Here’s the Problem With #SkinnyAcceptance

Kaitlin Mahar

Recently, the practice of “skinny acceptance” has developed as an answer to the fat acceptance movement in order to promote healthy body image.
Kaitlin - bw
Because some believe that encouraging women who aren’t a size 00 to love their bodies is shaming women who are in fact that size, so-called “activists” (and I use that term loosely) have jumped into action by creating trending topics on social media (including #thinnerbeauty and the previously mentioned #skinnyacceptance) their own groups, such as the popular Project Harpoon, which is just as offensive as it’s ignorant name suggests.

While I’m all for declaring that all women’s bodies are beautiful, Project Harpoon and others like it are doing more hurting than helping.

According to its website, Project Harpoon specializes in targeting women who they assume reject even the idea of exercising and/or eating healthy (because, obviously, those are the only two reasons why women can be fat) and performing “digital liposuction” on well-known, overweight women and female characters.

According to Project Harpoon’s mission statement, it says: “If the Tumblr fat acceptance/feminists make a big deal over photoshopping video game characters to make them look fatter than what they are, then why don’t we photoshop their own photos to make them thinner, more attractive, and, well, normal?”

The result? In addition to various cartoon characters (which obviously need to lose some weight, or else they might break the television and movie screens they lumber onto) models and celebrities, like actress Rebel Wilson, are photoshopped and altered to an unrealistic degree in order to show everyone what they would look like if they were more thin, which, in the case of this movement, is clearly synonymous with “more beautiful.”

What I didn’t notice in Project Harpoon’s mission statement was the word “healthy.” Nowhere does it state that the efforts of this project are to encourage women to live healthier lifestyles; if that were the case, then maybe, MAYBE they could get away with being labeled “misguided” or “ignorant.” However, given that these knuckle-dragging cavemen (and cavewomen – I won’t discriminate) seem to be completely focused on the idea of outer beauty and could not care less about the physical and mental health of the women they are targeting, it is clear that they are out to simply bully other women into submission so that they can feel badly about themselves and strive for an unachievable goal.

The problem is not presumably overweight women making thin women feel bad about their bodies.

The problem is that no one seems to understand that there isn’t one set body type. Everybody (and every body) is beautiful. The fact that people genuinely believe that this is a problem and feel the dire need to make others feel badly about themselves in the form of a online tantrum lightly veiled as “social activism” and “artistic expression” is childish and stupid.

And the fact that these people have to digitally alter these women in order to make them look like this ideal body type shows just how unattainable it really is. If everybody was capable of looking like, say, Kendall Jenner or Taylor Swift or Chrissy Teigen, then don’t you think we’d all look that way? It’s not about “renouncing exercise” or “refusing to eat healthy” – diet and exercise, while important, are just two factors that contribute to a person’s body type.

Yes, thin women are pretty. So are fat women. And curvy women. And white women, black women, Latina women, Asian women. Even Miss Piggy is beautiful. Because the bottom line is that if you’re thin, great. If you’re fat, great. If you’re curvy, great. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what you look like unless you let people bully and upset you.

Nevertheless, as much “good,” as Project Harpoon and all those like them, whether that means individuals or groups of people, think they’re doing, they are actually doing nothing but contributing to the body shaming problem.

And anybody who would legitimately take them seriously needs to step off the scale, step away from the mirror, and take a long, hard look inside themselves.