When most people think of body image and self-confidence issues, they tend to picture an overweight woman looking at herself in the mirror. But, people of all sizes can experience body image shaming. Skinny girls have a hard time too. Shaming related to body size or shape can affect people of both genders, all ages, and all body types. Yes, there is body shaming for skinny girls too.
Skinny Girls Body Image and Self Esteem
Since most articles and reports focus on overweight individuals, I want to point out that thin people can have body image issues too. Skinny shaming is real and hurtful. No one should be made fun of for the way their body is shaped.
Background and Being Skinny as a Child
Most of my life I have been pretty lucky. I could (until after being pregnant with two kids) eat pretty much anything I wanted and still stay trim. Usually, I have a good appetite. I eat healthy foods because I like the taste of them. Yes, I really do love the taste of kale or quinoa. I hardly ever binge or go overboard with my eating. I do happen to have a sweet tooth and indulge in cookies and candy often.
As a young girl, I was slim and boney, but mostly fit in with the rest of the kids. I was active, somewhat athletic, enough not to be picked last at sports. Maybe times have changed, but I do not remember anyone caring too much about body image throughout most of elementary school.
Skinny Girl Puberty Blues
Then, in late elementary school there started to be more noticeable physical differences among the girls. I stayed slim while others started to fill out and develop.
Yes, I was a late bloomer. I started to look scrawny next to some of my “bigger” friends. In school and camp, girls teased me about my lack of breasts. Many times I was jokingly questioned if I was a member of the “Itty Bitty Titty Committee”. I would get asked why I was so skinny. In fact, I even had a neighbor once ask if I was anorexic.
I have never been called fat, so I honestly do not know what that is like, but I can tell you I know what it is like to be made fun of for your body frame. As you can imagine it is not pleasant to be made fun of, especially when there is nothing you can do to change the situation.
As time went on I basically remained skinny and small breasted. Besides having surgery and going on steroids, there’s not much you can do about those two things.
Thin Young Women Have Problems Too Since There is Skinny Shaming
Just as overweight women have a hard time finding stylish clothes that fit, thin women have those issues too. As a thin woman, clothes shopping can be difficult. As a young adult professional, I had a hard time finding clothes to wear to work. The Ladies clothes did not come in small enough sizes. While Juniors clothes fit well, they were often not appropriate for work. The skirts would be too short. Many of the clothes had too many sparkly embellishments or frills. At some stores, I had to shop in the kids’ section to find tops that would fit. And bathing suit shopping… that was not fun either. It was hard to find a modest, stylish swimsuit that fit right. If I wanted a string bikini or a girls’ Speedo, I had no problems.
To Assume Only Makes an Ass out of U and Me. Do Not Assume Anything!
Just as it is not okay to comment about an overweight person’s body size, the same goes for skinny people. Even if you think a comment is meant as a compliment, you never know how the person may take it. After going through chemotherapy for breast cancer I lost about 15 -20 pounds (not on purpose). Although some people may be naturally thin, others may have experienced weight loss due to undergoing illnesses (both physical and mental).
Body Shaming in The Media – Skinny Shaming and Fat Shaming
Although the campaigns “Real Women Have Curves” are likely well-intentioned, these messages could be harmful to women or girls that do not have “curves in all the right places”. And what about Baby Got Back? So what if “Fonda ain’t got a motor in the back of her Honda”? Does that not make her beautiful or bang-worthy? And why are there skinny bitches in songs? Are skinny people bitches or are bitches all skinny? There’s a whole article complaining about how skinny shaming the Megan Trainor song is. Check out, All About That Bass Might Actually Be Bad For Female Body Image.
I know a lot of these songs, shows, or movies are for laughs, but they still bring up issues about society and how we view body image.
So, What’s the Point of All of This?
I’m not downplaying the feelings of overweight people. The point of this is not to compare the body image woes of the underweight and the overweight. I’m just saying, anyone, can have body image issues. Do not assume anything. You never know why a person has the body shape they do or how they feel about it. Let’s stop the shaming and help each other be healthy and happy no matter where we are on the weight spectrum.
This was originally published by Rachel January 30, 2015.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.