The Unfortunate Side Effect Of The Body Positive Movement

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The body positive movement has yielded a lot of fat shaming awareness. But an unfortunate side effect of anti body shaming seems to be skinny shaming.

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Skinny Shaming Is Still Shaming

The body positive movement has given a lot of voice and power to people who have been fat shamed. Women and men who have had their bodies spoken about negatively suddenly had a name for what they've experienced—fat shaming—and a platform to discuss why it's wrong—social media. As the anti body shaming movement grew, a new conversation arose: are we skinny shaming, too? This conversation is important because it brings up an important point: we don't actually have a right to discuss, much less shame, anyone for their bodies. On VProud there's a fun video called Big and Beautiful and a poignant discussion revolving around skinny shaming. Photographer and writer Rachel Taylor tackles this issue beautifully. After experiencing fat shaming this summer when her Facebook photo and note about an Old Navy shopping experience went viral, her take is especially poignant. Take a look at what Rachel has to say about bodies, shame, and how, contrary to seemingly popular belief, the two don't actually go hand in hand.

—The VProud Team

body shaming

Changing The Conversation From 

Body Shaming To Body Acceptance

By Rachel Taylor for VProud

Do you know who I’ve found are the worst fat shamers? Other fat people. There is a serious problem in the so-called “body acceptance movement” with only accepting very overweight bodies. I’m tired of hearing, “At least you’re a REAL woman! Real women have curves!” And not having curves means you’re fake? Or not a woman? I’ve also heard that “real men are husky” or “have some meat on their bones”. Um, what? You don’t want to be defined by your waist size, but you can define everyone else by theirs? You don’t have to cut one person down to compliment another. You’re not Goldilocks charged with the task of determining what body is “just right”.

Why is fat shaming considered bullying but skinny shaming okay? I think some of the rude things that are said about skinny people are meant to be a compliment … but they’re not. It’s not a compliment to tell someone that they make you sick or you hate them because of their “perfect” body. Nobody feels good about themselves when you say, “Ugh, it must be nice to just eat whatever you want and not gain weight!” Nobody feels confident because you tell them to “please go eat something.” 

Here’s an idea: don’t comment on other people’s bodies. Don’t dehumanize or judge people based on their looks. Don’t make assumptions about someone’s lifestyle because of the way they look. Isn’t that what body acceptance is supposed to be about?

France has banned the use of underweight models in an attempt to prevent anorexia and bulimia. I’m sure they mean well, but any licensed doctor will tell you that weight doesn’t necessarily indicate an eating disorder. You can have an extremely healthy diet and still be underweight, just like you can have an extremely healthy diet and still be overweight. You can also have an eating disorder and look perfectly average. What kind of message are we sending to other women when we dictate what types of bodies are healthy just by looking at them or putting them on a scale?

Let’s get back to the basics of body acceptance: No one should be defined by their shape. And don’t forget, even when Goldilocks decided on what was “just right,” she was nearly eaten by three bears.

rachel taylor vproud
About the author: Rachel Taylor is a Jesus follower, a dog rescuer, a businesswoman, a southern belle, a super nerd, and a nonstop photographer. You can find Rachel on Facebook at Daylight Fading Photography and Rachel Taylor and on Instagram at heyyallitsracheltaylor. Join Rachel's honest conversations on VProud.

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