Erin Wasson accidentally stepped into a bit of a scandal when she posted a photo on Instagram showing off her thin physique. The backlash she received has really made us rethink how we view body shaming.
Photo courtesy of Brian To / WENN.com
Here we go again… Just when it seems our society is making great strides in accepting women’s shapes as natural and beautiful, it turns out we have forgotten all about the fine print.
Erin Wasson — 32-year-old model — posted a seemingly innocent shot of herself on Instagram on Sunday, sitting pretty in front of a beautiful landscape with her bare back facing the camera. Little did she know that within the next few hours that photo would be torn to shreds by the righteous knights of the Imaginary International Weight Committee — in other words, regular folks skulking on Instagram.
You see, Wasson is very thin, and her ribs were quite visible in the indicted photograph, which made her an immediate target for the internet body image activists. Some users called on the model to eat or pointed out that she looks like a skeleton. Others called the shot “sad” and ridiculed her attempt at being sexy. Most of the comments have been deleted since.
So what’s the deal?
We all know what fat shaming is, and we know better than to ever participate in such a horrid activity. But is skinny shaming totally cool with everybody? Women with slender figures are openly labelled “skinny bees,” accused of suffering from eating disorders, told they cannot possibly have self-esteem issues (because they’re thin, duh!) and that their lives are so much easier because of their low weight. Oh, and they’re reminded that real women have curves. Somewhere during the long hours spent in health class, we must have missed that bit of vital information about the composition of an authentic woman.
Some women are actually — believe it or not — born thin, and thanks to their metabolism (and probably genetics) are able to maintain that weight throughout their lives. Thin women share the same insecurities and self-esteem issues as everyone else. They also want to be seen as beautiful and accepted for who they are — skinny bum and all.
So why is openly prying into their diet and personal life and uprooting their femininity widely embraced as body image policing, whereas projecting the same judgment on an overweight woman is considered “fat-ist”? It may be worth a thought.
Love your body (restrictions may apply)
We are in a new body image phase right now, where the slogan “love your body” is proudly scribbled across the flag. Yet the general leaning of protecting curvy and overweight women has left the skinny girls at the starting line. Large women are painted as gorgeous, fabulous and striking (which they are), but thin women are labelled as hungry, unhealthy and gaunt. How is that fair?
In Erin Wasson’s case, she has always been thin and athletic. Why should she feel subpar because of that? And more important, why do random internet users feel entitled to presume and jump to conclusions in regards to her health based on an Instagram snapshot?
We’re supposed to be emphasizing healthy body image and lifestyle, regardless of size, which means it needs to work for both sides of the scale. A thin woman is as stunning as a voluptuous one is, and neither deserves to feel guilty about their body. Forget about the number on your jeans label or your scale. Women need to unite to nurture a health revolution that will thrive independent of size. We must stop pointing our trembling fingers of reproof at other women.
What do you think about skinny shaming?