The Art of “Thin-Shaming”

by Skyler

Have you ever seen a young, spindly giraffe try to play soccer, basketball, or rollerblade? That was me for the first seventeen years of my life. While my dad made jokes while embracing me in his arms about how hugging me was like “hugging a number two pencil” (in the most endearing manner), the transition into school was a different story – hearing gossip about me being labeled as an anorexic was a norm for me due to my inherently awkward giraffe physique. In this essay I will examine the overlooked phenomenon of thin-shaming among adolescent girls in American culture through historical particularism & feminist anthropology.

Historical particularism would investigate this issue by looking at how society arrived at a point where the common assumption about very thin women is that they have an eating disorder. In the 1920’s the “desirable” woman was to have a petite, boyish figure with a slim waist. From then forward, we progressed into the hollywood ‘golden age’ which embodied the curvy hourglass figure with large breasts and a plump figure in the 1950’s. Since then we’ve switched back & forth between full figures & dainty physiques. In the 21st century we’ve reverted back to the “thin beauty” ideal, where it’s difficult for most girls to reach this type of uniquely thin physique naturally. We live in a weight obsessed culture, where people often take extreme measures, including nutrition deprivation, to fulfill this ideal. As a result, women whose bodies are inherently thin get caught in the cultural critique & are stamped with an eating disorder. The peak between being ‘too fat’ and ‘too skinny’ becomes increasingly narrow as time goes on. In the end the powerful force of the media dictates how women & men perceive themselves.

Feminist anthropology would question why men don’t face this obstacle. When we are born our bodies are gendered until the time we die, but the difference between men & women in regards to sexualization is crucial to understand. As time progresses, there has been an increase in men objectification, though not nearly to the extent that women experience. As the evolution of women’s bodies continue, any deviation from this frame of the perfect body is scrutinized. For men there are few consequences for this. The implications of being harassed or sexually violated pervade women’s lives. We live in a manipulative culture with a driving force of media behind this body shaming. In the documentary Killing Us Softly, Jean Kilbourne explains the implications of mass media advertising, “The media sells more than products, it sells values, concepts of love, sexuality… and most importantly normalcy.”

The expectation for women’s beauty becomes more complicated and intangible to achieve with each decade. In a culture where advertising profits off self-doubt, it is easy to dislike yourself. Instead of stigmatizing others for being too thin or curvy, we need to realize that ultimately our bodies are just skin made up of cells & tissue, & that they have no power over our virtue, character, or purpose in this world.

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57 Responses to The Art of “Thin-Shaming”

  1. Nicholas Paulin says:


    This was pretty power stuff, I know it wasn’t directly about you, but you going through it yourself made this very deep and true to heart. I really like and agree with the theories you chose for this piece. The historical particularism theory was perfect because it showed what women “should be like” throughout history. I find it really insane that our country has been basically making, what they think, the perfect women are since the 20’s, and probably even before then. It’s strange when you put it like that because like you said in your essay, men have never really been objectified like this ever. Your essay really helps amplify the major contrast of how society views men and women.

  2. Gillian Davenport says:

    I really appreciate that you wrote an article that was regarding such a personal topic, seeing that these ideal weight expectations affect many of us and few are willing to address the issue. I liked the use of the two theories you selected, and found them appropriate. However, men are subject to objectification and gendered expectations, and rather than a feminist anthropologist looking at why this only happens to women, I think they would look at the differences in gender expectations. While women deal with body standards regarding weight and petite vs. curvy (which you explained very well), men have to deal with issues regarding hyper-masculinity and the ability to look “strong” or muscular in order to be desirable. I would also be interested to see a functionalists take on this issue, and see how they justified the “function” that these standards serve. I think this was very well written and especially liked the part about influence of the media.

  3. Taylor McGrath says:

    I like that you took on a somewhat new approach to this topic because most essays are written about the other side of this, being overweight and the struggle to maintain a thin body. Most people don’t think about thin people being ashamed for their bodies because thin is the ideal body in most societies. Choosing the feminist theory and explaining thin-shaming through it was helpful to me in understanding how serious this epidemic is. However, I think explaining this topic with the lens of a practice theorist also would have been effective. You could have talked about how the normative behavior or being thin has influenced societies and how criticism has been taken to the extreme due to these norms. Overall, your essay was interesting and enjoyable to read.

  4. Maya Heath says:

    I really like that you wrote about your own personal experience, and that you were able to relate it to anthropology. It’s so great to hear people share things that might not be the easiest the share, but yours was worth it in this amazing blog! I feel that body shaming is a big problem in today’s society, and people especially don’t take the time to realized “hey, maybe she/he naturally looks like that”. This is why I think that you chose such a great topic. I really enjoyed how you related Feminist theory to this. I think it’s a really important concept to bring up, especially when it comes to men. I think a lot of people ignore all the expectations that women undergo by men. I think this article is a great way to get the word out about such a strong topic.

