Patriarchal capitalism has had a huge impact on how we see women’s bodies. The system has shaped an idea of the perfect woman which includes an idea of the perfect body – long hair, fair skin, an hourglass figure, long legs and what not. We see all those Lipton tea and Quaker Oats ads around us which makes us believe that being thin is better for us in life, not for the sake of being healthy but to match conventional beauty standards and be more acceptable to society. Not many realise – but this is oppression. It directly attacks a woman’s confidence which may result in eating disorders.
I am concerned about my health but comments regarding my health should not make me conscious about how I look.
So for a person to exist, being fat is definitely is out of the window. What about a ‘skinny’ woman – a woman who is thinner than the acceptable standard? I am definitely in that posse. I have been like this all my life. I have tried to gain weight a lot of times but I have failed. I have had those disgusting protein powder drinks and joined the gym, but nothing worked. I have met doctors who have told me what to do. I am concerned about my health but comments regarding my health should not make me conscious about how I look. The remarks on my body type are not for the sake of my health but on how I look because it does not take a lot of calculation to differentiate between those two.
Nevertheless, this is not to say that thin-shaming is an equivalent to fat-shaming. These are very different concepts and it is important to acknowledge that thin people still hold a privilege. Ultimately body-shaming in any way or form is unwarranted. Fat-shaming is very real and justifying it as a health concern is unacceptable. Fat people are subjected to constant harassment from their day-to-day interactions to being stigmatized so much so that it results to fatphobia. Plus-size women who are comfortable with their bodies are considered to be glorifying obesity and are stereotyped as lazy, inactive, or even gross!
Since I have been a skinny girl my whole life, I have had to deal with bullying quite a lot. I have stored a lot of anger inside me towards my family, relatives, friends, and even strangers who contributed to my insecurities and declining self-confidence. My reaction is usually a mix of anger or frustration and a desire to peacefully explain the concept of body positivity, when someone says these things to me:
1. “Are you dieting?”
No. It is just my body-type which makes you conclude that I must be dieting. Your hasty conclusions may come off as rude to some.
2. “You need to eat something”
I had all the three meals of the day. Thank you for caring so much about my health!
3. “Every outfit must look good on you!”
No, they do not, but I can pull them off. But did you know that XS is not always true to size and the right-sized jeans for me are the hardest to find?
4. “You should wear Indian traditional clothes more. It makes you look more mature.”
Good point. However, jeans have pockets in them.
5. “You need some curves on your body”
No. I don’t need them. You want them on me because you don’t want to look at someone who is doesn’t match your standard of beauty and you find my body to be the easiest for you to criticize.
6. “You’re like a matchstick.”
Yes. Now watch me burn.
7. “You’re already so skinny! Why are you working out?”
There is a difference between being skinny and healthy. Exercising can work both ways – it can help you lose weight as well as gain weight depending on the exercise you prefer. Moreover, exercising is not only about losing or gaining weight; it’s about getting healthy and keeping your body free from diseases.
8. “You look like you’re 12.”
Yes and I shop from the kids section too!
- How Capitalism Degrades Women
- 4 Reasons Why We Need to Stop Thinking of Skinny-Shaming as ‘Reverse Discrimination’
Featured image source: Ogavenue Blog