I have stumbled upon a phenomenon that nobody talks about – discrimination or hatred of thin people. We may be all well aware of discrimination of overweight people, but the harassment of thin people in the US goes unnoticed. Like many other forms of discrimination, unfair treatment of thin people looks like there is almost nothing wrong with it. In a culture that views thinness as highly desirable, i.e. “you can never be too rich or too thin” it seems almost ridiculous to point out that you are being singled out in a negative way because you are thin. However when you talk to thin girls or women they all have many stories to tell of how they were continually harassed by friends, colleagues or family members in regard to their appearance, weight and height. Comments may range from “you are so tiny/small” to “do you eat anything at all” and anything else in between from fairly neutral to outright hateful remarks. Can you imagine an exchange “you are so fat/overweight” or “you must be gobbling down everything in sight and more”. Or “you are so black, you must have eaten all chocolate in your house”. No, I cannot imagine these comments being made by any sensible, polite and cultured individual. However, it is completely culturally accepted to make blunders like “when are you going to gain weight” or “I’d like to kill you because you are thin”.
Thin people occur naturally in nature. Just like naturally plump people do. They are both variation of the norm, both healthy until it is clinically proven that you are in fact dangerously underweight or overweight. We determine if somebody is healthy by taking into account the ratio of their height and weight, as well as their level of physical fitness, their nutritional status, etc.
The hatred of the thin can become a counterproductive force when you hear mean comments about a person who lost weight to approach their normal weight. I was watching TV and heard a commentator call Star Jones “a skinny bitch” after the celebrity had a surgery that helped her reduce her unhealthy weight. Did Star Jones look thin? By all means, no. She looked normal. Not thin one bit. http://radiocrat.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/star.jpg I don’t know why she lost weight – for health or appearance reasons. I do know that by losing unhealthy weight she did reduce her risks associated with being obese. I think it’s a good example for all of us how we can change something about ourselves for the better. Now, I would not necessarily approve of the surgery, but if it worked for her, it worked for her. I personally would prefer to see an example of non-invasive interventions that helped somebody out to become my role model, but it is besides the point. The point remains strong – in America people hate thin people. Why? Maybe, because it is threatening to their feeling of self-worth. Maybe, because it is easier to put somebody down to make yourself feel better. Maybe, because somebody has been hurt so many times they want to hurt somebody in return. No matter what the reasons are, making comments about somebody’s thinness is rude. Next time you think or hear somebody talk about somebody being thin, ask them how they would like to discuss their appearance.