I have a few bones to pick with you, world.
A few weeks ago, I saw somebody mention the word ‘thinspiration’ on Twitter. I thought ‘oh, that’s awesome, women encouraging other women to be healthy!’. I was super fucking wrong. If you’re going to take a moment to Google search the word thinspiration, know that you are either going to be absolutely outraged, disgusted, or sucked into an eating disorder.
Since that day, anger and words have been churning inside of me, but I was too pissed off and horrified to be able to make coherent sentences about it.
Until now. I became so angry over something I discovered on Twitter last night that my rage went full circle and I came back to clarity.
Apparently, #FatShamingWeek is a thing.
Are you fucking kidding me? Let’s take a moment to attempt to process this.
There is a whole subculture of the internet, ‘thinspiration’, that encourages anorexia and markets it as a healthy way to live. They share ‘inspirational’ photos of people near death as something to aspire to by starving yourself, and promise that it is a healthy and normal thing to do. For an abundance of ridiculous reasons.
To top it all off, people not only want to damage themselves and other people around them by encouraging everyone to starve themselves, they’re going so far as to create a whole week dedicated to SHAMING PEOPLE THAT AREN’T AS THIN AS THEM!
WHAT THE FUCK, WORLD?!
I can’t even wrap my head around this kind of thinking. Both of these things are absolutely atrocious. I’m ashamed to be a human being right now. It’s too much to deal with.
But it does need to be dealt with. Or, at least, talked about, which hopefully if enough people can band together and speak out against these things, a difference can be made. So, I’m just going to talk about a bunch of shit that might not make sense or have any flow, but I need to get it all out. And you should too.
Also, a small disclaimer, I’m not a professional anything, and all of this is just my opinion. If it helps you, awesome. If it offends you, awesome, go fuck yourself.
Eating disorders have been around long before the internet. They were caused by bullying, shitty parenting, depression, any number of things. Couple any of those things with the ability to go online and have millions of women egging you on, promising your life will be perfect and you’ll be happy and have everything you want if you just don’t eat.
A twelve year old girl gets bullied at school, turns to the internet and decides she’s just going to starve herself because that will make people like her. Then she turns around and bullies other kids that are overweight because it makes her feel better, knowing that it’s okay to do this because Fat Shaming Week says so. Now those bullied kids feel helpless and shitty and then they decide to starve themselves and bully other kids. Vicious cycle much?
This is a scenario that could be happening right now. Without people properly teaching these kids that being unhealthy won’t make them happy, they’re killing themselves.
In my ranting about thinspiration to many different people, a lot of their reactions were along the lines of ‘if I had a daughter I’d ban her from the computer!’. This is wrong.
I don’t have kids. But if I did have a daughter, I’d raise her to be loved and happy and confident and smart and to know she can talk to me about her problems and concerns. I’d raise her to understand that being healthy and comfortable with yourself is more important than what anyone else thinks you should be.
This is the way I was raised. And I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I don’t have self-degradation issues and I don’t shame other people into degrading themselves. My parents are really calm and down to earth people. They’re confident in themselves and each other, they’re healthy, and happy, and that was the environment I was brought up in.
Now, this isn’t to say I haven’t had a few hiccups in my life. I was moderately bullied towards the end of elementary school and the first few years of high school. At the time, I thought my life was ending, because teenage girls are drama queens. But I pulled through and eventually towards the end of high school, stopped caring what people thought of me, because I surrounded myself with my true friends.
After my invincible post-high school years, another big hiccup was a guy I dated when I was in my early twenties. When we first got together, I was 120 lbs. I was way too thin, and it was due to a combo of partying too hard and not budgeting properly for enough groceries in the house. I didn’t like that I looked like death, so I made a lot of changes to my life.
When I moved in with this guy, I left the job I was at and took a work at home job, and it wasn’t long before I gained weight. Not a whole lot, I’d guesstimate I was between 140 and 150. And this asshole told me that ‘I’d better not gain any more weight’. He didn’t say why, but I took the meaning to heart, and because I was stupid and couldn’t see that he obviously didn’t love me if he could feel that way, I went on a diet and started going to the gym at four in the morning.
This lasted two weeks, before I was like ‘fuck it’. I was so upset with myself for trying to change so that another human being would love me, and ashamed that I would even make myself feel that way. I ended up getting a pretty physical job shortly after that, and my weight evened out a bit, so my boyfriend was happy. But I wasn’t, and the relationship didn’t last long after that (longer than it should have, mind you, but that’s another story).