  5. Leah Hilleman says:

    I really enjoyed this article because you are writing on a topic that is person to you, but you also looked at the subject from different perspectives given the audience both sides of the story. I liked how you incorporated in your essay of how body shapes have changed over time. So something that could be considered “ugly” or “easy to make fun of” can be considered the “ideal body shape” in a few decades. People have no right in shaming people for their body considering the fact that it is how they were born. You can slightly alter your body appearance by your exercise levels and your diet, but the way you look is how you were born. I was really interested in the way you asked about how the male population does not have to deal with the concept of thin shaming as much as females do. It has been a topic in our society that has taken over the young population of people stressing about their body types.

  6. beel9934 says:

    I liked the point you made about about thinness being simultaneously associated with the ideal and with eating disorders. The current ideal physic we look for in US society, as you said, is an unnatural one, therefor attainment of the ideal also implies that you have a disorder. For this reason, it seems that to some extent the idea of having an eating disorder has been slightly romanticized in its association with beauty.

  7. Leo Borasio says:

    I really enjoyed your post, because it made me think about how this is all linked to one’s own culture. In other countries and cultures, the ideal body type changes, just as it has in America throughout time. I think it would be interesting to examine all of the cultures as a whole, and see if there has been any worldly trends within time towards body type. Also I thought what you said about this not occurring with men thought provoking. I would argue that throughout much of time there has been less emphasis on a man’s body, but I think in todays culture men are expected to also conform to a certain body type. Men are currently obsessed with lifting weights, and having abs, and are within a culture that discourages the “dad bod” even though that may be natural among many people. So I believe that while historically men may not have been judged based off their bodies, in current America men are held to the same superficial unfair standards as women.

  8. Emma Metz says:

    This essay is very well written. When reflecting on this essay I thought about what the ideal body size (male or female) for our society is, and how unattainable this image is. Why is our society extremely critical on other’s bodies and even more critical on our own. Someone can be “too skinny” “too fat” “too muscular” “Skinny fat” “dad bod”, the list goes on and on. Instead of spending our entire lives trying to obtain the image of the ideal body (which is impossible) why not embrace the bodies god gave us.

    I will be honest, This is a lot easier said than done. I admire the women in our society that are able to stand up and challenge what beauty is, and be proud and confident of the bodies they have. Women in Hollywood like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham send a message saying, Hey I’m successful, powerful, happy and admired by millions, and I’m not a size 2. So maybe weight is not as important as we all think, and hopefully more and more women can be confident with their bodies and success just like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham.

  9. Audrianna Bobo says:

    This essay is very well written, and it speaks with intention through a personal perspective, and the use of the theories you picked allows it to flow nicely. It’s great to hear from someone that’s on the other end of the specturm regarding the expectation to maintain a certain body image in this country. Physical apperance has a lot of power in this world. The way you present yourself and the expectations that you hold yourself to and others as well can really make a large impact on interactions between people, thoughts and judgements that occur before any words are exchanged, etc. We all do this, and it’s just human nature right? We’re so used to making all kinds of assumptions and behaving a certain way just because of how we all look, that it’s mostly happening on a subconsious level and we don’t really even notice that it could be impacting our lives in a very signifcant manner.

  10. Kelsey Krutsinger says:

    All of the above already points out how they like how you took the essay in a personal direction, and I agree. Even more so, though, I think writing this from personal experience makes you somewhat of an expert on the topic. It gives the subject a lot of creativity, and your “giraffe” description gives it humor. I really like both of the theories you choose, I think out of all of the other theories you could have used, that they are just perfect for this topic. What maybe could have made the essay stronger and maybe flow a little better would have been if you could connect the theories, but then again, word count restrictions. Either way, I thought it was enjoyable and humorous.

  11. I really enjoyed this blog post, especially the way you opened the piece. I thought it placed some some good humor with the giraffe comment before delving deeper into the issue. I think it would be interesting delving deeper into looking at how beauty has changed with time, not just in our culture, but cultures around the world. If you were going to go further with this article I would also suggest looking at how our definition of “beauty” differs from these other culutres and why these differences occur. I thought that over-all though, especially given the word count, you got your point across and backed it up well.

  12. Allie Wolff says:

    I think you did a really good job discussing this topic, which is definitely an important one in our society. Many people only think of fat-shaming in our society, but thin-shaming is completely prevalent as well. I agree that society’s “ideal” body image changes throughout the decades, and is impossible to maintain or keep up with. Body image is also thought of as such a huge deal in the U.S., and because of that, there are many consequences. I also agree with your claim from a feminist perspective, because women are mostly targeted when it comes to body image, although men can definitely experience as well. Also, it is completely gendered, because depending on your gender, society has certain expectations for the way you are “supposed” to look. Good job!

