Healthy Body

Why we need to eliminate ‘thin-shaming’

“Boys want a little more booty to hold at night”…Sorry? “Go head and tell them skinny bitches that.” “F*ck the skinny bitches in the club!” Have I missed something? A sudden unspoken rule that for a song to be a hit, it has to shame skinny girls over curvy ones? What’s that about?

We have all been able to see curves coming back in a big way over the past few years – curvy bodies are now the desirable image for girls everywhere. Top models in Vogue and Elle are still lean and slim as ever but how many girls look at those women for body inspiration? Not many are looking to Beyoncé and Kim K nowadays for how we’d love to look. Women of a curvier size.

This comeback of the curves is, to me, amazing. After years and years of curvier women being inadvertently told by the media that they aren’t gorgeous, more and more are finally getting up and saying “Nah, actually my body is beautiful” and that is wonderful. But it seems that as a backlash against years of ‘fat-shaming’, a lot of curvy girls have taken to ‘thin-shaming’ in its place.

The lyrics at the start of this piece were taken from two (currently) top ten hits, one of which, ‘All About That Bass’ by Meghan Trainor, is number one right now in Ireland. All over the internet there are examples of this kind of attitude against slim girls – comments like “Real men don’t want bones, they want something to grab onto!” and “Being curvy is the epitome of being a real woman!” Just this week, Irish model Lynn Kelly was slated on social media for a selfie of hers where she was “too skinny” (the word “disgusting” was also thrown in).

The term ‘real women’ gets thrown around a lot – apparently it only applies to curvy girls. I’m all for the term ‘real woman’ when it applies to non-photoshopped, unaltered, flaws-and-all women. These are real women, whether they’re slim or not.

I’ve known girls on both sides of this issue – girls who have struggled to lose weight and girls who have struggled to gain it – and there is one stark similarity between the two; they’re comparing their bodies to impossible standards. The women in the media whom we look up to for body inspiration have been made to look like perfection before we see them. Curvy or slim, tall or short, when it comes down to it we are unhappy with our bodies because we compare them to standards that are unattainable, and that’s what needs to be changed.

I like to think of Tina Fey’s quote to sum it up “Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a Californian tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine year old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.”

The main objective for girls should be to own and be confident in their own body, no matter what their size or shape, and the media as a whole should be advocating this instead of promoting one body type at the expense of another. We are all ‘real women’, regardless of what is fashionable or what ‘real men’ want. (As a side note, if a man is solely focused on how big your bum is, I’d probably give him a miss.)