When Did Skinny-Bashing Become Okay?

Yesterday I checked out one of my all-time favourite fashion blogs, Daddy Likey, and found a hilarious post/open letter from blogger Winona to snooty vintage store sales assistants. Based on what's in the letter and the experiences of the commenters who commiserated with Winona, I can only conclude that there are definitely sales assistants out there who are catty, mean, and condescending, and as someone who used to work in retail I can't condone their dismissive attitudes or how they're behaving like absolute cows.

However, I was also kind of dismayed at some of the anti-skinny girl vitriol on display in the comments. Here's a small sample:

"Bitches. They're just angry 'cause they're hungry."

"Not everybody belongs to club Bulimia."

"F***k those bitches. They are just supremely jealous of your boobs."

"I am loath to base my self-worth on someone who hasn't eaten a candy bar in at least a decade..."

Okay, so here's where I'm coming from. I'm 5'3" and around 120 pounds with a petite build, and depending on the store, I can wear anything from a size 0 to a size 4. I've been known to scarf down more pizza in a single sitting than a 6'4" ex-boyfriend (much to the amazement of his parents). I have a daily Snickers addiction when I'm at work. This is just how I am.

Now, I understand that society judges people based on appearance and I fully understand that it's wrong to behave badly towards a person for being "overweight." But when did it become socially acceptable to express solidarity with full-bodied women by going to the opposite extreme and bashing someone for being thin? I seriously don't get why expressing self-love for your own curves has to involve putting slim women down. If it's wrong to judge someone for being a size 10 or above, it's equally wrong to stigmatize someone for being on the small side.

I know the more petite among us don't have to put up with as much crap as the curvier gals, but we still get our fair share of unfair judgement. True story: I used to work with a woman in retail who wore a larger clothing size than me. When she went out to get lunch, she'd always offer to bring something back for me. At the time I was trying to save money and knew the eateries around where we worked were expensive, so I'd decline and eat the small lunch I brought with me, then go home later and gorge on a homecooked dinner and popcorn or kettle-cooked potato chips. Whenever she left me to get her lunch, she'd have this questioning look in her eyes that said "Are you sure? I'm worried about you." I think she was convinced I had an eating disorder because of how I looked and the fact that she never saw me eat anything other than my lunch in the store, and that me collapsing from starvation in the store was imminent. This happened a few times until she got to know me better and watched me polish off meals that were bigger than hers.

How's this for a radical idea: We can love how we look without putting down the appearances of others. Hmm? Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for a Snickers from the vending machine.


  1. I completely agree! I'm tired of people trying to make me feel guilty or insulting me because I don't have a weight problem.

    People who are happy with themselves rarely criticize others. When heavy people feel the need to boost their self esteem by trampling on others it's no better than the opposite scenario. I have never cared what size my friends are; however I am bothered when they bring up their weight or make passive aggressive comments about mine. It's not a competition, ladies. We should be happy for each other, not jealous.

  2. I agree too! I'm 5'7" and am very proud of finally having reached 110 lbs. I'm skinnier than anyone I know, but the assumptions people make amaze me. It's (rightfully) a taboo to call anyone names like "tubby" or "fatso," but why is it completely fine to call people "toothpick" and "beanpole" to their face?

    It's also such a paradox to try to agree with people who say that anorexic models are not okay while at the same time trying to deal with the abuse they heap on all skinny people regardless. Then there's the group of people who defend skinny people by insulting heavy people in turn, which makes me feel ill-represented. Where is the group of people who say it's okay to be skinny or fat or normal, as long as it's natural?

  3. I fully agree. I'm 4'10"ft and my weight flucturates between 110-115lb all depending on the time of the year; ie. I'll weigh more during holiday seasons. But I don't eat more than I need to for someone of my height and built and I will not apologize for that and eat more to "get some meat" on my body. I'm happy and healthy with a upper acceptable BMI, usually around 23-24 or so.

  4. I don't know where it came from but it is the new trend these days. If they are not like you they are the enemy. I come from a family of curvy women, some made me feel bad others told me that I was beautiful and not to let thier stupidity bother me. But now it has become a national trend. I have no problem with anyone who has curves but do you have to make me feel bad because i don't. The quote on the Cover of Vouge by Beyonce Knowles "Real women have curves" was the last straw. Just because I am thin does that mean I am not a real woman. I disagree with that. What ever happened to variety can we all be different and still be beautiful or do I have to hate myself for wearing a size 2.

