TikTok user explains why fat-shaming and ‘skinny-shaming’ are not the same

TikTok user @umbersaiyan addressed a common dispute on the platform — why “skinny-shaming” is not the same as fat-shaming.

“Fat people are denied jobs, proper medical care and health insurance,” she said in her viral post. “They’re paid less; they don’t have equal access to clothing, travel or many public spaces.”

@umbersaiyan

Shaming thin people is an individual aggression (and it’s wrong yes), but it’s not systemic oppression. #fatphobia

♬ original sound – Umber Saiyan

She said that fatphobia is rooted in anti-Blackness and sexism, whereas shaming thin people is not. Multiple studies support both of those claims.

Citing more cultural examples, @umbersaiyan asserted that marketing campaigns never state, “get fat quick” or “finally add those stubborn 30 pounds” — in fact, they say the opposite. That is reflective of society’s exaltation of thinness.

“Show me where all the weight gain industries are. Show me all the damaging messages that say skinny equals unworthy of life or skinny equals ugly,” she said.

She said fat people endure all of that discrimination and more in employment and housing and beyond.

“The world was designed for you,” @umbersaiyan said. “‘Eat a burger’ is just not comparable to systemic abuse or oppression.”

In her caption, she asserted that shaming thin people is an “individual aggression” and wrong — it’s just not systemic oppression and thus not equivalent to skinny-shaming.

For the most part, commenters agreed with her.

“The beauty standard is literally ‘be skinny,'” one user said.

“Any shaming is bad, but it’s not equal,” another wrote.

“She didn’t come to play around!” a third remarked.

Aubrey Gordon, who writes the “Your Fat Friend” column for Self Magazine, said her biggest issue with skinny-shaming is that people bring it up to “deflect responsibility and shirk accountability for anti-fat behaviors.” It’s a conversation-ender, deployed as if differing experiences cannot coexist.

She expressed the same sentiment that @umbersaiyan did — judging people for how they look is always hurtful, but it can’t compare to systemic oppression.

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If you enjoyed this story, read more about why the word “fat” isn’t an insult anymore.

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