Strong isn't the new skinny - our problem with body-image and shaming

Strong Isn’t The New Skinny: Body-Image and Shaming

Having only properly got into fitness around 2-3 years ago, I still find myself learning something new every day which, for the most part, is a fantastic thing. But sadly, one of things I’ve learned is that there is sill a huge problem with body-image, andthere’s a lot of dirty going on in this “clean” industry. While it should be motivated purely by the desire to help others create a lifestyle which makes them happy in their own skin and be healthy, it isn’t at all. It revolves around money, just like everything else in the world.

Because you see, telling a girl she’s beautiful and perfect the way she is doesn’t sell beauty magazines. It doesn’t sell slimming shakes. It doesn’t sell hair products or make-up or cosmetic surgery. What sells is telling girls to fit whatever trend is happening right now, to make them feel like what they’ve got isn’t good enough, so that they go out and buy whatever they need to make themselves look “right”. Once upon a time, that trend was to be skinny and we were all told to look like size 0 supermodels. So girls stopped eating and started comparing whose waist size was smallest and whose rib bones stuck out the most. That went on for a long, long time and, to a large extent, still does. But of course, trends come and go, and while we were all starving ourselves on half a grapefruit to lose the weight we were being told to lose, along came Kim K and Nicki Minaj and all those other bootiful women with their boobs and their butts and curves in places we didn’t think possible. And suddenly, skinny wasn’t cool anymore. OH hell no, now we have to be bigger. But not fat. No no. Bigger like big boobs and a juicy butt but keep everything else skinny alright ladies? And it’s GREAT. Curves are being praised and not shamed and bigger bodies are finally being accepted and yesss hallelujah God bless the booty.

But you know what?

It’s no different. There is absolutely no difference between telling a girl to be stick thin, and telling a girl to have curves here there and everywhere. At the end of the day, the concept is exactly the same: you’re setting a standard, and those that don’t adhere to that standard then feel unattractive. They feel left out. They feel different and ugly.

So what do they do? They try and change it, to fit the new “norm”. And those that are, funnily enough, unable to magically grow DD chest size and a Kardashian butt overnight, fall into the trap that says don’t worry, there’s a $OLUTION! And so they go out and buy push up bras and breast enhancements and butt implants and whatever else they’re being made to believe will make them look like THAT, so that they can be deemed attractive according to whatever is currently slapped on every magazine cover.

And now, the same thing is happening in the fitness industry. OF COURSE, I think it is absolutely fantastic that there’s this huge movement for health and fitness and accepting bigger or more muscly girls and self-love and allllll that stuff. BUT, we must be very careful with it, because if it’s at the expense of making every girl who’s NOT into the gym feel shamed or embarrassed or unattractive, it’s dangerous. Just as dangerous as the whole “i’m-gonna-live-off-of-one-tablespoon-of-maple-syrup-per-day-because-that’s-what-gigi-does” thing. You see, while all the #fitchicks are harping on about loving yourself and how they “ate 3000 calories of peanut butter today but hahaha it’s fine because #bootygains”, there’s girls out there still struggling with their eating disorders. There’s girls out there who are still being told they’re too fat. And people chucking quotes around like “real men like curves” and “strong is the new skinny” ISN’T. HELPING. ANYONE.

Because, just like some of us could and never will be super thin, some thinner girls will find it very, very hard to be bigger or stronger or curvier. And even if they COULD, maybe they don’t WANT to. Maybe they were actually quite fucking happy with their body and the way they looked until all these “fitspos” who, by the way, are supposed to be helping women feel strong and empowered, started talking shit about strong and fit being better or more attractive than being skinny. It’s bullshit. Every single woman is beautiful. No matter what. And YES, you might not personally find her attractive. She might not be your “type”. You might not want to look like her. But you know what?

Your opinion is completely irrelevant. Each and every single human being on this planet is beautiful in some way – in the way they walk or talk or treat people or smile or WHATEVER. And it’s not down to you, no matter who you are, to come out with a statement that glorifies a certain body type over another, and make a whole group of people feel undesirable. It’s okay to be strong. It’s okay to be muscly. It’s okay to carry a little more fat or be thin or have big hips or have slim legs. So long as you’re healthy, it’s all okay. What’s NOT okay is this idea that one is worth more or is more physically appealing or makes you a better person than the other. Because it DOESN’T.

and one last thing…

Why are we even putting so much emphasis on our bodies? We claim that we don’t want men to focus on how we look and we don’t want to be objectified, yet if we’re the ones who are allowing so much importance to be placed on our appearance and bodies, are you really surprised that men do the same?! Stop the god damn double standards. How about we start taking the focus off of how everybody looks, and realise that, so long as a person is healthy, and they are happy, the rest of it doesn’t matter. Real women aren’t curvy. Real women aren’t skinny. Real women aren’t blonde or a size whatever or have perfect skin or any of that BS. REAL women see past all that, and they stand by each other. You want men to start respecting you? Well how about we start respecting each other first. How about we support each other. Life’s gonna throw enough curve balls at you, the last thing you need is a bunch of women telling you you’re not attractive anymore because you’re too skinny. Cut it out ladies. Change starts with us.



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