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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

The Danger of Skinny Shaming

OUTTOMUNCHNYC.COM Youtube fitness star Amanda Russell has received negative backlash for being too skinny.
Youtube fitness star Amanda Russell has received negative backlash for being too skinny.

They say real women have curves.

So does that mean that women who wear a 32 A or fit comfortably into size zero pants, aren’t real?

In my previous columns, I’ve focused on the pressure we face as women to eat less, work out more, and constantly refine our bodies. However, our society’s tendency to wear away at any glimpse of positive body image extends to both ends of the spectrum. Sadly, we put down larger women for being “too fat,” just as much as we discriminate against thinner women for looking emaciated.

We’ve all come across those women who are blessed with small frames and raging metabolisms, and more often than not, all we want to yell at them is, “Just go and eat a hamburger!”

It is frighteningly easy to fall into the practice of skinny shaming because it always seems far too likely that girls with single-digit body fat percentage must be battling an eating disorder and could learn a thing or two from the rest of us “healthy” people.

But that assumption could not be further from the truth. After all, we are in no position to judge a woman for her body type, especially to condemn her for being too thin when it’s not within her control.

So why do we do this? Why are we so obsessed with picking each other apart and focusing all of our attention on each other’s imperfections?

Journalist Sammi Taylor from Birdee Magazine accredits this tendency to “the product of our self-esteem. We are constantly unhappy, trying to reinvent ourselves by reducing the numbers on tags or scales.” I would have to agree.

As I was trying to find testimonies from victims of skinny shaming, I came across Amanda Russell, a 27-year-old YouTube fitness star, who has been thin her whole life, without really making any special effort to stay slim.

While on set for one of her videos, a colleague approached her to ask the question, “Do you even eat?”

Though questions like these feign concern, they are not compassionate or sensitive in the least. Suppose Amanda was battling anorexia — confronting her about a potential eating disorder would hardly do the trick. Is that question supposed to trigger a light bulb and show her that starving herself is not the answer?

Over the past several years, there has been a movement toward promoting body acceptance and embracing women of all shapes and sizes, but with cases like these still being all too common, it hardly seems that we are on the right track.

Amanda’s video referenced the “skinny backlash,” and I’d have to say it should be a source of concern. Zero most certainly is a size, and real women can also have little to no curves. Rather than associate one body type with the image of a healthy, happy woman, we need to focus more on a broader acceptance — one that incorporates every woman, whether she is a size 0 or size 14.

We need to remember that a number on the scale does not determine individual self-worth. But most importantly, we need to remember that every woman is real. No exceptions.

Daria Etezadi is a rising sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. Made From Scratch appears every other Monday at

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  • S

    S.D.Sep 6, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Confession: I have been overweight my entire adult life, usually somewhere between the points where shameless strangers would call me “big” and where they would just flat out call me “fat.” And, because fate decided that wouldn’t be sufficient for a good laugh, I have always been especially attracted to very thin, even emaciated-looking, women. Many such women have given me looks that just screamed, “Yeah, not in this lifetime.” Such experiences have ultimately led me to feel that no one, under any circumstances, has any business “shaming” anyone because of their size. A family member or a personal physician weighing in (npi) out of genuine concern for a person’s health is usually acceptable. But unless one falls into one of these two categories, such commentary is always inapporpriate, often offensive, and almost exclusively comes from individuals who have major issues of their own–physical, emotional or otherwise–that they can’t bear to deal with.

    Bottom line (had to get there eventually): If you’re happy with size and shape, don’t let anyone ever succeed at changing that POV. And if you’re, you, and you alone, have to decide if you want to change it. NO ONE has any business verbally devaluing ANYONE for their size or shape, regardless of opinion.

  • J

    JenniferAug 7, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    I am 5’7″ 100lbs, cannot gain weight to save my life. People have said the most rude and nasty things to me my whole life. Obese people don’t want to be ‘fat shamed’ yet see no problem slamming thin people. Total hippocracy.

  • A

    AnneJul 28, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you for this article! I’m naturally thin and constantly get rude comments. If I were to comment on another woman being fat, there would be a storm of cries of ‘fat shaming’. I don’t understand why someone can call me a bag of bones, but it is completely taboo to say that someones is overweight. Last week I was at the store and an obese woman saw me walk by; she yelled at the top of her lungs: “I’d rather shoot my self with a cookie in my mouth than look like that”. I could only think to myself: “Can I pull the trigger?!”
    This idea that it is okay to insult a skinny women is absolutely ridiculous. I’m really self conscious about my weight and try to gain weight, but it just doesn’t happen.
    Enough with “Real women have curves.” Too many obese women use this line to explain away their extra body weight. If your stomach sticks out more than you bust line and hips, that’s not the kind of “curve” you want.
    Of course we would all like to be 36-24-36, but that’s not realistic. We are what we are. Just be healthy and respect your body.
    It’s not “Real women have curves”, it’s “Real women are healthy and respect each other”.

  • E

    ehJul 26, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    ” fitness star, who has been thin her whole life, without really making any special effort to stay slim” wow a fitness star who makes no effort to stay slim great job Hoya

  • J

    JanJul 18, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Thank you for having the courage to write this article! I am constantly being criticized for being “skinny” and “too thin”. There came a time when I actually started believing it and began eating foods unhealthy foods that made me feel like crap just to gain more weight; completely stopped doing my cardio workouts. Ironically when I began to put on this unhealthy weight, people began telling me that I needed to slow down because at 24 my metabolism is going to begin to slow down! What?!

    I was so battered and confused that I finally consulted with my PA who said that my BMI is right on target and given my height to weight ratio is relatively ideal. His theory – “You’re not too skinny, they’re too fat!” While I do not necessarily agree with the delivery of the offensive comment, I do believe that many thin shaming is the product of body insecurity.

    The lesson I’ve learned through my journey is if you are healthy by all accounts and feel comfortable in your own skin, don’t allow yourself to be deflated by the insecurities of others.

    • A

      AnneJul 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      Great post, Jan!
      Just be happy with who you are and let the soul suckers do themselves in.

  • T

    TinaJun 25, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Blonder hair, flat chest
    TV says, “Bigger is better.”
    South beach, sugar free
    Vogue says, “Thinner is better.”

    -Queen Bey layin it out there for us