  13. Samantha Pollak says:

    I appreciate your stance on the other side of the spectrum, from a skinny perspective when it is usually average or above average weight girls standing against weight standards. You picked theories that helped to look as this issue in a productive way. What are we going to do about this plague of image obsession? Body positivity is very topical at this day in age and hopefully spreading awareness will at least change minds.
    I take issue to the fact that you say men aren’t objectified or have image/weight obsessions because they definitely do. I know several men who suffer from eating disorders and body image delusions. Further, men are objectified in the media with rising prominence. Romantic comedies and other such films put attractive men forth as a product, especially when they are shown topless with “perfect” muscular bodies, i.e. Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Channing Tatum, etc. Times are changing, gender roles are shifting, and men’s bodies are almost as objectified as much as women’s. The real issue at hand here, I think, is body objectification in general. This problem goes hand in hand with body image in men and women and perpetuates the obsession pumping through modern society’s veins.

  14. Emma Gerona says:

    I think that it would be interesting to delve more into the actual impact of eating disorders on both women and men. You said that men are also suffering from increased body shaming, and I wonder what a feminist anthropologist would say about the affect of these disorders increasing in the adolescent male population in recent years. Thin shaming and the “thin beauty” type have been generally culturally accepted as a female problem, but many people don’t know that many men also suffer from these afflictions.

  15. Colin Mulligan says:

    The “overly thin” body type is often overlooked in discussion about embracing/accepting bodies in modern culture. Sometimes the same individuals that argue against the “shaming” of overweight men and women are quick to critique models and others being unhealthy or anorexic, as you pointed out.
    Though there are certainly differences in the sexualization of men and women’s bodies within mass media, I don’t believe that one is more powerful than the other, or that there are “fewer” consequences for men to deviate from the norm of accepted attractive body types.

    • I agree with you here, Colin. I think in our society women are very quick to blame men for an unrealistic standard to uphold but often its women harshly criticizing other women. Much like Skyler, I have been naturally underweight my whole life and growing up many people not only made comments on how I looked but what I ate. It was only ever women who told me “you need to eat a burger!” (in a light hearted manner) but it was other women who made me feel the most insecure.
      I think this also holds true for men. I think other men are the ones who point out flaws in each other much like women. I have a memory in high school at a homecoming dinner. We went to a fancy steakhouse, and everyone ordered steak or lobster or some big mean. When a good friend of mine ordered a salad, he was mocked by all of the other boys in the group. As it turns out, he and his family have been vegetarian his whole life. It was the men, taking note of his small physique, who criticised his meal choice. And on a different side of that same coin, when my large football playing friend ordered a salad one night, the other guys made jokes about how “John must be watching his figure” or “john’s getting bikini body ready”. We too often notice flaws in other people that reflect our own flaws or the flaws society and media have told us we have.

  16. Lily Mindel says:

    I really enjoyed ready your essay! I liked how you brought in your own experience with the issue to help further and strengthen your argument. I would however go deeper into your discussion over how media has one of the biggest influences on body image. You say “In the end the powerful force of the media dictates how women & men perceive themselves”. You do talk about it a little in the third paragraph, but I would touch on ways the media does this with examples. Overall I think your topic was extremely interesting and it was an great read!

    • Haley Pflum says:

      I agree! The personal experience really brought to light all sides of this body shaming issue. The theories used added interesting perspectives and fit the topic very well. Media has such a strong influence in the way people view themselves and others. It makes people set very high standards for themselves, so it would be very interesting to go deeper into that specific topic. It would be fascinating to see how the power of media has changed throughout history or to see the impact media has in other countries all over the world. I really enjoyed reading this essay.

  17. Elise Tomasian says:

    Your essay was really effective in expressing the obsession we in the modern United States have with body type and weight. I have often wondered why we as a culture have become so incredibly immersed in the the pursuit of perfection. We judge others who are seen as “too fat” as being lazy, uncaring, un-beautiful, sometimes even unintelligent. Conversely, those who are deemed too thin are also judged just as harshly. In a society obsessed with the “thin ideal”, the shaming of thin individuals seems counterintuitive, and I think it really highlights the fallacy in our thinking all together. We are conditioned to believe, at least as women, that thin is the ideal, yet when women are not the right kind of thin, they are just as judged and shamed as the women with more full figures. I think exploring this topic poststructurally would be interesting. Who decides what is beautiful for a female body? Is it some unseen “they” that we all decide to conform to? Who is the “they” that we have given permission to govern our perceptions of ourselves and our beauty? I also think it would be interesting to explore how men seen as too thin are often judged as well, for being less masculine or “wimpy”.

