they carry themselves…
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    Reply

  4. Born27
    2 years ago

    Being skinny or being fat doesn’t matter for me. As long as you know how to carry yourself. Being skinny is much luckier than being fat. You just need the confidence.
    Born27 recently posted..Small Business Phone Services

    Reply

  5. Kat
    2 years ago

    I think it’s really important to realize that people interpret and internalize things differently… That yes one person’s shaming might look different than another’s but that doesn’t make it any less real… Things two people take in might be identical but how they dissect them in their heads or absorb them could be vastly different… (evidenced by the fact that the third commenter thinks of “skinny” as a compliment and I certainly do not…)

    Consequently I agree with you that it shouldn’t matter who’s shamed ‘more’ because ‘more’ is subjective due to the aforementioned… Something I might find shaming someone else might find complimentary or okay…

    However, maybe I’m just reading this post wrong, but I found it disparate with that thought… as you go on to show why fat people are shamed more… then go back to that idea of which I agree — that its women that are hurting…

    Anyway, If we do talk about research… and how there is a plethora for the fat stigma… Couldn’t it possibly be that people haven’t taken time to you know… research it?

    A quick Ebsco search doesn’t exactly tell us that a lot of research has been done in that field (on the benefits of being pretty though? Yes there is tons of research… but being pretty and being thin are not one and the same)… Perhaps, because we are focusing on the larger woman… Not saying that’s right or wrong… just that that *is* and that it’s interesting…

    I also think about women that have lost a substantial amount of weight that still feel shamed… we attribute that to the fact that they were once a much larger size and might still view themselves that way (I seem to remember you writing a really poignant post about that), but maybe it is also contributed to how someone as a person internalizes comments or actions… If you internalize them one way at a larger size it’s likely that will still carry over at a smaller size… it could also (possibly) be attributed to the smaller size itself…

    I also, again, wonder why there is such a discrepancy in research between stigma and shame amongst those two groups of women… but like I said, I wholly agree that they hurt the same and that by saying one group internalizes it more or is shamed more we possibly are hurting the other… and there’s plenty of enough hurt already…

    and because this is fitting:
    “Who has not seen how women bully women? What tortures have men to endure compared to those daily repeated shafts of scorn and cruelty with which poor women are riddled by the tyrants of their sex?” William Thackeray…

    (oh and sorry if this is jumbled… my brain always seems like it’s racing after I do a meal support… hahaha)

    Reply

  6. Lauren
    2 years ago

    Honestly, I truly believe skinny women are ridiculed just as much as overweight women are, and it’s much more in your face and cruel. People are not afraid to tell you to “go eat a sandwich/hamburger/ice cream” when you’re skinny. But you rarely see people you hardly know telling an overweight woman to “put down the burger and eat a salad”. It seems like there is an increase in the belief that anyone who isn’t “overweight” or “curvy” or “at least a size 8″ isn’t healthy, a sad sad stigma that seems to be gaining momentum as more and more women are gaining weight. Skinny women are constantly ridiculed for not being curvy, for “looking like a boy” and being told to put some meat on their bones. I feel like while fat women may be judged silently or have comments made by those you know well, you can meet a perfect stranger, go eat, and they will have an endless stream of negative things regarding your weight to say to your face. If anything, I think as far as saying it out right, it is much more socially acceptable to shame a skinny woman aloud than doing the same to someone who is overweight.
    Lauren recently posted..Umm this is me this week..

