When it comes to body shaming, all sizes are victimised
Women who are ‘too thin’ are just as vulnerable as those dubbed ‘too fat’
Last week, Kim Kardashian West was slammed for exposing her naked body to the world on Instagram and Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley was criticised for being too thin. Clearly, no woman escapes criticism on the matter of size and shape. People are still failing to grasp that some women are naturally skinny and some are naturally larger.
And the stigma attached to being “too thin” or “too fat” is largely down to us. On a daily basis, women (and men) engage in harsh and bitchy discourse on how others look.
Consciously or unconsciously, we are influenced by fashion industry and popular culture. Then, we sit at home commenting on bad outfit choices, flabby bikini bodies or bony torsos. They’re too skinny, we say – they’ve gone too far. Alternatively, we sneer, “gosh, hasn’t she let herself go? She’s a little rounder than she used to be.”
Everyone is guilty to some extent – I know I’ve done it, thought “she shouldn’t be wearing that” or “damn, that style doesn’t suit her”. To a point, it’s an instinctive reaction. But we must resist the instinct.
In turn, media intuits our hunger to judge and continues to give us the material. Newspapers rate the cleavage of female celebrities at the Oscars, and magazines fill pages with features on fad diets. It’s there because there’s demand for it.
So ask yourself, with all of these messages flying about and highly-charged comments, how are young women supposed to differentiate between what is “healthy” and what is not?
Ridley was called out on Instagram. A user posted an image of her Star Wars character, Rey, next to a speech mark exclaiming: “I can’t believe the unrealistic expectations I’m setting for young girls. Who cast me anyway? Don’t they know real women have curves?”
Ridley found it and retorted: “‘Real women’ are all shapes and sizes, all ethnicities, all levels of brave. I am a ‘real woman’ like every other woman in this world.”
Meanwhile, brands continue to advertise plus-size fashion using smaller models as opposed to women who actually fit into the clothes: last week, models were photographed standing in one leg of a plus-size pair of shorts with their arm extended to hold the other short leg out. All of this ludicrous marketing simply alienates and confuses. For the truth is, nobody should care about anyone else’s body. Who are we to judge?
No one knows what a “real” woman is any more. It’s a can’t-win, headache-inducing situation. And when every body is the object of serious criticism, it’s time for a modern call to arms: ban the body-shaming.