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Shame, Shame, Shame, Die You Skinny Bitch

Recently Victoria Beckham came under fire for using models that were too thin or the fat word for thin—skinny. I clicked on the pictures and video expecting to see walking skeletons and well I didn’t. Some of the models were thinner then others with their upper arms as thin as their lower arms, and this can make someone look very thin. Although that said, there are a lot of people out there (guys too) who have builds like this, especially when they are young, but they are not sickly or starving. They generally fill out as they get older, but some people are naturally thin and this is just their build and body type.

When it comes to fashion, thin models are used because basically they want walking hangers—they want the viewer to notice the clothes and not the person in the clothes which is why the models that walk in fashion shows all have the same body type and are in and around the same height. This creates a uniform look, essentially a walking clothes rack. And today buying clothes “off the rack” is the way everyone shops, we no longer go to a store and see clothes on a live person and then have clothes ordered to fit the way women often did in the pre war days. And since we are so used to seeing clothes hanging on hangers when we buy them, this is kind of reproduced on the runway and in editorials—hangers with pretty faces. The camera can also make people appear to be heavier then they are, so with the rise of the use of photography in fashion after World War II models got thinner.

There certainly have been cases where this was taken to an extreme and models were used that looked like they had just been rescued from a concentration camp but often they are just naturally skinny girls. Again it is fashion and not “reality” and I don’t think fashion shows are nessisarily representing reality. But for the most part, most of the women who like fashion, read fashion magazines, and buy fashionable clothes do not have eating disorders.

And if fat shaming is seen as bad or negative, then why is skinny shaming OK? Isn’t this just the other side of the same coin?

The percentages are actually quite low. Eating disorders are a very serious disorder and are not caused by fashion, however the images of thin women often used in fashion can act as a trigger, these type of images do not cause eating disorders but they can according to Eonline and Lorna Garner, chief operating officer of the eating disorder charity b-eat, escalate and exacerbate existing conditions. She states “There is overwhelming evidence that points to these images having a very negative and damaging effect.” But statistically the percentages are still fairly low when compared to the public at large of women who read and or look at fashion images and have an actual eating disorder. And sadly the bigger health issue is obesity and majority of the public being over weight, with many healthcare professionals referring to this problem as an epidemic. And this has to do with the American food industry (don’t get me started) the average American diet, and the over-sized portions and servings, because seriously folks, if you have to hold your beverage with two hands—it’s too big.

I have only known two people with eating disorders, one of which was a guy, a guy who had zero interest in fashion. And when I say zero, I mean zero, he wore a uniform of black or gray jeans and black or gray short or long sleeved tees, yet he had an eating disorder complete with making himself throw up. My friend had this disorder due to growing up in an extreme authortian household with a strict demanding father. The other person I knew was a women and she was even hospitalized because of her eating disorder, in her case she had been sexually molested by a female family member and the eating disorder was a manifestation of that abuse and the loss of control. Which is generally why eating disorders develope, it is a response to a lack of control or a perceived lack of control. So to blame an entire industry for a complex emotional disorder which effects a rather small part of the general population is a bit misguided.

But it is not surprising, it seems anything that is mainly targeted to women is held up for scrutiny. And if fat shaming is seen as bad or negative, then why is skinny shaming OK? Isn’t this just the other side of the same coin? The anger and animosity aimed at thin women is exceptional. It is assumed that all thin women are intentionally starving themselves and are vapid self absorbed superficial drama queens. I have a friend who lost a fair amount of weight and went from a size 14 to a size 4 in about 20 months. She did it in a healthy gradual way, eating healthy food and working out. But told me she experienced open hostility from her fellow coworkers who appeared resentful of her successful weight loss. And another time when I was at an event at for Lucky Magazine and was speaking with one of the editors who had an athletic build she spoke about how she gained weight when she was pregnant and show she was treated differently. I fully expected her to say that people were not as nice to her when she gained weight, but nope, she said the opposite—people were nicer to her when she was heavier and she too was quite surprised by this reaction. Not that obese people and women in particular do not experience open ridicule, they do. Which makes this reaction so surprising. What is it about the female body  in all it’s shapes and sizes that our society (and others) find so threatening?

And this coveting of the ultra thin is a fairly recent development. Historically, being stick thin and flat chested was not considered attractive for women and if you go back a hundred years or more it was associated with poverty. In recent history and before the 1970’s the ideal as was the curvy bombshell aesthetic, think Joan of Mad Men fame. But how many women look like that? That is even more of an unattainable ideal. I personal know very few women that have figures like Joan.