  18. Alex Havlick says:

    I feel like its really hard trying to understand attractiveness in the U.S.. It is said that “beauty is not one’s own, but a reflection of one’s culture”. Thus, since beauty is a cultural idea, then it is something we start to learn from a young age and is, to a degree, a product of our upbringing. However, i feel like the U.S. has many sub-cultures, like the south, or even sub-sub-cultures like texan. You can even get even more specific from there, eventually looking at how every individual is raised. i don’t think anyone is affected by their culture or upbringing in the same way as even identical twins with the same parents end up developing very different personalities and perceptions of things like attraction. therefore, everyone should end up having a unique idea of attractiveness and people and anthropologists are left to look in from a larger scale to attempt to better understand attractiveness and try to find trends. i looked up a few of these trend-finding studies and found that the results of how people perceive beauty even sub-cultural level were extremely convoluted and barely considered significant! (p-values right around .05). i really liked your paper though. its interesting to think that there is sort of a stabilizing selection when it comes to the body size that most people prefer or think is attractive.

  19. Zoe Frank says:

    The fact that you talked about thin shaming instead of fa shaming really attracted me to your paper. Most people assume that only those who are heavier deal with scrutiny on a daily basis, but you proved that it’s not the case. The feminist theory applied perfectly to your essay because, as you said, men are objectified, they aren’t as objectified as women to any extent. A man can be super skinny without people thinking he’s anorexic. I really enjoyed that you brought up the fact that as a country the United States has shifted its preference of a woman’s body. It makes it difficult for a woman to fit the ideal body shape when it’s changing every couple of decades. You did a fantastic job of talking about the other side of the body shaming topic.

    • Dylan Robinson-Ruet says:

      I agree. For a while, neither fat-shaming and thin-shaming or skinny shaming was even a concept. Then the idea of fat shaming came about, people consider it to be horrible. With fat shaming came the converse idea of skinny shaming. Now people are starting to realize that both fat and thin shaming are not good, and do agree that you helped to prove that thin shaming is bad. It is so underrepresented in our society, that it was good to see it brought up in such a constructive, non-argumentative way (like so many of these conversations are brought up in). I particularly enjoyed how well you used feminist theory. While it does lend itself to this topic fairly easily, you really ran with it and took it in new directions, which it wouldn’t necessarily go in.

  20. Your take on a feminist anthropologist veiw really resinated with me. especially when you talked about how men havent endured the scrutiny that women have. it made me this of the “dad body” fad. Where younger men are actually being praised for not caring about how their bodies look, but embracing it and making humor out of it. If women began taking pride in letting their body go, they would be critisized not only by men and society but other women. Because we live in a time where being thin and fit is “in” many see it as disrespectful to your body to not obsess over the way it looks.

  21. Victoria Prager says:

    This essay was particularly effective in numerous ways. Firstly, I think that your personal connection to this topic makes your argument stronger and more relatable to the reader’s. Your analogies in particular made your essay especially enjoyable an easier to read. Also, your general writing style was very compelling. What made your essay great was your unique use of theories. I totally agree with your analysis of how “thin-shaming” began and why it takes place today in relation to historical particularism. I would have enjoyed if you could have gone even farther back from the 1920’s to older civilizations such as Victorian England or Italian Renaissance and discussed the ideal body shapes then and how they relate to the body image standards now. While I think you did an excellent job of using the feminist theory to relate to your point, I disagree on the statement that men aren’t as objectified. In some cases, I think they might even have it worse, with the thin males being more often physically abused, which rarely occurs with females. Overall, you did an excellent job discussing the quieter side of body shaming.

  22. Griffin Kauvar says:

    Your paper and its central idea of fat shaming really resonated with me. I grew up in an extremely active family where health and fitness was at the forefront of a lot of our day to days lives. Growing up I had a athletic and fit physique however as I grew older and my interest and free time to invest in sports and exercise changed so did my body. As I gained weight my family would comment, always with the best of intentions, but it still hurt and it resulted in my struggling a lot with self acceptance and appreciation for the way I looked.

    Your connection of this topic to historical particularism draws on the vitally important and often overlooked idea that “ideal” is different to everyone and that it changes constantly over time. Your feminist theoretical analysis really personally resonated with me as well, as I can attest that in my own life how my body was viewed by my family and peers was always very different then my brother. I remember always being told to watch my carbs and to eat healthy to keep my thin figure whereas my brother was always encouraged to eat anything and everything he wanted without ever any discussion of the possible repercussions of such.

  23. Emily Bacher says:

    This essay was very informative. When we discuss body-shaming it is almost always discussing fat-shaming not skinny-shaming, so getting the word out there about this side of body shaming is very important. I really liked how you used a historical point to discuss this topic and how the main stream opinion on beauty keeps fluctuating. I also liked how the lack of men being shamed was brought up, women are always being judged on their bodies but men are usually just accepted. I would like to know more about action being taken to stop this type of shaming, but otherwise thought this was beautifully written on an uncommon topic.