In being on my own, I learned that valuable life lesson that I realized I’d already known. You can’t love anyone else unless you love yourself first. You also can’t expect someone else to love you for who you are if YOU don’t love you for who you are.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with trying to better yourself. But there is a line between doing things that are good for you and trying to change yourself using unhealthy methods.
If someone is overweight and they want to be leaner, then the healthy approach is to eat right and exercise. If they’re shamed for being overweight and they start starving themselves and hating themselves, this is not healthy.
In my research around the internet today, I found a web site where skinny girls get together and bitch about how people bitch about how they’re skinny. This is where things can get confusing, because I may sound like a hypocrite when I say that I don’t condone skinny shaming either. Even though I just blathered on about how awful thinspiration is.
But the reality is, just as much as it must suck to be shamed because you’re fat, it probably sucks to be shamed that you’re thin, too. If you look at a skinny girl and go ‘jesus, eat a cheeseburger’, then you’re not any better than the person next to you looking at a fat girl going ‘jesus, stop eating that cheeseburger’.
As much as I’ll rant about women on the internet spreading the pro-anorexia message, I won’t shame women for just being thin. Some people are hyperthyroid, or they have a good metabolism, or they eat right and exercise and they’re just thin. And they shouldn’t be shamed for it.
And honestly, anorexic or bulimic women shouldn’t be shamed for their thinness or their eating disorders anyway. How about instead of ‘eat a fucking cheeseburger’ it’s ‘hey, are you okay?’ or ‘do you need someone to talk to?’. In my experience, girls/women with eating disorders need help from those who care about them, because they have a fucking DISORDER. These things can be worked on with love and support and help.
It’s the women that don’t eat and think it’s super healthy and awesome and are trying to spread the message that everyone else should do it because it’s super healthy… yeah, let’s do an exchange program with a third world country. Then they can not eat, and the starving people over there that really want to NOT starve can eat all the food we’re wasting over here.
I also discovered on my travels through the interwebs that Fat Shaming Week was started by a bunch of dudes on the extremely chauvinistic web site Return Of Kings. Their argument is that men have a right to be surrounded by thin and beautiful women, and if everyone tells fat ugly women that they’re fat and ugly, then they’ll be rightly ashamed and fix their appearances.
There’s a vein in my forehead that just won’t stop. I think my head might explode.
It’s bad enough that girls can be super catty and take stabs at each other. But a group of men that are so high and mighty that every woman should just be exactly what they want them to be?
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
If you aren’t attracted to fat women? Then date thin women. It doesn’t mean that every woman that doesn’t fit into your ideal appearance should just change for you. I would love for these guys to get smothered by bellies. Or we could just castrate them and be like ‘oh, I’m only attracted to guys with dicks, you’d better grow one because I only want to be surrounded by guys with dicks.’ Or how about, if you’re so offended by large women, we just gouge your eyes out so you can’t see them?!
I’m just getting hysterical now.
I hate to sound cliché, but there is such a thing as inner beauty. I’m not so naïve to think that people’s attraction to each other has absolutely nothing to do with the physical, but when you actually love someone, you love them for who they are.
My boyfriend told me the other day that he had a dream that I was shaped like an egg and had giant vagina hairs all the way up to my neck. I jokingly asked him if he still loved me that way, and he said yes. Granted, a ridiculous example, because how the fuck would I ever look that way, but it’s the thought that counts.
I guess the main thing that I’m trying to get across here, is that if you’re a good person, and you’re confident that fact, then you’re beautiful, and nothing can change that. And if anyone else tells you otherwise, then they’re a shitty person and they’re not beautiful.
So can everyone please stop shaming each other? Can we be constructive instead of destructive? Can we help people if they want it, instead of forcing our ideals on them? Can we be nice to each other and accept everyone for who they are?
Can we all just get along?
- When Pinterest Goes Wrong: Dangers of “Thinspiration” (wsaw.com)
- Where Blogging Turns Deadly (mi621.com)
- Community: The Kinship of Thinspiration (psychcentral.com)
- Thinspo? Are you kidding? (cturner0916.wordpress.com)
- Women’s desire for a “thigh gap” may be fueling eating disorders (cbsnews.com)
- Some Terrible People On Twitter Have Decided That It’s “Fat Shaming Week” (buzzfeed.com)
- ‘Fat letters’ seen as ‘fat shaming’ by parents, health experts (mnn.com)
- One Man’s Long Battle With Eating Disorders (informationonlife.wordpress.com)
- Skinny Shaming (grlwithdisorderedeating.wordpress.com)
- With friends like that, who needs enemies? (onceafatgirl.com)