People & Inspiration

Daily Diaries: There's Such A Thing As Skinny-Shaming, Too

Daily Diaries: There's Such A Thing As Skinny-Shaming, Too




By Red Dimaandal

 

“You’re so skinny!” “How much do you weigh?” “Are you a size zero now?” “Did you lose weight?” For the average girl who aspires to be thin like the models and celebrities she sees on the small or big screen, billboards, and magazines, getting these comments might seem flattering—exhilarating, even. There’s no rocket science to this. We all get judged for our looks. Going to school or going on dates and parties has always been a game of “How do I look?” And the most ideal look for girls? Sexy. You know, skinny sexy.

I am skinny, but I’m not like those girls who like being called one. In fact, I get insulted whenever someone remarks on my being skinny.

 

The Skinny on Being Skinny

At 5’4” and 99 lbs, I’m clinically underweight. It’s always been like this since I was 7. At a young age, I was also diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, where the spine—instead of growing straight—develops in an abnormal curve. Think an elongated “S” or “C” shape. Scoliosis affects boys and girls alike, but studies show that tall, young, and skinny girls are more at risk for the condition. Just my luck, right?

Unfortunately, having scoliosis and being thin just worsened the body shaming I was already getting. In high school, some of my classmates used to call me names like “Iron Girl” and “Hunchback,” and, even worse, “Skeletor.” But I was too weak, too shy, and too embarrassed then to fight back—and it totally diminished my self-esteem.

Skinny shaming is just that—flaming a person for her too-thin-to-function appearance. It might seem a little off to compare it to fat shaming, but they’re both shaming, if you ask me. The bottom line is, a person’s confidence is irreversibly affected when made fun of for being thin.

 

That Thing Called Skinny Shaming

It all boils down to one’s perception of her body and how this view affects her now—and forever. The article “Shame in Today’s Society: What It Means, and Why It Absolutely Needs to Stop” on Medical Daily says, “Over 90% of women report dissatisfaction with their bodies. However, even when a woman achieves that comfort, the world is still there to cut her down.”

Skinny shaming can worsen, of course. Brene Brown, a scholar, author, public speaker, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work professor, and “shame researcher” cited shaming as highly correlated to addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, and eating disorders, even suicide.

 

The Self-Loathing

Skinny shaming does happen, and it can definitely change an individual. It doesn’t help, either, that the entertainment and fashion industries often perpetrate the glorified but delicate concept of skinny. Raffles Manila student and part-time model Stefanie Chung attests to this, saying she felt the pressure to have a slim body when she tried out for a job when she was 17. To think, she was already skinny then.

“Before I realized I had weight issues, I was living each day normally—I’d play football and hit the gym on a regular basis, but I was definitely not concerned about my diet,” she tells Chalk.

Wanting to keep up with the harsh thinner-is-better standard, Stefanie resorted to dieting that eventually led to appetite loss, bordering on anorexia. “It was difficult because I was always on a crazy diet and that obviously left me feeling weak,” she recounts.

It was a struggle battling the urge not to eat. With the help of friends and family, she was able to piece herself back together with their encouragement and love—and Stefanie has since remained positive. She has decided to just focus on her wellness than on her looks.

“No matter what your weight is, it doesn’t define you as a person. You should embrace yourself no matter what.”

 

Skinny is Strong

While many girls might wish to be skinny, there are girls like Stefanie and I who wish to be respected for whatever body type we have.

Early this year, Cinderella actress Lily James shocked moviegoers by appearing in a powder blue shimmering gown that emphasized her tiny waist—which the public remarked had been “digitally transformed.” Lily then fought back her detractors in an interview with Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani on Huffington Post Live. “Why do women always get pointed at for their bodies? Why is this whole thing happening and I’m constantly having to justify myself? You know, I’m very healthy and I always have been.”

I got my first hint of acceptance from society at 16, when my doctor suggested removing my body braces. It was a relief. It felt good, seeing a new me living with an upright body. Though, I admit, I felt more insecure after entering the publishing industry, but seeing pretty faces with small frames such as my #lifepeg Kim Chiu affirmed me—I don’t take other people’s issues about my weight to heart anymore. I feel more secure about myself now. After all, a person’s worth isn’t measured with her body.


SURVEY SAYS...

Chalk made the rounds of different campuses to check students’ awareness of skinny shaming.

62.8% Yes
71.8% No one should be defined by their body type
17.9% Weak and unhealthy
10.3% Proud and (seemingly) perfect
15.4% No
21.8% No, but I am now
17.9% think skinny shaming isn't bullying
42.3% believe that skinny shaming and fat shaming are equally bullying in society

What do you think of skinny girls?
17.9% Weak and unhealthy
10.3% Proud and (seemingly) perfect
71.8% No one should be defined by their body type
85.9% believe that your body type doesn't define you  

 

ANOREXIA VS. BULIMIA

The difference between these two common eating disorders

Often manifesting in the teenage and young adult years, eating disorders are classified as serious and emotional physical problems that may result in life-threatening consequences. Focusing too much on weight, body shape, and food intake may significantly interfere with one’s health and, in turn, one’s life. Symptoms vary, depending on the type of disorder.


Anorexia When a person has an intense fear of getting fat, it could be a sign of anorexia, says the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. The person will likely feel overweight despite already being skinny, even borderline malnourished. Anorexics are often characterized by habits like cutting food into small pieces and refusing to eat in front of people.

Bulimia It’s normal for a person to turn to food when under intense emotions like loneliness, boredom, or stress. However, overeating followed by purging, fasting, or excessive exercising is not. This, according to the National Institutes of Health in the US, can already be classified as bulimia.

 

ALSO READ: In Focus: How Miss Canada Siera Bearchell Rose Above Body Critics


Photography Ian Castañares / Styling Rj Roque / Makeup Muriel Vega Perez / Hair Reynard Bonuzo for Triple Luck Brow And Nail Salon / Special Thanks to Ogie Rodriguez

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