  24. Kaila Quinones says:

    This essay was very well written and enjoyable to read. I liked how you included your personal experience in it because it reminded me of my own experience as a kid and my dad giving me a nickname about how skinny I was. I loved the use of Historical Particularism in your essay and how you talk about how body image, and what is considered the perfect physique throughout all the different decades. And then how you go on to talk about how sexualized women’s bodies are. Overall very good essay it was very easy to understand and follow what you were saying.

  25. Dear Skyler,
    This is a very controversial topic and I am very impressed with the way you put this piece together. By adding a timeline of preferred body sizes and expected norms, we can analyze the severe problem with humans and their body image; more specifically with the women of not only our generation but in generations past. The problem discussed in this piece occurred very often in my high school and could not have been worse for the party receiving the shame. Many girls who did have questionably anorexic bodies were shunner or ashamed of themselves. Many of them wore sweatshirts and baggy clothes to cover up their insecurities. In regards to the feminist anthropology paragraph, I agree with almost everything you talked about. My only comment is that although women face body shaming much more than men, men do it consistently too. Men who are overweight are often deemed as fat and can have that stigma thrown in their face on a regular basis. Obese children at my school received this very regularly. I know that this is related to fatness and not skinniness but I feel it still applies. As far as thin-shaming goes, women are definitely on the more harassed side of the spectrum.

  26. Amber Williams says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It was engaging, historical, thoughtful, and most importantly, personal. It is easy for people to talk about society’s “weight obsession” or even “weight problems,” but I think there is something deeper and more profound for someone to talk about their own personal struggles, dealing with a society that has essentially thin-shammed them.

    Historical particularism was a great way for us readers to truly understand the context of today’s weight obsession and how the perception of what is desirable has changed over time.

    However, in regard to feminist anthropology, I would disagree that men do in fact face the same obstacle of having a “desirable” body. I’ve heard jokes about the “dad bod” and mass media still idolizes males with muscular figures. In the masses, it seems as though society has grown to appreciate at least three types of female figures: the model-like one, the curvaceous figure, and someone who is physically fit (not saying we don’t appreciate others, but these seem to be the main ones that are idolized via mass media). It seems like men, on the other hand, still are expected to look one way.

  27. Casey Wilson says:

    I like how you state that women attempt to have the ‘current look’ by depriving themselves of food. And anyone that has achieved the ‘current look’ is seen as anorexic. I love that comparison, that the ‘dream’ look is also one that people have a negative attitude towards (for good reasons). Also, I enjoyed the paragraph where you discussed how the media controls the way we look at ourselves. Therefore, if girls stopped paying attention to the media, their bodies would form a natural look for once (not EVERYONE being too skinny or too curvy), and we would see a very broad range, from skinny through curvy with everything in between. I was wondering what you think the media would do if women and men stopped paying attention to it and stopped trying to attain this ‘perfect look’? Do you think they would try to change our ideas by creating more movies with ‘unrealistic looking men/women’ or do you think they would adjust and start to talk about the new ‘good look’?

  28. Jevan Yamamoto says:

    I enjoyed reading this article mainly because I could tell its genuine and from the heart. Seeing the personal connection you have to how society views women and being on the opposite side of “fat-shaming,” puts something new on the table. A lot of times i don’t think people take into consideration that the latter to fat shaming can also be offensive. As a guy, i can also relate because societies views on men is that we all have to be the buff, six pack, justin bieber / zac efron, type looking people, and well, most of us aren’t. I don’t think i can compare how men or women are negatively viewed for their bodies because i think we both go through different things, but i can say that each of us go through that judgmental stage of society trying to tell us what we “should” look like.

  29. I really liked the way that you wrote this and the angle that you took. Fat shaming is so prominent in society today, so it was nice to see the opposite side of the spectrum with shaming of thin people. It not only made good points by connecting the issue to the theories we’ve learned in class but putting a personal anecdote, and relating it to yourself gave the essay more importance. I liked this essay because I recently got into a discussion with my friends about this topic. The other day my extremely thin friend was complaining about feeling out of shape, and the rest of us complained that she was so thin and it was annoying that she would even bring that up. She made a good point and said that weight is all relative, and despite being thin she had lost most of her tone from playing sports – which completely makes sense. With weight being something so focused on these days in the media, people without the “ideal” body easily get shamed, even if they are thin. We are so quick to jump on people for their thin physique without realizing it.

