Letter to the Editor: Tuesday letter misses the point of feminism

Bowling Green alumnus Aaron Shuford

Aaron Shuford

As a feminist myself, I concurred with much of what Ms. Railey said in her letter to the editor on March 18th. However, my jaw dropped when I read her last paragraph: “This article reinforces thin privilege because I have yet to see an article about fat-shaming on the front page of the Herald in the four years I have been at WKU.”

It is quite sad to hear anyone calling themselves a feminist objectify anyone like this. Perhaps our definitions of feminists are quite different. Or perhaps she does not feel women who are under a certain size are worthy of being treated with respect.   

Nevertheless, I felt this article (or any article on thin-shamming) was well overdue. 

Let’s face it. Women are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to body image. On one hand, there is intense pressure to lose weight. Some put themselves through hell to get thin. 

On the other hand, Chris Rock highlighted the other side of this in his “Kill the Messenger” tour. According to Rock, if a small woman makes fun of a person who is large, she is ostracized because “That’s just mean.” But if a large woman makes fun of a skinny woman, then it’s acceptable. 

However, Ms. Railey was correct when she said that people believe a person’s size is completely in his or her control. Assuming a skinny person is healthy is no more factual than assuming a fat person’s problems would be solved if she just ‘put down the fork.’ 

There are a number of aspects that contribute to a person’s overall size, many of which are not in that person’s control. These are things that we cannot just assume by simple observation. Genetics, physical health, stress level and emotions are just a few things that contribute to a person’s weight.

This issue is also quite personal to me. I have a number of friends who have faced both fat-shaming and thin-shaming. Neither is acceptable. 

Rather then look at someone in disgust over their physical attributes, we should get to know them on a personal level and make a decision from there. A discussion on body image is necessary. 

But to call out such a discussion as “Thin-privilege” is not how we should go about it. I would hope Ms. Railey reconsiders her words here. Feminism is more than just dress sizes. It is giving women the right to choose how they want to live their lives without the judgment of others.

-Aaron Shuford, Bowling Green alumnus