Lately, there have been many articles and posts on body image and weight. At the center of these campaigns for plus-size women, is the “ideal woman”, Marilyn Monroe. These images compare thin women to curvy women with captions of words such as “When did this…become hotter than this?”
Other posts on the internet contain slogans which surrounds the concept that only “real women have curves”.
In the effort to build self-esteem for plus-size women, we produce an environment of skinny-shaming. Posts that compare women of different types of body shapes are demeaning women who are born naturally thin, while fortifying the image of curvy women. Although society has become more body-positive toward the acceptance of women with curves, the movement to augment a woman’s self-worth through the image of beauty in plus sizes has been inadvertently caused in the expense of another.
Thin women face criticism to which society has come to perceive as compliments. These comments which consists of words such as “you’re so skinny” or “you should gain some weight” has been seen as a positive phrase bestowed upon the media’s perfect type of body. However, this negative connotation of being “skinny” or “too thin” places guilt on a certain shape and size. There is no doubt that the image of a thin and tall woman constantly dominates the media and fashion industry as the beautiful and ideal woman. There is also no doubt that the media fails to portray the diversity of all body types as beautiful. However, undermining the lean body does not create an acceptance of non-conventional body types. This movement of self-empowerment only demeans another woman’s body type.
While creating the definition of the “perfect” and “ideal” woman, we create a standard of beauty that damages the women who do not reach them. In lieu of accepting every woman as beautiful, we are perpetuating a cycle of discrimination against body types. Because by trying to go against the norms of beauty in society and in the media industry, we are instilling another value of body image—that being skinny is not as beautiful as being curvy.
Instead, we should empower every woman to value themselves to build their self-worth. Body acceptance starts from within. You are beautiful.