Skinny shaming can affect women and men of all sizes. The one who is skinny shamed can feel uncomfortable, unhappy, and miserable, even if the perpetrator thinks that they’re just making a harmless joke.
There are kinder ways to discuss weight and sizes that don’t destroy another person’s self-esteem and body image.
Learn more about skinny shaming and how you can help.
Although fat shaming has received a great amount of media attention, skinny shaming is also an issue.
Skinny shaming involves mocking or judging a person because he or she is thin. The person who is the victim of the skinny shaming can be left feeling guilty, humiliated, and uncomfortable.
Gyms and other fitness centers are the most common areas that have skinny shaming issues. Health stores and other retailers also report seeing skinny shaming among their customers, too.
It’s common to see one person judge another person because he or she is too thin, compared to others.
- You hurt the one you’re shaming. One of the biggest dangers is that you can offend another person and deeply hurt their feelings.
- A person who is already struggling with body image issues or eating disorders can feel even worse. This person can turn away from support networks because of the fear of skinny shaming.
- Damaged relationships. Skinny shaming can hurt or destroy relationships. Friendships can be damaged with comments about weight. You can lose your friend’s trust and destroy the connection.
- Extreme consequences. Skinny shaming can lead to abuse and can create fear. It’s possible to create extreme consequences that negatively hurt another person.
- Skinny shaming can force a person to stop exercising or shopping for new clothes.
- The fear of being ridiculed for being thin can make a person scared. This can lead to them wearing baggy clothes and hiding their body.
- In extreme cases, skinny shaming can force a person to gain weight and use unhealthy eating habits. They can turn to junk food to rapidly put on the pounds or use soda and sugar in large quantities.
- Teenagers and young people are especially vulnerable to skinny shaming. They may not have the experience or life skills necessary to deal with it effectively, and they can develop unhealthy patterns to deal with the stress and shame. They may be afraid to ask for help.
- Skinny shaming can push a vulnerable person over the edge. It can encourage them to isolate themselves from others and avoid going out in public. It can force them into an obsession with their weight.
It’s easy to forget the impact of a comment about someone’s weight. Be mindful of your words.
- Refrain from making comments that could hurt. There simply isn’t a good reason to make another person feel ashamed about their weight.
- Avoid assumptions. You don’t want to accuse them of having an eating disorder, living in the gym, starving, or only eating lettuce. It’s not helpful to assume that another person must suffer from an eating disorder or work out every hour to maintain a thin body.
- Avoid comparisons. Comparing your body to theirs, or either body to someone else’s body, could just be another way to criticize their body shape. Even if you don’t mean it that way, it could easily be taken as a criticism.
The world is filled with a variety of body types, and some are naturally skinny. Skinny shaming can destroy confidence, build a negative body image, and lead to unhealthy practices.
Instead of skinny shaming, why not make it a point to uplift your thinner friends, loved ones, and acquaintances? Choose your words carefully and you’ll build stronger relationships.