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    • anna
      2 years ago

      it seems to me though, that the social acceptability of talking to thin women about their weight is a function of thin privilege. people don’t tell fat women what they think about them outright, because it’s so awful. and you don’t have to go far to find proof of that, any comments anywhere on the internet ever about slightly overweight women outside of body image blogs will show you exactly what society thinks of fat women. people tell you what they think because they don’t think it will hurt your feelings, because they assume it’s so great to be thin.

      i’m not saying it is, and i’m not saying those things aren’t hurtful. i’m sure they are. but their social acceptability is due to the fact that they aren’t perceived as such, because being thin is seen as an assumed good.
      anna recently posted..Xocolatl Cupcakes, a Guest Post

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    • LisaT
      2 years ago

      I agree with this. I am a UK size 6 (and also short/petite) and I get derogatory comments to my face all the time. I’m a long distance runner and eat plentifully but I am lean. I get comments from colleagues and some distant friends about what I do and don’t eat (people actively come over to my desk and remark on my lunches – normally crisps, fruit and a sandwich) and get filthy looks if I decline cake (I don’t like it). I recently went out for a bottle of wine and a huge pub roast to celebrate with my friend after completing a half marathon and as I was walking from the bar saw a couple talking loudly about how horribly thin I look and giving me horrid looks. I also get remarks about the exercise I do and people asking me what on earth the point of me doing it is they could never be bothered they like to ‘live’ more. I’m sometimes completely aghast at the fact that people feel they can be so directly judgemental, I would never tell an overweight person they should put that cake down so why do people feel they can so openly remark to me. If I was thin because I didn’t eat enough then maybe fair do’s but this is through fitness. My close friends and boyfriend keep me sane sometimes and they have witnessed some of the remarks and looks too and have been surprised by it. Sadly the common link seems to be that these are from overweight people.

      Reply

    • Anna
      2 years ago

      I agree Lauren. This is very true.

      Reply

  7. Lauren
    2 years ago

    To follow up I don’t know that it really matters who is shamed more– it would be amazing if we could stop obsessing over our weight and the weight of everyone else, endeavor to all live healthy lifestyles and leave it at that. No one should be made to feel bad about how they look, because despite their outward experience, being too skinny or too fat in no way determines the demons of unhappiness, unrest, lack of self love you might experience on the outside regarding your physical appearance, and we have no idea of the struggles that any of us face.
    Lauren recently posted..Umm this is me this week..

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  8. Andrea Owen
    2 years ago

    Yes, I think some thin women are shamed for being thin, however I DO NOT think we have prejudice just like fat people. It’s no secret that our culture is obsessed with being thin, therefore as a thin person myself, I would never agree that we have it as bad.
    However, I think where the shame lies is in admitting our body image issues. Time and time again I’ve been told, “What do you have to worry about? You’re skinny”. Or, “How could you have an eating disorder when you’re so tiny” <– That one came from a NURSE at a doctors office!!
    Comparative storytelling keeps us feeling shameful, keeps us quiet and keeps us sick. Thank you for starting the conversation because that's where it starts. Pain can be fat or skinny. And shame comes in all sizes too.
    Andrea Owen recently posted..5 Hard Truths You’re Afraid to Admit

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  9. KCLAnderson (Karen)
    2 years ago

    So many great responses! I think the whole fixation on how people LOOK is the issue…versus whether or not this group is discriminated against more than that group. I know that the whole “real women have curves” movement was born out of the pendulum swinging too far in one direction, just like most movements are born out of extreme. Fact is, we’re all “real women.” What we should be focusing on, and banding together for, is our health…no matter what size we are.
    KCLAnderson (Karen) recently posted..Feeling What You Feel Because You Think It’s What You Should Feel

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  10. K
    2 years ago

    I was very overweight growing up, and I really believe our (in this case meaning US) society generally believes that fat is ugly. So, yes, I internalize this, and it sounds completely ridiculous to me to hear that thin women experience the same thing. It’s GOOD to be thin in the US! That is not the same as hearing that you are ugly. Are there jokes about thin people?

    People do see anorexia as a real and serious illness. People make jokes about fat people and consider them ugly. This is not my take on it, this is what anyone looking objectively at US culture would also observe.

    It is offensive to me to hear that thin women have experienced what I have as someone who was overweight.

