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Jan 08 2016
by Anoushka Bhat

Skinny Shaming Isn't Worse Than Fat Shaming, But It Still Hurts

By Anoushka Bhat - Jan 08 2016

We grow up in a world where society dictates what is 'right' and 'wrong', including how we should or should not look. When I was growing up, I was considerably skinnier than all my peers and I never heard the end of it. I would be called all sorts of stupid things like a human toothpick, a twig, a stick, etc. People would constantly joke about how they were 'afraid' to hug me in case I broke. And ultimately, once puberty hit, as a skinny girl, it meant I had little to no breasts. This obviously meant another series of insults for looking like a boy and having no curves.

The worst part is, sometimes, people often assumed I was anorexic, and found it okay to label me as one. Associating skinniness to anorexia is actually quite harmful to any young girl or boy, given that anorexia is a very, very serious disorder and should not be thrown around lightly. In late 2015, a Victoria's Secret model, Bridget Malcolm spoke about something similar. She said:

"Can we STOP with the skinny shaming please? I am extremely fit and healthy and am not in the slightest way anorexic. I have worked hard to look like this and am proud of my body. I may not be the curviest but I am a woman who has every right to look the way I do. Maybe today, take a look inside yourself and wonder why you feel the need to shame strangers over the Internet about their bodies. Peace and love to you all — let's change the conversation."

It's true. It's time to end shaming someone for their body type, whether it's skinny OR fat. As individuals, we have the right to look however we choose. It's not that 'skinny shaming' is worse or that it doesn't receive enough attention in the media, but the truth is, it's time to stop assuming that one body type is better than the other, and stop making people feel bad about their body. 

I was never a big girl, so I can't pretend to know how it hurts to be at the brunt of fat jokes.  But speaking from the other side, it hurt to be at the receiving end of a tirade of thin jokes. To be constantly asked stupid things like whether I get enough food or if I've recently been ill, is also annoying and hurtful. To constantly hear that my body type sucks because I'm flat-chested or because I have no curves, and that a woman should have a little something on her is exhausting.

Shaming people for being fat is still a horrible thing to do, just as shaming people for being thin is. The problem lies not with people who are fat or thin, but with society who constructs ideals for what they think people should look like. Promoting certain types of body images while degrading others is harmful to children, teenagers and adults. Instead of countering fat shaming with "Real Women Have Curves" or telling bigger people to look like someone skinny, we should be promoting all body types that are healthy and happy. It's 2016, and it's about time that all body shaming stops.

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Anoushka Bhat - New York University

Anoushka Bhat is a sophomore at New York University, majoring in Economics. She is fluent in sarcasm and loves travel, books, music and coffee. She plans to capture her college adventures through articles and photography. Follow her Instagram @anoushkabhat!

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