An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Thoughts on Body Shaming

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Thoughts on Body Shaming

By now, we all know Bruce Jenner has dominated the headlines since Monday. So you may have missed this piece of celebrity news:

Did you read Lauren Conrad's notice to ban body-shaming words from her site? Let's take a step back. Remember her? I fell in love with her way back in her Laguna Beach days, stayed in love through The Hills and now occasionally check out her massively successful clothing and blog empire. Just because we're old friends like that. I'm the secret BFF she doesn't know she has!

Anyway, the quick synopsis is this: She's spending June writing a lot of fitness material for her blog. As such, she and her editorial team decided to ban/omit the words "skinny" "thin" "slim" etc. from her articles. Instead, she's using terms like "healthy" "fit" and "toned." So, as opposed to seeing a headline that says, "3 Moves to the Perfect Skinny Arm!" you'll see "3 Moves to Tone Your Triceps This Summer" and so on and so forth.

I'm all in favor of this plan, since I'm SO SICK of reading BS headlines in magazines like Cosmo, Allure, Elle, etc. about how to "Make Those Skinny Jeans Fit!" and "How to Appear Slimmer in Selfies" and on and on...

What I was NOT prepared for was the nasty responses she got! The comments under the blog post I linked above are insane. Readers are asking why she's not banning words like plus-size, curvy and fat. People are actually body shaming HER in her comment section with remarks like "Must be nice to be skinny and rich and just ban those terms!" Are you freaking kidding me?

Guys. GUYS. Listen up here: She's writing fitness articles and workout plans for her blog. She decided to focus on health over America's obsession with looking more slim for those posts. What about this is hard to understand? Why in the name of Christmas would you take that opportunity to body shame HER?

It's an interesting reaction to note, though. How people automatically assumed SHE didn't want to be body shamed for being thin (and beautiful, wealthy, successful, etc), and assumed that was the reason behind her decision to not use those terms. They thought it was all about her, and in so rudely commenting, made it about themselves. Their own insecurities came through loud and clear in their snarky and ignorant statements.

I was embarrassed for what they said, and their blind ignorance to what she's trying to achieve with her site and brand. I've been body shamed for being thin more times than I care to count. I've been misunderstood, too. Put the two together and it's a recipe for a full out war against a thin woman trying to create solutions to a nasty cultural problem we have.

To Lauren, I say bravo! Way to take a stand and DO something about America's thin obsession. To her critics, I say get a clue. Their negative reactions, misinterpretations and their very own body shaming of Lauren ARE the problem she's attempting to address.


  1. It's a good step to trying to change the subtle influences of terms on our own mentality (striving to be "skinny" versus striving to be "fit" are two very different things). However, I do think a lot of people forget that body shaming works both ways - it's not just "fat" people who are shamed. I know several "skinny" people who are very insecure about their bodies and try hard to gain weight (and can't) and they get all kinds of comments (like, "Here, you can have my doughnut. You need it more than I do") that people don't realize is just as hurtful as saying someone is "fat."

  2. straight up, people need to chill. i dont know why people get all worked up when they read stuff on the internet that they don't like or agree with because if you really think about it - THEY ARE JUST WORDS. words hold no power unless you give them power and people should really learn to move on if they don't like something.

    good on her for trying to be positive; i agree with her. all those nasty commenters? lame. move on, bitches; if you don't agree with what she wrote then there's that little "X" in the top corner that makes things go away *eye roll*

  3. Good for her for trying to portray a more positive image. It's much healthier imo to use works like "healthy, fit, toned" because those words comes in all different shapes and sizes. For too long magazines have plastered their "skinny" BS and a lot of women struggle to meet that criteria. The sad thing is, a lot of women just aren't MADE that way. Exhibit A: yours truly. I'll never be 5'7" with killer long legs and a long torso. I'm built on a broad 5'1" frame. My healthy/fit/toned looks totally different than yours does. Why can't people get that?

  4. Sometimes I really question the world we live in and think if our freedom of speech has gone too far!! I'm all for what Lauren is trying to accomplish - it's important for kids to see that skinny is not perfect - healthy is!! My sister's friends daughters (she has twins) are about 11 and both eat like birds and we were at a bbq for Memorial Day and one of them actually said, I can't eat anything or else I'll look fat in my bathing suit - I had no words and I could tell that the mom was seriously concerned - it's just not OK! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  5. I don't think I can shout AMEN loud enough right now (while I sit at my desk in our quiet office)!
    Why the heck can't people get off their high horses and realize that not everyone is as self absorbed as they are, and maybe she's trying to do something for the greater good and actually help people, not just herself?!
    When I think about it, I too have been body shamed for being "skinny" even though I'd never label myself as that. But I better not say anything to someone who may be larger than me or I will never hear the end of it. Freaking double standards.
    Phew, now I'm fuming over here girl!

  6. At the end of the day, I think all women's bodies in all shapes and sizes are beautiful and should be celebrated, and I think her intentions were obviously coming from a good place. I could see how others would take this out of context and make ignorant remarks, but I don't think those are warranted. She's trying to make her website a more body positive space and that's a good thing.

  7. Yes yes yes! We had this conversation the other night about the use of the word skinny. I can't stand it. To me skinny doesn't mean healthy. I say that to my patients all the time. I never want you to be skinny I want you to change your eating habits to be healthy! I can't believe people are slamming her. I love LC. Seriously she is such a business mogul I am always in awe of all the things she is into. Fabulous post as always girl!

  8. I have this HUGE post in my drafts that I doubt will ever get published because I just get so mad and ragey about it every time i think about it. People think it's okay to body shame thin people but it's all body shaming, any time you talk about someone's body in a negative way, you know? it just infuriates me, the stupidity and ignorance of some people. i agree with you wholeheartedly!

  9. Preach. I honestly don't see what people are so worked up about - it seems very obvious to me that words like "healthy" and "fit" can apply to a wide variety of shapes and sizes which is only positive in my eyes. And I can't personally relate to skinny people being body shamed (my body just isn't a shape that will ever be described as "skinny", something I came to terms with a long time ago), my husband is naturally very skinny and can't put on weight to save his life. I know it bothers him when people make comments about it, and honestly I'm not sure if it's better or worse for him being a guy!