July 2018
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why it's fatphobic to congratulate someone on size loss


icon: "bodylove -- me (nude)" (my nude torso showing my large belly and breasts, with a lacy fractal overlay across me)

a question asked of me anonymously via sarahah: "Is it, or under what circumstances is it, fatphobic to congratulate someone on weight loss?"

Yes, it is always fatphobic to "congratulate" someone on weight loss or more accurately, size loss. First, it is never appropriate to comment on someone's bodily changes unless they have commented on it to you in a way that communicates their feelings about it and opens the space for you to comment also. Don't assume that anyone decreased in size on purpose. Don't assume that anyone is happy about decreasing in size. Don't assume that it is okay for you to comment on someone's body.

If someone tells you about their size loss in a way that shows they did it on purpose and they are happy about it, it is appropriate to make a positive comment. You can say something like "I am so happy you feel more comfortable in your skin now" or to express happiness for them about the positive causes or effects of this size loss. This is simply emphathizing with their feelings and there is nothing wrong with it.

Congratulating them, on the other hand, implies [all kinds of fat-phobic bullshit]

--- CN: fat-phobic ideas, this paragraph ---

that size loss is inherently a positive*, admirable* experience achievable* through hard work and perseverance, which is wrong, wrong, and WRONG. When people use nutrient-poor restrictive diets to lose size, this almost always causes health problems: this is not positive, even if they get the look they want for a short time. As for admirable, it is no more admirable than buying a new outfit. Changing your look is a personal decision and just like you wouldn't say congratulations if someone got a new haircut, you don't say congratulations when someone loses size.

--- end CN ---


Most of the factors that determine size are out of the control of a person, and size loss is mostly an accident or a fluke. Your body will return to what it is genetically comfortable with. Many people can achieve some form of athleticism but that does not usually mean a great size change. Fat bodies can be very athletic just as thin bodies can be very un-athletic, and your body thickness is almost as genetically determined as your height. Is it appropriate to congratulate someone for growing taller? no, because it is not an achievement. Size loss is not an achievement, it is merely a change.

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Comments
bunnika ══╣╠══
pic#122309054
verdande_mi ══╣pic#122309054╠══
Very well said. It drives me nuts when people just barge on with their comments about the weight of other people, lost, gained, stable, as if is there business. I am getting better at setting a stop on this when it is aimed at me or people close to me.
fairytaleguise ══╣╠══
This is so well said, thank you.
bunnicula38 ══╣╠══
I agree with you. Body changes should not be commented on to others unless they bring it up themselves. For all one knows, someone could have lost a lot of weight because of cancer or stress. Not everyone who loses weight does so for vanity or health reasons. Also those people may think, "What? What's the deal? People didn't think I looked attractive before? " They will wonder why all of a sudden they are being treated better. So I choose to wait until they bring up the weight loss and their reasons for losing it.

Another consideration: people could very well gain the weight back and they don't need reminders about how differently and more positively they were treated when they were thin.

The same goes with pregnant women. There are women I meet who are clearly pregnant but, unless I see that baby pop out of them, I am not saying a word. I wait for the lady to talk about the upcoming birth before congratulating her.
xbunnyy ══╣╠══

I agree with this. Very well put

browncouch ══╣╠══
My boss has asked me on multiple occasions if I lost weight. I just said, "No." If it happens again I'll try to point out that it's not appropriate. I feel decently comfortable in my body, I don't need anyone's comments. She also mentions my hair every time we meet, because it's always changing in style and color. Yes, I like fashion and put time into how I look, but it would be cool if she maybe just kept her comments work or skill related. One time, while my mother was on her deathbed, my dad told me I would look good if I lost weight. Fun times.
kiwi ══╣╠══
Don't assume that it is okay for you to comment on someone's body.

This. This so much. I hate this so much. I am actively working out (for a myriad of reasons, only one of which is because I want to lose weight as I am not comfortable at the weight I am at - the rest of the reasons are more personal, like the fact that it's giving me an outlet for stress and it's allowing myself to have me-time, which is so very rare in my day-to-day, and because I want my heart to be healthier than it is now, etc) and have seen the changes in my body but am doing everything I can to attempt to hide myself and my body so that people don't comment on it...
jeune_fleur ══╣╠══
Ugh, I get that feeling! I hate it when people make comments about someone else's body or mine... I'm currently on my way to weight loss, and I'm already dreading the comments of "how lovely you look!", like I didn't look lovely before :/
webgirluk ══╣╠══
I completely agree with everything you've mentioned here. To "Congratulate" someone for losing weight stirs up the same feelings in me, too.
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Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.