    Reply

    • Kat
      2 years ago

      there actually are a lot of jokes (and derogatory comments) about being thin AND even eating disorders.. my mind goes to jokes about twice the flavor (in reference to bulimia) and those I beat anorexia shirts… as well as that “Anna Rexia” halloween costume…

      however, I do think it’s interesting that those things generally generate a great deal of media attention… versus it being a societal norm (which, to a degree, fat shaming is)

      I think with being thin and having an eating disorder it’s more related to commentary (such as “you’re so lucky to be so thin” “you can eat whatever you want” or assumptions of the person HAVING an eating disorder) than with public shaming

      I also wonder if SELF shame plays a large role… I think when there is a larger degree of self shame (which could be a result of the societal ideologies surrounding perfection, beauty, etc) then you feel more shame FROM society, etc and internalize more… or hear/feel comments differently… if that makes sense?

      Reply

      • Lea
        2 years ago

        Jokes about eating disorders are not the same thing as jokes about thin people, you seem to imply eating disorders=thin people.

        I’ve been bulimic for a decade and overweight all the time and this is not uncommon. So yes, I get shamed for being overweight, having an eating disorder, not being good enough to be thin and for eating funnily/restriction. Fun times!

        For your information I have a condition that made it impossible to lose weight so I could not even lose weight when not eating at all, but in general bulimics are NOT skinny. The avarage bulimic is normal weight or slightly “over”weight. This is also simply because once you get underweight you’ll often get

        So yes, when I hear the 10000th joke on Family Guy about how all bulimic girls do this and that and are skinny, it hurts me on a lot of levels.

        There are jokes about thin women I am sure, but there are also jokes about white people that can never reach the harm of the racist jokes we are used to. And while there are prejudices against thin women (being totally body-concious, being stupid, etc etc) they can never come close to the prejudices I feel as a fat woman.

        But hey, trying going to an eating disordered clinic as an overweight person and tell me you’ll get a different experience.

        Reply

        • Kat
          2 years ago

          I don’t think thin = eating disorder. at all.. much like obesity is not an eating disorder… That’s why I used the word “and” as the two are separate… and actually MOST people with eating disorders do not fall into the underweight category… I actually thought, personally, that “K”‘s comments came across that way… so sorry that (if???) mine did…

          This will be my absolute last comment here, because I’ve certainly said my thoughts… but one last one:

          is telling people that their opinions don’t matter or are insulting a form of shaming? As they’re being shamed into silence?

          Reply

    • Amy
      2 years ago

      It doesn’t matter if people are commenting on others being fat or thin…..just stop commenting on bodies.

      Anorexia is definitely not understood or taken seriously. People think it just means being “skinny”, but really it is a horrible mental illness. People often joke that they wish they were anorexic to lose weight.

      Big people and small being may not be shamed in the same way, but any comments about a person’s body are inappropriate.

      Reply

    • Anna
      2 years ago

      K, and it is offensive to me that someone like you completely denies that thin women have it bad as well, despite the evidence. You aren’t the only victim here. Get over yourself.

      Reply

  11. K
    2 years ago

    Sorry, there may be jokes about eating disorders and being thin – is there a whole genre of characters on sitcoms who are funny because they are thin or bulimic? As you point out, I think these types of jokes may exist but are very quickly condemned, whereas jokes about people who are overweight are just ingrained.

    Sure, any comments about people’s bodies are wrong. One difference is that comments at thin people are usually made out of envy or something like that rather than disgust, as is the case with comments towards overweight people. Sorry. It is not the same.

    Reply

    • Kat
      2 years ago

      actually: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starved

      both sides hurt and once again, I wonder if SELF shame plays a role in how we interpret and internalize things…

      As someone content with my body (no… really!) – none of it really phases me anymore… Not even the “Anna Rexia” Halloween costume… I wonder if it’s because I don’t have that SELF shame regarding my body…

      Reading this intense desire to show that one side has more hurt than the other, I wonder why there are sides… really… hurt is hurt – no matter who it is felt by.

      Reply

  12. K
    2 years ago

    This is a link to ONE program – I don’t think this is evidence that it’s common to laugh at thin people or people with eating disorders.

