Have a rant Monday – Body comments.

Have a rant Monday – Body comments.


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Everyone over at Already Pretty is all a flutter over this post about the phrase ‘real women have curves’. The curvy girls are cranky, the skinny minnies are shitty and all because bloody women won’t keep their fat mouths shut. I’m including myself in this statement and I think that all these body comments have to stop. I know that most people would never say anything intentionally upsetting but I think a lot of us aren’t realising how much damage we do with our comments about each others bodies.

 I loathe being called curvy. I cringe when people say I am healthy. And don’t even start me on ‘lovely and tall!’. All I’m hearing is that I’m a fat, muscled, beef-cake, giant of a women. The three things that I hate the most about myself is my ability to store fat like a bear about to hibernate, my stupid muscles that don’t know the difference between ‘lean’ and ‘freaky body builder’ and the fact that at 5’8 I’m too tall for almost everyone I know to give me a piggyback. So hearing the whole curvy, healthy, tall spiel really makes me feel bad about myself despite the best intentions of the comment maker. It’s all my insecurities thinly disguised under a veil of political correctness. 
  

However, the body comment fiasco is indeed a double edged sword and I’m totally guilty of cutting with the other side of the blade. Being a lady of Hulk-like proportions I’m utterly fascinated by petite girls. If you put me anywhere near a ballerina I WILL feel her up. One of my friends has a whacky thyroid which means she is naturally a size 4 to 6. She was having a whinge that she has to get pants taken in all the time and I remarked that I would kill to have her problem. She put it all into perspective by saying that she can’t wear sleeveless tops in public because people stare at her all the time and say that she has anorexia. It never occurred to me that gushing over how skinny she is wasn’t a compliment but actually makes her feel like shit. Just because I think it’s awesome that her butt doesn’t wiggle when she walks doesn’t mean that she agrees. What I should have said was ‘Damn girl, your arse looks so hot in those jeans!’. I get the same message across, she feels great and I haven’t just depressed her by pointing out what she believes is her biggest physical flaw.

So I propose that we ladies keep comments like this to ourselves. Weight loss is not always a celebration. Weight gain, while horrendous to someone like me, may mean happier, healthier times for someone else. No one knows anything about anyone else’s body but their own so I don’t think anyone has the right to comment on it. I think it’s wonderful to compliment your fellow ladies and you should do it every day but seriously THINK about what you are saying. ‘Oh my goodness look at how skinny your thighs are!’ is not a nice thing to say to someone who struggles to keep weight on. And ‘Gosh, your so tall!’ is really stating the obvious for someone who stoops because they hate being a giant. And all the ‘curvy’, ‘voluptuous’, ‘healthy’, ‘real women’ crap is not what a perpetual dieter wants to hear from her tiny friend who lives on a steady diet of nachos and beer. 

Here is a list of compliments I think we should all start using –

‘Wow that dress looks amazing on you!’

‘You have such a beautiful smile.’

‘Your posture is awesome!’

‘I love your hair.’

Or even better –

‘You are so much fun to be around.’

‘You’ve got a wicked sense of humour!’

‘You are so intelligent, I just love your contributions to the conversation’

‘What a fabulous dancer you are!’

‘You are splendid.’

Lets take the focus off our figures shall we?

Love Lady Smaggle

xxx

P.S PLEASE don’t feel bad if you have ever called me curvy or healthy in a blog post. I have never had a fellow blogger write anything but loveliness about me and I adore every word. This post is aimed at personal interactions. Not the written word. 

 

 

 

Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.

37 Comments

  1. K-Line 6 years ago

    Great post. Seriously, telling me I have great posture is a terrific compliment. I’ve been busting ass on yoga for 20 years and I just love to know my healthy spine is reflecting the effort. :-)

  2. Sal 6 years ago

    I agree that commenting on someone else’s weight can be dangerous, and have unintended effects. We DON’T know why the bodies of others might change shape, and it can be hurtful to point out an unintended change … or attempt a compliment that just causes self-consciousness in the recipient. If I ever comment on weight changes, I always add the addendum, “Have you been trying to lose/gain?” Illness, trauma, and other factors may be at play and I never want to assume.

