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Mean girls/women come in all sizes

Friday, January 25, 2013

The horror stories of abuse hurled at overweight girls/women are sadly numerous. I read them all the time here on SP. They are very visible in movies and on TV as well.

Unfortunately, mean comments about our bodies aren’t limited to cheerleader types.
I regularly hear remarks about being flat-chested and having no boobs. Sometimes it’s directed at me. I prefer a serious sports bra which squashes down whatever I’ve got. I’ve even heard it directed at Michelle Obama. Granted that was probably sour grapes and politically motivated, but still, when will we stop putting down women based on some ideal body image?

Would I accept a few extra pounds of fat if they could be deposited right on my chest? Sure I would, even if it increased my body fat percentage, but we know our body puts the extra fat where it wants and for me that’s my hips and thighs.

I could buy myself some bigger boobs. I understand they cost about $4,000. Nah, Victoria’s Secret gives me options a lot cheaper and I can put them in a drawer and happily sleep on my stomach or run comfortably.

For the record I’ve never responded with “too bad those boobs come with a big stomach and a butt that could stop a Mac truck.” And I never will. Negative comments about our bodies are hurtful no matter who is making them.

Then there’s the backhanded compliments.
My related blog entry: “That’s a great suit for someone small on top”

Is this just a gender thing?
Do adult men treat each other this way?

I’ve heard opinions that this sort of ill treatment teaches you how to deal with life and makes you stronger. I can understand wanting to be strong enough to “take it,” but I don’t understand the mindset of someone who wants to “dish it out.”

Note: I make an exception for military drill sergeants. Their environment and goal is quite different from those of civilian life.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Well, not to get too graphic, but having some fat on top, now that I am older, they have to be rolled up and deposited into my bra (maybe that was a little too graphic lol). And believe me, mean comments are made for either big or large - maybe because it has nothing to do with the receiver of the comments and everything to do with the speaker. Kind of sad isn't it?
    1969 days ago
    Oh yeah, we men are notorious for ripping each other apart. Then we laugh and call it "male bonding". But, I was pretty good at putting down my friends when I wanted to. I've seen gotten older, and don't do that kind of stuff anymore. Believe me, I took a lot for being a skinny kid, too. I even wrote a blog about it a while back, so yeah, I guess it bothered me.
    1970 days ago
    I was running on a TM at the gym yesterday and there was some kind of fashion makeover going on... maybe on Rachel Ray? I don't know, not a show I ever watch. Anyway, they were making over these two twins and it was a contest for these fashionistas. When asked to describe why she chose the outfit for one of the ladies, the fashionista said something along the lines of, "She's got an athletic build, straight up and down, so we wanted to give it some curves." It didn't make me mad to hear it, but I wondered how many people might hear that and think, "Oh gee, I don't want to become athletic because I'll lose my curves!!!!"

    In terms of my own body, I kind of smiled inwardly and thought, "Well, whaddya know... I look athletic. Cool."

    33-27-34, and small on top just like her mother.
    Thanks for the genes! emoticon
    1970 days ago
    emoticon blog! As one who has passed the "Pencil Test" my entire life, I can heartily agree that we all have our insecurities! Now that I'm older, I can "compensate" for those past insults by thinking of my body as the athletic marvel that it is, and celebrating the achievements that it delivers me.

    p.s., my running group (almost exclusively women) are very kind to each other about "body issues"...most of us have been through the cycles of life and know that boobs, legs, booty, etc all are fashion focus...they come and go with the decades. A strong working body lives on.
    1971 days ago
    I found it was other women that judged me. It was the worst in my teens and early twenties. After that, it stopped outside the very infrequent rude person yelling from a car. I had been called "fat, ugly chick" by frat boys at that age. The comments to my face about how fat, ugly, unlovable were done by other girls/women. Men occasional hurled insults from a car, but never said that I was too fat to ever marry and have a family or other things just as vicious to my face.

    In addition, I'm rather large chested. When I was in junior high, the other girls teased me and said that I stuffed my bra. I wore the wrong size bra for almost a year since my mother didn't want to believe that I was bigger in that area than her. I've never had anyone tell me that more than a handful was a waste.
    1971 days ago
    This sort of crap makes me angry and sad at the same time. You have indeed touched a nerve with this one... As someone who was bullied from the time I was in kindergarten, and as someone who replicated that pattern for a brief stint when at my absolute unhappiest (shameful, but true), I truly believe this stems from a place of deep insecurity. Sometimes people are awful to each other; most of the time those people are hurting too. Sometimes people don't even notice how hurtful their comments are... sheeesh! way too much to say here....

