From a young age we learn that calling someone “fat” is not appropriate. We are taught not to address someone’s weight, especially not when it has a negative connotation to it. We are taught this because mentioning someone’s weight with a negative connotation could trigger insecurities. What often times goes unnoticed is that when we are taught not to address someone’s weight, we are basically taught not to call someone “fat”. Calling someone “fat” is looked at as an insult yet calling someone “skinny” is seen as a compliment.
As a society we seemingly have developed an admiration for being skinny. We never stopped to think that calling someone “skinny” could trigger the same types of insecurities that calling someone “fat” would. In today’s day and age, it is not uncommon for someone to be shamed based on their looks. We judge others on the daily yet are so offended when others judge us. The way we judge others has a way of reflecting back on how we feel about ourselves. In an article by Aleanbh Ni Chearnaigh, she speaks about how being skinny is even looked to as a privilege by some, some being the key word. To others like Chearnaigh herself, being called “skinny” is equally as hurtful as calling someone “fat”. Being a “skinny” person herself, she endured the hardships and struggles of people poking fun at her for her weight. As much as she tried to change the way she looked, it just was not physically possible. It was her insecurity yet people felt that it was not wrong to point it out because it was something that others so greatly desired. It was almost as if she had no right to complain about her own insecurities. She was stripped of a right that others had.
Chearnaigh goes on to explain that comments regarding anyone’s weight can be like a double-edged sword. Often times we feel it is okay to comment on someone’s weight if they are skinny yet we hold ourselves back if it is about someone who we feel might be more sensitive to the topic. So, why is it okay to make comments about one person and not the others? In the society in which we live in, we idolize a certain body image, one that may be physically unattainable to some and may be completely undesired by others.
In a study done by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, they studied body image in ten-year-old children. At the young age of ten most of these kids already had body image issues. They thought of themselves as being too fat, too skinny, and some had even gone as far as dieting to change the way they looked physically. The way a child felt about their body image had to do with the preadolescent stage they were in,
culture, and societies views. Therefore, these all factors correlate together and play a part in the way they felt about their body image. They found that most children at this age in turn had negative feelings about their weight. The correlating factors obviously are not the causation for the issues faced, however, they do support the belief that societies views are shaping the way we perceive not only ourselves but also others. With a topic as sensitive and personal as weight it is impossible to fit a population into one category and expect them all to be on the same boat. No type of shaming is okay, whether it is “fat” or “skinny” shaming. Correlation does not always equal causation and the way a person looks and feels about him or herself can be due to many different factors. Health and mental issues can play a role or even just having insecurities.
Here is a video of a Youtuber Zoe Sugg, speaking about the insecurities she has faced with being shamed for being “too skinny”.