Stop Commenting on People's Bodies (and what to say instead)

"Wow, you look so great, did you lose weight?"  I really hate hearing that.  I've been fat since my middle to late twenties, and whenever I do lose weight, I hate hearing about it.  I also when I haven't lost any and people say, due to some change in my wardrobe, that I must have lost weight, which is why I look so good.  Do they not understand what an insult that is?  

It's an insult for a couple of reasons: 

  1. If I did not lose weight, then what are they saying?  I can't look good without dropping a few pounds?  Rude.  
  2. If I did lose weight, did I not look good before?  Also rude. 
My body is my fucking business.  And everyone else's bodies are only their business, too.  If you want to compliment me, compliment my hair, my clothes, my mood, my talent, etc.  Don't compliment my size or body shape.  Don't tell me I look good.  Tell me I look happy or you like my outfit.  The best compliment I ever got was when I was thin and an older gentleman came up to me and said "Wow, I just love your look!  Your hair, your clothes, everything!  It just works so well together!  You look great!"  

Wow.  I mean, I was 125lbs, and rail thin, and instead of being a pervert like most men are, he gave me a genuine and wonderful compliment.  He chose to say to me "I validate your choices in how you choose to look and I love it!"  So he was complimenting more than just how I looked, he was complimented how I chose to look.  Which was the probably, to me, the best thing anyone ever could have said to my teenage self.  It was a period of my life when my father called me nothing but a "freak" and a myriad of other names, and here this guy, around his age, was telling me my father was wrong about me.  That I should have been more proud of my style and how it made other people admire it.  

Now, tell me how that isn't a better way to say "you look great" to someone than saying "Wow, you must have lost weight!"  

Even just congratulating someone on their weight loss by commenting on their looks can have negative effects on that person.  I've said this for years, and it's always fallen on deaf ears.  But recently, Jonah Hill has commented on Instagram to not comment on his body anymore, good or bad, because it makes him feel bad.  Finally, someone else feels the way I do about it.  Because when someone (usually my crazy ass mother) says "You must have lost weight", I think to myself "How is that your business?"  Because my weight loss journey is MINE.  I am not losing weight to share it with others.  I am not on this journey with them.  I am with my kids: one who's been a big guy since birth and who's lost almost 100lbs on his journey when he got hypothyroidism as a kid.  And even my hubby.  But nobody else.  So it's nobody's right to comment on my body or my family's bodies or really anybody else's, but the individual person themselves.  

Do you know how many compliments/comments I've received that are not weight related since becoming fat(ter)?  I've lost weight, but I'm still overweight (due to reasons that are noneyobusiness, because I don't owe a single person, other than my doctor, a reason for my body shape).  And still, I don't get a single person complimenting me on my style, my face, my body, or anything.  I am pretty much invisible to the outside world.  When I was thin, men hit on me constantly.  And I fucking hated it.  And men only complimented me (hit on me) to get my number, because men are sexual deviants (you know it's true).  I joke, but they kind of are.  Because look, since I've gotten fat?  Not a single man has complimented me once.  Men don't give out compliments because they're being nice.  They do it because they think with their penis.  Plain and simple.  The last actual compliment I got was my Bob Marley shirt I made.  And that was a woman who said she liked it.  

And I like being invisible to men.  I am okay with that.  But it really cements what I said above.  On two separate occasions, I've had a man and a boy tell me, the moment they saw me, "God, you've gotten fat."  One time I was pregnant and once I was fourteen and barely chubby.  Not a single woman has ever said that in my life.  Another man online (who was friends with my father-in-law) said "Damn, you're a corn-fed husky girl!" to me.  I said "That means I am fat.  Thank you, Captain Obvious."  And so I deleted and blocked him, because fuck that shit.  I control who is allowed to talk to me on social media.

