I’m a skinny girl, I always have been, blessed with one of those metabolisms that allows me to eat whatever I want with no apparent effect. Also, I’ve always been fairly pleased with my physical appearance and have no experience with eating disorders. So when it comes to body size issues, my usual policy is to keep my mouth shut. I’m pretty sure the experience of someone who is privileged in both size and self-esteem would not be reassuring to anyone who is experiencing real social problems related to appearance. In this article, Alexa Chung provides a pretty good example of how body talk is the one thing skinny girls can’t pull off. Still, she’s inspired me to give it a long shot.
Snarking on people’s physical appearances is beyond tacky, no matter what size the snarkers or the snarked-upon are. I agree with Chung here:
I just think that whole culture of hatred, and also feeling like it’s your right to judge people when you don’t know them is really fucked up. … And it’s difficult because sometimes people do have eating disorders, and whatever but you never know what’s going on in someone’s life so I’d say don’t be quick to think you know.
This unfortunate phenomenon of body judgement will never be transcended. Human beings have a hardwired biological interest in perpetuating our own species. The reason why we’re so obsessed with female bodies and their sizes is a base animal instinct that makes us perceive the fuckability of any particular female as a crucial issue affecting the survival of all humanity. The majority of humans won’t ever become self-aware enough to realize the irrationality of this mistake, and the result is most people will always say incredibly stupid things.
If I could offer advice to anyone who is fielding criticism of their size, I would just remind them that whoever is saying these things is not rational, civilized or intelligent. The credibility of such commentary is on the same level as a barking dog.
Outside of that observation, Chung’s comments are kind of confusing - considering the source, she was probably approached at a public appearance and her stream of consciousness was transcribed verbatim. So stuff like this:
I think it’s about time people stopped judging women on their appearance and more on their intellect. Like you can appreciate my style without having to appreciate my weight.
… just comes off as ironic. Chung is in the business of being judged on appearances, not intellect, and when she wanders into the world of words (similar to what Slimane did not so long ago) she comes off as a sub-articulate babe in the woods. Chung owes her entire career to being appreciated for her appearance. Protesting that her size should have nothing to do with it is at best, naive, at worst, a calculated spin.
Perhaps the only privilege of those outside the socially idealized size is that they can talk openly about their weight. For those that still fit within the spectrum of socially acceptable weight, they can only successfully talk about it if they gained some: Lady Gaga did a good job of this.
And how people that are bigger can be on the front covers of magazines being like ‘I’m really happy with my shape.’ But if I was to do that, I’d be completely criticized and ridiculed. But why can’t I be happy with how I look?
Because we have every other advantage, skinny girls exhibiting vocal pride about our size is borderline offensive - it’s not quite as bad as being loud and proud of being rich, or white, but it’s in the same ballpark. It’s also petulant to complain about the minor level of criticism we have to deal with relative to bigger girls. So yes, we can be happy with how we look, but it’s not in good taste to say so. #skinnygirlproblems
Of course, all of these thoughts hinge on the fact that I’ve never dealt with body dysmorphia, which is something I can’t speak to.