[Trigger warning: images from "thinspo" sites and discussion of eating disorders]
Katie O. and internationalcupcakebandit are pissed off about the “thinspo” trend, where women are encouraged to be unattainably skinny and shamed for even thinking that they might want to eventually eat something. Coupled with an emphasis on fake baking until you’re a creepy shade of Oompa Loompa orange, we’re wondering why the standard of beauty for women is targeted to make us sick and unhealthy, and why, regardless of whether we’re skinny or curvy or happily fat, we will never be good enough.
Internationalcupcakebandit: hey Katie O.! Have you been on pinterest lately??
Katie O.: No, I mostly stick to tumblr (which can be a horrifying wasteland)… what’s going on there?
Internationalcupcakebandit: well… you’re lucky then. As I was perusing this afternoon (you know, clearly adding all the chocolate desserts I could to my boards) I came across some really scary stuff. They call them “fitness motivation” pins..
Katie O.: Oh, I’ve seen that kind of thing on tumblr… people will tag pictures of incredibly skinny women, like women with their ribs sticking out, as “thinspo” which apparently stands for “thinspiration.” So the whole point is to lose weight to achieve the usually unattainable body of your “thinspiration.”
Internationalcupcakebandit: Wow. Yeah. I don’t even understand. Almost all of these pictures are targeted toward women with a goal that says “I don’t care about actually being the image of heath” and rather hope to be the image of “SUPERMODEL SKINNY”
I mean damn, it’s just making me hungry…
Katie O.: Yeah, after seeing an image shaming women for eating chips I could really go for a bag of Ruffles. I will NOT be shamed out of my love for potato chips!
Internationalcupcakebandit: NOM NOM NOM
Katie O.: But I think that these pictures of women who are skinny past what is clearly natural for their bodies (and there are naturally skinny women who should not be shamed for their bodies either) combined with pictures shaming women for even eating gets to the point of the whole thing. It’s not even about being healthy at all!
Internationalcupcakebandit: Oh I totally agree, it makes me really sad. And the worst part is, I don’t think these women know what’s healthy and what’s not when this type of propaganda is rampant on social networking sites.
Katie O.: That’s a great point. I also see this “thinspo” stuff tagged with “pro ana” (as in pro anorexia and pro bulimia) or “pro mia” which is endorsing eating disorders for women.
Katie O.: It’s unacceptable for these thinspiration sites to turn eating disorders into the ideal for women and say that women should starve themselves or purge to have the “ideal” body.
Internationalcupcakebandit: WHHHHATT!? what is the world coming to at the point where we idealize psychological and physical malnutrition.. especially when there is no bright line between what’s actually good for you (like eating every meal, working out at a moderate comfortable pace, and nurturing your body) and starving yourself because of malformed ideas of whats “pretty”. I even saw these pictures that were telling naturally skinny people they were lucky but people who worked to be skinny are strong.. inferring that women who don’t starve themselves and are comfortable with their natural, healthy set point weight are WEAK. wtf.
Katie O.: That’s screwed up. So you get shamed if you’re not skinny, and even if you ARE you get shamed because you didn’t have to “work” for it. It just goes to show that whatever women do, it’s NEVER enough. Our bodies will ALWAYS be wrong, regardless of how they look, or whether they fit the beauty standard or not.
Internationalcupcakebandit: Exactly, and these standards are so unrealistic. Most women are never going to be able to get the body of Megan Fox, and even if they starve themselves and work themselves until, as this one picture put it, they puke, they will immediately gain it back. Making these women feel even worse about themselves..
Katie O.: Speaking of unattainable standards of beauty, I can’t help but think about fake tanning. Which happens ALL the time at JMU. And fake tanning, or even fake tanner with all of its chemicals, is SO unhealthy!
But if you’re white, and you’re not fake baked to oblivion and not SO skinny, you’re not attractive. If you’re a woman of color, you’re probably just screwed by the Western beauty standard anyway.
Internationalcupcakebandit: Oh my goodness, yes. Obsessive tanning is something i’ve never understood. Like getting your heathy intake of Vitamin is great, but it’s become an obsessive compulsive behavior for a lot of young women especially. Not to mention the rampant skin cancer problems that come right along side it. You know, every time you lay out in the sun for too long, your genetic material mutates? Yeah. That’s what’s happening America.
Katie O.: Ugh, it’s even scarier when you phrase it like that. But I guess that’s what’s so upsetting about all of these phenomena — women need to physically harm themselves to be attractive (whether through starvation or fake baking or using skin lightening creams that are popular especially in South Asia) and even then it’s just not good enough.
How are we supposed to learn or go into politics or get good jobs or make a difference when we’re hurting ourselves just to fit a sexist, racist beauty standard?
Internationalcupcakebandit: it’s all just a giant breeding ground for disordered eating and behavior. and it’s not even like I can man hate right now, it’s women shaming other women to fit their ideal standard of what they think men want to see and be with. it’s messed up on so many levels. in a society where young women at the age of 7 or 8 are developing eating disorders in increasing numbers… there’s a serious problem that needs to be dealt with.
It seems like overnight the ideal changed from being a curvy fertile woman to a stick skinny (and most likely barren) woman.
Katie O.: I agree, we have to stop promoting unhealthiness or telling women to not be their natural weight to be beautiful! But another thing I hate that people who oppose this stuff say is shit like “real women have curves.” Seeing that makes me so mad because then we’re just shaming women who are skinny too. Women who identify as women are real women, period.
I guess an awesome thing though is that there are blogs that try and counter these ideas of “thinspo” and whatever, like gtfothinspo.tumblr.com and say-no-to-thinspo.tumblr.com to promote body positivity no matter what your body looks like.
Internationalcupcakebandit: EXACTLY, there is no one type of “pretty”- we are all beautiful and different. And each of our different bodies is what makes us unique! I think movements toward loving yourself no matter what are really important
I’m gonna start pinning those all the time now!