Are all girls really created equal and are thin girls just superior beings?


I’ve been thinking about this question as I’ve been writing my book on girls and body image.  I know it’s an ugly question– showing an ugly side of human nature. But the more girls who write to me about how they view themselves and others in their schools, the more I wonder if this question underlines and undermines how girls see themselves and others at school.

Does thinness make some girls automatically superior in school? Does any deviation from that thinness put girls at risk for being seen as inferior? Does this way of thinking carry on as we become adults?

Studies repeatedly show that girls who are seen as overweight, fat, bigger than average, or even just bigger than the “thin” girls must deal with discrimination, teasing, ostracization, and relational bullying.  They must deal with weight discrimination from peers and from teachers.

My belief is that the more girls are around other girls and teachers who have anti-fat beliefs, the stronger those beliefs become.  They become part of the “thin” group and reject anything or anyone that associates them with any “fat” group.  That means rejecting other girls but it also mean rejecting parts of themselves.  You wonder why there is an increase of eating disorders, dieting, purging, and over-exercising in middle and high school? Hmmm.  Your take?

I would love it if you could comment on this issue and/or tell your story for the book.  Please contact me through my story-collection website or let me know you’re interested in joining the facebook group “My body image story” by writing me a note on facebook.

Dr. Robyn Silverman signature


One Response

  1. Thanks for this post 🙂 It’s nice to hear there are others out there who are aware and concerned about body image in young people. Unfortunately, it seems younger and younger kids are starting to deal with these issues. The tween years are just the beginning of the long life we have struggling with self/body acceptance. It’s sad that young girls become malicious about it (not to say that the older ladies aren’t just as bad.) Its also sad that once they “achieve” the popular status they still hate their body or want to change it. Now they have to “maintain” the “slim and beautiful” image. Why is this encouraged? Multifaceted. Society/media is sending a unattainable beauty ideal message, parents stress out weight/diet, “fat” is an ugly taboo, and other layers.

    Thank you for this post and trying to raise awareness! Would love to talk more if you like. Check out my blog if you like We all need to come together on these issues and stand up to them in a collective voice in order to be heard 🙂

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