Many people seem to believe that a woman needs to be thin in order to be considered beautiful. The western world especially still embraces the idea that a woman can’t be attractive unless she is skinny. But it looks like times are changing. Beyoncé, Christina Hendricks and Kim Kardashian are among the many famous women nowadays who prove that you don’t have to be a size 2 to be beautiful. Curvy celebrities are inspiring women all over the world to be proud of their bodies and singers like Jennifer Lopez, Iggy Azalea and Meghan Trainor are helping bodacious women celebrate their shapely figures through music. ‘Booty’ and ‘All About That Bass’ are just a few of the many so-called big booty songs that are currently dominating the charts. And it is not just female singers that are celebrating womanly curves through music. So are men. Just think of Jason Derulo’s R&B hit single ‘Wiggle’ for example. Big booty songs are sprouting like mushrooms and the fans are eating them up.
But together with the big booty craze another new phenomenon has arisen: skinny shaming. Many of today’s booty praising songs contain lyrics that are offensive and hurtful towards thin women. The lyrics in Nicki Minaj’s hit single ‘Anaconda’ for example imply that men are only interested in women with curves and that you are not a real woman unless you are well-endowed in the boobage and booty department. The controversial singer songwriter even addresses ‘all the skinny bitches’ directly and calls them out for being thin.
And it is not just singers that are bashing people for being ‘too thin’. We all are. Some of the comments posted in the showbiz section of a big UK tabloid are downright shocking. ‘She needs to eat a burger’, ‘grow some curves’ and ‘someone throw her a pork chop’ are just a few of the offensive comments posted on a recent article featuring pictures of a famous 20-something country singer turned pop star.
Apparently somehow it is okay to publicly bash a skinny person, but if you did the same with a bigger person it would be considered bullying. Why is that? We all agree that it is not right to make snide remarks about a large person’s physique, so why is it acceptable to criticize the appearance of a thin person? You wouldn’t tell a chubby woman to ‘lay off the burgers’, yet somehow it is okay to tell a thin girl to ‘fatten up’? That doesn’t make sense.
Maybe the fashion industry is partially to blame for the double standards that we have. The fashion industry has a poor reputation for putting skinny and even underweight models on the runway and is often accused of promoting unrealistic body standards and encouraging eating disorders. Maybe this is why people don’t think twice about bashing someone for being skinny, even when the person in question is clearly just naturally thin or works very hard to stay in shape.
Whatever is behind this new skinny shaming phenomenon, it is a form of bullying and it needs to stop. People come in all shapes and sizes and no one should suffer abuse because of the way they look. Your size doesn’t make you any more or less of a woman. And let’s not forget that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is no such thing as a universally perfect body shape. Slim or curvy, every woman deserves respect. Celebrating women with healthy curves is fantastic, but let’s do it without shaming thin women in the process.
Melissa Van Roosbroeck is a style and fashion writer.