The Double-Sided Coin of Weight Shaming

Most people who are on the Internet are aware that fat shaming goes on. Fat shaming is, quite simply put, when being overweight makes people the target for unnecessary and very often unwanted criticism, advice, and, more often than not, insults. This has been attributed to the fashion end of the media, where extremely underweight models are supposedly praised for their small frames, and models who are of a "normal" or "healthy" weight are criticized and convinced to develop eating disorders if they want to keep their jobs.

As a result, a very large movement has begun where fat shaming is now being torn down, and people who are overweight are being encouraged more often to see themselves as attractive because body type does not define "true beauty." However, what many people have overlooked is the other side of the coin: skinny shaming.

Skinny shaming is the exact opposite of fat shaming, though it is just as insidious and, in a day and age where overweight people are being encouraged, skinny shaming has become worse. People with naturally underweight body types, who do exist, are being accused of being anorexic and bulimic and/or not eating enough. People comment that they should be "lucky" that they do not gain weight normally while others insult them for not having fat on their frames: the "real women have curves" slogan is extremely insulting to naturally thin women especially.

Also insulting is that negative words referring to fat people are now being criticized as well for their offensive nature while words used to shame thin people (bony, skeletal, and emaciated for example) are used without caution for how they may effect the people being described. Whether they are deemed acceptable in the modeling industry is irrelevant because not all thin people are models, and having a naturally thin body does not help them in any other areas of life. In a society where everyone is being taught to look at the bodies of models as negative propaganda, these same people are forgetting that it is the institution they should attack, not the women.

Glamorizing eating disorders is not only naïve but extremely dangerous, especially to younger and younger people. Making anyone feel bad about the size of their body is deemed unacceptable... As long as, of course, they are being made to feel bad for having a "normal" body type or an overweight body type. The two eating disorders most glamorized are anorexia and bulimia, and they are glamorized in adjacency with the modeling industry. However, binge eating is also an eating disorder, but criticizing how much someone eats has become unacceptable while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize how little someone eats.

People still claim it is impossible to get work as models or actresses without being extremely thin, but many people fail to remember that actresses like Kathy Bates and Melissa McCarthy are praised for their acting abilities despite being plus-sized women. Models like Heidi Klum are renown in the industry. And on the singer side of the spectrum, vocalists like Adele and Christian Aguilera have always been extremely popular (and most likely always will be). Jennifer Hudson may not have won American Idol, but she would later go on to star in Dream Girls and win several awards for her part in the film.

And yet, in this same world where women are praised for "having curves," women who are naturally slim are shamed for their appearance. Drop Dead clothing line, based in the UK and owned by Oliver Sykes and parents Ian and Carol were deemed "socially irresponsible" for featuring Sykes's ex-girlfriend, Amanda Hendrick, in clothing ads because she gave young shoppers a negative image to aspire to and her bones were prominent.

What should be noted, yet again, is that some women are naturally thin and their bones naturally protrude; this does not make them negative body images for other women. What makes anyone a negative image for others to follow is when they glamorize dangerous acts in order to convince people to take up those acts to be more like them. Hendrick did none of these things; she simply posed for shots in various clothes sold by the company and was criticized for her body type.

Women are not the only ones limited to fat shaming and skinny shaming, of course; men face it, too. After surviving a fight to end his drug abuse, Oliver Sykes of metalcore band Bring Me the Horizon lost a good amount of weight, and several fans were quick to point out that he was dangerously skinny and extremely bony. Andy Biersack of rock band Black Veil Brides has long been criticized for his naturally slender frame. In Biersack's case, many fans have actually attempted to investigate his eating habits by posting queries online and discussing it with other fans. And despite the fact that Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men has Marfan's Syndrome, which is the result of his naturally skinny frame, people continue to make remarks over it.

On the opposite side, Lee Malia of Bring Me the Horizon has been criticized by many people for a recent weight gain, and several disparaging marks have been made about Craig Mabbitt of Escape the Fate for the same reason. Fan pages and posts on various social networking sites are well-known for cataloguing the rise and falls in the weights of musicians, but many people still remain unaware that men are, in fact, just as subject to body type abuse as women are.

Body type shaming of any kind is dangerous; younger and younger people are resorting to extremes in order to achieve the type of body glamorized by the media. However, shaming people for their size in any way is wrong. Do not shame overweight people; shame binge eating. Do not shame underweight people; shame anorexia and bulimia. But when some people are naturally a certain size and have done nothing wrong in order to reach that size, they should not be made to feel bad for how they look. Above all, the only thing even worth considering is physical health, and it is possible to be any weight and be deemed healthy.

But the fact that our society as a whole applauds plus-sized women for appearing in lingerie and yet would tear down naturally thin women who appear in the same lingerie is absolutely ridiculous and completely unacceptable.

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