    But the fact is that any compliment about appearance can be misconstrued. Even saying, “You look great!” or “How lovely are YOU today?” can hurt someone who hears, “I am praising you for weight loss, but trying not to say that directly!” or “Thank God you finally put some effort into getting dressed!” Know what I mean? We all have our own sensitivities, and can create subtext even when there isn’t any.

    I’d hate to think of women ceasing to compliment each other on appearance-related matters out of fear.

  3. gembalina 6 years ago

    I couldn’t agree more. I used to be very thin, and people were always making remarks about it. Like your friend, I have an overactive thyroid, and it would piss me off no end when people would feel free to comment on my size. I would constantly get comments like “oh my god, you’re so skinny!” “wow, you have stick arms!” “you look like you need to eat a big steak, girl!”. It IS offensive. If I strolled up to someone overweight and said “OMG YOU are SO OVERWEIGHT, you need to go on tony ferguson” heads would roll. I prefer to keep my mouth shut about things that obviously aren’t my business!

  4. The Mumma 6 years ago

    I loathe people going on about how “tiny” I am. I have lived in this body for 30 years, so it’s not like you’re enlightening me with your comments. I can’t change my body any more than anyone else can.

    The comment I do like is “You don’t look like you could have a toddler.” I know my body has changed since becoming pregnant, I’ll never attain the six-pack I once had and the crows feet are starting to form, but it’s nice to know that I still look young and svelte to other people.

    Smaggle, my dear, I don’t think you’re a giant at all. I always found it funny that you’d refer to yourself that way. To me, you always just looked, for want of a better word, right. Maybe I’m just a terrible judge of height, since I have to look up to EVERYONE I know, but you don’t seem particularly difficult to look up to.

  5. Annelies 6 years ago

    Hi! I thought you might enjoy this youtube video that addresses this very topic:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFmVj5BXCxM&feature=channel_page

    Word up, sister! One girl’s trash is another’s treasure, as they say.

    • Ant22 4 years ago

      ware do live im 26 olde live in im men live fat mark

  6. Westrum 6 years ago

    Three points:

    1. Amen, Sister Smaggle! A friend made a seemingly-harmless comment about my weight yesterday. 24 hours later, I still haven’t stopped flinching.

    2. In my family, “curvy” means “luscious”, not “hefty”. When words have different meanings for different people, even paying a compliment becomes fraught with peril. =)

    3. We’ve all seen how our figures appear to change dramatically from one photo to the next, or how some clothes make our bodies almost unrecognizeable. Sometimes we forget that this happens to fashion bloggers, too.

    4. I’m happy that so many non-physical compliments. Yes, we’re all trying to look nice and dress well, but I’d still rather be acknowledged for my brains or personality— not something I bought, and not facial features over which I have no control. Let’s help our fellow women remember that they’re whole human beings, not just aspiring mannequins.

  7. Westrum 6 years ago

    Ahem. FOUR points. I was on a roll. =)

  8. fats 6 years ago

    Wonderful post!!!! …….Ladies, we all just gotta love ourselves……because at the end of the day,there is only one of you (i hope)..and there is nothing wrong with you L.S!!! i just love your hair…

  9. E 6 years ago

    I would hate to think of anyone not giving a compliment because they were scared of giving offence – however unless I know the person REALLY well – I steer well clear of anything too personal. You never know where the raw nerve is. I dish out the looking fabulous and the really suits you and the I love that …. on you, because they are the ones I appreciate and that put a spring in my step.

  10. Nadist 6 years ago

    Yay! I agree with every word. I lost weight as a side-effect of some changes I made, and people do not EVER shut up about it. I wish they would! I keep having to say, ‘Thank you, that’s very kind of you,’ which is of course polite-code for ‘I don’t agree.’ I think I looked great before! I have absolutely no bust left any more, which sucks, I’m afraid.

    The thing I have never understood is how do people notice? I never notice weight changes myself – although I do notice people looking hot in their jeans, and will tell them (“Those jeans look great on you!”).

    And people saying ‘Wow, you’re tall!’ is lame, too. (Not that it’s ever been said to me!) It’s because height is impressive.

  11. eyeliah 6 years ago

    Here here!

  12. Piglet 6 years ago

    Great post. Totally agree with everything you said.

  13. Dr. Stumpy 6 years ago

    I’ll lend you my 6’5” giant for piggy back rides

  14. LaLa 6 years ago

    Great post… sounds like you and I may have similar body issues, but lucky me, I’m 5’10. I hate it when people say “you’re so big”. In my mind big = fat.

