I’ve seen this everywhere, including on a lot of fat/body positive blogs. This, in my opinion, is more rampant than the shaming of skinny women and might even equal the shaming of fat women. It’s a bit tied in with skinny shaming though:
THE SHAMING OF ANOREXIC WOMEN.
Can we please stop?
Don’t call yourself body positive and then snark and about how ugly skin and bones are. It’s all very well if you include a disclaimer that you don’t mean naturally skinny women… So then who do you mean? Women with a legitimate mental disorder who desperately need help and acceptance rather than shaming?
Seriously, it’s very hypocritical. Let’s all stop making disparaging comments about anorexic women.
Oh that’s right. It’s not okay to make fun of anyone! Except skinny girls, of course.
This is a great article from J over at Imagine Today.
Not only is throwing the word anorexic around damaging to healthy skinny girls who are accused of this disorder, but it’s also damaging to people who are actually suffering from anorexia, and non-skinny women who are suffering from it. Newsflash: Thin women aren’t the only ones who can suffer from anorexia!
While we hurl accusations of anorexia left and right at waif-like women, Anorexia (the disease, not the judgment) grows stronger, and claims more victims every day. We enable anorexia with our ignorance and, seriously, this has to stop now.
Pasting an “anorexic” label on every thin woman we come across perpetuates the misconception that all people with anorexia look the same way.
And did you know that heavy women with anorexia aren’t even classified by psychiatrists as having anorexia because their body fat might be too high? This is terrible!
I think a lot of us have established that “real woman have curves” is hurtful to those of us who don’t have curves. Here’s another take on the issue from Huffington Post by Starre Vartan, a writer and blogger.
I checked in with my slighter friends on this one, and they admit to feeling pushed out of the conversation about bodies just because they are more svelte and – true to form for most kind-minded women, they feel badly about making a fuss, since body image and labels always seem to launch a firestorm or controversy.
It’s true—a lot of us do feel left out of the body image debate because we’re smaller sized, and we feel like we can’t complain because people just shut us up by saying we have the ideal body type (which is untrue). And even worse, medium and large sized women (and even skinny women?) who repeat the phrase real women are perpetuating the divide, when all of us should be working towards the same goal.
I think ‘fat acceptance’ is the wrong way to go; not because I have a problem with fuller-figured women enjoying and celebrating their bodies (I truly applaud those who do and those who lead them!) but because I don’t want their happiness and acceptance to come at the cost of other women. Why do some women have to suffer while others gain?
I don’t think fat acceptance is at fault here. There are plenty of FA bloggers who pretty much deal only with fat people issues and find ways to make themselves feel better without putting down smaller women. In fact, most FA bloggers I’ve met are inclusive of skinny women. It’s the women who aren’t part of any sort of movement who tend to say stuff like “real women have curves” and join Facebook groups like “Curvy girls are better than skinny girls.” When you say things like that, or when you deny that anyone other than larger women can have body image issues, you come across as insecure. You shouldn’t need to put down someone else to build yourself up. But I digress.
Throughout the history of feminism, we’ve seen groups of women pitted against each other, whether it was the old conflict between Flappers and more traditional ladies in the 1920’s, or the newer conflicts between foreign-born nannies and their upper-middle class employers. The best way forward is to work together of course, and support the idea that ALL bodies are beautiful (this goes for men too).
Starre continues on a very good path. She has the right idea, and everyone should heed her advice. Don’t exclude anyone who sympathizes with you and wants to join the cause!
(For the record, I strive for ethnic diversity in the FYSC tumblr and try to post unPhotoshopped photos of real, healthy skinny women and girls. Also, I am not white.)
A lot of skinny chicks are concerned with their breasts being too small. Scratch that—a lot of chicks are concerned with their breasts being too small! However, skinny chicks are often the ones with this problem. The media shows us slender, beautiful women…. with big boobs. Great. Where does that leave us? With the perpetually “anorexic” or crack addict D-List celebrities and runway models.
But there’s no reason that small boobs can’t be just as glamorous and sexy as bigger boobs, as well as offering a few perks (haha, see what I did there) to their owners. I found a great article from Glamour (I know, Glamour isn’t the epitome of positive body image) which was written by Sally of Already Pretty. Sally faced the exact same problems a lot of us did growing up:
Post-puberty, after I’d accepted that nothing short of plastic surgery or a visit from the Rack Fairy was going to change my size, I worried that sex appeal and big boobs were synonymous. For years, I longed to fill out a bikini, or convince the girls to cleave or hold up a strapless dress. I was convinced that my boyfriends were stifling complaints about my pert-but-petite set of A-and-a-half’s. When they told me they adored my small breasts, they were obviously just being polite.
It’s easy to be convinced that sex appeal and big boobs are synonymous as Sally says, especially if you pick up any men’s magazine. And it can be difficult to find dresses that don’t bag out and make your look like your boobs are misshapen. But there are a lot of benefits to small boobs which you may not have thought about.
