WHAT IS BODY-SHAMING?
Body-shaming happens to everyone, everywhere. It is universal and disgusting. Women in today’s society are often shamed for being too skinny, too fat, too tall, and too short and the list goes on. Thin-shaming and fat-shaming are not separate, opposing issues—they are stratifications of the same issue: Patriarchal culture’s need to demoralize, distract, and pit women against one another. And it’s working. Society shackles us with shame and hunger, focussing more on our flaws than our successes. We are also often shamed for even just being female. Or being too ugly and failing to serve the purpose as a beauty object in society. Or being pretty, which just means you’re a vapid air head. 5, 10 or even 100 years from now, the story will be the same. Women can never win. Fat-shaming is a specific variety of body-shaming and also one of the more common kinds. It is a social stigma and the fat-shaming experience can differ significantly from one person to the next.
SO IS FAT-SHAMING OKAY?
Obviously not. But a lot of people think it is perfectly acceptable. Because being fat is a disease, right? We’re only looking out for them by telling them that they’re fat. We are motivating them. If only those dang fat people would stop being so fat. Wrong. Shame does not create change; it prevents it.
Fatness is not actually a “lifestyle,” as some conservatives like to claim about homosexuality. Genetics primarily determine body size. And while fad diets and workout regimes work for short term weight loss, they more often than not fail over the long term. Fat people are stigmatized in our society, much like those living with HIV or aids, for a condition that is seen to be their fault. Fat people are constantly being subjected to a range of advertisements offering the “cure” for their “disorder.” Remember psychiatry’s attempt to cure homosexuality? Look how well that turned out.
Fat-shaming often takes more subtle forms. Such as suggesting the fat person should skip dessert, or go for a walk, or wear something a little less form fitting. This kind of fat-shaming is often the most dangerous since we sometimes don’t even realize we are doing it. Fat-shaming is such an intrinsic part of our culture, and that’s what makes it so problematic and difficult to recognize.
“The only thing you can tell for sure by looking at a fat person is the degree of your own bias against fat people.” – Marilyn Wann
WHY DO PEOPLE FAT-SHAME?
People body-shame to validate their own superiority. They do it to make themselves feel better about being such a shitty person. The do it because they have nothing better to do and they contribute to the distorted images of beauty we have in our society.
BUT ISN’T THE “REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES” TAGLINE IS EMPOWERING?
The “Real Women Have Curves” is a flawed attempt at empowerment. All forms of body-shaming across all genders are oppressive. But the women portrayed in the “real women have curves” campaigns are curvy, but their bodies still appear to be perfect. No stretch marks, no cellulite, no bulges anywhere. Which is still not realistic. It makes normal women with cellulite and stretch marks feel bad, because now do they not only not fit into the norm of being skinny, but they don’t belong to the “real women have curves” group either. They just can’t win.
Another problem with this campaign is that is marginalizes thin women as well. Thin women do not deserve to be collateral damage in this experiment. When people attack a fat person for being fat, they’re just tearing down a person. But when a larger woman attacks a thin woman, it tears women down by trying to make themselves feel better about their marginalized bodies. That’s terrible. The anger at the system is justified because the bigger part is attacking the system that marginalizes them.
WHY SHOULD WE TAKE A STAND AGAINST FAT-SHAMING?
Every single person should be able to make decisions about their body, and ensure that those decisions are respected. It’s their choice whether they decide to be content with themselves, or lose weight, or get a bunch of tattoos or dye their hair any colour of the rainbow. Don’t tell a thin woman to eat a pizza, don’t tell a fat women to eat a salad, don’t tell dark skinned women to bleach their vaginas, don’t tell skinny men to bulk up. We shouldn’t judge or publicly comment on anyone unless they goddamned asked you!
My point is, it’s their choice, not yours. The state of other people’s bodies are none of our business. All bodies are good bodies. All bodies are real bodies. All bodies are worthy of love and respect. The most feminist thing that we can do is to love ourselves just as we are and refuse to let anyone profit off of our insecurities. Because let me tell you something, when it comes to appearance and distorted images of beauty in our society, women can never fucking win.
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