Though, several years ago, one woman stood in front of me and laughed herself into a fit because I was wearing my black/white/gray army camo leggings to Walgreens.  It was the first say I ever wore leggings.  Back in high school, I was thin as hell, yet my legs have always been big.  I'm bottom heavy, and back then, I wore a L/XL bottom and S/M top.  I was mercilessly teased by people in high school about having "fat legs".  Even though I look back and my legs looked normal sized.  So I never once wore shorts in gym class (always sweats, even in summer), and hardly ever swam.  And I finally got the courage to wear leggings (because dayum, they're comfy) and I got laughed at.  So I looked at the woman, who happened to look like a meth user, and said "Well, I can lose weight, but will you ever kick your drug habit?" and turned and walked away.  Rude, I know.  But pot, meet kettle.  We all have issues and things about us that do not make us sexy enough to star on the cover of Cosmo or GQ.  Sometimes we have bigger noses, or crazy hair, or fat legs, or scabs all over our faces due to too much meth use.  How can we then laugh at others?  What gives us the right?  

So, even when I am thin, I will be too fat for some people.  In high school, I was anorexic due to my teasing, and I still had "fat legs".  And when anyone would talk about the weight I lost, it reinforced my anorexia, that I was doing something right by starving myself.  So today when someone tells me "Oh, you've lost weight!"  I want to scream "WHO FUCKING CARES?!  HOW IS MY BODY ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS?!"   Because it simply isn't.  You have ZERO idea what kind of battles someone is fighting when you comment on their body.  ZERO.  So just don't.  "But, how can a good comment about someone's body be bad?" so many have said to me when I've brought this up in the past.  Because it can trigger feelings of all sorts of shit.  And it's really not a compliment at all.  If you can't compliment someone when they are fatter, don't compliment them on their body when they are losing weight (or look like they are).   So be a good person and just don't.  Or better yet, always comment on these types of things below.

Say something like: 

  • You look happy!
  • I like your shirt!  Where did you get it?
  • I love your look!  Very cool!
  • You are so polite, thank you for holding the door for me!
  • Those shoes are cool/beautiful!  
  • Great haircut!
  • I love the color of your hair!
  • I love your hairstyle!
  • What a cute dress!  I love it!
  • Your dog is so freaking cute! (I normally compliment dogs when I am out, because I love em!)
  • You're so smart!  
  • You're so creative!
  • You're such a good writer/actor/singer/songwriter/artist/etc!  You inspire me!

It's really easy to say nice things to EVERYONE in this world.  Not just those who fit your acceptable style of body shape or clothing or otherwise.  I know what it feels like to be both invisible and on everyone's radar.  Neither feels good.  So I compliment as many people as I can (without being weird or forced), even if I feel stupid doing so.  People need to know they aren't invisible.  If I find something I like, about someone, I tell them.  Because life is too short to be judgmental or to create a world in which people only fit into the boxes I create for them.  

So step out of the box and find something good to say that's not body-related to someone.  Be true, be real, and be kind.  

And comments on someone's body are never truly kind, even if you mean them to be.  

PS-The last comment I have gotten on my looks was a week ago when I ran into this woman I used to know.  She said "Look at all that gray!  Where did all that gray come from?  The last time I saw you, you weren't that gray!"  And I was that gray the last time she saw me, I just always combed my hair in such a way to hide it.  But I've been gray since 2017.  Anyways, it was an insult.  Because it certainly wasn't a compliment.  Now, I don't mind my gray hair that much, but most people do not like having that pointed out.  And I have to say, neither do I.  Because it felt like it was meant as an insult.  The thing is, she dyes her red hair, and I know she's more gray than I am, so maybe to her, she didn't mean anything mean by it.  But still, it was rude AF.  Right in the middle of the store, too.  And what do I say to that?  I just stared at her and changed the subject, so maybe she'd get the hint.  But again, my point is, pointing things out about someone's body?  Is not nice.  Even if you don't mean it meanly.  Instead, say "Wow, love your hair!" or better yet, if you don't actually love their hair, say nothing at all.  It's not really that hard.  

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