  15. nessbow 6 years ago

    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!
    finally, someone who has the guts to address this issue in a realistic and frank manner.
    I totally agree. I am quite thin and petite, but naturally so. I love recieving compliments, but it seems a little harsh when my friends call me “skinny” as a nickname. I would never call a person “fatty” as a term of endearment, so why is the reverse OK?

  16. Stella 6 years ago

    I understand and agree totally. People react differently to words, and I guess the biggest compliment would be honoring that person’s talent or how they make you feel, instead of physical attributes.

    Trust me, “cute” is a much detested word in my world. I’d take “You’re crazy!” over that anytime.

  17. Yolande 6 years ago

    Great insight and well written too. I would suggest that the same rules should apply when commenting on guy’s bodies. I know some very sensitive males who are constantly being harassed about the way they look, even though they have done everything in their power to be bigger/smaller. Grandmothers are particularly bad at giving these uninvited body critiques, as well wishing as they are!!

  18. Na 6 years ago

    mmm. it’s a bit alarming that I got the most compliments on how I looked this summer when I wasn’t eating because I was miserable and poor. Not that I minded shedding a few kilos, but hell, if I have to be unhappy to be told I look good then I think I’d rather forego the compliment and keep the contentment.
    and you are such a fabulous complimenter, you should be complimented!

  19. Gem 6 years ago

    i think i love you.

  20. simmix 6 years ago

    i agree with gem :)
    xx

  21. boho girl 6 years ago

    thrilled to have found you today.

    i am discussing my body over at my blog this week and your humor laced in with what is such a serious topic for you and other women, made my day.

  22. Miss A 6 years ago

    Great post lady! You treat these issues with such eloquence and sensitivity. As a ‘curvy’ girl all I hear when someone says that to me is ‘your pulling off those few extra kilos well’ (dont get me wrong I love my body and all it can do and wouldn’t trade it for anything). On the other hand I see my baby sister shudder when some says to her ‘you are SO skinny’ all she thinks is ‘yes i know i have no chest -thanks!’.

    We all want more compliments like I love your style – you always look fierce, you are beautiful person and you’re smile lights up my day.

  23. captain apricot 6 years ago

    Thanks for bringing this out Lady, positive body image and respecting our sisters, no matter what shape are things that cannot be talked about enough in the curve-.phobic world we live in

  24. Carla 6 years ago

    A guy in high school called me fat every day for five years (I kid you not, because I broke up with him when I was thirteen). I ended up with bulimia at fifteen. I’m 22 now and in control for the most part, but I am still EXTREMELY sensitive to body comments (as I assume many people are).

    I lost some weight (maybe five to ten kilograms, not a lot for a 5′ 7” girl who wasn’t ‘fat’) after leaving high school and there is nothing more obnoxious than running into somebody who you haven’t seen in a while and them raving on about how ‘great’ you look for half an hour.

    There really is nothing more embarrassing than somebody being unable to focus on anything other than the fact that you’re not fat anymore.

    So I hear you – a simple ‘I like your top/skirt/outfit’ or ‘you look nice’ is all I want to hear. I actually even don’t mind the ‘wow, that’s a really unusual skirt’ but whatever you say, don’t tell me I’ve lost weight.

  25. Megan (AusAnna) 6 years ago

    This an amazing post and so so true.

  26. Emma 6 years ago

    Love that list of compliments. I’m going to try using them more often.
    My three fave compliments to give are:
    You’re a goddess
    You inspire me
    and
    You rock!

  27. Izzie. 6 years ago

    I’m 16 years of age.
    And i admit, i have gained a couple of kilo’s.
    and by a couple i mean, 10.
    Yeah, I know. I’m growing. It’s natural.
    But having my mother say to me, when i was your age, i was so much skinnier then you.
    Then adding, and before i had your older brothers i was the same size as you. She was 24 when she had my older brothers.
    Not exactly a great confidence boost when your slipping into you formal dress getting ready for the big night.
    In my opinion she might have put it nicer. how i don’t know.

