The skinny on body shaming

Story highlights

  • Women of all sizes say they are being shamed
  • One advocate said she views fighting back as a woman's movement

(CNN)When it comes to body shaming, larger women don't have a monopoly.

The popular site Reddit recently banned fat-shaming subreddits. Meanwhile, designer and former reality star Lauren Conrad announced on her website that she has decided to ban all body-shaming terms "and replacing them with words like 'fit' 'toned,' and 'healthy.' "
"We try do to this for the most part anyway, but now we're making it official," Conrad wrote. "The word skinny will now be reserved for skinny jeans. My editorial team and I had a long talk about it, and we want to make sure that the focus is on being fit as opposed to a number on the scale. Every body is created differently -- and healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes."
    The statement addressed an issue that is getting more and more buzz. From the willowy Keira Knightley to the Rubenesque Melissa McCarthy, celebrities are increasingly being criticized for their size.
    But the famous aren't the only ones struggling with labels and comments such as "You need to eat more" or "Why are you eating that?"
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    Brittany Gibbons has amassed a notable base of fans as blogger "Brittany Herself" and is a body image advocate. Her new book "Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It" shares her story as a woman of substance.
    Gibbons says she very quickly learned via her online community that thinner women are being shamed just as mercilessly.
    "I see this entire issue as a women's movement and not just a plus-size women's movement," she said. "It was astonishing to me how much revulsion and shame women of all sizes can feel towards their bodies."
    The married mother of three said thinner women reached out to her to say they too have been made to feel like they just aren't good enough.
    "Anytime we are commenting on a woman's body using negative terms, it's extremely damaging," said Gibbons, who is a size 18.
    In January, "Cinderella" star Lily James was criticized for her 17-inch waist in photos for the film. She explained to ABC's "Nightline" that she has a naturally small waist and that the combination of the corset she wore and the voluminous skirt gave the impression the images had been Photoshopped.
    The actress told the Los Angeles Times at the time that "I think it's all very hypocritical, and they contradict themselves, and they're drawing more attention to it. I think all that stuff's so negative, and you've got to let it wash over your head.
    "I'm so healthy," James said. "I've got hips and boobs and a bum and a small waist."
    McCarthy has famously been shamed by critics. One, she recently told Entertainment Weekly, she confronted and asked, "Are you the one who wrote I was only a good actor when I looked more attractive and that my husband should never be allowed to direct me because he allowed me to look so homely?"
    When he admitted that he was, the "Spy" star asked him whether he had a daughter. He said he did, and she reportedly told him, "Watch what you say to her. Do you tell her she's only worthwhile or valid when she's pretty?"
    Singer Miley Cyrus posted photos of herself in a bikini this week that had some calling her "anorexic" and "too skinny."

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    A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

    Cyrus, who as a teen was accused of being too curvy, told Rolling Stone in 2013 that she was aware that she was petite.
    "People are like, 'Miley thinks she's a black girl, but she's got the flattest a** ever,' " she said. "I'm like, I'm 108 pounds! I know!"
    On June 3, fashion blogger Christina Topacio tweeted photos of a text conversation she had with a man she met via a dating website. Although she had never met the man in person, he told Topacio, who is also a marketing professional, that he would seriously consider dating her but that she needed to lose weight.
    Topacio told the Huffington Post that she decided to share her story because "I want women to feel empowered to stand up for themselves, own who they are and understand that someone else's opinion has no relation to them being an amazing person."
    "My story is not a new story, this happens to women constantly," she said. "I'm just happy to have been given an opportunity to share my personal experience in hopes that it empowers women to shut it down. And ultimately say... I'm beautiful, I'm strong, I'm powerful, I'm 100 percent me."
    Topacio responded to the man's texts with a picture of herself eating a burrito bowl.