When I posted about Alex Shulman's plea to designers to stop supplying magazines with size 0 clothes, clothes that were too small for even the world's top models to fit into, some skinny girls got upset. I'm familiar with this. It's happened to me before. But I've learned from my mistakes.
I used to be a skinny basher. My intentions were good but I was
still guilty. A decade ago when I edited Cosmo, in an attempt to redress the appalling
imbalance of female body shapes in magazines, I began to feature larger
girls in fashion stories and run empowering features declaring that men
preferred “real women with real curves” instead of “a bag of bones”.
This was not very empowering to thin women, however. It was insulting.
Demonising one body shape in favour of another or labelling one type of
woman ‘real’ and another ‘fake’ doesn’t advance the cause of body
acceptance, it just shifts the target of discrimination.
After being told this loudly by dozens of thin women who wrote me
abusive letters, I quickly adjusted my message and my thinking.
A call for a more realistic and DIVERSE approach to the female bodies we see in magazines (instead of solely thin ones) is NOT the same as saying skinny women are not 'real' women or that anyone who is thin has an eating disorder or that they're responsible for the negative body image of other women.
After reading that post, Jacqui left the following comment:
The first thing I thought when I read this was "NOOOOO, not you too!!" After previously writing a thought-provoking and balanced article on body image (if memory serves, I think it was titled "Skinny Girls are Liars" or something tongue-in-cheek to that effect. In the past fortnight there has been a barrage of one-sided, divisive "curvy-vs-thin" articles in the media, which has of course inspired those blessed with curves or "fuller-figures" to write bitchy comments about how men prefer big girls, how skinny is unattractive etc etc – I've been struggling to put on weight for as long as I can remember, and I'm sick of reading how thin is unhealthy, ugly, abnormal, unsexy.
This is not a new trend, for the past couple of years, magazines have been bitching about thin celebrities; I can't find decent affordable clothes in a size 6, unless I want to shop at Supre or pay for designer labels, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – those in the fashion/media industry should be promoting the idea that positive self-image should apply to everyone, and is not subject to change with the latest trends!!!
Enough of this "us vs. them" crap, good for you if you have curves, there's no need to be nasty to those without.
I agree whole heartedly with Jacqui. This is not about bashing skinny women. How does that further our cause for body acceptance?
Here is that column I posted on that exact subject….SKINNY GIRLS ARE LIARS