Is Calling Someone Skinny Body Shaming? Worth Understanding!

Body shaming is a sensitive topic that affects people of all shapes and sizes. It’s important to understand that body shaming can take many forms, including negative comments about someone’s weight or size.

The question of whether calling someone “skinny” is a form of body shaming is a complex one. While some may view it as a compliment, others may feel it perpetuates harmful beauty standards. So, it’s essential to consider the impact of our words on others and approach the issue with sensitivity and understanding.

As we explore this topic, let’s discuss it with an open mind and a willingness to learn from one another.

How Skinny Shaming Directly Affects a Person

Mental HealthEmotional HealthPhysical Health
Low self-esteemFeelings of shameUnhealthy eating habits
Poor body imageSelf-consciousnessDisordered eating
Negative self-talkIsolation and lonelinessMalnutrition
DepressionAnger and frustrationOver-exercising
AnxietyDisappointment and sadness

It’s important to note that these effects are not exhaustive and may vary from person to person.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that body shaming can severely negatively impact a person’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

The Skinny Debate

woman's hand up in a religious social gathering

What is Skinny Shaming?

While some may think being called skinny is a compliment, it can be as hurtful as being called fat.

Skinny shaming is the act of criticizing or insulting someone for being thin. It can take many forms, from comments about a person’s weight to assumptions about their diet or lifestyle.

Skinny shaming can come from friends, family members, or even strangers and can seriously impact a person’s self-esteem and body image.

Examples of Skinny Body Shaming?

“You’re so skinny; you look like a walking skeleton.”

a skeleton remain sitting at the side of the street

  • “You need to eat more; you’re way too skinny.”
  • “Real men like curves, not bones.”
  • “Are you sick? You look so thin.”
  • “You should try to gain weight; you’d look better.”
  • “You’re so skinny; you must not eat anything.”
  • “You’re too skinny to wear that; it looks like it’s hanging off you.”
  • “Real women have curves, not toothpicks.”

Calling someone skinny reinforces the idea that there is only one “ideal” body type and that anyone who doesn’t fit that mold is somehow flawed or inferior.

But it’s important to remember that not all comments about weight are created equal. There’s a big difference between saying, “You look healthy,” and “You look too skinny.”

The former is a compliment that focuses on a person’s overall well-being, while the latter is an insult that suggests that being thin is a bad thing.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different, and there is no “right” way to look.

We should celebrate and embrace all body types and work to create a world where everyone feels comfortable and confident in their skin.

Different Perspectives About Skinny Shaming

woman covering her ears while fingers are pointing at her

Proponents of Skinny Shaming Being Bodyshaming

Some people argue that calling someone skinny is body shaming, just as calling someone fat is.

They believe society has set unrealistic beauty standards that glorify thinness and shame anyone who doesn’t fit that mold.

They point out that skinny shaming can be as hurtful as fat shaming and that treating everyone with kindness and respect is essential, regardless of body type.

Proponents of skinny shaming also argue that being called lean can be just as damaging to one’s self-esteem as being called fat.

They say that skinny people struggle with body image issues and eating disorders and that being constantly told to “eat a cheeseburger” or “put some meat on your bones” can be triggering and harmful.

Opponents of Skinny Shaming Being Bodyshaming

Others argue that calling someone skinny is not body shaming but simply an observation.

They say that thin people are often praised and envied for their bodies and that being called skinny is not the same as being called fat.

Opponents of skinny shaming also point out that thin people do not face the same discrimination and prejudice as fat people.

They say that fat shaming is a much more serious issue and that focusing on skinny shaming takes attention away from the real problem.

Ultimately, the debate over whether calling someone skinny is body shaming or not is a complex one.

While some people may feel hurt by the term, others may not. It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences and feelings are valid and to treat others with kindness and respect, regardless of their body type.

Why Would People Skinny Shame Someone in the First Place?

a girl student sitting at the center of a circled school girls and boys at the school gym

People may skinny shame for various reasons, including:

  • jealousy
  • insecurity
  • or a lack of understanding of different body types

Some people may believe that being thin is unhealthy or unattractive, while others may use skinny shaming to make themselves feel better about their bodies.

Regardless of the reasons behind it, skinny shaming can be hurtful and damaging to those who experience it.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is unique and deserves to be respected and celebrated, regardless of size or shape.

Is Skinny Shaming Harmful?

A naturally skinny person may face comments such as “you need to eat more” or “you look sickly” from others.

These comments can be hurtful and damaging to the person’s self-esteem and body image, leading to feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.

Effects of body shaming a skinny person:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative body image
  • Emotional distress
  • Insecurity
  • Anxiety and depression (that can lead to self-harm)
  • Unhealthy eating habits

It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different, and no “ideal” body type exists.

Body shaming, whether directed at someone thin or overweight, is harmful and can have serious consequences.

It’s always best to treat others with kindness and respect, regardless of their size or shape.

How to Combat Skinny Shaming

Here are some ways to combat skinny shaming:

  • Educate others: Help others understand that body shaming is never okay, regardless of the body type being targeted. Explain how skinny shaming can be just as harmful as other forms of body shaming.
  • Speak up: If you witness someone skinny-shamed, speak up and call out the behavior. Let the person know that their comments are hurtful and unacceptable.
  • Focus on health, not appearance: Encourage people to focus on health and well-being rather than appearance. Emphasize that everyone’s body is unique and that no “right” body type exists.
  • Practice self-love: If you have experienced skinny shaming, remind yourself that your body is worthy of respect and acceptance.
  • Surround yourself with positivity: Seek out friends and communities that promote body positivity and acceptance. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can help combat negative messages.

Remember that combating skinny or any form of body shaming is an ongoing process.

It’s important to continue learning and growing to create a culture of acceptance and respect for all body types.

Wrapping Up

Throughout this article, I’ve explored calling someone “skinny” and whether or not it constitutes body shaming.

It’s clear that there are differing opinions on this issue, and it’s essential to consider the context in which the word is used.

While some people may not find the term offensive, others may feel it’s a form of body shaming. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide how they feel about being called “skinny.”

However, we should all strive to be more mindful of our words when talking about someone’s body.

Whether it’s calling someone “fat” or “skinny,” these words can have a powerful impact on a person’s self-esteem and body image.

Instead of focusing on someone’s weight or body shape, let’s celebrate all bodies and the unique qualities that make each of us beautiful.

Let’s use language that uplifts and empowers rather than tears down and shame.




  • “Body Positive Power: Because Life Is Already Happening and You Don’t Need Flat Abs to Live It” by Megan Jayne Crabbe
  • “The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women” by Naomi Wolf
  • “Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet That Critical Voice!)” by Connie Sobczak

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Maggie Walker
Maggie Walker

Certifications: Fashion Design (BA)
Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Lives In: Chicago
Maggie has invaluable experience working in the fashion industry. Regarding fitting and clothing, only a select few can match up with her experience.
She oversees every aspect and has put her heart and soul into MadisonPlus.

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