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Please read on to see the post about the Emmy’s that inspired my rant today. Well, I hesistate to call it a rant. I’d prefer to call it a long thought. A really long thought.
I won’t beat around the bush.
We need to stop telling people they need to eat a sandwich every time we think they’re too thin. That’s one. But what we really need to do is emphasize that it’s not okay to comment on other people’s bodies. We need some body acceptance up in here, because valuing ONE type over another (no matter what) is detrimental to us all.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but I find that it’s a subject that people have a hard time internalizing. I’ve seen girls like my posts on the topic, even reblogging them with a ‘hell yeah!’ and then a week later, start commenting on how someone looks. It is never helpful OR appropriate to comment on other people’s bodies. No matter what you’re intention is, valiant OR mean. The act in and of itself is detrimental.
Why you should keep your peep hole shut…
1. You don’t know if they’re healthy. Bottom line. You don’t KNOW. There’s no such thing as a healthy body type, only healthy bodies. And that’s between a girl and her doctor. You CAN be very thin and still be healthy (and you CAN have an eating disorder and not be thin). Many things affect weight, not just diet & exercise. Stress levels, physical & emotional states & more can cause weight loss: not just improper diet (depression, hormones etc…If people started commenting on how someone who’s depressed looked, believe me… DOESN’T MAKE THEM FEEL BETTER).
2. Sizes 0-3 DO exist. They do. It’s not average, but neither is being 6 foot 7, (and we know that exists). It’s common enough that one should never assume that someone is unhealthy based on general thinness (emaciation is entirely different, and characterized by other traits as well). Some people are perfectly healthy, as thin as they are, and shouldn’t be forced to gain weight to suit an ideal standard of beauty (same as how women who are larger shouldn’t lose to fit that standard).
3. Eating disorders are a matter of health & behavior. NOT LOOKS. Yes, one of the side effects of an eating disorder is being thinner. But many, MANY sufferers look normal, are overweight and range too widely in symptoms for thinness to be considered unhealthy in and of itself. Being thin does NOT an eating disorder make.
4. If they do have an eating disorder or body dysmorphia? Telling them they look gross (en mass, as witnessed at the Emmy’s) is NOT helping. In fact, telling someone with an eating disorder that they look disgusting is more likely to reinforce the disorder. It’s a bullying behavior, not helpful, to anyone. Way to go.
5. While it’s 100% true that eating disorders are a problem in Hollywood (and beyond), they have more to do with control, self-esteem & self-worth than we’re conditioned to think. Most girls with high self-esteem and a good sense of self-worth would not engage in such body destruction (seeking esteem, control and worth in doing so). While the magazines might IRK you, it’s what’s inside of YOU that will decide how you react to it.
6. Fight the right battle. Don’t use other people’s bodies as targets in your war on _______. What you’re fighting is what you’re fighting. If you want to promote healthy body images, eating & fitness… well promote it. Tearing someone down is NOT the way to do it. Like I said above, it’s social bullying. Picking on one person and using them as an example with ZERO factual basis discredits your cause. Don’t engage in it.
Some thoughtful takeaways…
When we put others down, we are generally trying to raise ourselves up. Whenever I hear comments putting women down for how they look, I almost ALWAYS wonder what’s happened to the person who’s making the comments. What’s going on in their head. Because truly secure individuals don’t need to tear other people down.
If it’s a matter of raising awareness about body image, body talking is REINFORCING the idea that looks matter, that judging someone is okay (anyone), and that there is an ideal standard of beauty. It’s counter productive and horrifying to tell one group that they’re accepted and another not. Fight the right battle: if you’re concerned about body image, you need to be focused on sending the message that ALL bodies are beautiful. Not just the ones you decide are beautiful. (Ummm… hello!!!). Promote positivity, go after unhealthy BEHAVIORS, single out theories and find ways to make the situation better.
How you feel about others is between YOU and YOUR self-esteem. - Fit Mama Training
Now, it’s pretty much almost completely socially unacceptable to call someone fat. It happens, but usually there’s OUTRAGE that follows. There’s an unspoken girl on girl solidarity when it comes to making sure that when someone’s called fat, we rise up on their behalf. But what happens when someone’s too ‘thin’? The solidarity is gone. We don’t want to question the fact that we know nothing about her health and we don’t want to defend her: she’s not as worthy of our solidarity. And she becomes a causality because of it.
