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21.1.14

"She Needs To Go Eat A Sandwich!" - The Growth & Acceptance of Size-Shaming In Today's Society

I've written many a post and tweeted many a tweet in regards to body-shaming and the whole "real woman" debate that has been flooding us women since the dawn of time. However, if anything I feel the issue is getting worse as the years go on - especially on the skinny-shaming side of things. I see it on a daily basis; comments such as "Give her a sandwich!" or "Bag of bones right there." are strewn all over social media.. and they're accepted? I'm here to write about the constant insults and derogatory comments slim women receive daily in regards to their size, health and diet.
I've been slim my entire life, I'm petite in build and height and guess what? That's my genetics. I understand women are constantly scrutinised in the press for their weight, appearance, style etc but that doesn't give women - or men - the open door to feel the need to spread it around 24/7. Over the years, magazines have banned underweight models from their pages and the media has taken a stance on stopping the production of content that may trigger eating disorders - but this has caused a massive backlash where people now see slim women as automatically unhealthy/ suffering from an eating disorder/ ugly/ unsexy and not womanly. Instead of pitching one size up against another, why can't we all accept that women of ALL sizes exist? Slim women aren't a figment of the imagination, slim women don't all suffer from bulimia, slim women DO eat and slim women don't bloody deserve such negativity thrown at them on a daily basis.
I can completely empathise and understand that curvy women feel that the press and media give them a harder time overall when it comes to their size but that doesn't justify putting down women of a different build in order to boost your own self-esteem and confidence.

Photos like this do their rounds online on a daily basis - where is the sense!?
I saw this post (pictured below) on the Independent.ie Facebook page this morning, the photo shows a slim girl in her underwear - no protruding bones, no obvious "physical signs" of an eating disorder and she looks perfectly healthy. Now, for the comments: the top comment nicely reads "Someone give that girl a sandwich..." with 23 thumbs up. The fact that someone saw this photo and immediately associated it with an eating disorder/ dieting is messed up for a start. If anything, my body shape and size is similar to this girl in the photo and to read further comments from people claiming that she has "the body of a child, something is seriously wrong here" and that she isn't "sexy.. no curves" makes me feel sick to core.


I may be small in build but to claim I have the body of an infant is offensive. Saying my size is "seriously wrong" is deluded. Claiming someone of this size can't be sexy because of a lack of curves is ludicrous - sexiness comes from confidence within yourself. Big tits, curves, Megan Fox's hair and all of it in between doesn't make someone sexy. Anyone - OF ANY SIZE - can be sexy. Mindblowing. Marilyn Monroe had curves and is still considered to be one of the sexiest women to have ever lived but Audrey Hepburn of the same era embraced her ballerina-like slim figure and likewise to Marilyn, she is still considered to be extremely sexy and beautiful today.
It's absolutely revolting to see such an overwhelming mindset of people thinking it's okay to make slim people feel like utter shit about themselves - how wrong/ sickly/ childlike we look. How dare we exist! How are we meant to educate the young and each other about mental illness, eating disorders and on body image if we have adults going around with mindsets like the above? Would 15 year old me with not a boob or bum in sight, like to read a 30+ year old claiming that someone of a similar shape is "wrong" or not "sexy"? 15 year old me would probably cry for hours looking in the mirror reading comments like that and would lose even further confidence within herself because nobody would like or accept her for the way she looks. 20 years old me right now says a big "Feck you!" to anyone who attempts to put me down over my appearance - especially in regards to my weight and size. I'm healthy, I eat and I have this body due to genetics - should I feel wrong or inadequate because of this? Of course not.
Skinny-shaming is just as real and reoccurring as fat-shaming and that's a fact - it isn't a myth, it exists, it's there for you to witness and see for yourself. Why do other women feel the need to bash other women day in and day out? We're our own worst enemies - none of us like to be criticised over our appearance so why do the majority of us feel it's acceptable to insult each other and to vocalise it so freely online? If anything women should stand up for each other, which is what I try and attempt to promote - hence my reply to the woman's comment on that photo.
This a perfect example of when a campaign trying to promote body positivity, goes wrong. Dove had their best intentions at heart with this global campaign - but to claim that "real women" have "real curves" leaves women with no curves and slim figures a bit puzzled.. "Are we not real women?"
Eating disorders exist on both ends of the scale - obesity AND anorexia are huge issues in today's society but using them as an excuse to put down other people isn't helping the problem at hand in trying to educate people about them. Not all women have huge boobs, not all women have curvaceous hips and not all women have slim waists. Most insults derive from insecurity - it's a known fact. If a woman sees an image of someone with her idea of an "ideal" body she either thinks "She looks great! That's some inspiration for me." or - like many women she decides to go down the "She needs to eat, a man likes curves not bones! She's awful." route. It's sickening.

Louise O'Reilly is an award-winning plus-sized model and blogger, here is what she had to say on the matter: "This morning the Irish Independent  featured an image of a woman in lingerie on their Facebook page. Valentines day is soon approaching, images like this will be frequent until then. But what is shocking is the response from women, commenting on the image suggesting this woman has the body of a child and how they would not describe her as 'sexy'. This woman to me looks healthy. She has a healthy glow, she has a body with breasts and hips even if the latter may be a size 8 or 10, her size does not make her any less of a woman. Nowadays we are too quick to judge. People ask for more diversity in fashion yet with constant criticism towards both thin and larger women on social media its creating more differences as opposed to less. We need to accept the fact that every woman is made differently and no one can define sexiness. Not everyone has the same shape or body type, dress size, bust size or height - we are all women regardless and we should respect that as well as one another."

I've received a lot stick in the past for sticking up for myself and other slim women but I feel it's a need and a responsibility of mine to promote equality and the acceptance of different shapes and sizes. Nobody is in any position to claim one size has it harder than the other because the tweets and comments I've shown you prove it comes from all angles. I'm friends with so many curvy girls and bloggers and they've agreed with me on these topics - why should slim women be put down in order for another size to feel better about themselves?
Some women are wired to be slim, some are wired to be curvy - that's life. When we all finally realise this and accept this fact, maybe we can all move from making each other feel like crap. We need to meet in the middle, acceptance is the middle-ground.

Here's what you guys had to say about it..



Have you ever experienced insults directed towards you and your size? How did it make you feel? What can we do as a society to promote awareness and to bring the size-shaming to a halt - if it can ever be stopped?