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 Post subject: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:35 am 
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Are You Guilty? 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
If you are looking for a resolution, how about resolving to stop hating on our bodies? Start by avoiding these 10 bad habits
By Ragen Chastain
December 30, 2012

1. Saying Things Like, “She Would Be So Pretty If…”
Have you ever uttered anything along the lines of, “But she has such a gorgeous face” or “She would be more beautiful if she put on a few pounds?” You are limiting your idea of beauty to a cultural stereotype. Beauty is not conditional. If you can’t say anything nice, maybe it’s time to learn how.

2. Judging Other People’s Clothes
While it’s fine for you to choose clothes any way you want, nobody else is required to adhere to your style.The person wearing that outfit is, in fact, pulling it off, even if you think she's too flat chested, big chested, short, tall, fat or thin. And fat people don't have to confine themselves to dark colors and vertical stripes, no matter who prefers it. And spandex? It’s a right, not a privilege.

3. Making It an 'Us vs. Them' Thing
The phrase “Real Women Have Curves” is highly problematic. Developed as a response to the tremendous body shaming that fat women face, it still amounts to doing the same thing in the opposite direction. The road to high self-esteem is probably not paved with hypocrisy. Equally problematic is the phrase “boyish figure” as if a lack of curves makes us somehow less womanly. The idea that there is only so much beauty, only so much self-esteem to go around is a lie. Real women come in all shapes and sizes, no curves required.

4. Avoiding the Word “Fat”
Dancing around the word fat is an insinuation that it's so horrible that it can’t even be said. The only thing worse than calling fat people “big boned” or “fluffy” is using euphemisms that suggest body size indicates the state of our health or whether we take care of ourselves. As part of a resolution to end body shaming, try nixing phrases like “she looks healthy,” or “she looks like she is taking care of herself,” and “she looks like she is starving” when what you actually mean is a woman is thin.

5. Making Up Body Parts
We could all lead very full lives if we never heard the words cankles, muffin top, apple shaped, pear shaped or apple butt ever again. We are not food.

6. Congratulating People for Losing Weight
You don’t know a person's circumstances. Maybe she lost weight because of an illness. You also don’t know if she'll gain the weight back (about 95 percent of people do), in which case earlier praise might feel like criticism. If someone points out that a person has lost weight, consider adding something like, “You’ve always been beautiful. I’m happy if you are happy.” But if a person doesn’t mention her weight loss, then you shouldn't mention it either. Think of something else you can compliment.

7. Using Pretend Compliments
“You’re really brave to wear that.” By the way, wearing a sleeveless top or bikini does not take bravery. “You’re not fat, you’re beautiful.” These things are not mutually exclusive -- a person can be fat and beautiful. “You can afford to eat that, you’re thin.” You don’t know if someone has an eating disorder or something else; there is no need to comment on someone's body or food intake. “You’re not that fat” or “You’re not fat, you workout,” need to be struck from your vocabulary. Suggesting that looking fat is a bad thing is also insulting, so also out the door are, “Does this make me look fat?” and “I look so fat!” when you are a size 2.

8. Thinking of Women as Baby-Making Machines
One of my readers mentioned that her gynecologist called her “good breeding stock.” Also awful: “baby making hips.” Worst of all is when people ask fat people when they are due. As has famously been said, unless you can see the baby crowning, do not assume that someone is pregnant.

9. Sticking Your Nose in Other People’s Exercise Routines
A subtle form of body shaming occurs when people make assumptions or suggestions about someone’s exercise habits based on their size. Don’t ask a fat person, “Have you tried walking?” Don’t tell a thin person, “You must spend all day in the gym.” I have had people at the gym congratulate me for starting a workout program when, in fact, I started working out at age 12 and never stopped. I had a thin friend who started a weight-lifting program and someone said to her, “Be careful, you don’t want to bulk up.” How about not completely over-stepping your boundaries and being rude and inappropriate?

10. Playing Dietitian
If you have no idea how much a person eats or exercises, you shouldn't tell her to eat less and move more or suggest she put more meat on her bones. (Even if you do know what she eats, don't do it). How do you know she's looking for nutritional advice from you or the newest weight-loss tip you saw on Dr. Oz?