    Then quite a while back one of my best friends, a female, added. “Wow i just realised how much skinnier i am then you” Thanks mate, makes me feel so much better.

    but by the end, my male best friend said ” your curvy, curvy girls look nicer. better then the very skinny girls, the ones the clothes don’t sit on right.”
    Well i didnt really know whether to be insulted or complimented.

    I then looked through a magazine and noticed.
    he was kind of right. whats so wrong with being a bigger size.
    And this whole size 0 saga is just idiotic, i think its unnatural. there is nothing wrong with having a little curves on you, just wear clothes that compliment your shape, or you will look like quite a twit.
    you also have to build your confidence up and learn to love you for who you are, and be proud your not a size 0 copy. but you.
    I’ll admit, I’m still trying to build confidence and learn to love me.
    And hey whats so wrong with being “curvy” i don’t think god intended us all to be twigs.

    Might i just add, I think your amazing! (=
    Your style, is incredible.
    And i hope you don’t mind but your link is on my site.

    And im sorry i rattled on a bit.
    Habit. (=
    x

  28. susie_bubble 6 years ago

    Brilliantly said…. !

  29. Shannon 6 years ago

    You are splendid.

    :) Mwa

  30. Shirin 6 years ago

    Thank you Lady Smaggle!

    This issue (on size) has made some girls of today become incredibly bitchy and the rest, insecure. I come from an Asian country where girls there are naturally petite and smaller in size, which also means they lack in other places, like having naturally gorgeous curves. Having been brought up in the UK for part of my life, where maybe I’ve had one too many Kinder Bueno bars, I’m may not be over a UK size 10 but neither am I a petite size 6 (or 4)! It hurts to have girls, from where I come from, whisper harsh comments behind your back in a public transport and hackle at the bingo arms (they have bony ones!)

    I think that more women should think like you and not be hung up about what they look like, but rather focus on their inner beauty. :)

    Thanks for this article again! :)

  31. Vintage Verve 6 years ago

    Damn girl – where have you been all my life? Srsly.

  32. LadyJ 3 years ago

    Oh gosh, yes yes yes.  I am a tall (5′ 11″) lady, and have always been long-limbed and thin.  Like, my whole life.  I’m 25 and am pretty sure I only went through puberty last week. 

    I have always had to deal with people saying things like, ‘geez, go eat a steak’, and ‘I bet you’re on some crazy diet’ and, ‘well you wouldn’t know anything about *insert body image issue*’.  Thing is, I do know about body image.  When people tell me I ‘look thin’, they say it through furrowed brows as if it is some sort of medical concern or something.  In my teens, I had knock-knees and a head-too-big-for-my-stringbean-body, I had boys telling me to grow some boobs and people telling me I must have an eating disorder.  Combine with acne and braces.  I know about body image issues. 

    Truth is, I have an insane metabolism.  This is my DNA.  I am as ‘natural’ a woman as the curvy girls I enviously look at in the street.  Hearing this stuff about ‘real women’ makes me feel like crap, because the last time I checked I was a ‘real’ woman, but recent media would have me believe that I am not because I’m skinny. 

    Smaggle, I agree.  Women need to stop giving each other hell.  Reverse discrimination is not going to solve it. 

    Be supportive of healthy, strong and smart girls.  Whatever their age or weight. 

  33. Anonymous 3 years ago

    My name is Peewee Lepew, the little stinker, and most women give ME piggy backs and then tease me about my size.

  34. Susan Brown 1 year ago

    I totally understand….I have had cancer for over 16 years and have lost my hair twice. The second time it grew back like steel wool when all my life I have not had the faintest hint of a curl. Several people said to me how they loved my beautiful curls. For God’s sake I couldn’t get a comb through my hair! If I had an axe with me I would have used it I can tell you. I was hanging on the edge of a cliff and these people just about pushed me over!

  35. 3dogged3 1 year ago

    Join the BBW dating sites, like meet local BBWs, and YOU could have the pleasure of meeting someone like Peewee Lepew.

  36. Kyle 1 year ago

    One of the best forms of discrimination is, using lying words about mens compliments, those two words that should never be used together being, “sexual” and “hassling”. With two extremely overused words, “harassment” and harasser. Women who vainly imagine that they are being supposedly bothered by someone saying they have lovely bosoms and cleavage will be in hell when they are dead because they passed judgement on the one who gave the compliment. Those who jail others for complimenting ladies and there bodies will be in hell for being the pharisees they are.

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