Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Letters to The Girl Who Thinks She's Fat and Won't Stop Talking About It



Dear Girl Who Thinks She's Fat and Won't Stop Talking About It,

I would have an easier time believing you and sympathizing with you-- really, I would-- if you would refrain from lifting your shirt and showing off your belly button rings in public.

"Aren't these so cute?!" you said. "But don't look at my belly. It's so fat, isn't it? It's huge!"

I'm trying to be understanding with you, but I'd really wish you'd stop making everything about your weight and calling attention to it every four seconds. First of all, you're thin, and even though I know this doesn't mean you have good self esteem, I hope you'll come to realize you really do have a lovely figure that is well within the norms and standards of today's society. As someone who's been chubby most of my life, and even as someone who feels she mostly loves and accepts her body, your thin-ness gives me little pangs of jealousy. Doesn't that make you feel a little better already?

I also wish you'd stop because people like you who do nothing but talk about how fat they are make other people feel bad. When you complain about how you're so fat and so gross and so this and that and the other thing, it starts to wear on the people around you-- including myself. I find it tiring to be surrounded by negative energy, and it has to be tiring to spread it.

I suppose that's what makes me most angry: that you go around calling attention to your own flaws in the apparent quest for verbal validation without realizing how it hurts other people. You keep going and going until someone tells you how pretty and skinny you are and then you blush and say "no, I'm not, but thanks" while the whole time all I can think about is how disgusting I must seem in comparison. Your negativity and body hatred tears me down, and though I know it's my responsibility to take care of my own emotions, you could at least be a little bit considerate of the other (chubbier) people when you start hurling insults at your size 3 waistline. I have never understood how or why thin people take such joy in complaining about their gross fatness to people who are actually fat. I want to make this letter all positive and happy, but it sucks when you do that and it makes me want to harm you.

All in all, I don't know how to say any of this without sounding like I'm saying you're skinny so you shouldn't feel bad. 'Cause that's not what I'm saying at all. What I'm saying is that you and people like you need to think before you fish, because you aren't the only ones who want to be told you're pretty and perfect just the way you are. You are, for sure, but the fact that you need to body snark to get someone to praise you demeans and hurts everyone around you. We're all human and flawed and we sometimes feel awful. We're all human and we're beautiful and we're ugly at the same time. I wish you would show how beautiful you can be-- from the inside out-- rather than spread so much ugliness. I wish you would realize that we're all in this together and that by not sniping at your own body in public in the hopes of a compliment you would be promoting the kind of world in which we wouldn't even feel the need to snipe.

xoxo,
Vanessa

19 comments:

Isabel said...

Couldn't have said it any better. Amen, sister. Amen.

ilde said...

Isabel, you took the words right out of my mouth!

We have a saying in South Africa, in Afrikaans: "So 'n bek kort jam!". Directly translated, it means "a mouth like that needs jam!" - i.e. what you are saying deserves something good. I think jam is fruit jelly in America... or preserves? Or is that in England? Sweet stewed fruit, in any case...

So here's some jam to you, Vanessa! :)

ilde said...

Oh and have you seen this website? Go check it out...

www.operationbeautiful.com

Zmaga said...

This is honesty at its best. I also hate it when people do that, but I never wanted to admit that I hate it because it hurts me and makes me compare myself to them.

Holly said...

it is a gift to express yourself honestly without negative emotions becoming stronger in the process.(a gift which you apparently have.)

I sympathize so very much.

Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul said...

I love this... I think we all need to better monitor our "fat talk" because, like you write, it ends up hurting all of us, regardless of shape or size, in the long run. It's easy to get caught up in the complaining about our thighs or discussing calories, but it just contributes to our own and others' unhappiness.

sui said...

Have you read this?

http://rabbitwrite.com/the-case-against-im-so-fat/

An honest yet compassionate response is best, I think.

selina said...

this is fab!! we all have things we don't like about ourselves but when people complain about the all the time the problem is with their head, not their body!

NONI☆NEKO said...

I completely understand what you're saying in this post, and you definitely speak the truth. But if I may offer the other side of the coin.

I'm not fat but I'm not thin either. I'm a pretty decent weight, but of course I'd be happy to tone up and shed a little around my stomach and thighs. Whenever I talk about this with my friends (most of whom are overweight), they reply with "but you're sooo skinny! You're a twig! Go eat some cheeseburgers!" And my personal favourite, "you're not fat, I'm WAY fatter than you!"

I know I'm not a twig, and I know they're not being truthful, because my own mother says "yes, you're a little chubby" (and I appreciate her honesty). I recognise that this post is aimed at people who are indeed thin, but it's really hurtful when my friends knock back my concerns about my weight simply because they are MUCH larger than me. I don't like how they use themselves as some kind of standard. I want to feel good about my own body, not rely on the assurance of others. I just wish I could say to them "just because you're overweight, it doesn't mean you have to bring me down for being smaller than you!" But of course, I could never say that.

I know you make a point of loving your body, regardless of shape. But I just wanted to give some kind of representation for the other side. I know a lot of girls complain about their weight to garner compliments, but it's not always the case. I don't want compliments, I want "good for you, it's great you're looking to improve your fitness and body image."
But that's just how I feel. I can't speak for anyone else. Rant over.
Great post as always! I really enjoy your blog :)

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