When I recently(-ish) lost weight (the healthy way… had an unhealthy bout earlier on), I didn’t have the support of a few of my friends (granted, I was a little nuts the first time around, but this time I was even steven doing it right). Regardless, they started rumors about me, unable to accept that I had lost weight through diet & exercise. Rumors about eating disorders and starving myself (which weren’t true). I’d go out of my way to eat crap in front of people so the rumors would stop: I was playing into them instead of ignoring them like I should. Either way, it was hurtful. They had no right to comment on my body. But then I realized that it wasn’t about me. If they were really concerned, they wouldn’t have started rumors. It was about them. It had ZERO to do with me. So it became easier to ignore it.
Tips to those who are being pressured by others to look a certain way…
1. 99.99% of the time, their comments have NOTHING to do with you. How they feel about your body is between them and their self-esteem. Repeat this as often as possible and try to develop some compassion for them. This will help you deal with them better.
2. If possible, let them know that it’s hurtful. Sometimes people make comments without realizing that you’re a PERSON. They might not mean to, so without getting defensive (you have no reason to be), let them know that they’re comments hurt. This might help them become more aware of what they’re actually doing.
3. On some occasions, they might be confusing health and body type… but on some occasions they might be right. A sudden drop in weight can be a sign of a health PROBLEM. Sometimes we don’t know when we’re getting unhealthy, especially if it’s stress/hormone related. Ask yourself: am I eating enough? Have I been stressed out? Is it more than one person making comments (more than one from more than one group? Family, friends, teachers, co-workers etc). Is the person concerned about your BEHAVIOR (mentioning eating HABITS, not just your appearance). Sometimes this is a wake-up call. While I don’t think it’s okay to comment on bodies, I don’t think it’s okay to be unhealthy either. Open up, be self-aware and be willing to take a look at yourself if needed.
DISCLAIMER: This is a post for HEALTHY individuals who might not fit the mold of what’s considered ideal beauty. If people are concerned about your HEALTH, that’s one thing. Your body is another. The two shouldn’t be confused. Health is about disease & behavior. Only in extreme cases should how thin you are be a factor in someone else deciding you’re healthy.
Other Fit Villains posts on body image…
Please think before you speak! We need more body loving up in this bitch… No more hate. No one should be told what they should look like.
Loved this post today. It reflects everything I’ve mentioned above. Excerpt from: “Hey Emmy Viewers! Quit Telling Actresses To Eat A Sandwich”
During last night’s Emmy telecast, I was following the conversation on Twitter. I liked the real-time reactions of everyone from friends to professional entertainment reporters as awards were handed out and truly terrible music played. But there was one recurring theme that really started to bother me: people giving unsolicited eating/nutrition advice to actresses, specifically telling some thin women to “eat a sandwich.” While Julie Bowen was winning an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her work on Modern Family, Twitter lit up with jokes about how her breasts looked saggy (“Maybe she should have won for least-supported actress!”) or how thin she looked. Instead of celebrating Bowen for her achievement or her hard work, too many people chose to focus on her looks.
As a person who has always been on the thin side because of genetics, I know that many people have a hard time feeling sorry for people who have trouble putting weight on. In my late 20s, my permanently-bony look started to go away and I was able to reach a comfortable body weight that didn’t make me self-conscious all the time. But I’ve definitely been told to “eat a sandwich” or “eat a cheeseburger” by people who have no idea what my exercise and nutrition are like, and it’s hurtful. While it’s no secret that women in Hollywood feel enormous pressure to be thin and some develop eating disorders, it’s wrong to assume that every thin woman just needs to eat a sandwich in order to magically cure her body image issues or gain those last few pounds. Imagine if the tables were turned and someone snapped at Christina Hendricks or Melissa McCarthy (also a winner last night) to “eat a salad!” I think those people would be quickly called out and reprimanded for calling those actresses fat, as well they should be. But promoting positive body image means promoting positive body image for everyone, not just for people who look the way you think it’s acceptable to look. I have a hard time imagining a person struggling with body dysmorphia or an eating disorder hearing a stranger’s cry to eat a sandwich and suddenly having a life-changing revelation.
I often find that the same people shouting “eat a sandwich!” at women on TV are the same ones who bemoan the lack of women’s solidarity in the entertainment industry. Focusing on achievement and talent over looks, even if you think someone’s unhealthy, is a good way to reverse that trend.