So what exactly is this about? And this does seem to be something specific to the American pschye. I think part of the problem is because the gap between the general public and the images we see in the media of actors, celebrities and models is so wide. With much of the population being over weight and out of shape and a majority (though not all) of celebrities being fit and thin and models being very young and thin. Which in a way is kind of a reflection of American society in general with our wide discrepancies in wealth and political and religious beliefs. And it seems women’s bodies are somehow always used as metaphors for all of societies ills. And I made the same observation that Rowena did, I meant to address it in the post, but yes the models in Victoria Beckham’s shows were thin, but they were not any thinner then the models used in dozens upon dozens of shows this past Fashion Week, yet only she was singled out for criticism. Could it be that she herself is quite thin? I think this is exactly the reason, what say you?

And a very sad commentary on our society was the existence of a Facebook page and Instagram account called Project Harpoon. This group photoshopped photos of heavier celebrities to make them look thinner as a way (so they say) to call attention to what they claim is a climbing  trend of “fat acceptance” which is then used as an excuse to not exercise and not take responsibility for personal healthcare, along with the issue of skinny shaming. And it is interesting to note, the images are mostly female celebrities. What, there are no less then svelte male celebrities? Hmm. Yes being overweight can cause some unwanted heath issues, and yes skinny shaming is not OK, but this is NOT the way. Wow. And again it is all aimed at women. Both accounts have since been deleted. But there are still the haters judging women’s bodies which was sadly brought in to focus by the recent negative comments on social media regarding Gigi Hadid. I mean really? Really? Sad to say that I am sure a fair among of those comments came from other women, and I am sure the majority of it is plain old jealousy. But still, how sad is this. What does this all mean?

So what do think? Do you think it is ok to shame skinny um I mean thin women? And why do you think this happens? And why do think obviously beautiful women are also body shamed?


  1. I also spoke about Victoria Beckhan backlash last Wednesday I do not see these model extremely skinny she just getting attack for no reason,

  2. thanks for posting such an intressting post to this difficult topic. I think the issue in fashion is really difficult..Not everyone looking thin has an eating disrder BUT of course this doesn’t mean there’s noone with a disorder and that we’re setting wrong idols for children, who don’t think about that like an adult. I’m happy that you wrote about the topic.. Actually weather fat nor skinny shaming are okay and we have to think more about ourselfes than pointing with the fingers on others.
    Wish you a lovely monday, dear 🙂

  3. Fascinating and important subject. Too complex for me to address it in a comment, but let me laud you for raising the issue. It’s nice when blogs discuss real life.

  4. I think skinny shaming is just as bad as fat shaming. I mean everyone’s body is their own business. I would hope that people who do have legitimate eating disorders get the help that they need though. I checked out images from the Victoria Beckham show after I heard about the controversy and the models weren’t thinner than models who walked other shows. I can tell you that this might be an even worse problem in Asia. I’m pretty sure I’d be considered fat there and I’m a size 6.

  5. I say the shaming must stop, period. It’s not okay to body shame larger size and it’s definitely not okay to shame anyone who is smaller build too, it’s the same damn thing! We should just embrace our shape, big or small and I’m tired of the scrutiny.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  6. I never thought about models as living hangers before but I love your approach to this topic – you’re so right! Plus, body shaming is so not cool. We’re on the same page girl!

  7. You bring up a great point with this post. First off, let me just say, I love the name of this post. I laughed out loud with this girl lol. Okay back to the point lol. You’re right, a model doesn’t make another person have an eating disorder, but when a young woman only sees skinny, and their minds get the impressions of “This is what I’m supposed to look like, why don’t I?” it’s an issue that has to be spoken about.

    I applaud you for posting this. So many other designers look past it instead of addressing it. Another good point you brought up was, most models are walking hangers… most women need to hear it said that way. I believe if they did hear it, it would help them get away from.. “I must look be skinny at all cost because this is popular and is what successful looks like.” But then again it’s not only the fashion industry that has to face this issue. Young girls must be taught at home first. Loved this girl.

    Kia / KTS

  8. My first job was in the fashion industry, as a model. The moment I distinctly remember is having my agent at the time tell me I needed to lose 10 pounds before a runway show. This isn’t to say it’s a common, but the fact that it happened to an already SLIGHTLY underweight (naturally at the time, like you said, when you’re a teenager it’s not farfetched) young, girl is a bit disturbing. This wasn’t for a small, unknown show. This also wasn’t a small, unknown agent and casting director.

