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.