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:13 am 
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I love this. These are all things I try to avoid, and it's great to see them put together in one place. What really irritates me about things such as these being said is that, well, don't we have anything better to discuss than someone else's body fat or eating habits? If I notice a friend has lost or gained weight, it's not something I talk about unless they do, because guess what - they're my friend and I don't actually give a toss about their fat cells or lack thereof. /rant

The gym one really gets on my nerves... I know people who have overweight/obese BMIs but exercise regularly and are fitter than a lot of 'healthy' weight people. Ooh. I could bitch for hours about body shaming!

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:34 am 
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I feel like I often post these things because they hit home for me, but never really talk about what I personally resonated with or why I posted it. So I'm actually going to "out" myself on this one and invite others to do the same: just some self-reflection on the things that you may do - even almost automatically or reflexively - or have experienced.

1. Ok, I don't think I have ever said this in my life. I honestly don't think I've made a sentence starting with or containing, "She/He would be so pretty/attractive if..."

2. Guilty. I just really hate to admit this, and it's never the outre or "statement" clothes. It's usually just a boring combination of clothing that fails to live up to the owner's potential. I'm not justifying this - I hate myself for doing it. But sometimes, not often, I do it.

3. Totally agree with this one. Real humans are all sizes, shapes and diversities.

4. I referenced this the other day in this post, noting how the father described the word "obese" as a "strong, uncomfortable" word. "Fat" is one of those things that gets us in two ways, and both often evoke the spectre of something scary, vulnerable. The first is the fat on our bodies. We can say, "Oh, I'm having a fat day", or "I feel fat", and what we are saying is, "I am feeling ashamed today", "I hate myself today". When fat is us, it is imposed on us as a bad thing. The second is food fat. Quick, anyone: how many calories in a gram of fat? I bet the answer just slipped our of the mouths of nine out of ten readers. Am I right? We are brainwashed into believing that eating fat (bad) causes us to be fat (worse) and be swept up in the tidal wave of the obesity epidemic (personal and socio-economic ruination). But eating fat doesn't do that. And we can't live without fat on our bodies. And yet, unless we are counting the calories in it, "fat" is a four-letter word.

5. Ok, I've never been able to figure out what fruit I am.

6. I'm very careful on this one. And even at my lowest weight some people would tell me I looked great, even strangers stopping me and asking how I stayed so "slim".

7. I don't do pretend compliments.

8. "Child-bearing hips". The words that fell out of my parents mouths from the time I entered puberty until I don't even know when. Those hips, which now apparently are all the rage because they "allow" me to have the highly coveted "thigh gap", those hips were the bane of my existence. No matter how much weight I lost I could not change my skeletal structure; there was a size in jeans I could not get below no matter what. I didn't want child-bearing hips. I wanted one of my sisters' genetics: tiny and petite, or tall and skinny.

I can skim over the next two. The only time I comment on other people's exercise or diet regimes is when they impose them on me and I have to talk back to them to quiet the voice inside my own head.

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:14 am 
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Oh my god, I love love love love love this.

(I judge people's clothing all the time).

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:47 am 
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veGA wrote:
I love this. These are all things I try to avoid, and it's great to see them put together in one place. What really irritates me about things such as these being said is that, well, don't we have anything better to discuss than someone else's body fat or eating habits? If I notice a friend has lost or gained weight, it's not something I talk about unless they do, because guess what - they're my friend and I don't actually give a toss about their fat cells or lack thereof. /rant

The gym one really gets on my nerves... I know people who have overweight/obese BMIs but exercise regularly and are fitter than a lot of 'healthy' weight people. Ooh. I could bitch for hours about body shaming!


I do too. I think I avoid most of these things with ease since this is not a topic my friends engage in often and I don't bring up things about people's bodies myself. I have said the occasional thing about clothes I'm not proud of that. Frankly though I don't notice most people enough most times to notice anything like that and the people I notice are the people I know and they get frustrated because I don't notice things like weight changes readily.

