Body Shaming

Controversies surrounding body shaming.

Sabreen Hussain, Writer

Beauty standards constantly change over the years. Different perceptions of the “perfect look” exist around the world. Although these sentiments affect everyone and how they view their body, most seek to target teenage girls. Fashion advertisements for different types of clothing perpetuate unrealistic body standards, such as Victoria’s Secret or Brandy Melville. These brands only represent a size XS and S in their marketing and even in stores. This lack of diversity within the model industry is harmful to our youth. 

This type of teen-targeted marketing has been around for decades, stemming from the 1950s when youth culture rapidly grew. Our generation has more resources now than ever before to bring awareness and speak out against it. Some examples include a series on TikTok started by Santina better known by her handle, @sanrizzle. The series became a viral trend a few months ago, called “is it a fit, or is she just skinny?”Curvy and plus size users on TikTok would wear an identical outfit as a thin person to see if it’s genuinely a nice outfit or an outfit only skinny people could get away with wearing. Many of the clothing items were criticized as baggy, bizarre, or skimpy, going so far as displaying a small torso as an accessory. 

Some have argued that this trend is skinny shaming, while others argue that fat shaming and skinny shaming are incomparable because of the systemic discrimination overweight people face. They’re health concerns are usually undermined by medical professionals because they’re told to just lose weight, they’re less likely to get hired for a job, and more likely to succumb to eating disorders. According to the Collins Dictionary, fatphobia is an “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against obesity or people with obesity.” The roots of fatphobia can be traced back to racism and the hatred of Black bodies, spiraling into the multi-layers of oppression that overweight folks face today. Fatphobia is far more complex than body shaming. Debaters argue whether promoting bigger bodies is unhealthy and whether it’s responsible for emitting unhealthy messages, that “being fat is okay.” Many also think that the body positivity movement may be a scheme to normalize obesity, ignoring the health concerns that accompany it. Medically, obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, strokes, and several other illnesses. 

Although the topic is very controversial, it’s important that all views and opinions are seen and heard. Sympathy is one of the best ways to understand each other’s points of view. Remember to always be kind and compassionate of one another, you never know what another person is going through!