Skinny love

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It’s time we had a chat about the hypocrisy afoot in weight discourse.

I recently saw an online meme circulating that read, “Real men like meat, leave the bones to the dogs” in reference to women’s weight.

Such a brief statement managed to not only objectify women as mere meat and bones, but to also reduce men to animalistic consumers. But what was particularly troubling was the number of comments, shares and likes that were supporting the image.

Even outside the context of weight, it’s never acceptable to elevate one group through the debasement of another. But this meme in particular attests to a practice that’s fairly common now and that often goes unnoticed: skinny-shaming.

Many strides have been made to counter “fat-shaming,” but at some point, “skinny-shaming” became acceptable.

We see “bony” girls; we make assumptions. We see “meaty” girls; we make assumptions. But the fact is that we don’t know the circumstances of a person’s clothing size.

We all know bodies come in different shapes and sizes, with differing bone structures, and fat and muscle retention — ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph. Ergo, it’s logically unsound to assume that just because someone is thin that they starve themselves.

“Eat, eat, you’re too skinny.”

If someone is thin, yelling at them to eat a muffin isn’t helpful. For one thing, it’s their body, and you have no business saying what goes in or out.

More importantly, say their weight is due to an eating disorder. Do you really think your damn muffin is going to somehow heal underlying psychological issues?

Statements like “real men like meat” all have an underlying assumption: that there’s some sort of a correlation between a woman’s body and how much of a “real” woman she is.

But what’s the formula? Is my calculated curvature somehow an indicator of how “real” I am? And what is this level of realness we’re trying to reach? Who’s this original female we’re all measuring ourselves against and trying to simulate?

There isn’t one, so whether you’re a woman of bones or a woman of meat is irrelevant.

I think the real women are the ones who support each other, instead of shaming each other for natural divergences from man-made conceptions of beauty.

It’s time we let go of our fixation on weight, and shift the conversation from assumptions to understanding, so that we can ensure each other’s well-being.

Anisa is the Journal’s Editorials Editor. She’s a fourth-year English major.

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