Thin-shaming is happening and it's putting us all to shame

A woman has turned to the Internet to ask if thin shaming is a thing after overhearing comments about her weight [Photo: Getty]
A woman has turned to the Internet to ask if thin shaming is a thing after overhearing comments about her weight [Photo: Getty]

A woman has turned to the Internet to ask if thin-shaming is a thing after losing weight and overhearing colleagues saying she looked like she had cancer.

We all, sadly, know fat-shaming happens but thanks to the body positive movement, women are feeling more empowered about loving their bodies, no matter the size.

While fat-shaming is still very much around, there’s another unpleasant body trend on the block and it is equally as harmful.

Like it’s fat shaming counterpart, thin or skinny shaming is all about judging people purely on their size and weight.

In this case, accusing them of ‘not eating’ or choosing to have a body that in the shamer’s eyes is unacceptably slim. But while fat-shaming courts all the headlines, thin-shaming is not nearly as discussed.

Which is why one mum needed clarification that the hurtful comments she’d been receiving were also a form of body shaming.

Taking to parenting forum Mumsnet, the woman revealed she’d lost three stone, three years ago, and had managed to keep it off since.

She added that she had been feeling “middle aged and unfit” and decided to do something about it, but people were still making comments about her new slimmer body shape.

“So why does this keep happening?” she wrote before going on to explain that an old playground mum she had bumped into told her she was looking very thin and asked if it was intentional.

“I didn’t have the b*****ks to reply ‘no, I’ve got a terrible wasting disease’, but wish I had,” she wrote.

“Another one – a former work colleague told me they’d all been discussing whether or not I had cancer!!!”

The anonymous poster also explained she’d received warnings that she’ll get osteoporosis because of her new body shape. “It’s not keeping me awake at night, but I just find it weird that people are OK to make comments like this to my face.

“Supposing I had put on a stack of weight, would I get ‘wow, you’ve REALLY chubbed up, love’? Or do I just know a lot of really rude people?”

Thin shaming is equally as unacceptable as fat shaming [Photo: Getty]
Thin shaming is equally as unacceptable as fat shaming [Photo: Getty]

Following her post, other users were quick to offer their opinions on the subject, with many agreeing that thin-shaming is a problem.

“It exists,” one user wrote. “Less common than fat-shaming I found (I’ve been both visibly over and underweight). I got more fat-shaming from strangers. When I was thin I got more from people I knew – more “you need a good meal” faux concern about my health,” she added.

“Thin shaming is very common! People openly comment about it more than they would to an overweight person. Ridiculous,” another user wrote.

Others shared examples of their own experiences of being skinny-shamed.

“I’ve had it my whole life. It runs the gauntlet of complete strangers telling I’m thin and need to eat more, friends posting those “no man wants to lie down with a bag of bones” memes, people head tilting if you dare to eat a salad and literally never being able to wear anything tight without someone calling you a skinny minny/anorexic/asking what you eat in a day,” one user wrote.

But other posters thought that thin-shaming “didn’t exist” and that some people were simply jealous.

“I think ‘thin shaming’ as a thing doesn’t exist, no. I don’t think it’s possible when being thin is so celebrated and treated as such a marker of success. Having said that, I do think what you’re describing is jealousy,” one user wrote.

Others agreed that it was wrong to comment on people’s bodies no matter their size.

“Commenting on people’s bodies is rude full stop!”

Holly Willoughby has been thin shamed after losing weight recently [Photo: Getty]
Holly Willoughby has been thin shamed after losing weight recently [Photo: Getty]

The poster isn’t the only one to find herself the victim of thin-shaming. Holly Willoughby has found herself the victim of online taunts about her body after losing weight.

Last year when photos of her wearing a floral gown at the Glamour awards appeared, the presenter started receiving negative comments about her body shape.

People also began writing on her Instagram photos, saying that she looks “too skinny” or claiming they’re “worried” about her being too small.

And Holly certainly isn’t the only celebrity being skinny-scrutinised. Lily James opened up about the criticism she faced in the media about her weight.

The actress said that when she when she was promotingCinderella’, the press were calling her out for being what they deemed to be ‘too thin’.

“The press were saying I was a bad role model but I have always been healthy,” she told GQ. “I eat! I do have a tiny waist and quite big hips so it looks in proportion, you know? I have an hourglass shape.”

Likewise, ‘Modern Family’ actress Sarah Hyland was forced to hit back at body-shaming trolls online by penning a dignified eight-page letter about her health.

Sick and tired of being told she is ‘too skinny’ and should ‘eat a burger’ or her head is ‘too big’ for her body, the 26-year-old actress decided to open up about her ‘tough year’ and, in turn, silence the thin-shamers.

In a two-part essay posted to Twitter, Sarah said that she’d had a difficult year that has caused physical changes to her body.

The star – who underwent a kidney transplant in 2012 – alluded to having experienced more health issues and explained that she’s been on bed rest, unable to exercise and losing muscle mass. She also added that she is “not in control” of how she looks.

More recently Gigi Hadid hit back at body-shamers who have commented on her changing body shape in recent years.

In a series of passionate tweets the 22-year-old model responded to trolls who have commented on her fluctuating weight, explaining that the changes are due in part to being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease.

Daisy Ridley also hit back against skinny shaming trolls who accused her of setting “unrealistic expectations” for young women, due to her slender frame.

But thin-shaming impacts ordinary women, too.

Thanks to social media, any woman uploading a photograph online has the potential to be skinny-shamed.

You only need to look at the hashtag #YouDidNotEatThat which highlights slim women pictured with large amounts of unhealthy food.

So how should you deal with skinny shaming? In the Mumsnet thread some users advised the original poster to hit back at the shamers by telling them how rude and offensive their comments are.

But the fact that a response is necessary is an issue in itself because people’s bodies shouldn’t be up for discussion in the first place.

The body positive movement is helping to empower both men and women into believing that all bodies are beautiful, no matter their size or shape. But, while it continues to gather pace, we can but hope that fat- and skinny-shaming will continue to be called out for the damaging demon that it is and that one day our bodies will be of no concern to anyone other than ourselves.

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