    In US culture, thinness is much more the “common goal” than being overweight. This doesn’t make “sides”. We don’t grow up in bubbles and my sense of shame from growing up in a culture where fat is considered ugly is not just in my head. Saying that it is the same for everyone who has received a comment about their body implies that and I find that insulting.

    I am also more or less content with my body now, and it’s probably because I’m a size 6/8 now. I doubt I would have this feeling with a larger body in this culture.

    Reply

  13. Heidi19
    2 years ago

    As far as I know, thin girls are much happier to have a body of what they have rather than fat girls. Look at those super models, gosh! they are sooo thin. Being skinny isn’t bad or to be ashamed of, they are blessed to have a maintained body!
    Heidi19 recently posted..Arowana – a prized investment catch or …

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  14. Alex @ Raw Recovery
    2 years ago

    I agree with you, Ashley. I can see how very thin women can be shamed but overall, I absolutely do not believe that thin women are shamed as much as women who don’t fit the very narrow, culturally desired and accepted body type. In my eating disorder, when I was at a low weight but didn’t look “unhealthy,” I used to get a lot of compliments, never once was I shamed for the way I looked. Then when I started to look sick, people stopped making comments altogether or during relapses expressed concern. I guess everyone’s experience is different.
    Alex @ Raw Recovery recently posted..Creating a Customized Meditation for Recovery, Anxiety, Fear, & Trauma

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  15. JeAnn
    2 years ago

    If I were to choose, better be ashamed as skinny than fat because of the health risks being fat.
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  16. Erin Nieto
    2 years ago

    There is no contest of shame, there is no “better”. There is only each individual’s experience based on the dominant cultural lens that we cannot control.
    In doing interviews for my book, I talked to women across both ends of the scale.
    Women at the lower end of the scale tended to have a hard time being taken seriously, and have internalized the message that they were not tough, nor womanly enough.
    One praised herself for her rapid weight loss only to discover much later that it had been due to a serious illness.
    So.
    It’s complicated. For women of every weight.

    Reply

  17. Jennifer Morrison
    2 years ago

    I personally don’t have an issue with people being skinny or fat. We should love people for who they are. But when some women starve themselves just to look skinny then that may be a problem. They are just giving in to others peoples’ opinions that being skinny makes them look good. But if somebody is slim naturally, or due to allergic issues then it is cool.
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  18. Sheila Merks
    2 years ago

    It is find if you are skinny woman as long as you are healthy. For me, its okay if you are thin or if you are fat. Whatever physical feature a person has, the important is she is proud of what she is. We cannot avoid that there is this discrimination against thinner women; however, the important is you accept what you are.
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  19. Cassie
    2 years ago

    I figure we all need to stop judging each other. I personally have no way of knowing why you look the way you do. You, likewise, have no way of knowing why I look the way I do (unless I tell you that years of illness have rendered me unable to gain weight, and even then I’m saying it because I have learned that it’s not fashionable to appreciate my figure).

    This is my body. I am not going to hate it because it represents scary things to some people. I would respectfully suggest that other people not hate it, either, but that’s not my call. Maybe “don’t hate it to my face” is all I can ask.
    Cassie recently posted..GET YOUR SHOTS.

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  20. kb
    2 years ago

    I saw this in a roundup and am late, but seriously, Lauren?
    ” But you rarely see people you hardly know telling an overweight woman to “put down the burger and eat a salad”.
    Yes, yes they do. This happens. And it gets published in national magazines. That said, I do agree “who has it worst?” isn’t productive.

    Reply

  21. Jane
    2 years ago

    But how would you or should you react or response?

    Reply

  22. Connie
    2 years ago

    I was obese for decades. I expereinced many forms of discrimination and also low self-esteem. I finally found the solution to my personal issue(s) and began to lose weight in a healthy way over 2 years time and have maintained this 140 lb. loss for 4 years. As I got closer to goal weight (a healthy weight established by my health providers) people started to make open comments judging me and my body. “You are gettting too thin, you need to start eating again, are you anorexic”, etc. I was stunned and offended by this. Finally I asked people to stop, since it wouldn’t be ok say to someone, “aren’t you getting fat, etc.

