Why skinny-shaming isn’t the same as fat-shaming.

Singer, Coi Leray, wearing peach-colored lingerie with a white background.

I was once a fat girl. I first came to realize this when I was just kid. I was 10 years old, it was Friday and we had pizza. The school had done a physical a week prior and had wrote to my mother that I was obese. According to them I was 134 lbs when I should’ve been around 90-110lbs at the time. Instead of my mother allowing me to go outside to play and tried changing my diet, she scolded me. She blamed me for my weight and was ashamed that I was fat. She did all this while I was eating pizza. My mother after having 3 kids never thought of a healthy lifestyle for her family. That’s when my struggle with my weight began. 

In high school, I was around 140-150lbs. However, I wasn’t eating lunch at school. In college, I discovered I was 5’0 and 154lbs. In 2018 I went on a fitness and health journey and lost 32 lbs. Besides my new found confidence, I was treated better when I was in public. People who knew me when I was fat, commented on my weight loss saying I looked better. Because of the treatment I was getting I for one, can tell you that skinny-shaming is not nearly the same as fat-shaming. 

Now there was two times in my life where I lost weight. One was on my health journey back in 2018.  The other was in 2015, when I had just transferred to Virginia State University. I was literally on a diet of coffee and cigarettes everyday and very rarely was I eating food. I didn’t feel it but I had lost weight due to stress, anxiety, and depression. I had developed an eating disorder. When I came back home, my family and friends although few were concerned for my health, a lot more people asked me “what my secret was” to my weight loss.  I do take into account how people knew how much I wanted to lose weight.  Point is, no one told me that I was unhealthy when I was skinny. 

The point that I am trying to convey is that being fat-shamed is not just how people find you unattractive because you’re fat. When we think of fat we don’t think of healthy. Trust me, if you’re fat you’re not healthy. When we think of fat we think lazy, lower-class, unattractive, unhygienic, dumb etc. Fat people, for the longest time, were the butt of jokes. Fat men were looked at as stupid and neglectful while fat women were seen as desperate and unworthy of love. 

Even in real life, a fat person faces more discrimination based on their appearance than someone of an average or healthy weight. Fat people have more likely to be discriminate against and have harder time finding work and earn less.  They are taken less seriously and treated harsher in hospitals when seeking treatment. This is especially true amongst women. I knew someone in high school, who couldn’t get a job at Abercrombie because they overheard the manager say that they weren’t gonna hire someone as big as her.

            Unless the person is as skinny as Youtuber, Eugenia Cooney, no one really comments on a skinny person’s lifestyle because they just assume they are more active and living healthily. A skinny person can eat unhealthy processed  foods such as pizza or Chinese take out, a skinny person can do drugs like cocaine and no one would assume that they’re unhealthy. Yet a fat person can just exist and people believe they aren’t doing nothing to better themselves. 

            We shouldn’t bully others simply because of their appearance. However, Fat people go through more likely to be discriminated against than thinner people.  To act like skinny-shaming is on the same level as  fat-shaming is ignoring this problem. Yes, we are all judged by our appearances but most go beyond the point of just name calling and belittlement. 

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