    Great Essay! This link goes a little more in detail to what you’re talking about! Shaming is an unfortunate but curious cultural and historical norm, because the criteria for ridicule seems to be ever changing and obsolete, in that it’s just a catalyst to control/exert powers over others. Fear and insecurity is a powerful enemy, and to disempower people is a strategic way to prevent them from reaching their own potential in order to change an oppressive system. I would have to say, being a gay man, that there are similar parallels of unacheivable idolized beauty standards that exist within my “community” as well. This makes me wonder how big does the scope of “true” beauty encompass and who isn’t targeted by it. Is it strictly patriarchial in nature?

  31. Mia Cupidro says:

    I liked your analysis using historical particularism and how you went back to each decade to stamp out the differences that emerge over time on how we evaluate and critique bodies. The only thing in common throughout the fluctuation of the ‘ideal’ body seems to be that western culture as a whole is always finding a basis to articulate the “perfect” body and assess, analyze, and judge people based on the way their body can fit into this mold. It would be interesting to explore in further detail why each particular historical era molded each different body shape.

    The only thing that caught me off guard in your paper was the line:

    “we need to realize that ultimately our bodies are just skin made up of cells & tissue, & that they have no power over our virtue, character, or purpose in this world.”

    It makes sense in reference to your argument of body shaming, but such a strong statement like that ignores truthful realities in which bodies do construct who we are and can shape our purpose in this world..for example athletes, people with disabilities, actors, dancers, people who are immobile, etc…

  32. connor says:

    I thought that the way you started off your paper was very strong and made me want to keep one reading what you were saying. My sister experienced some of the same shaming as you so I am somewhat familiar with terrible things that comes with these acts of shaming. It is sad how our world can find a reason to shame just about any body type, race, ethnicity, or gender for any reason that one person sees unfit.

  33. Alexis Bush says:

    I really liked the personal tie in this essay. I like how you talked about thin-shaming, considering our culture is so quick so say that it is not ok to shame someone for being fat, but never really considers that mocking someone’s body in any way is wrong. Thin shaming can be just as detrimental to the individual and I think it is important that people realize that. I also liked your use of theories in this essay. I think that feminist theory is very appropriate considering women are usually held to much higher standards for physical appearance. I think that it could add to this essay if you discussed the higher standards that men are sometimes held to in relation to physical and emotional strength. Women and men are both held to unfair standards, but just in different areas. I think that it could be cool to touch on the comparison. Great essay!

  34. Garrett Owen says:

    This article grabbed my attention because it dealt with a subject I knew little about: thin shame. A dear friend of mine went through this shame and the consequences for the said individual were brutal and cruel. In addition, your application of feminist theory was very interesting. The scrutiny (or lack thereof) that men face pails in comparison to that suffered by females.Obviously, a man of a certain weight and a woman of a certain weight will not have to go through the same social process as the other. The way your expalined the historical particularistic aspect of this was also very good. The desire of “slim” and “busty” in a woman, as you say, narrows all the time. I think you making light of this is very important. Overall, really enjoyed reading this.

  35. Wyatt Svarczkopf says:

    Very powerful essay, I liked your style of writing too. Your feminist anthropological view was good, but I believe that many men have been “thin shamed” as well. It’s not at the same degree of prevalency, but it’s out there. My issue is not with your essay topic, but I’m curious, if you were to flesh out this essay, what would be your first section you want elaborate more one, and why?

  36. Peter Koukov says:

    Very well written essay. It must have been very difficult to share such a personal experience like that but it seems like that is well in the past for you. I don’t think you could have used historical particularism and feminism any better in the essay. It is such a shame that this is how most people see themselves and how the media is making it seem like people need to be a certain weight if they don’t want to be outcasts or bullied by society. Although you brought up some good points about how men think about their bodies it isn’t all that different and men do also feel the pressure that women might with their bodies. In the end i really enjoyed reading this paper and i’m happy it was picked as one of the better ones. Well done!

    – Peter Koukov

  37. Liam Kelly says:

    I really enjoyed the way you put body shaming in a different light then the way society usually views it. I also enjoyed how your related fiminists anthropology to body shaming, it made me truly think about the biases that i have myself and made me investigate my biases. I had never thought of body shamming as a gendered issue however your article made me realize that body shaming is very relevant in both men and woman’s lives. Over all your piece was very interesting, and kept me intrigued the whole time It was very organized and made it easy to read.

  38. Jenna says:

    The way we think about beauty is extremely flawed in this country. There are established norms that all women are expected to recognize and attempt to emulate. Toeing that fine line between being too fat or too skinny, between pretty and ugly, is impossible. The media always convinces us that there’s room for improvement and I like how you explore that aspect of our society in your essay. The expectation of beauty is a woman that doesn’t even exist, classically beautiful yet exotic looking, curvy yet not an ounce of fat on here- it’s an impossible goal to achieve.

