Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Skinny vs Fat comments

After the BodyGossip Flashmob event on Friday, undoubtedly many pictures were posted on various social networking sites after the event, as you have seen. A few comments on a recent picture, however got me thinking and urged me to write this blog post.

On one of the pictures uploaded, three people proceeded to comment on a picture of my good friend and I, exclaiming what can only be described weight focused comments about my friend 'you look so tiny', 'you look like you've lost weight' and the worst being 'don't make me go over there and feed you a burger'. Barely anybody decided to comment on what we actually HAD done, dedicate our day to appreciating our bodies and trying to encourage others to do the same. And these comments just prove that no matter what we do, people are still obsessed about weight and what size people are.

My friend is anorexic. I am a former anorexic. All people commenting on the picture knew of my friends anorexia. Does this give them the right to use the opportunity to comment on her weight? Of course not. Just because they knew of her eating disorder it does not give them right to outright the fact they thought she'd lost weight publicly on a Facebook comment. Surely they would have the decency to understand that just 'eating a burger' does not cure your eating disorder. Would the same people have said the same thing we were overweight? Of course not. Because that would be wrong.

Some would argue the comments were out of compassion. If any of these people showed an inch of compassion they'd take the time to phone or e-mail or message my friend to see how she was and declare their concerns, a few of these people don't even know my friend and I well enough to even state the concerns in the way that she did. We know each other through our eating disorders. And that's all. There's no compassion there, it's one person refusing to see beyond an exterior, once more.

Plus, my friend knows she is anorexic. I know she doesn't want to be like this, she knows she doesn't want to be like this. If anyone knew her as well as I do they'd know that she fights this beast of an illness every single day and wants to recover. Why not recognise that she's done an amazing thing by attending an event promoting body confidence and banishing body shame rather than doing the complete opposite and encouraging her to feel worse about herself. My friend is not a number. She isn't defined by what she looks like, or her weight. She's a human being fighting an illness.

I too, used to get similar comments when I was younger. I'm one of those people who people think it's acceptable to attempt to grab my stomach and say 'but there's nothing there'! (drives me mad, don't ever do it) In the last year working where I currently work I used to get so many comments on my weight from management and other members of staff and what I was eating - would they have said the same thing if I was overweight? 'Go and eat a burger'. Of course not.

It's really made me realise how as a society people are STILL so pre-occupied with weight and what people look like. It makes me even more determined to work with BodyGossip to banish fat AND skinny shaming and just see a body for what it is. It's flaws and imperfections. Eating disorder or no eating disorder. These people you're criticising have lives, too. They have feelings. Calling someone painfully thin is as bad as calling someone fat. I want people to look at pictures of me and recognise me for what I've done and for what the pictures stand for, for example the BodyGossip event, rather then be pre-occupied with what I look like, or whether I have gained weight (which I have, but who cares, I've recovered from an eating disorder!), or what my make-up/hair/clothes look like. I want pictures to stand and symbolise memories for me, not to remind myself of comments from others and what they thought I looked like.

It's the reason why I don't buy magazines anymore. There's far too much preoccupation with whether so and so has lost weight or whether the next celebrity has been spotted at the gym as opposed to talent and success. That makes me quite sad, really. In my eyes, people looked at the picture of me and my friend and saw my friend for her illness and not for her as a person, what she stands for, which are so many inspiring and amazing things I can't even count. I'm not friends with her because she has an eating disorder. I'm friends with her because she inspires me and she makes me happy. I've probably repeated this idea a lot already, but why can we not see past how people look anymore? I'm all for being happy, thanks.

Other peoples bodies are technically none of your business. We're all beautiful, and we're all different, and that makes us beautiful. So enough with the shaming, okay? Because that is what will make you ugly.

I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!

7 comments:

  1. Great blog, and I agree with every bit of what you said. Going through Anorexia is definitely not the most fun thing in the world (I would know, I'm fighting right now as you're aware) an nothing irks me more when weight based comments take precedence over how you are doing mentally, psychologically, emotionally. People often think because I am now able to run, go to the gym, and that I eat lots of food (both to restore my weight and fuel my body for exercise) that I am "better".

    "Wow, you must have been hungry, that sure is a lot of food you ate!" , "You eat all the time, why are you still thin!", "shouldn't you be bonier in order to be anorexic?". "Just EAT some cake, you can AFFORD it" -shudder-

    Education is the key, doing more things like the flashmob is a start, as well as blogging, speaking out, and being an inspiration to others. =D

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  2. This post is a really fantastic one, Amy. Your friend (and you) should have been admired/complimented on attending and promoting Body gossip.. not receive hurtful comments.
    And, I'm glad you've decided not to buy magazines any more.. I can't remember the last time I did and it's one of the best things you'll do! xx

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  3. I Agree with this so much. I saw the picture in question and I felt the same way. Everything is based on weight, what a person looks like, how they are deemed fat, skinny, or normal and not what they do. If we just look past the physical features... There is a soul in there, a beautiful mind. Some people want to make a difference in the world. You and your friend to me seemed like two of those people. Well done ladies. Xx

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  4. This is totally disrespectful of the people leaving the comments. I like to go by the sayings "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." & "be kind to everyone you meet cos they are fighting a battle you know nothing about"..
    You & your friend should be praised for attending & promoting body gossip, well done both of you!
    Anna
    xx
    http://awaywiththefairies321.blogspot.co.uk/

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  5. The truth. Hopefully soon people will see the value in their fellow beings rather than being preoccupied with their outer shell. Plus it's no one's business x

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  6. Firstly I really respect what you have done, this is a battle worth fighting and getting noticed!

    As for the *rude words* people who left those comments; they are clearly insensitive *rude words* idiots- they have violated the purpose of the flash mob and they should be ashamed.

    As you say people don't generally go around saying how fat overweight people are so why do it the other way? As an anorexic half of me LOVES it when I get comments about my weight then the other half wants to curl up and cry because I know it is SO triggering and just justifies and reinforces the disease. I am ashamed that I react this way but it is how it is.

    Either way it is not right and people should have some god damn social awareness!

    Anyway WELL DONE! XXXXXXXXXXXX

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  7. It amazes me how ridiculously insensitive people are - it's never okay to comment on someone's weight in that way particularly when you don't know them that well, it's in such a public way and worst of all that person has an eating disorder and these people know that! Whyyy then would you comment on her weight??? It's the worst thing you could do!
    Still despite these few ignorant people, the rest of us believe you are doing an amazing thing with BodyGossip! Keep up the good work!
    Oh and I stopped buying magazines for the same reason. It made me so sad for this world we live in the other day when I saw the same picture of Kelly Brook on the front of 3 magazines which slated her for her "weight gain". Who cares?! Who actually wwants to read this stuff?? And what gives these magazines the right to judge her? And they are so contradictory putting articles about things like this or weight loss next others on loving your body and eating disorders. It's so wrong. xx

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