We Need To Call Out All The Toxic Body-Shaming From The Early 2000s

Brittany Rae

Tell me you grew up in the '90s and '00s without telling me you grew up in the '90s and '00s. I'll go first: I hate my body!

But why? Why do I hate my body? There's a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones was the absolutely toxic media landscape that defined the 2000s. From Britney's breakdown to Tyra's swimsuit pics, growing up in the '90s and '00s meant thinking you were fat 24/7. And that was messed up.

We ALL deserved better, celebrities included.

With the recent release of a documentary about Britney Spears, people are beginning to re-evaluate how we behaved in the early 2000s.

It felt like the media used to make spectacles out of absolutely everything related to celebrities, especially their bodies. However, since social media wasn't around yet, we didn't have a way of seeing other sides of an issue, or access to voices telling us how wrong it was for someone's thigh gap to be big news.

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This TikTok sums it up nicely.

TikTok | @rockitmtn

I viscerally remember the discourse around bodies like Britney's and America's, and for what? They look so good! Look at how perfect Britney's body is, and how her incredibly slight belly is actually gorgeous.

And America! How was she the "fat" one of the group? She looks like the ideal woman, in my opinion. I can't believe we used to listen to people who called them fat. But they did — a lot.

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That kind of discourse caused a lot of self hatred in a lot people.

Unsplash | Alex Lopez

Me included. At my thinnest, I was a size 10, but I felt like the fat friend, and my friends treated me that way. (Don't worry, I got new friends.) It allowed people to treat others as less than just because they had some fat on their bodies, and gave bullies fuel for their fires.

Constant exposure to anti-fat and anti-weight gain content was detrimental to my self-confidence. The only thing that has helped me at all is body-positive influencers, models, and actors all over social media.

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And it's not just the 2000s, either.

Twitter | @jxeker

Lately, teenagers have been talking about how formative the '90s and '00s were for millennials. Gen Z is big into romanticizing the era we grew up in — which is fine!

However, it's important that we don't romanticize the attitudes of that era. We didn't have social media, and that was a bad thing. How we should feel about our bodies was dictated to us.

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Growing up during that time was hell.

Twitter | @sleepynothings

If you weren't a size 2, you were fat. And if you were a size 2, you were told you were too skinny, you needed to eat a burger, and made fun of constantly for trying to look the way everyone said you should.

There was no winning. You were either mocked for having an eating disorder, or you were mocked for being fat. There was no in between.

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People like Kate Moss perpetuated those attitudes, too.


Kate Moss made headlines when she boldly stated, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."

That quote was burned into my brain all through my teenage years. Every carb, every sweet, every morsel of food was consumed with the idea that I was not eating to fuel my body. In fact, I often did (and still do) feel ashamed that I need to eat at all.

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Our world isn't perfect, and neither is social media.


But I'm so glad we have platforms to push back against voices that want to shame us. The body positivity movement has changed public perception of weight gain and weight in general.

Sure, there's still shaming. There's still negative voices. But now, all of us can push back and shout down people who want to bully others for looking a certain way. And that, just like all bodies, is beautiful.

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