I’m bringing toned abs back, go ahead and tell them fat bitches that.

Photo shopped images of models with flat stomachs and thigh gaps, favored by the media and fashion industry, are often blamed for the issues women have with their own bodies. Only 5% of women naturally possess the model body type, yet it is put forward as an idealistic standard of beauty.  Attempts to promote diversity and celebrate women of all shapes and sizes occasionally make their way into mainstream media. For example, a song embracing curvy women,  ‘All About That Bass’ by Megan Trainor, has recently been circulating the airwaves. 

 

 

The song describes a curvy woman who is happy in her own skin, which I found quite refreshing, until I heard the chorus, “I’m bringing booty back, go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that.” I found it amusing that this lyric was broadcast on popular radio stations without the fear of listeners being offended.  If radio stations began playing a song with the lyrics, “I’m bringing toned abs back, go ahead and tell them fat bitches that,” a negative reaction from the public would be almost certain. Nevertheless, this song was number one on the ARIA charts two weeks in a row.   This made me question whether society has a double standard towards shaming women for the size of their body. Thin women complain of how they often hear the phrases, “Do you ever eat?”, “You’d look better with a little meat on your bones”  and “Hey, chicken legs”. Yet, most people would feel comfortable saying this to a thin person because it is perceived as a compliment regardless of how it’s phrased.  But freedom of expression is hindered when in the company of heavier women. In New York a food chain named Oat Meals displayed the advertisement below, which suggested people should eat low calorie oatmeal to get in shape for summer. After public backlash claiming this advertisement was ‘fat shaming’ Oat Meals issued an apology via social media and had the sign removed.

 

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Bagel = 600 Calories. Oatmeal = 150 Calories. Summers coming, just saying…

 

It seems to me that skinny shaming and fat shaming are two sides of the same problem. The goal is to make a person feel bad about the body they were born with because it does not fit into what society considers ‘normal’. The backlash to size zero models in the media has seen society form a consensus that ‘real women’ don’t actually look emaciated.  However, this attempt to get real has led to naturally thin women being accused of over the top exercise or being suspected of suffering from eating disorders. A healthy 20 year old Yale University student was told by her school that she was too thin and they demanded she gain weight or take medical leave from the university. After eating copious amounts of junk food to try and gain weight to no avail, she eventually gave up on attempting to conform to what the university administrators believed she “should” look like and accepted the fact that she was naturally thin. The pressure that is placed on thin women to gain weight is just as harmful as the pressure put on women to loose weight. Many thin women are accused of having eating disorders. However, to make a fair evaluation people must consider a variety of factors beyond the scale, including body image, diet and malnutrition, hydration status and exercise frequency.

 

 

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As with most issues, the rise of social media has seen the act of ‘skinny shaming’ replicated online. Women claiming to challenge the media’s idea of beauty, rally behind images of a curvy Marilyn Munroe and slogans such as ‘real women have curves’.  Trying to change what is considered the ‘ideal’ body image through these tactics doesn’t take a stand against the media, it just strikes a blow against the female gender.  Yes, there are many curvy ‘real women’, but there are also ‘real women’ who aren’t. After all, what is this phrase even trying to say — that women without curves are not real or authentic? In a perfect world people and the media would realise that the ‘ideal’ body is completely subjective.

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With approximately 91% of women being dissatisfied with their bodies it seems that women of all shapes and sizes are suffering in the quest to conform to the media or societal standard of what is considered ‘normal’. One mustn’t be too fat or too skinny, instead you must fall directly along the line of best fit. However, the truth is that line doesn’t exist. It’s time for the influencers on both sides of the fence to meet in the middle and embrace true diversity. Celebrating a certain body shape can be done without criticizing difference. I think the character Caddy from the movie “Mean Girls” sums it up when she says, “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier.”

 

 

 

 

 

Comment below with your thoughts on the topic. Do you think skinny shaming as an issue or are these women just being to sensitive?

 

 

2 Comments
  1. I had a woman the other day get angry at me in store for only stocking up to size 14 (because that’s totally my decision). She was telling me we were discriminative toward larger women. I explained to her that Maggie T start at size 14 and isn’t that discriminative to thinner body types…to which she had little reply. You’re so right, there is so much hate and scrutiny against being thin but it’s never deemed discriminatory.

  2. I just saw your comment. Firstly, that lady has clearly never worked in retail if she was angry at you. But yeah, people seem to let hurtful skinny comments slide. That situation is funny because it highlights the fact that people don’t even realise skinny people can be discriminated against.

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