    Yes, I know the grass is always greener, but if there was a way to trade a bit of what I've got up top for some of what other women have on the bottom, you could sign me up in a heartbeat! But, overall, I've grown to satisfaction with my body - and my happiness isn't determined by how well I fill out or if I can fit into a particular garment.

    I hope we can all be kind to each other and to ourselves- and that kindness will trickle out into the universe, giving people regardless of gender, age, weight, color, sexual orientation, financial status, etc. a gentle reminder that we can all be better to each other. a gal can hope, right?

    1971 days ago
    In my experience, women are often far more vicious to women verbally. It's a stereotype that has some basis in fact that men are more physical and women are more verbal. Whether that is culturally created or innate is not entirely clear, but it is true. Those are sweeping generalizations, of course -- some men are very verbal and some women are very physical.

    When dressing for a special occasion, who is looking at what the women look like with a critical eye? The women. Men are usually looking at women appreciatively. They ALL look good to them! (Again, generalizations here.)

    Our society is so heavily appearance conscious that it's going to be very hard to change how mean women can be to other women.
    1971 days ago
    women hating on women is awful. no wonder so many are plagued with low-self esteem and insecurities! I embrace my double AAs!!
    1971 days ago
    I can not stand the attitude that breaks a woman down into her parts - as if a woman is some sort of object to be special ordered according to the user's desires. It's demeaning - and yet women even perpetuate this attitude as they lament the size of (--fill-in-the-blank-). You are more than the sum of your 'parts' - you are a beautiful whole and your worth is not regulated to the size of whatever.

    Promote positive body image by refusing to break yourself down to fit someone else's ideal.
    1971 days ago
    My husband is overweight now (wasn't as a young man) and yes, other men make very hurtful comments, passing them off as jokes. DH carries his weight in his stomach so guys will ask "When are you due?" or pat his stomach and make some comment. He has said to me that he doesn't understand why people think it's ok to make comments like that to men but not to women...neither of us has ever heard anyone put down a woman to her face about her weight, although from what I've read on Spark, it certainly does happen.
    1971 days ago
  • -AMANDA79-
    Nice blog. I've heard bigger girls describe healthy girls as "rail thin" with a look of disgust on their faces. It isn't nice no matter who is saying it.
    1971 days ago
    Although I hear it more from women, I've gotten if from men too, I had this boyfriend that told me straight out that "more than a handful was a waste" and they already were that big, then he told me point blank that if I gained weight he'd drop me like a bad habit. Needless to say I broke up with him shortly after that.

    It doesn't matter your size, someone will have something negative to say about it, especially since the media tells us what's supposidly beautiful.
    1971 days ago
    1971 days ago
    1971 days ago
    Now that my weight is down, I prefer what I have "on top," because it is easier to exercise. I also like exercise bras for workouts and T-shirt bras for a smooth profile otherwise. The only change I am seriously considering right now is a tummy tuck, though I would not rule out a gentle facelift at some point. These changes are for me, not for anyone else.

    I asked DH about men commenting on men's bodies. His response was some occasional crude locker-room talk (because men do peek), but the only derogatory comments he could recall had to do with fat. My own experience with men commenting on women's bodies (including mine) has been along the lines of what others have said. I am a pear shape, and it has taken me 5 and a half decades to be at peace with that, thank you unkind men and unrealistic social expectations. I recall when I was a teen working behind a deli counter, a cute-ish guy placed an order and flirted while I put it together. When I stepped around the counter to hand him his order, his face totally changed, and he said, "Oh, I didn't know you were so heavy below the waist." I weighed all of 130 pounds then at 5'7" and was already insecure about my weight and body type. I can look back now and recognize he was an @$$, and think smugly that I have most likely done way better in life than he has, but at the time it hurt...bad.
    1971 days ago
    Well, well. I think you hit a nerve with this blog!

    I love my practically nonexistent boobs and couldn't imagine going around with two huge sacs bouncing around attached to my chest. I do have a tendency to get hung up on my belly, though. Don't like much protrusion, and I just can't get over that reaction.