But yes I don't particularly care either and there are far more interesting things to talk about.

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:47 pm 
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This is a really good list. I've been guilty of more than a couple of these.

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:11 pm 
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This is a great list. I've found myself guilty of number 2. It's a good reminder of the ways that body shaming is so pervasive in our culture.

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:54 pm 
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Y'know, I don't think it's body shaming to judge someone's clothing. The body-shaming comes when we judge how someone's body fits into their clothing. I think that was the point of that bullet.

So I think it's fair game to say that butt-floss thongs hanging out of pants are a don't, but that it's a don't for everyone, regardless of their body shape or size.

Edited to add: I think it's also okay to judge the appropriateness of attire. Spandex may be a "right", but it's probably not appropriate to wear spandex shorts to work (depending on where you work, I suppose).

It's body shaming if it would be okay for one person in that situation to do it, but not another, based on their size.
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And yes, so much, that us vs. them thing. I've heard "real women have curves" waaaay too much. It's ridiculous. Women who do not have curves are still women. Redefining the the ideal physical shape of a woman is still putting out that ridiculous idea that there is a "perfect body" to strive for.
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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:35 pm 
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delenda wrote:
Y'know, I don't think it's body shaming to judge someone's clothing. The body-shaming comes when we judge how someone's body fits into their clothing. I think that was the point of that bullet.

So I think it's fair game to say that butt-floss thongs hanging out of pants are a don't, but that it's a don't for everyone, regardless of their body shape or size.

Edited to add: I think it's also okay to judge the appropriateness of attire. Spandex may be a "right", but it's probably not appropriate to wear spandex shorts to work (depending on where you work, I suppose).

It's body shaming if it would be okay for one person in that situation to do it, but not another, based on their size.



Yeah, I'm going to judge you if you wear really noisy shoes on purpose. Because those things are f'ing annoying.

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:17 am 
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nomnivore wrote:
delenda wrote:
Y'know, I don't think it's body shaming to judge someone's clothing. The body-shaming comes when we judge how someone's body fits into their clothing. I think that was the point of that bullet.

So I think it's fair game to say that butt-floss thongs hanging out of pants are a don't, but that it's a don't for everyone, regardless of their body shape or size.

Edited to add: I think it's also okay to judge the appropriateness of attire. Spandex may be a "right", but it's probably not appropriate to wear spandex shorts to work (depending on where you work, I suppose).

It's body shaming if it would be okay for one person in that situation to do it, but not another, based on their size.



Yeah, I'm going to judge you if you wear really noisy shoes on purpose. Because those things are f'ing annoying.


Ha ha! I agree with this.

It is a good post. I think a lot of people don't realize they even do some of these things.

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:53 am 
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Kaz wrote:
nomnivore wrote:
delenda wrote:
Y'know, I don't think it's body shaming to judge someone's clothing. The body-shaming comes when we judge how someone's body fits into their clothing. I think that was the point of that bullet.

So I think it's fair game to say that butt-floss thongs hanging out of pants are a don't, but that it's a don't for everyone, regardless of their body shape or size.

Edited to add: I think it's also okay to judge the appropriateness of attire. Spandex may be a "right", but it's probably not appropriate to wear spandex shorts to work (depending on where you work, I suppose).

It's body shaming if it would be okay for one person in that situation to do it, but not another, based on their size.




Yeah, I'm going to judge you if you wear really noisy shoes on purpose. Because those things are f'ing annoying.


Ha ha! I agree with this.

It is a good post. I think a lot of people don't realize they even do some of these things.


The thing that gets me is people wearing leggings that are their skin tone. My vision is just such that if I see that, I'm pretty sure someone is walking around half naked and given my sense of humor (which hasn't changed since middle school) I'm going to want to laugh my butt off.


I don't like noisy shoes either. I'm pretty picky about noises in general so that doesn't shock me.

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:56 am 
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It's refreshing to read this. I've often thought most of these behaviours were implicit body shaming, nice to know I'm not alone.

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:59 am 
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Although it should be amended to liking/sharing facebook "before and after" diet photos. Get that shit off my newsfeed nao pls.

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