When it comes to women and their bodies, everybody’s got an opinion. It doesn’t matter if you’re a state senator, an ex-boyfriend, the owner of the bodega on the corner or even a best friend:
Everybody always knows what’s best for your body type, right? You’re either dressing too conservatively or not conservatively enough; you’re too skinny or too fat; you’re too sensitive about your shape or too embracing of your curves.
We’re ridiculed for our right to reclaim our bodies yet shamed for when we don’t give a f*ck.
Though most of the time we can shrug it off and chalk it up to ignorance and stupidity, there are some things you should know better than to say about her body. Not now, not ever.
“You don’t even need to diet.”
Oh, I’m sorry, since when did we start crowd-sourcing for opinions on what I should and shouldn’t do with my body? If I want to diet, I’ll damn well do it.
I appreciate the fact that you don’t think I need to change anything about my body, but the decision to do so lies with me. Not you. So, no thanks.
“I wouldn’t say you’re fat, just, like, thick.”
Which basically means I would say you’re fat, if I knew that it wouldn’t absolutely eat you up inside.
“Is it hard for you to lose weight?”
Is it hard for you not to be an assh*le? Just because I’m not rail thin doesn’t mean I’m struggling to get there. Maybe I like my body. Maybe I like my curves. Did you ever think that maybe these jiggly parts are the body parts I’m most proud of?
“I like your body. It’s cute.”
Cute is what you say after your nephew rolls over for the first time, or when your 9-week-old puppy trips over himself at the Dog Park.
Cute is what happens when you put your underwear on backwards and don’t realize it until it’s time to go home. Cute is not what a woman wants to hear when talking about her body.
“You’d definitely be prettier if you lost a few pounds.”
Oh yeah? And you know what would make you prettier? Let’s, for a moment, pretend that our beauty isn’t reflected in the size of the skirt we wear or how big or small our tops are.
Instead, let’s weigh our beauty in terms of all the ways we treat strangers and friends, the goodness we put into the world (and that we take out of it) and our ability to separate right from wrong. And tell me, does dropping six pounds matter that much anymore?
“Those stripes aren’t really flattering, you know?”
I will wear these stripes – and every other patterned top I own – come hell or high water. I bought them because they make me feel good and feminine and fabulous.
I didn’t buy them for your satisfaction or to please whatever misconceived ideals of fashion you’ve falsely accumulated. Fashion isn’t limited to your perception.
“You’re too skinny. You should eat something.”
Oh, am I? Have you ever thought that maybe I am eating something and maybe my body isn’t gaining weight at a rapid enough pace for you? Bodies are different.
You might gain weight just looking at pizza and it might take another person four slices before gaining an ounce. To no one’s surprise and to the insult of everyone, skinny and overly-skinny people alike are self-conscious about their weight.
Just because they don’t have love handles or muffin tops doesn’t mean they’re safe from the perils of self-consciousness.
“Have you ever thought of trying [insert trendy new workout here]?”
Another week, another fad diet to partake in. For the record, no, I haven’t tried the eat-16-string-beans-a-day-and-only-drink-water-with-lemon diet, but I’ll be sure to add it to the mix.
I just want to finish the raw-asparagus-kale-and-honey smoothie diet and see what my results are.
“You shouldn’t be ashamed of your body; good for you.”
The backhanded compliments are always the hardest to let slide. What they’re really saying is, “Wow, typically women your size are ashamed of their bodies, but good for you that you’re not. You’re a real role model for all the other fat girls in the room,” and just tucking it neatly inside an ignorant compliment that’s meant to appease you. Turns out, it really just has the opposite effect.
“Real women have curves.”
And what about fake women? What do they have? Anti-combustable heads? The implication that a woman is not a “real” woman because she doesn’t have curves is crazy and ill-informed.
Women, like men, like all people, come in different shapes and sizes. They come in different heights, different lengths and varying widths. They have different eye colors, hair colors and clothing styles.
The expectation that they should all look the same is as colonial and outdated as ever. Here’s a shocker: Not all people are made the same. So why would women ever be?
Photo Courtesy: Tumblr