Love yourself — and each other — through thick and thin
We’ve all done it.
Used someone’s weight as the butt of a joke. Judged someone negatively because of their weight. It’s been done by almost every single one of us. On the other side of the issue there are those whose skinniness can be used to their advantage. Fashion designers from New York City to Shanghai creating fall and summer lines filled with dresses, skirts and pants in a very strict selection of only the smallest sizes.
Major department stores showcasing the latest in clothing, but only the smaller sizes to the front, and we have any size bigger than a two relegated to that dark back corner of the store where you’re not visible to the masses shopping for a gown that actually fits you. All of these things enforcing a positive feedback loop made of fat shaming, skinny privilege, and the often unseen and rarely spoken of ‘skinny shaming’ (it’s real and we all need to be aware of it) that ultimately just creates a negative body image across every person regardless of their weight that’s used to line the pockets of greedy beauty and fashion corporations across the globe. But what exactly is “fat shaming?”
Fat shaming is the act of negatively judging a person and/or ostracizing them because of their weight. Fat jokes are a great example of a very common type of fat
shaming. It also comes in the institutional form that is particularly nasty. Remember that fashion example I mentioned? Well you take the lack of available trendy, stylish, or just down right well fitting clothing in plus sizes and factor that into the ridiculously high image standards set by most employers and wham blam! You’ve now created a perpetual system of oppression and marginalization of a demographic of people because of something as simple as their weight.
This is an issue that transcends any gender identity and sexual identity, but maintains trends that lean towards significant expectations placed on female bodies while the male bodies are left alone. This isn’t just an issue that only affects white cis-gendered lower class white women, or only brown cis-gendered lower class men. It affects everyone.
This fat vs. skinny battle is one that affects everyone. It’s even created a new type of privilege; skinny privilege. Just like fat shaming, skinny privilege is one that exists at every level of our social hierarchy framework.
Any person with it is afforded the systematic gratification; always being able to find a pair of cute pants at the store for a cheaper price in comparison with the blah plus size clothing that’s almost always way overpriced. Or at the institutional level where a skinnier person is almost always awarded a visible job over a person
of plus size (a ‘visible job’ being one where the clientele of that company is directly interacting with. So your front desk jobs, secretary, PR, recruiter, etc.).
Everywhere we look there’s that skinny privilege which always affords the owner a grander set of options and opportunities. But we need to always remain conscious of those who have this ‘skinny privilege’ can still get mocked and marginalized because of it. Now, it almost certainly isn’t in the same way as a person of larger size and its not nearly as visible but it is there. Comments at the family reunion like “you need to put some weight on, you’re skin and bones!” Or the all too popular ‘this is what a real woman’ collages, where we’ve pit women of plus size against women of petite size in a battle to the death of body positivity and no one comes out on top. Emblazoned in every possible place across every popular magazine is the latest diet trend where women can lose “10 lbs in 10 days” and be beautiful for their husbands. It’s disgustingly patriarchial and fallaciously heteronormative assuming.
Today we have created a culture of purge for beautification that tells people they can be beautiful (GASP) but only if they fit into a certain size range (Damn’t), but once they’ve found themselves in that dress size they get questions and comments thrown at them about their skinny-ness.
It’s ridiculous! No one can win! But guess what, that’s our ever loving patriarchy at
work. As long as that patriarchial greed can keep its consumers unsure and unhappy about themselves then they can keep selling products that promise the self-assurance we all desire.
Instead of teaching love of self we’ve created this state of being that remains perpetually unhappy until they receive the superfluous reassurance from the third- party in a range of varying forms.
It’s an issue that for women enforces the age old myth of fulfillment through femininity where we’ve told our plus size women they can only be beautiful if we make their appearance palatable to the masses in some twisted 50s housewife heroine creation where beauty is only achievable with perfectly done makeup, generic dress and ridiculously high stilettos instead of something comfortable.
Granted, if those high-heels make you feel empowered then work it! But we need to remember that it’s not an aesthetic everyone wants to fulfill. If we can teach at a young age that beauty can be found within instead of manifested on the outside, then everyone can have their own style and feel empowered and gorgeous like they are without fear of judgement.
When we do that then this disgusting cycle of distorted body image will be disrupted and everyone can begin feeling comfortable in the body they have.