    I agree that it’s not fair to skinny shame, just like it’s unfair to fat shame. I think the media sensationalizes a lot of things and as a result goes on an offensive tirade. I also think it’s unfair to let things slip by as if they’re not happening. Anorexia is the deadliest mental illness. It’s stigmatized, used as a term we throw around when pointing at the thin/skinny girls, and generally looked on as a vain illness (it’s not at all.)

    It didn’t start from vanity for me. It started from wanting to fit in and perform a job. As a teenage girl, it was important for me to not get left behind and to keep earning money. I think an important point here is to ensure that all girls know that playing in the extremes of weight is not OK, that includes the viewers and the models themselves. I struggled in the extreme of anorexia for over a decade before being able to finally say I’m fully recovered and overwhelmingly happy. Over the course of recovery I met other former models who are now advocates for health at the forefront.

    Fashion doesn’t cause anorexia, but perpetually placing young, very thin models as the ideal “hanger” and denigrating the girls to hanger status makes other young girls that much more likely to accept that as the norm, beginning a life of disordered eating (not eating disorder.) This then evolves into these girls becoming women who think it’s ok to do things like fasting diets and other yo-yo tactics. For others, it’s a seed that evolves into something that can claim life.

    It’s a bit of a sobering thought to think that we’re even taking chances with lives for the sake of a fabric drape. I love fashion and will continue being engrossed by it. It’s in my blood! lol It’s completely possible to present clothes in fantastic light and use a variety of shapes, providing an example for the viewership and the models. Jean-Paul Gaultier’s and Betsy Johnson’s casting practices are an example.

    Wow, I’m sorry this is so long!! haha, this obviously hit home. 🙂

    Style Tomes | Style Tomes on Instagram

  9. I agree, really love reading this article !


  10. I don’t think it’s ok to shame anybody! I see such a mean society lately. I see comments on twitter, facebook and instagram that make me cringe. They put down peoples weight, age, hair, makeup etc. We’re all different!

  11. Personally speaking, I was very thin when I was young/a teenager, I am also quite short/petite all around. I was so small that even a standard size 0 for bottoms was too big for me, and I had to shop at kids stores for pants, which wasn’t too much fun as I always wanted to wear what was trending. For years I struggled to gain weight, but no matter how much I ate, my metabolism was just that much faster. I couldn’t help being my size, and I even tried desperately to gain weigh to no avail, so in the end all I’m trying to say, it sometimes we can’t help but be our size. Eventually though, my metabolism slowed down and I was able to fit into normal adult clothes. That being said, people always make comments to me that I need to eat something, which is kind of annoying, because I can actually throw down a big meal, and I do eat.

    House of Illusions

  12. What an important issue you are addressing. There are so many factor’s to why this is happening.- and you’ve made some excellent points! I would say a lot also have to do with the media and we as women. We should not put each other down (especially on each others look). There are women naturally thin and there are women that are naturally larg but that does not make neither one any less of a women. We should encourage each other to be healthy, happy and successful and if we can get each other there through love and respect, it really does not matter what your scale is showing.

  13. Shaming people for being thin is just as wrong as shaming people for being fat. I don’t think you can blame body shaming on one industry, but the fashion industry is an easy target.

  14. I really enjoyed reading this article, as I share many of your feelings as well. I’m smaller and I have a natural thigh gap, simply because my hips are wide. When that was a huge trend, I always saw Instagram comments on how ugly it was and how no girls looked good with a gap between their legs. Needless to say, this kind of hurt me, because it seemed like instead of uplifting all body types, it was assumed that skinny people should all be super confident about all aspects of their body, and all other body types were more deserving of support.
    I think this is a sensitive topic to write about, and I really appreciate your speaking about it. I hope to read more like this in the future! (:

    Angelina Is | Bloglovin’

  15. I think that the fashion world and media have made the standards for beautiful so unobtainable that a very small percentage of women will ever achieve those standards. I believe that these standards cause women to have lower self esteem. I think that this sometimes leads to some women being mean to others and to men being negative towards women who have not met those standards.
    Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

  16. This was so well written! I love that you spoke up about “skinny shaming”. It’s definitely not ok! In fact, people shouldn’t be commenting on ANYONE’S weight. It’s not their concern and they should keep what they think to themselves AND worry only about themselves.. I don’t think they realize how their comments on being skinny or overweight affects people.. I’ve always had people commenting about my weight saying I’m “too skinny” or “did you eat all of that?” or “what are you, a size 1?”. It’s very bothersome :/

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