  39. Dillon Ragar (Rec. 13) says:

    Nice work, this is a well written and informative essay. Including a personal anecdote made your position more convincing, as many people have had the same experience. The pressure from society to fit into a certain mold can be enormous. In the second half of your paper you discussed the pervasive sexual objectification that happens to women, a sad reality of our lives today. What struck my attention was that you seemed to discount the effect of thin shaming on men, seemingly because men are not sexualized to the level that women are. I think that it would be a mistake to marginalize this issue. Young men in school are often subjected to cruel bullying because they are not large and physically intimidating. Bullying can lead to severe psychological problems that are just as damaging as a culture of sexual objectification. I think it is incorrect to discount either of these very important issues, especially in an essay about the pressures of society on young people.

  40. Juan Guevara says:

    Hahaha “a young giraffe”. That reminds me a lot of my friend Zachary. He’s super skinny and tall. However he is extremely good at sports. Like literally any sport Zachary is a beast at. This doesn’t really matter that he is skinny rather i think it matters the fact that he’s super tall. I think this could be for another good topic, Is short guys get the shorter end of the stick nearly all the time (pun intended). Tall skinny guys have it so easy. They could get nearly any giirl they want with a nice personality. Us short guys have to struggle more to get the ladies because girls don’t like short guys point blank period. But i digress, I like the topic of skinny guys. It comes close to hoe considering male body shaming in general is sad.

  41. Kendall Abady says:

    Great essay! Most people assume that “fat-shaming” is the main form of bodily shaming in the media and in society, but, although some may not realize it, “thin-shaming” is becoming more and more common. This is a great example of how body shaming can be seen in many different ways and can affect individuals differently as well. Using feminist anthropology with this topic was also a great idea since the idea of body shaming is definitely gendered in our society. This puts a new, but necessary perspective on a topic that is plaguing the media in today’s society.

  42. Priya Byati says:

    I loved this essay, as I personally could relate to it as well, being skinny and underweight most of my life. Your use of historical particularism was very insightful, and put some things that have happened in our society in perspective. For example, “All About That Bass” was part of a moment that was about loving yourself, but only if you have curves. This essay really helped to understand some of the cultural reasoning of why thin-shaming is used in the song. Your closing statement was very powerful. Well written essay overall!

  43. katemccort says:

    This is a great piece on a topic that is rarely talked about. There is a stigma on thin people in our society, people often assume that a woman who is thin has an eating disorder and needs help, and a man who is thin doesn’t work out enough. The truth is that some people are naturally small, and sometimes they have tried to gain weight, specifically men, but physically cannot. Fat shaming is obviously wrong, and most people would see it as bullying, while they don’t view “thin-shaming” in the same light. There is a clear hierarchy in our society with “average” sized people at the top. I really enjoyed reading your points about the historical “good body” and how it is constantly changing. It was also interesting seeing this topic from an anthropological point of view.

  44. It’s refreshing to see an article on “slim” shaming when there is always so much talk on “fat” shaming. I’m not saying one is worse than the other, just that in general it is unfortunate that it goes both ways due to society’s extreme need for perfection. I also find it very interesting to look back and see how the beauty ideal has changed throughout the years. It is a clear indication that society is able to socially construct what is to be seen as attractive in the media and every other form of life. Feminists also tend to look at the male beauty ideal, as it has shown lighter skinned males are predominantly seen as what is attractive around the world, but one thing that is universal is the desire for fit bodies. I think nowadays because of social media we see people striving for the more “fit” body type, and it is leading anyone who doesn’t fit this category to be shamed for their weight.

  45. Chandler Bettis says:

    I really enjoy your post because of how you related it to a personal experience from your past. Not only did you relate to your own side but you also talked about the opposing view as well as the “desirable” figure throughout the ages. In our culture today this is becoming more talked about as a type of backlash from negative stigma associated with the thin body types in media. Body shaming both ways is a huge issue today and topic in media today and if people took the time to really think about how that is how they naturally look we wouldn’t have such negative stigmas towards one side or the other. I also enjoyed how you brought men into the conversation too because the women’s body has been the main focus for many years and with feminism and the equality of men and women being a concern for a lot of people it would be only natural to talk about them as well.

  46. Your essay is very interesting as it is trying to tackle issues that women face every single day. I’m not sure if I know a woman confident enough to not face doubts about her body when she wakes up in the morning. I read somewhere that women think about how they physically appear to others about once every thirty seconds or so. It’s ridiculous. I also think it would have been interesting to include this phenomenon of the “dad bod” that seems to have taken shape pretty recently. We seem to be glorifying, or at least expressing some desire for, men’s bodies that aren’t necessarily the most in shape while still expecting women to have bodies like models. Great essay!

