“Zero isn’t a real size” I hear the girl sitting next to me snicker to her friend as they online shop. Really? Zero isn’t a size? Sure it is, I know a lot of girls who are size zeroes and a lot of girls who aren’t. Body shaming has long been an issue in American society. The public is quick to attack adds by Victoria’s Secret that they believe are “too exclusive to one body type”, to attack skinny women as not being “real women” and other forms of “body shaming”. The popular trend with songs such as “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor is critiquing the modern obsession with thinness. I would like to bring to light that in fact there is harm being done with this so called “body standard protest” and that is that skinny women are being shamed in the process. Have you ever heard the saying “blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours burn any brighter”? When women say that skinny women aren’t real women because they do not have “curves” they are not actually fighting some social justice war on weight what they are perhaps unintentionally doing is attacking a fellow woman. They are attacking other women who wake up in the morning with their own insecurities, worries and self scrutiny and by “shaming skinny”, people aren’t making plus size, or average or anything else for that matter seem any better.
When people say “men like real women with curves”, we as a society are once again putting the acceptance of ourselves and beauty standards in the hands of men alone. Furthermore, “real women” is a horribly aggressive and antifeminist statement that excludes women, it does not bind them together or unite them in any way shape or form and I encourage everyone to stop using that harmful statement. There is no “real woman”, there are just women. Women with plastic surgery are real women, curvy women are real women, skinny women are real women, women who love wearing pink are real women, women who love wearing black are real women, women who like to play basketball are real women, women who want to spend all day at the spa are real women, following me? There is no made up recipe for the real woman, she is all of us.
Now, I understand the type of social implications that come with our societies obsession with thinness and I don’t deny that it can quickly spiral into unhealthy habits. I believe what needs to happen to stop both eating disorders as well as body shaming is people need to stop idolizing and fighting over what the ideal is. If people can first accept how they look, then it is my hope that people will begin to also accept how other people look and then the all around scrutiny and unhealthy habits will diminish. I think this war on weight does not need to be fought woman against woman or size against size, it needs to be fought against any media standard that requires a certain look as the only acceptable one. This fight needs to be a fight for equal acceptance of all sizes and exclude no one in the process.
In my mind the only “ideal weight” is the weight of balance in this society when women can come together to accept slender, curvy, skinny, fat and everything in between instead of continuing this tug of war of what is the “ideal”. Trying to make skinny the “out of season look” will then put another “look” on a pedestal and therefore the cycle of body shaming will continue. All women are real women, and our sizes are real as well.