When I was 10 years old, I met my best friend in the schoolyard of our Catholic elementary school. And despite the many things we had in common (we even share the same name), take one look at us and you'd think we couldn't be more different.
As kids, Lauren was a size 0 and I hovered around a size 13. Though she didn't know I was overweight until I told her (truly, she never noticed because she's an angel-unicorn-mermaid and sees people as people, not a dress size), she's watched me struggle with my relationship with body for 18 years. She reminded me I was worthy of love when I couldn't love myself and has threatened to exact revenge on every shitty internet troll who has ever come for me.
But the truth is that Lauren, who is still a thin woman and who has never had an eating disorder, still struggles with her body and her place in body positivity. And she's not alone.
It's a tricky subject though. While thin women (especially thin, white women) do get to operate autonomously in this world, that doesn't mean it's OK to skinny shame or exclude thinner women from the conversation. Here are all the ways I, as a big woman, see smaller girls getting excluded.
When people use memes like these to validate our body types.
Firstly, you don't have to defend your body by putting anyone else's down. No one gets to define womanhood other than women, and since every woman is different, there isn't one definition.
Each time we share something like this, we subconsciously reinforce the media-driven archetype for femininity. Fuck. That.
When only thin women who've suffered from eating disorders get empathy.
Look, feeling fat and being fat are two totally different things.
But a woman doesn't have to have actively lived through body dysmorphia or an eating disorder to gain respect or empathy. If they see differently shaped bodies in the media, even ones that are nothing like theirs and get something out of it, then more power to them.
When we suggest thin women need to change with "playful" remarks like "eat a cheeseburger."
Don't tell me to put down the fork and I won't tell you to pick one up. We need to let other women just fucking live.
When we make thin women feel guilty for being thin.
If we don't want to be made to feel bad for being fat, we cannot put down thin women for being who they are. This isn't a schoolyard or the blame game. This isn't a people problem — it's a systemic one.
You know who we should all hate together? The fat-phobic systems in place that favor thin people over fat ones.
I am not arguing that thin women need to be at the *center* of body positivity.
We don't need to see more images of thin women. We don't need to highlight and share their stories — they are the status quo and are represented regularly.
But the language we use about thinner women in body positivity matters. We can't expect them to be allies if we are making them feel ostracized.
Thin ladies, you keep doing you and loving yourself; just remember to include us too, and we'll all get along just fine.