RUNWAY TALK: Skinny shaming won't end fat shaming

I have grown to positively react to what society says about my body. I am a dark skinned petite woman and since we are all about honesty, I do not think that I rate high in the American beauty industry. Being a non-curvy black woman is something that I struggled with  through my teen years. I learned that it doesn't matter what society says about me, if I cannot say it about myself. If you know that you are a beautiful person and society begs to differ then the joke is on it.

Before I tell you a little bit about my story, I would like to say that body shaming in all forms is inexcusable. No one should feel like their body isn’t good enough especially when there is not so much you can do about it. I wish there was a way we can promote healthy bodies without shaming the other. It’s not fair that fashion is just opening up to plus size models but at the same time, skinny shaming is not going to end fat shaming.

I have a fast metabolism and I don’t know whether it is an African thing but in the Ugandan culture, if you are fat ( I hate using that word) then you must be rich and happy which is different with the American culture because weight gain is considered as a sign of depression. Africans are funny in a way that someone will call you fat as a compliment while it’s used as an insult here. I remember my grandpa would always tell me to eat and to gain weight. I would always eat to a point where my stomach would ache so that i could gain weight and make him happy. Occasionally, someone would mistake me for a boy  until my chest developed (Thank God for my boobs y'all.) I was very confused when I moved to Boston and realized that my body shape was viewed different but it definitely boosted my confidence. Family and friends would tell me to keep my African figure. I was told to stay away from junk food. The joke was on them because nothing can come between me and my bacon bacon cheeseburger (except a Friday during the lent season but Jesus died on the cross so it's the least I can do)

For some reason, the more we try to end fat shaming is the more I hear people talking negatively about thin women. Let me say this again, skinny shaming will not end fat shaming. Songs like Anaconda and all about that base make me feel like I do not have sex appeal. I remember sometime in May when I was doing karaoke, I chose anaconda by Nicki Minaj with a friend because I was feeling brave at the moment: they did not have my Shania Twain or Abba go to songs. I was in a Beyonce mood anyways but they did not have Queen Bee either so I decided to go for Nicki. It was all fun until the end when she skinny shames and it was just awkward for me. Another girl listens to that song and she feels good about her curves but it does not have to be at my expense.

You do not have to say that “real women have curves” because I might be 23 years old and still waiting for my curves, I would like to assure you that I am a real woman thank you very much. Your response to the amount of space my body inhabits defines you not me.

Now that I have started this conversation, I realize that we cannot end it here. We need to talk about it and try to come up with ways to promote healthy body images. If not for ourselves, at least for our nieces and daughters.  I hope you can agree with me when I say that skinny shaming will not end fat shaming. Let’s try to find a more positive and kinder way. A candle doesn’t lose its flame by lighting up another.

Have a good weekend. You are beautiful.


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