You guys really, really need to de-politicize some issues
By which I don’t mean drop them entirely, I mean fucking look at them from an empathetic perspective, from a human perspective rather than an us vs. them oppression binary. I’ve seen a ton of posts about “thin-shaming” and “fat-shaming” and how one’s not nearly as bad as the other because fat people are more maligned in society and I’ve kept my mouth shut but it’s more than ever turning into this weird, toxic oppression olympics kind of thing and I’d like to try to stem that as best as one dumb blogger possibly can.
I know a woman (who, for privacy purposes, shall remain anonymous) with an eating disorder. She’s thin, she’s bony, and she hates her fucking body. Her shoulders are too broad, her waist is too narrow, she’s boxy, she looks like a man, these are the things she says. I kind of stupidly advised her to look at body positive shit, and time after time all she found was shit about embracing your curves and “fuck skinny girls” etc, etc. But I don’t have any curves, she says. I don’t have any sex appeal. She’s alienated from the thin/fitspo crowd for not looking like she’s on death’s door, and now she’s alienated from a movement that’s supposed to make people feel better about themselves for not being “oppressed enough”. “Cheer up,” one of her friends says to her fucking face. “You have magazines constantly telling you women who look like you are beautiful” No. She doesn’t.
I know another woman who was picked on for being too fat, developed an eating disorder, and upon losing a lot of weight, was told she “looked like a starving Ethiopian child” and “needed to eat”. She couldn’t win. It wasn’t anything about her body that was inherently socially unacceptable, these people just didn’t like her and wanted to make her feel like shit. And picking at someone’s body is a very good, easy, cheap way to do that. No matter what you look like. She still gets shit about her body to this day, people paradoxically telling her she’s too thin one minute and too fat the next. The real problem isn’t her weight the problem is these weird fucking vultures want her to be an object, a piece of meat, as sexually desirable as humanly possible to them and she’s not living up to these standards she never consented to.
Then of course there’s the problem of different standards across genders. Being fat as a man is generally portrayed as much, much more acceptable than being fat as a woman, I think we all know that. Conceded, you get to a weight where you’re going to take shit no matter what sex you are, but if you just have an average or slightly chubby body, I mean we’ve all seen the sitcoms about an average family with the overweight Dad and the impossibly hot wife. Being thin as a man, on the other hand, is not something that goes over well with misogynist beauty norms. Cause you’re seen as more feminine, right?
So, I’ve been coming out of the shower in my dorm and had women standing in the hallway laughing and telling me I need to put on weight. I’ve had guys in high school puff out their chests and gnash their teeth and say that they could “break me in half”, I’ve been called frail and weak enough that my self-esteem is very, very damaged and I’m insecure enough about my body that I only recently stopped refusing to wear shorts, even in the hottest weather. I wouldn’t even dress out for gym, I wanted to keep myself covered. And here’s the thing. My pain, the pain of the woman I mentioned before who can’t find any solace in “body positive” shit on the internet, it’s just as legitimate as yours, whether you like it or not.
We can split hairs all day about who society hates more, but in the end, there are so many more factors than just a simple, hyper-reductive “fat vs. thin” binary going into how people perceive others’ bodies, and when you say it’s okay to rip on skinny people, you’re completely ignoring all of those. You are tossing aside any modicum of empathy and psychological understanding of your fellow human beings to further your own political point.
The other important thing to remember is it’s not set in stone. In the ’50s, if a woman was too skinny and didn’t have curves (sound familiar?), she was seen as completely undesirable and mocked ruthlessly in mainstream culture. Culture is adaptable. Every time you say something that ends up equating to “fuck skinny girls’ feelings, they don’t have it as bad as we do”, you’re pushing culture back towards the previous norm. Don’t you get that? Culture goes by what’s more popular. When your opinion becomes the mainstream, and it will, we’ll just go right back to the ’50s mindset. Toxic beauty standards cannot be destroyed by putting down one body type while celebrating another, because beauty culture, like a fucking virus, will just evolve and target whatever the most people are putting down. I understand it makes your primal bullying instincts feel better to put someone else down for their body, but if you can fucking control yourself for a minute you may, in fact, see that it’s counter-intuitive.