    I also believe that obesity (as opposed to being curvy or overweight) is a health epidemic and though not talking about specific indivduals, the issue has to be addressed . I do believe obesity is caused by disordered eating. In my case, that meant random eating of whatever was around, whatever I felt like and whenever I felt like it, very compulsively; with no plan for thoughtful, healthy care for my body. If one’s blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol etc. are elevated, one has heart or other serious health disease/problems,one’s joints arer painful and one is limited in life’s activities; then one’s obesity is not an appearance issue or a societal judgment issue and needs to be addressed openly and seriously. I don’t judge obese persons by their appearance, but do believe it is a state of denial to avoid health consequences. Obesity is not beautiful no matter how you want to think about it. Our frames are not created to carry that much body mass. A toned and curvy body, a fit overweight body that is lovingly cared for is beautiful. Obesity is not. It is also very expensive for society to pay for the health related expenses.

    I know I can be flamed fort his post, and want to say I am speaking from expereince and my perspective.

    Reply

  23. justright
    2 years ago

    I have been fat (195 lbs highest adult weight) and thin (115 lbs lowest adult weight), I was thin throughout my childhood and adolescence and into my late twenties. I got lupus and the drugs piled on the weight and made me want to eat more.

    I can tell you I was teased for being thin, even though I was not anorexic or dangerously thin, just average. My uncles would say men like women with meat on their bones, jealous women would ask me if I ever ate, etc. I was effortlessly small no dieting or exercise regime.

    When I got fat I was ridiculed for that. Called Dolly Parton, guys yelled from the street that I had a fat ass, at one point I felt so ashamed I stopped leaving the house. Eventually I got on a diet and exercise plan and off of my fat producing meds. Today I am curvaceous at 120 lbs and happy with it.

    Women can’t win. I think a big part of the whole weight prejudices stem from the obesity epidemic that is raging through the country while at the same time we have this entertainment industry with thin women and models with body proportions often aided by surgery and airbrushing brainwashing us to accept body types that are unrealistic (bodies made exceptionally thin through dieting and grueling exercise with breast implants, for example).

    Those women who are seen to be closest to this ideal are envied and those that are furthest from this ideal are ridiculed. It’s also gotten to the point where we have no idea what healthy, normal bodies really look like. Obviously overweight women are called “curvy” and “real” when they’re just a reflection of the obesity epidemic while bone skinny, anorexic-looking women are held up as a beauty standard when they’re a really a reflection of hollywood’s unhealthy obsession with ultra-thiness.

    The truth is somewhere in the middle, but we’re all left on our own to find our truth.

    Reply

  24. katedeflate
    2 years ago

    I completely disagree. I think thin people have it
    much worse.

    I am 5’9″. Over the past couple of years, my weight plummeted from 210 to 99 pounds. Thanks anorexia. At my heaviest, not one
    person made a negative comment about my body. At my thinnest, I could not go anywhere without being asked
    my size, being told I looked gross, or being told to “just eat”.

    My best friend, who works for fat acceptance, dumped me in my time of need claiming I was too “triggering” and “unsupportive”. She
    would have stayed by my side if I had stayed fat.

    At my heaviest, I was considered a good mom. I was stuffing my face all day- very unhealthy. At my thinnest, I had CPS called on me 3 times by my doctor. My personal emails to my therapist and medical records were used by my husband (we were separated then) to take my children from me. HIPPA? Hardly. I recognize that I was sick then, but I was just as sick at my heaviest and experienced none
    of this.

    Recently, I went to the ER over rapid weight gain and other disturbing symptoms. Gained 5 pounds one week. 7 the next. Went to the ER scared to death that I was in kidney failure because of
    the edema. The nurse looked at me, told me I was
    still underweight, and told me I should just get better. The doctor
    dismissed it as me eating more than I realized. After they discharged me (crying), I peed out about 10 pounds over
    the next week. I get it that doctors dismiss obese people’s health problems as just weight, but the opposite is true as well. I have about 16 hospitalizations over two years under my belt. This was the treatment I received. With my privilege.

