My sexual accessibility has never been up to me, and this was a crucial and painful epiphany to have. Content Warning: this essay mentions depression and instances of sexual coercion. It’s not that I haven’t been celibate before. As someone who lives in the gray area of the asexual and aromantic spectrums, I’ve gone long […]
Body-Shaming YouTube Star Eugenia Cooney Is Not OK
Content warning: anorexia, bulimia, disordered eating
YouTube star Eugenia Cooney is the target of a different kind of body hate than we usually cover. With over 890,000 YouTube followers, Cooney has long been the object of a witch hunt based on her very, very tiny waist size and speculated eating disorder.
Recently, a Change.org petition circulated, calling for the incredibly thin YouTuber to be temporarily banned until she sought help for a perceived eating disorder. That’s right — perceived eating disorder.
“I’m really sorry to the people who want me banned off of YouTube, I’m really not trying to do anything wrong :(,” she tweeted Thursday. “I just don’t really think it’s right to try to get people banned off of YouTube unless they’ve done something really bad :/.”
Folks opposed to the YouTuber’s spotlight cited the potential influence on impressionable young kids. Concern-trollers feel that this will force the internet-famous starlet into a rehab for the alleged disorder.
“Some people are saying I’m like a bad influence on girls. I just want you guys to know like I have seriously never have tried to be a bad influence on YouTube or to influence anyone badly. I would never want to do that.”
“I have never told anyone to try to lose weight or to try to change the way they look or to look like me.”
More than 18,000 people signed the petition to further shame Cooney from her YouTube channel. Google, the parent company of Change.org, has since removed the petty petition. The creator, Lynn Cloud, claims that she was not trying to “dismay her, insult her, (or) belittle her.”
“She may not be intentionally influencing her viewers, but showing more than 50% of her body in her videos and pictures are not helping girls with anorexia or any eating disorder.”
Hmm … sounds like some of the things that have been thrown at the #DropTheTowel and #BeyondBeauty campaigns, in which most models were criticized for being too fat. Opponents of the campaigns suggested that we, too, were bad influences, showing our scantily clad fat bodies, influencing youngsters to make “bad” choices.
“It is horrifying watching her kill herself slowly and inspire girls to starve themselves as well,” added a signee of the petition.
For those who are plus-sized and attacking the YouTuber, get real. We don’t get to pick and choose whose bodies are good and whose bodies are bad — and those in plus-size bodies should know that in a really deep way. When we participate in behaviors like this, we are doing the exact same thing fatphobes do to us, likely saying almost the exact same things that have been catapulted at fat bodies in an effort to shame them into conforming to beauty standards.
Whether Cooney has an eating disorder or not is not for folks outside of her circle to speculate or act upon. For all we know, there could even be another health issue at play, contributing to her thinness. Or it could just be her body doing its own thing.
Bottom line: it’s none of our business. Seriously. None of it. No matter how well-meaning you are — it’s none of your damn business.