I've been skinny all my life, never ever weighing over 115 pounds. Some might think that I'm way too thin for my proportions (I'm five foot nine) and that I'm just way too "skinny." By now I've pretty much gotten used to people saying things they don't realize are skinny shaming, like, "Hey, go eat a burger" or being compared to a giraffe. Usually, I am able to just brush it off. I used to think, whatever, I'm just not going to let it affect me, but after a while, I would subconsciously wear certain items that would hide my "chicken" legs or cover my "spider-like" arms. This was extremely true when I was younger, especially, but over time, I still was extremely self-conscious.
Luckily, I've learned from many of those skinny shaming experiences and have used them to encourage others to be aware of any kind of body-shaming that they might experience. That all said, I still wouldn't necessarily compare fat shaming to skinny shaming. While they're both morally effed up, "thin" is definitely still tied to tropes of aspirational beauty. However, being skinny-shamed is hurtful and the important thing to realize is that any kind of body shaming is unacceptable. Everyone is human and everyone's body is different.
I think that there is a misconception about "thin privilege" — while it exists and I acknowledge my own, it can often times come with a lot of hateful words and yes, skinny shaming. As someone who's been put down about my frame one too many times, I'm here to remind people that your seemingly humorous comments about my weight can be destructive. Just like anyone who's being shunned or disregarded because of their appearance, me being skinny doesn't make me an easy target you can pick on.
It may not always be obvious, but here are some things you may not know are actually skinny shaming:
When You Ask, “Do You Even Eat Anything?"
This question always seems to boggle my mind. Of course I eat things. Great things. All sorts of yummy food. I'm a human and I really love french fries. It's pretty much the silliest thing to ask, but time and time again, it always comes up.
When You Tell Someone To Eat More
I think I know when my body needs to eat more, and I'm pretty sure that you telling me to eat more is about as ridiculous as it sounds. It's just flat out rude.
When You Make Someone Feel Abnormal For Their Thinness
One time, I had someone comment on how my face didn't match my body and that I was extremely underweight. Some people have gone out of their way to show me the BMI charts of what I'm actually "supposed" to weigh. Unless you're my doctor, please save your opinion for someone else.
When You Say, "Be Careful, You Might Break Your Bones.”
I played volleyball, cheered, and was on a dance team in high school. Almost every damn time I would high kick, spike, or block a ball, someone would say, "Be careful, you're so fragile, you might break something!" I'm glad you're concerned with my safety, but seriously, I know how to handle myself.
When You Say, "Must Be Nice To Eat Pizza & Cheeseburgers All Day"
No, I don't spend my time eating all the McDonald's the world has to offer me (though if anyone did do that, that'd be their business and theirs only). Just because I'm skinny doesn't mean I don't care about having a balanced diet. I try to be cautious of what I put in my body because I want to, not because I'm trying to stay "skinny" or whatever.
When You Ask Someone If They're Naturally Thin
Yes, this is my natural state. No, I do not starve myself. I used to think this was a compliment, but after I would hear it all the time, I'd start to think I wasn't normal and that I needed to gain more weight to fit in. Now I know better.
When You Ask Someone How Often They Work Out
Just because I'm skinny doesn't mean I live at the gym. Sure, I like to get exercise, but my thin frame doesn't automatically make me a fitness fanatic.
When You Say, "Only Real Women Have Curves"
This was probably the worst thing someone has ever told me. Bottom line: All women are real women. On top of that, every person is a real person. Regardless of body type, weight, or background, we all can relate and have the power to encourage and empower one another.
Images: Giphy (8)