“Oh my god, you have lost weight, you look so much better!”, “You have gained a lot of weight ya, try becoming fit”, “You have become too thin, you don’t eat?”, “OMG are you anorexic/malnourished?” these are just some of the phrases that every girl has heard in some point in their lives. Maybe I should say everybody, but unfortunately it is girls who are more sexualised, objectified and judged in this world.
Also, having been at the receiving end of these comments, I believe I can express better what most women feel when they hear these things. Weight has been a crucial aspect that every girl is judged on. You are either too fat, too thin, skinny, bulky, slender, plump and rarely (with the help of photoshop) perfect. This issue of lack of body positivity is so wide and so deep, that it will take days to cover every single point. There is however one point that needs to be addressed.
Most people, especially friends and family, who mean no harm often give us compliments or advice like we read in the beginning. While their intention is far from bad, the impact of these words on women who are striving to be fit or simply be happy in their body, is often negative. I was 16, and had unintentionally lost weight, when a close friend’s mother said, “Oh my god, you have lost weight, you look so much better!” As a 16-year-old whose sole interest was in playing games and reading books, that was the first time i realised that I had earlier been ‘fat’ or as most people like to phrase it ‘healthy’. This comment on my weight, is what actually affected me in life, as I began to overthink and over analyse my body. All this could have been avoided if the person had simply stuck to “OMG, you looks so good.”
While this was a surreal experience for a teenager who was introduced to the world’s expectation of the perfect body, things only went downhill from here. If a girl lost a bunch of weight because she wanted to or even because she was depressed – there is bound to be someone who comments on how they look malnourished or it seems like they don’t eat food. On the other hand, if they are following healthy practices and gain a little weight, they are immediately labeled fat or given advice on how to ‘stay fit.’
These labels have long been the reason that most women are not comfortable with their body and its changes. Most women have forgotten to love themselves, and their changing body, because the society has been comparing it, analysing it and critiquing it. When in fact, the only thing that society needed to do was simply be more compassionate and kind while complimenting women. If you feel someone looks good, irrespective of the reason behind it, then compliment them. If you feel someone is being unhealthy have a conversation with them, instead of labeling them fat or shaming them for the way they look. The world needs more compassion and more humanity so that the next time a sixteen-year-old has unintentionally lost weight, her friends and family simply compliment her instead of hinting that she did not look this good before.
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