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This article originally appeared in gurl and is reprinted by permission from the writer.
I spent the first 16 years of my life as a plus-sized girl. During that time, I rarely ever felt like I was beautiful. And it was hard to see myself as attractive when the media bombarded me with images of thin and beautiful women all the time. It was hard for me to accept how I looked when I was constantly pressured into going on diets to lose weight.
I understood that some people actually meant well when they kept encouraging me to shed a few pounds, but deep down, those pieces of advice actually stung. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those so-called helpful comments were actually forms of fat shaming.
Being told that I should take smaller portions of food, or having people assume that I was incapable of doing certain things because of my weight was not only rude, but it also took a huge toll on my self-esteem. What hurt even more was how some people, including my own friends, would use the word “fat” like it was an insult. It even got to a point where I started to believe that I looked unattractive because of my size. But thankfully, I eventually realized that someone’s size does not measure their beauty or their worth. I learned that, in spite of what society may think, you can be both fat and fabulous.
If you’ve ever offended a fat person with a rude comment, then chances are, you probably don’t understand why your well-intended suggestions are actually hurtful. Take a look at these 11 phrases you probably didn’t realize are fat shaming:
1. “Ewww, I feel so fat.”
I hear this phrase a lot. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized how harmful and offensive this actually sounds. Saying that you “feel fat” communicates that you see actually being fat as an insult. And plus, you will only come off as an attention seeker who’s looking for sympathy and extra compliments. So if you just had a huge meal and you feel full, or if you suddenly feel like you’ve gained a bit of weight, don’t use the word “fat” like it’s an insult.
2. “You’re really pretty for a plus-sized girl.”
By telling someone that they’re pretty for a plus-sized or fat girl, you’re telling them that their size gives them a major disadvantage, because all plus-sized girls are generally not beautiful. That is insulting.
3. “Stop saying you’re fat, you’re beautiful.”
Fat is not a synonym for “ugly” or “unattractive.” So if a person is feeling bigger than usual, or if they’ve gained a couple of pounds, saying something like this will only reinforce the idea that being fat is not beautiful.
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4. ”Do you really want to eat that much?”
This is just beyond rude. But the most ridiculous part is that people feel that they’re being helpful and considerate when they say this. Well, newsflash: It’s not. If a girl wants to eat a big portion of food, it’s because she’s hungry, so get over it. No one should have to starve themselves thin in order to impress others.
5. “Are you having some health issues?”
Unless someone actually tells you that they have a medical condition, don’t assume that they have one because of their size. I mean, there are actually plus-sized people who happen to be much healthier than a lot of skinny people. So don’t assume that their weight is just some unfortunate side effect of a medical issue.
6. “Did you lose some weight? You look SO much better!”
This is like saying: “Hey! You looked so much uglier when you were fat. You should stay thin.” And this, in my opinion, is just beyond offensive. Even if the person means well and they’re trying to praise someone for their progress, it’s insulting to say that someone used to be unattractive or undesirable, all because of their size.
7. “I don’t think that this (insert any clothing item here) was made for your body type.”
It’s so unfortunate that most clothing stores mainly cater to people who are very thin. But the good news is, plus-sized fashion bloggers are starting to prove that they can break fashion rules and still look fabulous.
8. ”Are you sure you can handle (insert any exercise/sports activity here)?”
Fat girls can be active. And they are perfectly capable of doing the same activities that thin girls can do, unlike what most people are led to believe.
9. “How did you get so fat?!”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with gaining a bit of weight, so it really irks me when I see people overreact over their loved ones gaining a bit of wait. After all, it’s just a couple of extra pounds. It’s not like the person suddenly morphed into a huge dinosaur.
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10. “You’re a good person, but your weight is actually a big turnoff.”
Okay, first of all, people are not defined by their weight. When you say something like this, you’re basically telling them that they are undesirable because of their weight. And adding that they’re a good person does absolutely nothing to soften the blow, because you’re also saying that you value their looks more than their personality.
11. “Do I look fat?”
It’s the first question that most people ask when they try on something new, because “Do I look fat?” has become the new “Do I look bad?” And then usually, the person they’re asking would respond by saying something like “No, you look good.” It’s sad really, because the word “fat” continues to be used as an insult when it’s really not.
Which of these phrases surprised you the most? Did we miss any offensive phrases that are actually fat-shaming? Tell us in the comments below!
Nakeisha is a writer and YA book enthusiast. Before landing her internship at Gurl, she interned at places like Nickelodeon, Bauer Teen Group, and Popstar! magazine. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, singing Adele songs off key, and binge-watching old seasons of The Office. Her lifelong dream is to write a bestseller and have an unlimited supply of chocolate. You can keep up with her shenanigans by following her on Instagram and Twitter.
[Feature Image by web4camguy: A person with dark brown eyes and long dreads. They are wearing a patterned cardigan, denim button up shirt, and denim polka dot bow tie. They are looking directly at the camera.]