Prime News Ghana

How does it feel to be skinny-shamed?

By Primenewsghana
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Skinny-shaming is defined as the act of mocking, criticising or belittling another person because of their perceived weight being below the acceptable weight in the community.

I’ve been skinny-shamed myself - and I've been looking into the phenomenon for the BBC World Service's What in the World podcast.

I was recently told in Uganda I wouldn’t qualify for bride price because of my size.

In some communities, thinness can be linked to sickness, like HIV and Aids, and fatness can be linked to happiness and wealth.

It affects men as well as women. Solomon Buchi, who’s 27 and from Nigeria, says being told he was "too skinny for a man" by a girl he was interested in, and other comments like this, have left him feeling like "less of a man".

These remarks can impact mental health. Ugandan psychologist Leona Buhenzire says both skinny-shaming and fat-shaming can cause body dysmorphic disorders, anorexia and bulimia.

"People who have been skinny-shamed can struggle with poor feeding habits, eating junk food and feeling anxiety over what they eat," she adds.

She highlights that in some rural parts of Uganda, where big is beautiful, young brides can be force-fed to make them put on weight.