  47. Abhi Shrestha says:

    It seems like our body images are literally being controlled by the media. As you said, “In the end the powerful force of the media dictates how women & men perceive themselves,” I wonder if we will be able to evolve and understand at some point in human history the media does not control us. We just let them tell us how to dress, look, act and think and we know this is happening. “Helping” people to achieve that perfect body has been big business in the media, and why wouldn’t it. Who wouldn’t want to have the perfect body. But now it doesn’t just end at the perfect body, it’s how you act and think in front of others, basically their teaching us how to become popular in a specific type.
    This essay was really interesting to read because the writer, you, connected it to your personal life. Sometimes that’s really hard to do and get it right. I think you did a good job of moving the essay from you to society and incorporating anthropology theories while all staying on topic. Good work!

  48. Noemi Olivas says:

    I really enjoyed this essay. I liked how you used historical particularism to analyze how the “ideal” body shape has changed over time. I feel like this part of the essay could definitely be expanded by going further back than just the last to centuries. Looking at all types of art that have been produced, even as far back as the Upper Paleolithic it was evident that the ideal body shape for a woman was curvaceous or even overweight because these were signs that a woman was physically able to bear children and that she had enough wealth and resources to maintain a bigger physique.

  49. Rebecca Goss says:

    This article reminds me of what my psychology class has been discussing, eating disorders. It is tragic how many of us would consciously hurt our bodies in order to feel like we belong amongst our peers. Also, it is interesting to note that Anorexia and Bulimia are both mental diseases that originated in America (most likely due to unrealistic advertisements and strong social pressure). It is shocking how certain cultures can facilitate and spread this mass hysteria.

  50. meghan drummond says:

    This was a genuinely eye-opening essay and truly made me think about the topic from an anthropological perspective. Even though you were exploring the art of thin-shaming, you still acknowledged all aspects of the body-type phenomena. I appreciated the fact that you explored the fact that our current ideal for women is hard to reach. You said that is near impossible and extremely difficult to accomplish society’s “uniquely thin physique naturally”. I think this is very accurate statement and I also believe that is commonly overlooked. It seems like something that most people in our society know is true at heart, but avoid acknowledging. Instead of acknowledging how hard these standards are to reach, we overuse diets and have created an extremely unhealthy relationship with food.

  51. Preston Herring says:

    I think this is a really important topic to be discussed and is very prevalent to the audience reading it. As young people in a troubled world, it’s ridiculous to focus so much time and effort into fitting in. But it’s extremely difficult to ignore the pressure we feel from the culture of young American adults. Your particular story and examples were very well thought out and executed. I love the discussion about how the media and other social entities advertise normalcy, successfully at that. Your story perfectly exemplifies hegemony and social structure although the focus seems to be feminist anthropology. This is a very significant topic in the realm of feminist anthropology at that. The female body seems to draw so much attention in our society, I feel somewhat to a fault. However, while men probably don’t feel quite the wrath of body objectification quite to the extant women do, it still is a pretty significant issue.

  52. Brian Streeter says:

    I think that your essay did a good job of starting conversation over how anthropologists might view body image in today’s age. The angle of historical particularism seemed very interesting, and you did an excellent job of exemplifying how historical particularism would be applied. I know that in this format of essay there was not a ton of space to elaborate but I was very interested in your sources for the generalizations of the ideal women’s image. No doubt you did a great job giving examples, It just made me more interested in finding counter examples. When thinking of the current day for example, it would seem that there is a high preference for a slightly larger body size in females that commonly features a “Kardashian” looking backside. Either way I would think it is worth explaining that in every generations there was more than just one popular image for women to try to replicate.

  53. Carissa Mann says:

    After being “thin-shamed” in high school, this essay really hit home for me. Our society has viewed being thin as unhealthy for quite some time now in an effort to make the more “average” girl feel as though they are healthy when in reality it is possible to be many different shapes and sizes while still being perfectly healthy. Your take on historical particularism was a very impactful aspect of your paper. The ever-changing idea of what female beauty and what the “perfect” body type is for women is consistently changing throughout time. While at one time the fuller-figured woman was the ideal body type and at other points in history it had been a stick thin body, there is one commonality. the obvious is that society shames those who do not have said body type, however they also shame those who do because this idealogical body seems too impossible to achieve naturally that the people who do have this more uncommon body type cannot possibly have it without achieving it in unnatural or unhealthy ways.

  54. Canyon Cain says:

    I really like this post especially because you used a personal experience and I think that is a key part to explaining thin-shaming and how someone is actually effected by it. I like how you used historical particularism to deepen the impact that you’re trying to get across. Although I really agree with everything said, I think it is a lot easier to look at yourself and know that you are in a better position than someone overweight and personally think that both of these things need to be focused on being eliminated because it does hurt people that didn’t ask for it and don’t deserve it.

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