Fat-shaming gets all the attention, but human beings have a natural tendency to dislike extremes of any kind. That too-skinny woman with the rail thin arms who you want to force-feed a burger to? She’s not crazy or self-denying or starving or suffering from the curse of horrible body image expectations–but you may be. That’s what Melissa Milne wants you to know. She eats full meals, doesn’t hate herself, and she wants you to stop staring at her arms. She’s just built that way. Some babies got back, in the parlance, and some just don’t. For the latter, even a compliment can hurt. “You’re so skinny!” makes Milne go ouch.
Milne, who wrote The Naughty Diet, says skinny-shaming is common and flies right under the radar. It’s just as wrong as fat-shaming, but hardly anybody sees it. Skinny-shamers don’t suffer the condemnation that corpulence cursers do. Milne says “skinny” should be dropped from the compliment list–she hears it and she hears weakling or worse. Milne points out skinny celebs who get a hard time for their slim builds, from Taylor Swift to Kendall Jenner. Yet it’s known to be bad form to bring up a supposedly heavy person’s weight. (No comment on Tara Reid.) If DoSomething.org is right in saying 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies, then that means a lot of skinny women too.