There’s been an article floating around my various social media feeds that I wanted to address.
“I was skinny shamed by fat friends!” declares Mandy Appleyard as she tells us that after losing her menopausal weight that she was “shamed” by her friends. Mandy’s definition of ‘shaming’ meaning:
“You’re such a skinny-minny, you don’t need to lose weight” and “Ridiculous! You’re middle-aged, you should be eating what you want now.”
So while not an overall nice thing to say the general idea here is that Mandy’s friends think she’s perfectly ok the way she is and she should feel free to eat what she pleases and not worry about it.
Ok, so anyone making unwarrented comments on your body is absolutely not ok, and those people need to know this. But this whole article feels like an opportunity for Mandy to rant about her shitty friends because several times throughout the article mentions how no one has congratulated her or given her a “pat on the back” as though these things are owed to her.
But what I really wanted to talk about was how easily this term “thin-shaming” is being tossed around and why I really don’t like it.
Thin-shaming, for one, is co-opting language used to describe the oppression faced by fat people. By making the terms similar it is suggesting that the experiences are the same.
They are not. Not by a long way.
As I said earlier, people making unwarrented comments about your body and what you choose to it are not ok. But they are in no way comparative to the systematic abuse and prejudice faced by fat people.
Even before she lost her extra weight Mandy would not be what I would consider a fat person. So even before she lost her extra weight she could rest easy knowing that there isn’t a multi-billion dolar industry telling her that her body is wrong and needs to be eradicated. Mandy can rest easy knowing that she won’t be denied the chance to adopt or receive fertility treatment based purely on her size. Mandy can rest easy knowing she is less likely to be given inadequate medical treatment or misdiagnosed due to her weight. Mandy can rest easy knowing she won’t be less likely to be employed because of her size, or paid less in the job she has. She can live her daily life in relative ease in relation to her body because she won’t see bodies like hers on tv being used solely as a punchline, or humiliated on weight-loss shows. She will see her body size in every magazine, newspaper, and billboard. Mandy won’t have her body associated with negative personality traits like laziness, ignorance, and greed simply because of her size. Mandy can walk into any high street store and find clothes that fit that aren’t priced out because of her size.
Mandy says that she would “never call a larger person fat so why is it ok for them to call her skinny”
You know why, Mandy? Because it’s ok to be skinny. You’re allowed to be skinny. It’s encouraged to be skinny. It should be ok to be any size you want, but that isn’t the world we live in. You need to get back into reality and learn the difference between having your feelings hurt and being systematically dehumanized at every turn.