Language is something that most people use without regard with ways that it can be taken by the people around them. From the mainstream use of derogatory words that are not quite taboo to be used in a comical manner or to catch someone attention. It doesn’t always have to be a strong word that catches my own attention but a few specific word that are being used to convey a very different message than what they would like you to believe.
What I am talking about is the mass movement of using the word ‘skinny’ or even ‘thin’ when referring to food to clothing ect.. Although I wouldn’t doubt that this tread began far before the trend of skinny jeans, it was just packaged as low-fat or no-fat and still conveyed the same body ideal while using the idea of health as a backdrop.
It seems as though every time I leave my house I find a place that is selling something ‘skinny’ like Starbucks ‘Skinny latte’ which is just a no whip, skim milk and sugar free syrup latte. Or Kona Grills ‘Skinny Menu’ which is just a low calorie ‘healthy’ menu, which ironically enough includes alcoholic drinks that would just take the idea of healthy over the edge. Potbelly sandwiches has ‘thin-cut’ versions of their normal menu which just means it has less bread and meat, I ask why not just have a small and large menu like Jimmy John’s? Also Einstein Brothers Bagels also has ‘Bagel Thin Sandwiches.’
This is not just another movement towards being a healthier person but a movement to remove body diversity within our society. We live in a time when we have companies selling items like ‘skinny water’ and ‘skinny jeans’ (for which I am still looking for a new name, how about tight jeans?) It is the perceived idea that comes from those words when used with food or clothing, how we nourish our body while wearing clothing that can make us even closer to that socially acceptable ideal.
At the far end of this are not the subtle use of words to convey an idea that may or may not come across, but the actual evidence of a company going to far. Like Pretzel Crisps new ads that say ‘You can never be too thin.’ This company obviously doesn’t live in reality, because you can and you can die from being too thin.
I completely agree. I would even say that the use of “small” and “large” are detrimental to body perceptions in our society. It would be better if Starbucks just labeled according to ounces instead of forcing me (a very proud rotund woman) to order a “Grande” latte while all the starving-themselves high school girls snicker in my direction. Unfortunately our society has degraded to the point where we can no longer be described as “large” without a slew of judgments raining down upon us. So I move that the use of “small” “medium” “large” and especially “extra large” be removed from all commercial tags. Why do I need a retail store to tell me that I am “extra extra large” instead of just printing the measurements of the shirt on the tag? Who’s to say what small is and what large is?
I don’t understand why you care what companies label their products as. You might want to realize that they are just catering to society and the companies are doing nothing but trying to be profitable. Turns out that “thin” is a relative term and you are actually the one distinguishing the difference (and widening the judgmental gap) between what should be right and should be wrong.
While being profitable seems like a good excuse to why they would be using a word to sell their product I would argue that they are also turning people off who see it for what it is. Labeling something as ‘skinny’ ‘thin’ or any other form of the word is what actually creates what you have called a ‘judgmental gap.’ Also while the word ‘thin’ is a relative term, when in relation to clothing or food there is a distinct difference on how it can come across. You can see where this has happened with skinny jeans and the onslaught of people deeming that “skinny jeans are for skinny people and no fatties should wear them.” This is a direct relationship with the marketing used to sell the product. They could have called them tight jeans or any other term that doesn’t make one body type seem superior to another.
I’m not arguing that companies using words such as “skinny” and “thin” could be turning off potential customers (although I highly doubt they would do it if it was negatively effecting their bottom line). I’m simply saying that they have a right to market however they like and that companies naming their products does not make one body type superior. Public perception determines what is “superior”. Your blog is evidence to that.