    We just need to stop body shaming all around. We don’t know
    anybody’s story and it just always comes across as jealousy.

    Reply

    • chilled
      2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this :)

      Reply

  25. AT
    2 years ago

    While there seems to be a consensus that thin is acceptable, I think we are overlooking the fact that there is a limit to what is considered acceptably thin. Once you pass that point, whatever it may be, you are faced with the harsh criticism. Technically I am underweight. It’s so baffling to me that strangers think it’s okay to ask you if you have an eating disorder. I don’t, but if I did I’m not sure how well I’d deal with that.

    I don’t think either group has it worse. How bad something is is completely subjective. Both are ridiculed and it’s extremely counterproductive for the “skinny” women to ridicule the “fat” women and vice versa. It’s difficult cycle to break. Hate breeds insecurities while insecurities breed hate.

    Reply

  26. Nemein
    2 years ago

    I AM FREAKING TIRED of hearing how thin women mustn’t complain because it’s offensive to fat people, as if fat people have some monopoly on being oppressed.

    Thin women are privileged?

    Tell that to the girl who was only 5’2 and 100lbs and got diagnosed with three different disorders including CROHN’S DISEASE just because she was thin!

    Tell that to girls who can’t even go to school without being reported to mental health services because they’re ‘anorexic’.

    Don’t you dare tell thin women how it is to be them. Shut up. Step off.

    Reply

  27. Jennifer
    2 years ago

    I cannot express how much this affects culture. It doesn’t matter if your skinny vs fat. We have all types of social pressures racism, ageism, sexism, religous freedom now the only type we don’t have is how can a woman be discriminated against her weight. We now have men and women who can determine the length of a woman’s job based upon her hip to waist ratio. why can’t we get our s$$t together?

    Reply

  28. chilled
    2 years ago

    I’m sorry but I disagree with your opinion that bigger people are prejudiced against more than skinny people. As a skinny woman I get looks of disgust and pity in equal measures every day. I hate it. I don’t think there is anything wrong with my body but I get so angry that people judge other people by their appearance. They can be so wrong. I have had people ask my mum if I eat…Ofcourse I do. I am also pretty active. I like to keep active but I feel that I need to explain myself to people all the time. You know what…I don’t! I don’t look disrespectfully at anyone, but I do come across as defensive once I get the ptiy or evil eye. I feel ugly all the time and isolated because of this crap.So…. It’s just as difficult either way in my opinion.

    Reply

  29. silliness
    2 years ago

    prejudice suks no matter age / hair color/ tall vs short/ mean vs. nice/ brunette vs red head vs blonde vs eye color. who gets a job for life being a control freak. The point is society as never been this bad for people like me. Time to grow up and if you see or sense a person being abused because pf image barriers either don’t look, turn the other cheek or just be a little kinder. I am so tired of the double standards don’t you think us women have gone through enough???? I have lost alot of jobs because of prejudice in society and my overweight body had nothing to do with the fact that stigmas in a facist society are here. If we say I get less she gets more it sounds ridiculous to people like myself. Love yourself the way you see it just remember that other person has the same right.

    Reply

  30. miserable in texas
    2 years ago

    women sell out others for her own extra satisfaction. This Country and arrogance has alot of problems. Dog eat dog , back stabbing and gossip does so much damage. I am so glad to be alone

