When you're a woman -- regardless of how your body looks -- you grow up expecting to be judged (some of the time) based on appearance. However, there is a specific sort of stigma attached to being bigger.
In case you were unsure whether size prejudice existed, here are a few women who have experienced it -- and spoken out against it. We need more women willing to talk about these issues before anything can get better. The more women feel empowered to speak up, the less alone any of us will feel.
Nikki Blonsky, Actress
The 24-year-old "Hairspray" star opened up to Salon this month about how her weight has impacted the roles she's able to get. "It’s definitely been something I’ve struggled with. It’s kind of like one type of girl they’re always looking for. It can drive a plus-size actress crazy at the end of the day," she said.
Jennie Runk, Plus-Size Model
After starring in an H&M swimwear campaign, Runk penned an essay for BBC about why plus-size models are so important to the industry -- and how body-shaming can occur at any size:
The only problem is the negative connotations that remain stubbornly attached to the term "plus-size." There shouldn't be anything negative about being the same size as the average American woman, or even being a little bigger. Some women are perfectly healthy at a size 16 (a UK 18 or 20).
There's no need to glamorise one body type and slam another. We need to stop this absurd hatred towards bodies for being different sizes. It doesn't help anyone and it's getting old.
Amy Taylor, Director of Content and Community Strategy at Geben Communication
After Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries explained that he only wanted hot "cool kids" with washboard abs to wear his company's clothing, blogger and self-proclaimed "fat chick" Amy Taylor spoke out in an open letter. She wrote:
Mike (can I call you Mike?), I'm not only a fat chick, I'm also a "not-so-cool" kid. Always have been, always will be. I've had 31.5 years to come to terms with that. Along the way I have been bullied, tortured, teased and harassed. Somehow I came out the other end better for it. In case you haven't noticed, those not-so-cool kids are the ones who are passing people like you by-and doing some pretty amazing things.
Ireland Baldwin, Model
Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger's 17-year-old daughter recently received criticism for not having enough of a model body. She shot back in an amazing blog post, writing:
Of course I get those comments about how I am too fat to model, how I am not model material, how I am an unattractive girl, how I am too tall, etc. … I AM NOT MY PARENTS. My mom is one of the most beautiful woman in the world. She is 5’9, I am 6’2. She is petite and fragile, and I am fit and…. more to love tehe. I have a booty, she has a thigh gap. As she emerged from her teen years, she developed an angular face and striking cheekbones. I am still a teen making my way out of my awkward phase. I am still trying to figure this whole thing out.
These are just the most recent stories of these kind. Countless famous women have been targeted based on their looks (see a few here) and studies have shown that fat prejudice can start at age 4, and even doctors are nicer to thin patients.
The above women are all celebrities, with the exception of Taylor who has a platform to express herself on her blog. We'd like to offer the same opportunity to any woman who has experienced size prejudice (regardless of your body type).
Send a paragraph (to firstname.lastname@example.org) about any time you've faced prejudice or discrimination based on your looks -- and another paragraph letting us know what you want to say back to the people who did the discriminating. Also, please include whether or not you'd like us to use your name as well as your age and area you're from.