It’s 2016 and people who were informed that citizens of the world come in all shapes in sizes in kindergarten are still talking about the “difference’ between “fat shaming” and “skinny shaming.” Who is allowed to speak their minds about body positivity and who isn’t? But of course, everyone is. Keira Knightley, Gabourey Sidibe, Jay-Z, Ilana Glazer, your local street crazy, a precocious toddler. Bodies are everyone’s earthly possession, and yet today, thanks to a sprinkling of outspoken people, it might seem that the world is pitting your curvy BFFS against their slim BFFS.
Maybe it would help if Brian Fellows filmed a nature documentary establishing that women who wear a size 4 in overalls are indeed the same species of human as the women who wear them in a size 16 to inform these divisive mouthpieces this: every woman does not in fact compare herself to everyone else through the prism of size. For your throwback Thursday fix, take a look at this archaic ad from a bajillion years ago that ran in ten magazines:
“Your breasts may be too big, too saggy, too pert, too flat, too full, too far apart, too close together, too A cup, too lopsided, too jiggly, too pale, too padded, too pointy, too pendulous or just two mosquito bites. But with Dep styling products, at least you can have your hair the way you want it. Make the most of what you’ve got.”
We know. Whoever wrote this is a silly rabbit, but it lays bare the very modern day reality: the problem is that ALL women are body shamed on the daily no matter what they look like. It is truth universally acknowledged that there are people everywhere who feel they are entitled to tell women when they’re too slim or too large or too whatever. Come what may for you and your fitness goals, people will still declare that your body type is not their personal cup of boring tea.
Now in this pointless debate, there are women who on the “curvier” side who justifiably want to talk about how they have it the worst. They’re constantly receiving the reminder from the fashion industry that being slim is the way to be, they’re the ones people are phobic about when they talk about weight, even though that’s changing. And there’s some validity to the fact that we’re told that slimmer is “ideal,” but so few women are resentful toward women who are slimmer – they’re resentful toward fashion brands that ignore their right to exist. And then we have Drake and Nicki Minaj are telling “thick” women they’re flyer than slim girls, in an exclusionary way. (We know. It’s a switcheroo, and people are entitled to find that refreshing.)
Let’s be clear, when we at RunwayRiot faint from physical attraction to Osha Waiters, and predominantly feature curvier women, that doesn’t mean people who are smaller should not be celebrated and defended against sizism of any kind. It’s just that fashion desperately needs larger sizes to fit all the queens, so when we spread the love, we spread the love to women who are larger more often. But amid all this chatter, it is SO CHOICE to remind yourself that the people in the dark corners of the net dedicated to telling you who you are, and let’s be real, they even lurk at some of our family functions, that all women regardless of size get touched by body shaming and whacktacular beauty ideals.
And then there’s this. Of the things we hear about how to do your body right, we often hear a lot from people who know Gigi Hadid about how it’s preferable to have curves in the RIGHT places. People still believe that your natural body is a series of fill in the blank pop quiz questions. Curves over here and you ace being “feminine,” extra meat over there, and you might fail to meet some non-entity’s expectations. And that hurts everyone.
When you talk about “straight-size” women, there’s a whole lotta body diversity within that “category” of women who can wear sample sizes. Broad-brushing ANY group of women is a dumb move. Here’s what “slimmer” people get to hear. “Real women have curves,” “eat a burger,” “bones are for dogs, meat is for men,” and look at Marylin Monroe, this is what used to be sexy and this slim model isn’t. As long as you’re bringing good vibes to the table, no one can fail to be sexy because of their size. “Who wore it best?” is so incredibly out of touch that it doesn’t even fit in today’s culture. Seriously, in what room does a woman with a soul walk in and start hating on other women for being different? If you’re in that room right now, such switch rooms, and preferably land in the 40/40 club with the Broad City girls and girls of all sizes.
Body shaming of any kind is designed to divide us: whether it’s because someone decides to broadcast their feelings that a woman is too big, too little, too pear-shaped or wearing too many flesh tattoos. And fruit-themed categorizations of women need to be Marie Kondo’d along with cheap tube tops you’ll never wear. Conveniently, the women who you’re seeing more of, the ones who are fighting for acceptance of rolls, cellulite don’t have a harsh word to say about women with bones, at least publicly. Same goes for women who are slim, typically.
One woman worried about Ashley Graham’s health does not mean that people who are slim think women without a thigh gap are doing life wrong. For every Cheryl Tiegs, there’s a Heidi Klum. Who cares if someone says a woman with breasts that don’t “fill out” a bra, or a woman who doesn’t have a flat stomach are unworthy of their sexual attention – no one wanted his anyway. Anyone providing their non-expert take on how you should look with so many references to the medical knowledge they don’t have can be deleted from your phone with a couple of swipes. We’ve heard about curvy fashion people not liking slim people on Instagram, but of course that’s not EVERYONE, and if we stand up for feeling good about our bodies than everyone will rise together like the best croissant doughs.
Inclusion just means celebrating every single body, it’s about people who don’t follow the gospel of the more traditional and Western beauty standards and also not shaming the people who might naturally adhere to those standards. But people keep propelling the narrative that the few ways fashion has become loudly more size inclusive as though it’s a takeover, a coup that’s destined to marginalize slim women. Of course it’s not – and there’s still precious little size diversity at all.
If we had our way, we’d put a mannequin of a woman staring at her phone looking at something a body shamer said in the Museum of Natural History and never see her again. Maybe that’s idealistic, but let’s realize that MOST women are not engaged in a size-related cat fight, and body shaming sucks no matter who the target is.