  5. Another nowaday's problem is that people also tend to have a VERY SHORT MEMORY. (If you were born after 1984/1985, I can understand it!... But anyone who is older than this must do a little effort!) Until around the EARLY 1990's, there was a way of thinking and classify peoples appearances (I mean SILUETTES) which was based in the fundamental and dogmatic idea that "EVERYTHING THAT'S THIN, SLIM, LOW-CALORIES, LIGHT, MACROBIOTIC, ETC, IS GOOD and EVERYTHING THAT'S FAT, CORPULENT, PLUMP, FLABBY, GREASY, ROUND, BIG-SIZED, ETC, IS BAD".
    Around that time (early 90's) this idea was the rule, the "law" and everyone who dared to disagree this, was made laughing stock and sided, or just would hear: "you must be joking, man!"; "which planet are you from?"; "you idiot, we're in the 1980's, not in the 1880's!!!"; "the 1950's are past, worn out, yesterday, anachronic!!! It's today that matters, man! No one with at less two fingers of head will nowadays choose a "Marilyn Monroe-like woman" instead of a "Julia Roberts-like woman"! You think like a granny, man! Where's your WALKING STICK?"; "that's just a phase, man! you'll get over it!!!"; "you think like a dumb peasant!!! haven't you still discovered the TV, boy? we have already gone to the moon in 1969, don't you remember, you silly?"; "go to the museum, man! there you'll find lots of those women you dig-in paintings, of course!!!" and something more like that!!!
    We felt that everything concerning body shape, health and fittness had reached it's end. In other words, we used to think that "everything has changed what it has to change" and "in the present we see the future. The future was that there would be no easy life for the fat and even the round ones!!! Even despite some seasonal changes like CLAUDIA SCHIFFER and CINDY CRAWFORD (which I heard a million times called "curvy alternative"), the main rule was being thin. In the extreme, it was preferable to be "as thin as a rake" than "a pot-belly" or "piggy".
    Until around 1993, if you heard from someone (generally from an older person) that you were looking like a "bag of bones" or that "you should eat more", you would feel like you've gained your day, you would feel like you've reached the Nirvana!

    Today it all may look strange, don't you think? But that was that! I was born around 1970, so I know what I am talking about!!! I still remember it well!!! Around 15 to 20 years ago, many things that you read today in the tabloids and magazines about some well known celebrities, would be laughed and scorn! The physical changes so criticised in, for example, NICOLE RITCHIE and KATE BOSWORTH, would be (then) full praised and regarded, at least, as "logical" and even "sensible" if you look the way they were... VICTORIA BECKHAM, being slightly muscled than those ones and so "sharp", would be considered even "obligatory" and an "unmistakable reference" in the "Fashion Culture". She and even KATE MOSS would be, many times in many magazines, elected as "THE LOOK OF THE YEAR" (whenever it was)!
    If we were in 1989, everyone who "dared" to say and write the things we hear today about them and their "lookalikes", would be considered at least, "peculiar" if not "from other far away planet"!... Amazing, don't you think? The "fitness" and "diet" models from before 1993, looked like them!
    Many people has become vegetarian, macrobiotic or even vegan, just because of that physical ideal! Many people spent lots of money in thigamabobs and watchamalicks, to improve their thinness and sharpness...

    And suddenely, everything, unexpectably, changed for the other side!... It can be located somewhere in the AUTUMN of 1993 (or somewhere after...).

    Sometimes, some new things (FASHION can be an example) bring their DOOM inside of them and we are not able to see, until they WORN OUT (sometimes only many years after that)...

  6. I arrived at your blog via a link on the Daddy Likey page about rude vintage store clerks. I realize I'm reading this way after you wrote it, but I wanted to thank you for echoing something that has been making me mad for awhile. I think my moment hit when I wandered to the Womens section of hosiery in a department store, only to realize it was a euphemism for larger sizes. Because I can't be included under the label "Women" since I'm a size 4?

  7. This is great! I love posts like this. It also shows how thin people CAN eat a lot. I posted it on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-the-Skinny-Bashing/215507911878959

  8. I totally agree. I have been petite all my life. I can eat as much as I want yet I don't put on weight, I guess I am lucky that way but there always people who say in that concerned voice are you eating enough. The reality is I eat more than they do. I am naturally small and can fit into large to extra large kids clothing which is an advantage as I cannot always buy jeans in my size. For all the negative responses I get plenty of positive ones as well. Many people assume I am healthy because of my diminutive figure and flat firm tummy and yes I have a shapely butt.I get both men and women who like to run their hands over my tummy. For every anorexic comment I get a nod of approval from the non ignorant.


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