Thankfully, fat-shaming in our society is generally seen as unacceptable, and we are seeing more body positive and plus-size models in the mainstream media.
But, fat-shaming isn’t always as obvious as directly insulting someone’s weight – you may be doing it to your friends without even realizing it.
Those throwaway comments made in jest or off the cuff can end up being very hurtful – here’s what to look out for.
Excluding people from activities
“We’re going swimming; you wouldn’t want to come.”
If you are planning something that involves being active, or perhaps showing some skin, then you might avoid asking your plus-size friend along because you wouldn’t want to embarrass them or you assume they wouldn’t want to go.
For example, if you were planning a long walk or going for a swim, you may not think to ask them if they want to go along.
But why wouldn’t they want to join? Even if you’re sure that they will say no – ask anyway, as not doing so will potentially make them feel excluded because of their size.
Deciding what your friends can and cannot eat
“Go on, you may as well – it’s low calorie!”
It might be that you suggest your plus-size friend goes on a diet, or you encourage them to eat the low-cal version of a food, but by doing this you’re suggesting that they want to change the way they look or even that they should do.
Similarly, if your friend isn’t eating something and you tell them that they “might as well – it’s low in fat,” you’re immediately assuming that the reason that they’re not eating is because of their weight – you know, they might just not want it?
Complaining about your own weight in front of others
“I feel so fat today.”
Whether you’ve just been out for a meal and you think that you look a tiny bit bigger, or even if you think you look particularly skinny one day, to mention it in front of a plus-size friend can be very insensitive.
It suggests that you think being fat is a negative thing, and will make your friend feel even worse (particularly if you’re smaller in size than them, yet you’re complaining that you feel “big” or “fat”).
They won’t want to hear you complaining that the muffin you just ate has gone straight to your hips, and they certainly don’t want to hear about how super skinny you’re feeling that day.
Complaining that you don’t have your friend’s curves
“I wish I had your curves, my bum is so flat.”
While it might seem like a compliment to say that you wish you had certain parts of their body, it can be hurtful.
Especially if you specify certain parts of their body, such as their boobs or their bum, as you are not actually praising their body and suggesting you wouldn’t want to have their whole figure.
Steer particularly clear of complaining that you can’t put weight on in certain areas, like your bum for example, as it might be harder for them to lose weight in these areas.
Leaving them out of pictures
“Oh, could you just take this one of us?”
Excluding a plus-size friend from selfies, or always asking them to take the picture, tells them that you don’t want to be seen with them as you’re embarrassed.
Similarly, cropping them out of photos or editing them to make them appear slimmer, will have the same effect.
Include them in photos and don’t make them feel left out because of their weight.
Suggesting you can’t be plus-size and beautiful
“You’re not fat, you’re gorgeous!”
There are a number of phrases with this implication, such as “you have a pretty face,” or “you’d be so stunning if you lost weight.”
Guess what – the two aren’t mutually exclusive, you can be plus-size and beautiful… at the same time!
As soon as we accept that both of these are possible at the same time, we’ll be a step closer to eradicating fat-shaming once and for all.
Ok, this one is obviously not accidental. But, you might make these kinds of comments in front of your friend who is conscious about their weight without realizing.
You might think it doesn’t matter because they’re your pal; that you weren’t talking about them.
But guess what? Just because it isn’t directed at them it’s still hurtful – just don’t fat-shame anyone.
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