November 2014 - Rachel Ellen

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

"Skinny Shaming"
Anyone who's been anywhere near a TV/radio/the Internet recently, must be aware of Meghan Trainors song "All About That Bass". Whether negative or positive nearly everyone has an opinion on it. Whether it is a big step forward or backwards in society is all down to opinion. I believe this song is just floating around in the same area just for different reasons.

An article I read today inspired me to express my opinion s and argument about the ideas of "skinny shaming": Skinny Shaming, Not Reverse Discrimination . The article discusses the idea of "Reverse Discrimination" and how the author doesn't believe what bigger people and smaller people go though is the same. There are things in the article I both agree and disagree with and it is definitely worth a read.

Personally, I believe, I have never been large or particularly curvy (apart from as a baby but it hadn't really crossed my mind) and I have never had any kind of eating disorder. What I feel puts me in a good position to discuss this matter is that I was very skinny in high school, I've always  had a large appetite and had a fast metabolism to match.

In the following list I am in no way saying larger people don't suffer the same, if not worse, but these are ideas on the opposite.

I will begin with ideas on my appearance:

1. In my first year of high school I was faced with the following exchange with a girl I barely knew:
"Are you anorexic?"
"No!" (Me, at 11 completely baffled by the concept of this)
"Oh so you're bulimic?"
I feel I don't have to explain the many things wrong with this. But this, and many questions like this, did spark the idea of "what if I was and I just didn't know" how ridiculous?

2. "Wow I'm so jealous that you're so skinny" paired with comments like above, makes sense? Not at all.

3. Although All About That Bass wasn't out at the time of me being at school, the media and celebs have portrayed this for a long time "I'm bringing booty back, go tell all them skinny bitches that" as a teenager I had no bum, I mean I was leg to back all in one line. (Now that I developed a bug bum compared to my waist I complain about that-never happy) I couldn't help the size of my bum anymore than I could help the size of anything else!

4. "You must be able to wear anything you want" if you're very skinny, nothing fits you, skinny jeans, not a chance, tights that don't fall off if you have the right length, don't count on it. A top any lower than a turtle neck, not unless you wanna show all your chest and your belly button too if you lean down. 
And god forbid you tell anyone your clothes are too big, how selfish and inconsiderate are you.

Now ideas on my eating habits:

5. "You do know eating the fat on your meat doesn't actually make you fat" this and other similar sly digs. Yes, I am aware, I just don't like the slimy, chewy consistency or the taste so I will choose not to eat this, regardless of my weight. Even if it did make me fat, why do you instantly think this is about my weight.

6. "Why do you wanna eat healthy, you're already skinny" skinny does not directly correlate with healthy, as curvy does not directly correlate with unhealthy.

7. "Why aren't you eating, you must be anorexic. You have to eat." Yes I am aware of that, but I have just eaten a large meal an hour ago, so am therefore not hungry. Surprise...

8. *Eat some take away food*: "I'm so jealous you can eat what you want and not get fat" some people try so hard to maintain their weight and are faced with these kinds of comments if they eat badly just once. Such sense. Much logic. Wow

And other issues:

9. "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night" All About That Bass strikes again, firstly, why is the my appearance only rationalised by whether boys like it or not? But let's take this back to a teenage me, I will never have a boyfriend because I'm naturally skinny? Real confidence boost there,  I'm feeling extremely body positive now.... (sarcasm)

10. The problem of trying to match beauty standards. Little teenage me tried to eat more bad food to try and put on weight, or trying to cut out exercise to see if that would help. These were only short bursts of lapse in common sense, but we can see how some people could be completely took over by this idea.

At one time society placed a larger figure as ideal, Marilyn Monroe for example,  not large by any means, but entirely different to the ideals held in the last 10 years. The "size zero"  ideas caused an increase in eating disorders to fit this ideal. Now if this song really makes an impact (I truly hope it is in the direction of body positivity), this could idealise a fuller figure,  point 10 proves how dangerous this could be, people once again taking drastic measures to fill these ideas.

Society CAN and will change, we need to be careful how it changes, we are more aware now than ever of the impact of media/society/celebrity culture, so we need to use it to create true "body positivity"

"Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top"

I appreciate if you read all this, if you have any further discussion points either in agreement or disagreement I would be happy to hear them.

Rachel xx