Here are just a few: you can wear deep V-neck dresses or shirts without worrying about looking trashy and attracting unwanted attention, your boobs don’t get in the way when hugging someone, you can wear halter and bandeau tops easily, and you can go braless if you feel daring. Oh, and they won’t droop down to your stomach when you get older and they don’t cause back problems.
And even though you might think that all the typical hot chicks have big boobs, you’d be surprised. Hollywood stars like Olivia Wilde and Keira Knightley have very small boobs, but I always see guys drooling over them. This proves that boob size doesn’t have as large an impact on sex appeal as you might think. It’s true that some guys may prefer bigger boobs, but there are also guys who prefer smaller boobs over bigger ones. Small boobs add to your hotness, not detract from it.
You might be thinking, “Well, I don’t want huge boobs— just a little bit more will do” or “You don’t get it, I’m actually flat-chested.” If you’re under the age of 25, it’s very likely that you still have time to grow. Maybe you’re just a late bloomer. If you’re over the age of 25, having children and general weight gain as you get older will make them grow as well. But you mustn’t let you current boob size stop you from feeling confident about yourself.
Beauty standards are completely fictional and are created by the media. If you look back to the 1920s, you’ll see that flappers, the audacious women of the era, actually bound their breasts to make them appear flatter! Now we look back and think the flappers were so gorgeous and classy, regardless of their boob size. Find a way to embrace your little boobs and make them work for you—whether that’s going with vintage glamour or flaunting them with a deep cut V-neck.
Here are some more resources for you (links are SFW but may have bikini pics):
Today I have for you a really great guest post provided by J of Imagine Today, a blog which discusses feminism and politics as well as body acceptance. She’s written about society’s perceived ownership of women’s bodies, and how we pretty much need to tell the world to fuck off so we can be happy with ourselves. 🙂 If you liked this post, I encourage you to visit Imagine Today, as there’s more where this came from!
At the core of the ingrained insecurity that so many women feel in regards to their bodies, lies the idea of ownership.
From a young age women are taught that our bodies are not really our own. We’re told this by legitimate news sources, when they feel that it is acceptable to print pictures of a young woman’s vulva for ratings, or devote broadcast hours to the plague of “cankles.”
We’re screamed this message by anti-choice activists and the lawmakers that help them to push forward restriction after restriction all set to remind women that our bodies belong to them once a fetus enters the picture (or even before, when you consider those who fight to hard to restrict the pill.)
We see this when strangers, family, and friends turn a blind eye and rapists are allowed to invade our bodies, without consequence, as the crowd of public opinion quickly jumps in to decipher just what we did to deserve this invasion.
We’re sold this message by companies that push and push to sell us diet pills, spanx, diet plans, diet books, clothing, makeup, lotions… anything, really, to cut us down to size and paint away our uniqueness.
We’re reminded by magazines that tell women who are small to eat a sandwich preferably, I gather, one stolen from a woman deemed too big. Magazines that say eat this, not that and wear this, not that and do this, not that; never content until we’re all eating, wearing, and doing what they’re getting paid to tell us to do.
We’re reminded in whispers by friendly voices sharing secrets. Would you look at her? Who told her that skirt was flattering? Poor girl… she’d be pretty if she just lost/gained a few pounds. We may whisper back but all the while we’re wondering: what do they whisper about me?
We’re reminded even when we’re using our bodies to care for another – as person after person harasses us for breastfeeding in public.
Every day each one of us takes this all in, and yet, we don’t even seem to notice. We wonder why are women do damn obsessed with their bodies? Are they just shallow? Is it genetic? Have they evolved to care more about their bodies? Why doesn’t this happen to men nearly as much? The answer to all of these would be so obvious if we could just take a moment to open our ears and listen to the ever-growing chorus of voices joining together to lay claim and control over other women’s bodies.
Don’t get me wrong: plenty of men have body image issues… but, it’s different. These men are the minority, it’s seen as weird when it happens to them, as a problem that needs fixing rather than simply the way things are. Men are encouraged to own their bodies and care for them, strengthen them, use them to fix and protect and live. They’re not expected to shave and pluck and diet and primp and paint, to cover and reveal just enough to please the endless sea of ever watching eyes. They just have to be and do. They are granted ownership of their bodies and when they lose that ownership it is a problem that no one quite knows how to fix just yet.
Women, on the other hand, have their ownership stripped away earlier and earlier in this modern society and if they try to take it back? That’s when we have a “problem.”
That’s when we’re called names, when we’re raped or assaulted, when we’re sneered at and avoided. When we stop dieting and we’re looked at like alien creatures, shamed back into counting calories as quickly as possible… unless, of course, we’re naturally small. Then we are envied, tortured in whispers and jealous glares. Or worse, made invisible, ignored because our bodies don’t seem to fit the mold.
No. fucking. more.