    Reply

  31. Brittany
    1 year ago

    I think that by comparing a thin person’s experience to that of a fat person’s experience does absolutely nothing but cause more problems. In my opinion a lot of the shaming both experience it seems pretty similar to me. Our bodies are no ones business but our own. I think it’s ridiculous to judge someones health by how they look, and then to care if that person is healthy. If that person is a stranger to me, I do not care if they are unhealthy. It is none of my business and it is their life so I don’t get why people care so much. I think the concept of “thin privilege” is a bunch of bullshit because thin people experience the same things fat people experience and label as thin privilege(ex. Food policing. Happens both ways). Thin privilege is just a way to blame thin people and is actually a very hypocritical concept and takes away thin peoples’ experiences. I think everyone deserves respect no matter what their weight/size and it’s incredibly rude to go up to anyone commenting on their weight, eating habits, or anything of that nature. Fat shaming is horrible and I completely understand that that needs to stop, but so does skinny shaming. I’ve had people skinny shame me all the time, including family/so-called friends and it really does suck. I am all for body positivity and think every person deserves to love who they are and that society needs to change in more ways than one. I think in no shape or form are thin or fat peopled oppressed, but I do think both could be discriminated against in certain points depending on what it could be such as jobs. Society as a whole makes what you look like as the most important and THAT is what needs to change. We are all human and we all come from the same place. I fully believe we all have more a purpose in life than to fight about who has it worse, thin or fat. We have more of a purpose than what we look like. Until we realize that we are all basically the same internally and all are differences are rooted from our similarities society isn’t going to change.
    Brittany recently posted..consultingfangurl:

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    Reply

  32. Bastet
    1 year ago

    I think slim women do get body shamed. I have personally experienced men seeing only a body they’d like ‘to do’. If they dont get what they want they percieve you as needing to be taken down a peg or two. It couldnt possibly be because being used hurts. Even partners hold back on compliments in case you get a big head and instead say things like, ‘if you eat that you’ll get fat’. You can never enjoy a bite of cake or pizza or junk food without some kind of shaming. Women close ranks on you because they believe you must be egotistical or think you’re better than they are, when all you really want is to have a nice social life like everyone else. Rumours get back to you.

    It really peeves me because I would love to know what it feels like to be called beautiful by an intimate partner, to percieve myself as a vital, interesting and valuable person. After 12 years of sexual abuse as a child and 22 years of on again off again councelling, I have worked so hard to be a healthy person, physically, emotionally, mentally and psychologically. All these things hurt. They hurt a lot. And they are not in any way less significant than fat shaming. No one should be subjected to experiences that harm them. Slim shaming is real and its just as damaging as any other form of psychological abuse.

    Reply

  33. stacy
    1 year ago

    I am 5’7″ and weigh 125lbs. I have always had problems in my life with people because of this. I have even lost jobs because my boss was a heavy set woman who had poor self image and got pleasure in knowing she could mess with my life. This has happened on more than one occasion. People are always judging me based on my looks and continually projecting their poor self images on me. If the roles were reversed and i was picking on heavier people for being heavy, i know it would most certainly b picked up on quicker and people would have something to say about it. With this kind of discrimination its hard to tell people that you are being picked on for your looks because you are afraid that people will see you as being vain. So its ignored by all and i suffer in silence not knowing what i can do about it. This is not a blessing. I am tired of being put in bad places in my life because i take care of myself and someone else doesnt like it!!!

    Reply

  34. KathyT
    8 months ago

    I’m actually quite disgusted that you think slim women don’t like our bodies, or are “ashamed” of being slim! You say skinny is a compliment…it is NOT. I would never dream of calling someone “fat”….get a life. There are slim people, and there are not so slim people…that doesn’t mean we should be ashamed (either way).

    Reply

  35. Amanda Smith
    8 months ago

    I am a thin women, just over 80 lbs and I cannot get a job because everyone thinks I am too sick/weak to even lift a feather. This is not the case. I am not sick. I am stronger than most women I know. I no longer have friends because I make them feel fat when they are not. The only help I receive from doctors is to simply eat more. I eat fine. I do not have anorexia, I simply just cannot gain weight. In nearly ever social situation (including trying to find an apartment) my size ALWAYS comes up. I realize jealously may play a factor, but other people’s jealousy is hurting my life. I cannot get a job, I cannot get an apartment and doctors refuse to give me realistic help. Thin shaming is just as dangerous as fat shaming and anyone who says otherwise is an ignorant asshole.

    Reply

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