Twig. Anorexic. Fat. Chunky. These are all words used on a daily basis to describe the varying shapes and sizes of women. Someone who is curvy is automatically labeled overweight, while someone who is skinny is assumed to have a disease. Our bodies are supposed to make us unique. Instead, they are a tool used to cut other women down.
Women look to magazines and media to tell them what the perfect weight and size should be. Thigh gaps = good. Love handles = bad. Guys like girls with big boobs, big butts and tiny little waists. All of these ridiculous ideals have been processed into our heads thanks to television and fashion ads. We think we have to look the way men or society want us to look, when the question we should really be asking ourselves is how do we want to look?
This past week, Gap received a lot of criticism for posting a picture of a “pin-thin” model in a plaid dress. Readers claimed they focused more on the size of the model than the clothes. Criticism included calling the model a skeleton and anorexic-looking. One reader asked the question “Who actually looks like this?” The honest answer is, some women do — and there is nothing wrong with that.
The current anti-photoshopping campaign is something all women can get on-board for. Women have banded together to stand against media altering the way we look in a way that isn’t natural or realistic. Models of all shapes should be featured on magazine covers and ad campaigns. Women need to see more of what they can relate to, not just the size-2 ideal. While these fights for women are a step in the right direction, body-shaming is not.
In an effort to show that curvy women are beautiful too, we’ve resorted to arguing that skinny women alternatively are ugly. While Meghan Trainor’s new radio hit “All About That Bass” focuses on a theme of embracing your curves — a positive — it’s lyrics simultaneously and negatively suggest that skinny girls are something to be made fun of or that men couldn’t possibly like.
The reality of the matter is that not all women are one size. I for one fall on the “skinny” side. I’ve always been known as the petite girl in my friend group. It’s true, I have a fast metabolism. Some call me lucky, others tell me they hate me. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been told I am skin and bone or that I should really eat more. Those closest to me know I do eat, a lot. I can eat six pieces of pizza in one sitting! I shouldn’t have to prove myself, though. I shouldn’t have to feel bad for being skinny.
As Lady Gaga simply puts it: I was born this way. There are multiple times I’ve envied women with body types other than mine. Like when I’m in the dressing room for an hour going through five pairs of jeans that are too baggy in the butt or too long on the hem, or trying on dresses that don’t fit in the bust or hang around my waist. Being the skinny girl isn’t all it is cracked up to be, and I am sure the curvier girls would say the same thing about themselves.
We’re always going to want what we don’t have, yet we should be focusing on loving what we do have. It’s easy to hate on other women’s body types because you aren’t confident about your own, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. Our efforts to change the fashion industry into one that accepts all shapes and sizes have good intentions, but I think we have gotten a little bit lost. These efforts shouldn’t be about skinny-shaming or fat-shaming. That only adds to the self-image bullying women already get enough of. We need to start accepting women for who they are, and that can only start with loving ourselves.