Its time we learn about nutrition – not to lose weight, but to feed our bodies what they need to grow strong. It’s time we learn the rights that come with our bodies – and fight for a uterus free to decide what will dwell within it. It’s time we own the pleasure that comes with sex, and make our own decisions about when, where, and who we will share that pleasure. It’s time we put an end to “figure flattering” fashion and wear whatever the fuck we want. Time we paint our faces in a rainbow of colors, or none at all… depending only on how we feel any particular day. Time we stop judging other bodies, and start loving the unique magic each figure contains. Time we tell the magazines, the TV pundits, politicians, protesters, neighbors, friends, parents… everyone that this body is mine to love, not yours to criticize. Then, we will be free.
Finally it’s being discussed by a newspaper (the media! dun dun dun).
So apparently the real women slogan started out in 1997 with Body Shop’s ad campaign which said “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only eight who do.” GEE THANKS, BODY SHOP. As if supermodels don’t have the same body image problems us layfolk do. As I’ve said time and time again, every woman has body image problems.
Since then, women have been caught in a pointless feedback loop as we debate what does and doesn’t constitute ”real women”. That the bulk of it is a marketing strategy – Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty, which sold a lot of fake-tanner, is a case in point – appears to have flown over most people’s heads.
So true! It’s just a marketing strategy which some parts of the body acceptance movement took to heart. I’m not even a fan of “real women” even if it includes skinnies because it still excludes supermodels. You know, the girl on the street could be a supermodel! I knew two in high school and I’d have had no idea. Some might argue that the “real” in this case is in reference to the Photoshoping and makeup and everything but I’ve most often seen it used to exclude thin women.
That said, I don’t have a problem with Photoshoping lighting, blemishes, adding makeup, etc. I do think it’s ridiculous when they change things that wouldn’t be changeable without camera tricks or makeup. Advertisements are supposed to sell you an ideal world; no one wants a pock-marked woman with weird wrinkles in her clothes to sell you a beauty product. I accept that because that’s how selling something works. But stuff like shaving inches off of Rihanna’s waist is unacceptable. Especially because Rihanna already has an amazing body!
More than one feminist commentator has pondered what women could achieve by redirecting the energy spent worrying about our bodies into more rewarding pursuits. But debating which woman’s body is more real is not feminist commentary; if anything, it is precisely the opposite.
So true! I’m glad that this has been brought out into the public eye.
By now, everyone should realise that the only people out there who aren’t ”real women” are men.
Amen. I mean, awomen. 😉
So this is old news, but I think it’s still relevant, as us skinny chicks can definitely relate to Keira’s issues, as told by her mother.
“She has always been thin. She’s her daddy’s daughter, with his long body,” [MacDonald] said. “Daddy was much, much thinner than Keira. When he was Keira’s age, he had to drink milk with honey and eggs, and go training and training and training, just to be a normal weight.
“She eats like a horse. I always want to apologise because she can eat anything that she wants and she does not put on weight.”
So Keira has a fast metabolism inherited from her father, just like me! Just another reason that she’s one of my favorite celebrities, and I don’t even read People or anything.
The Oscar-nominated actress has repeatedly denied claims she suffers from an eating disorder, insisting she is “naturally thin”. While Knightley has admitted that both her grandmother and great-grandmother suffered from anorexia, she said she had not inherited the condition.
Us normal people hate repudiating claims that we’re anorexic, but can you imagine the same situation as a celebrity? People don’t believe a thing celebrities say about anything. A celebrity says they didn’t cheat on their spouse. Or drive under the influence. Or have an eating disorder. Celebrities are real people too, under a ton of pressure, and their behavior is only human. I dislike when people judge celebrities for that, but that’s another rant entirely… Anyhow, Keira’s poor mother is hurt by these accusations, as any mother would be:
“I can’t bear it at all and neither could you. When kids are bullied in the playground, their parents are in absolute agony,” she said. “It’s a playground situation that we’re looking at with the press, it’s a form of bullying. But what can we do? She has sued once, and she won. If she did it again, she would win again. But you can’t keep doing that. It would take over your life. So you have to just turn away.”
She’s right with that last sentiment there. You just have to turn away. If people are being jerks, just ignore them. And now, we can be validated by the medical community. I’d have said, “No shit!” but the medical community often makes “no shit” statements so there you are.
Lorraine McCreary, a registered NHS dietician who runs Diet Scotland, a clinic specialising in weight loss and eating disorders, said: “New genes that code for obesity are being discovered all the time, and in the same way there will be genes that code to keep people very lean.
“You do get very slim people who can eat an awful lot of calories and maintain a very lean body mass. If Keira is not avoiding eating, and her eating pattern is normal and her father had that as well, then it’s very likely that there is a genetic link.”
I’ll leave you with a good quote from Keira herself:
“Anybody with an ounce of intelligence would say that too much emphasis is put on weight…”