Sarah Hyland, who plays the adorably ditzy-with-a-spine Haley Dunphy on “Modern Family” has been having a rough few years. After battling a serious illness called kidney dysplasia and undergoing a kidney transplant in 2012, she has since had some health setbacks that have caused her to lose weight dramatically. Now the internet is accusing her of promoting anorexia and looking too thin—a tactic commonly known as skinny-shaming.
Fat-shaming and skinny-shaming are insidious siblings of the same hateful family. Both rely on telling people that their bodies are wrong or bad or sick or unhealthy. Whether it’s a plus-size athlete or a 26-year-old girl on bed rest (like Hyland), the internet uses these tactics to antagonize and bully men and women alike, and Hyland says it needs to stop.
Though skinny-shaming gets far less airtime than its rounder counterpart, it is just as hurtful and damaging. After sharing a photo of herself for an anti-bullying campaign, internet commenters jumped on Hyland’s thin arms and legs, accusing her of everything from Photoshop to promoting unhealthy body image.
“No, that’s not Photoshop, those are my legs, those are my arms,” Hyland wrote in a note she shared on Twitter. “I write this because I’ve been accused of promoting anorexia, in, ironically enough, an anti-bullying post. And I want young girls to know that’s not my intention.”
Hyland went on to tell fans (and detractors) that her health has to come first right now, writing, “I’ve basically been on bed rest for the past few months, I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass (and) I know that my face is swollen from medication that is saving my life.”
She also noted that saying “eat a burger” and “your head is bigger than your body” are not helpful ways to address someone who is struggling with their health and their weight. Think of it this way: would you tell someone who was a little heavy “stop eating that burger”?
My story as of now. Part 1. pic.twitter.com/6kWlnxgjIb
— Sarah Hyland (@Sarah_Hyland) May 24, 2017
Luckily, Hyland is strong and sure of herself and says that these negative comments won’t detract from her goals of getting healthy again. But, she says, they may affect others who are struggling and that’s why skinny-shaming needs to stop as a whole.
“I will always be too fat. I will always be too skinny. I will never have enough curves to be called a woman…Love the you you set out to be,” she wrote in her note. “I’m a 26 year old woman who goes through more than you could even imagine on a daily basis…Love and positivity is what we need most.”