Vancouver plus-size model Ruby Roxx found herself embroiled in a social media body shaming campaign. The editor-in-chief of Beauty Mark Magazine was alerted by a Facebook follower that her photograph was circulating online. The photo had been digitally altered to make her appear thinner.
The image was featured on the Facebook page of Project Harpoon, which is a page that shows doctored images of plus-size women to make them appear smaller next to the original images. They claim it’s to inspire others to be healthy and to promote healthy images.
Project Harpoon is reported be part of a trend called #ThinnerBeauty. The trend is to Photoshop pictures of women in order to make them look smaller. The page descriptions says:
“In current societal fashion, a recent trending surge of ‘pro-obesity’ and ‘fat acceptance’ has paved the way for many people to renounce exercise and personal healthcare, in general. This page aims to only show that being skinny is okay as well. Skinny-shaming is not okay.”
The name itself is disgusting. It implies that the women featured are whales. Plus-size models like Tess Holliday and Ashley Graham and other celebrities such as Megan McCarthy, and Rebel Wilson have all been targets of this viral campaign. They use not only celebrity images, but also posts of ordinary people taken off their social media sites. They take photos and use it to promote their page, which is appalling.
There were a lot of negative and hurtful comments on the pictures. The posts use the hashtags #projectharpoon and #thinnerbeauty and the captions such as “from blocking the view to enhancing it” were also quite insulting.
Project Harpoon’s original Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts have been deleted, but new pages are emerging promoting the same body shaming message. The hashtag #thinnerbeauty is also still being used by many users.
The administrator of thinnerbeauty.org wrote that the goal of the campaign is to give people “visible, achievable health goals”. They claim that it’s not fat-shaming. They are against the promotion of the idea that obesity is okay. Roxx argues that it is not encouraging people to lose weight, but that such images could trigger people, who are struggling with an eating disorder.
Roxx says, “What they say they’re trying to do is encourage people to lose weight, which is stupid, because the only person who can tell you to lose weight or gain weight is a doctor, it’s not up to anybody else in the world.That’s not encouraging anybody to do anything. All it’s doing is shaming people”.
She has already spoken about her experience on Good Morning America and she will continue to report other fat shaming sites to get them shut down. Her own blog post wasn’t for herself, it was to encourage those who are most vulnerable to Internet trolls.
“I’m a confident person, I can handle what they’re saying about me,” she said. “But there are a lot of girls who read this kind of stuff and it really affects them, really negatively.”
The official Project Harpoon pages have been taken down. Instagram confirmed that they violated the service’s bullying policy. However, there will be other sites that continue to bully women. This needs to stop. Society needs to change their perception of the ideal body type and there should be a zero tolerance policy towards body shaming, whether it’s skinny shaming or fat shaming.