The Skinny on Fat Shaming: It’s Getting Out of Hand…and Really Old

Despite the widespread embrace of fuller figured females in everything from Fashion Week runways to the pages of Sports Illustrated, fat shaming is becoming a lot more than a buzz term.

It’s happening as we speak.

Apparently, it turns out that not everyone is happy to jump on the whole plus-sized bandwagon.

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They say that the embrace of the plus-sized female promotes obesity and unhealthiness. They claim that fat isn’t sexy, and that people should take better care of themselves. They post pictures of larger individuals in fast food lines.

Some even alter the images of fuller figured females, rendering them thinner and therefore, finally beautiful in their eyes before sharing on social media.

That’s right, it’s called Project Harpoon and it’s a social media campaign designed with no other purpose but to fat-shame women by digitally altering their image.

Targets range from some of Hollywood’s larger leading ladies like Melissa McCarthy to everyday females. Posted alongside the altered images are idiotic comments like “Wow, from a depressed chub to an elegant fox” and “from blocking the view to enhancing it.”

Classy, right?

One particular target is a Vancouver model, Ruby Roxx, whose photoshopped images have been featured on the site, accompanied by many hurtful comments regarding her appearance. When a follower of her blog alerted her that a photo of her had been digitally altered and posted by the group, she decided to fight back.

She already has the group’s original Facebook page taken down. She also wrote an open letter to the group on her blog.

“Thank you for showing me that I have the drive and determination to fight bullies like you,” she writes. “How DARE you bring someone down, simply because she is not YOUR immature, close minded ideal!  It’s ok to have preferences, but it is NOT ok to make people feel bad because they aren’t yours. Guess what, bullies and jerks are NEVER anyone’s preference.”

As for Project Harpoon, in the wake of its dismantled social media sites, the group simply renamed itself ThinnerBeauty, and popped back up on Reddit, Facebook, and other sites.

The site claims to fight against the encouragement of obesity.

I get that everyone has different ideas of beauty (it’s in the eye of the beholder, as we’ve been told for years), and I fully admit that some of my favourite pictures are those where I look the skinniest. I’ve begged friends not to post shots because I thought I looked ‘fat’, even despite the fact that I’m only a size four.

Some people simply find skinny and fit attractive. Just like some people find accents attractive. Everyone’s entitled to their preference. But it’s one thing to promote a healthy lifestyle and certain body ideal, and quite another to publicly shame unknowing women.

Most likely, the female posted the picture in the first place because she thought she looked good in it. Maybe she’d even been working out for weeks and finally gained the confidence to post a bikini shot. The fact that grown adults are behind the act of bullying is mind blowing (seriously, I fear for their kids and secretly hope they’re chubby).

But as long as the shamers continue to shame, a growing number of large and in-charge, body-proud women will continue to fight back. And the very breeding ground of their bullying – social media – will only help them do it.

Last month, a young British female’s Facebook post – an open letter to a man who fat-shamed her while she was jogging – went viral. A few months back, Lane Bryant’s powerful #ImNoAngel campaign inspired a flood of social media photos from women who were proud of the fact that they didn’t have a body of a Victoria’s Secret model, thank you very much.

Yet, despite such positive steps forward, the everyday female has long ago mastered the “skinny arm pose” and is filtering, editing, and altering images of herself more than ever thanks to a few apps at her manicured fingertips.

Perhaps we all need to take a cue from Roxx to “work hard, love yourself, be positive and spread love.”

And by ‘love yourself,’ that means at every size, no matter what anyone says. When it comes down to it, the “fat shamers” are the ones with nothing better to do and who lack originality – the “fat kid” has been the target of bullying since grade school, after all.

So yeah, it’s getting really old.

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