    BTW, I have no problem with my first sexual experience. I figured it was high time, and I got it over with, with a guy I didn't much care about. It was underwhelming.
    1971 days ago
  • DR1939
    I taught a gender issues course at the university level for many years. Students wrote a variety of papers responding to development of gender identity, body issues, sexual experiences. Almost every woman, regardless of size, was unhappy with something about her body and had had comments made about it, usually by men. Men on the other hand tended to be happy with the body they had but quite critical of women's bodies. I remember one young woman who was rail thin but dieting to lose enough weight that her thighs did not touch. Her boyfriend had told her she needed this. I used to tell the women if their boyfriend didn't like the way they looked to get rid of them immediately because they were not always going to be thin and wrinkle-free. I told the men if their girlfriend worried about her weight or her looks to reassure her that he loved her not what she looked like. I don't know how many took my advice, but I felt I had to try.

    BTW, almost every woman felt she made wrong decisions about the timing of her first sexual experience, either too soon or too late. OTOH, every man reported when he had his first sexual experience without comments.
    1971 days ago
  • KANOE10
    My sons were overweight as teens and were regularly bullied about their weight. I do not understand the mindset of someone who needs to denigrate someone's body either. I think they are insecure and try to control others by putting them down for their bodies.

    I had the opposite problem..I was overweight and huge on the top. Now that I am thin, I have shrunk and like it. I also love my exercise bras also..for exercise and they are warmer!

    What surprises me is the number of young women who are doing plastic surgery to look more beautiful..teens and twenties. A girl in her 20s had a boob job and tummy tuck after her baby. She just had another baby and plans for more plastic surgery.

    I am sorry people have made unpleasant comments to you. emoticon
    1971 days ago
    Well said! Unfortunately, most of the comments I hear aren't from men...they are from women. I think magazines and "movie stars" put an image in the mind of women that they think they need to be like! I've heard a couple stars state that they had to put on weight for a role and they "just ate normally!" Right there tells me that they eat unhealthy the rest of the time just to stay stick thin.

    I think each of us can help this! We must strut our stuff and be proud of who we are. Men like strong women that are comfortable with themselves. I've lost my weight, but now I get to deal with middle age skin that is losing it's elasticity and boobs that are racing south. emoticon I should say that I am not well endowed, either.

    However, I'm healthy and I've come to accept my body! I feel strong and I like the feel of my skin...saggy and all! My wish for all women is that they try to be the healthiest they can be for THEMSELVES! Not their friends, their family or their spouse, but for them! (I'm sure family and spouses want health so they can keep their mom/wife as long as possible.)

    Here's to a weekend of wellness and acceptance!
    1971 days ago
    People have exalted their own status about something I think since they started living in tribes. For most of time it was blood, status was conferred by birth. The founding fathers of the US eliminated hereditary class, but people found other ways to feel superior. If we eliminate judgement based on appearance, there will be something else to take its place. Human nature, I guess.
    1971 days ago
    So true, and it is truly not about body shape, it is mean spiritedness, or maybe their own insecurities.. If you are larger than average in the chest, like me. they tell you more than a handful is a waste. High School boyfriend complained about that and he was so heavy, the military wouldn't take him. I had a girlfriend tell me that my husband only loves me because we were both overweight. I lost 50 and he lost 30 and haven't changed our feelings. She was as overweight as I am and had just ended a really bad marriage.
    While you can use surgery to change your body, it wouldn't take away the feelings that caused you to do something drastic to be someone you weren't. There is something hard about every body shape and you have to accept it. I have small wide feet. It is hard to find shoes in a 6WW, they often have to be special ordered and dress shoes are not existent. Yet I am not considering foot augmentation!
    My husband works in a 90% male environment and no, they don't comment on each other's weight or body shape. They hassle others about intelligence, what social class they are from, whether woman like them(but not based on their looks) and what car they drive. Maybe these things bother men as much as body image does women(although my husband was teased by girls as a boy for being overweight). As an example, we have a Volvo wagon, an 84, and someone told my husband it suited him because it was square, boxy, and boring but dependable. I think that counts as some sort of back-handed complement.
    And while perhaps we should be strong enough to "take it" should we have to? It is not a mentally healthy pattern for either the giver or the taker.
    1971 days ago
  • MAGGIE101857
    Well said indeed! Rarely have I heard a man talk about another man in such negative ways; my BH said about Governor Christie recently "I hope he can pull it together and lose some weight because he's a walking heart attack". True, not necessarily mean spirited or derogatory, well meaning. But I hear men make derogatory comments all the time about women. I used to just stay silent, now I respond with positive comments about the person; less confrontational and hopefully makes the speaker think. One step at a time, slow progress.

    By the way, I'll trade a bit of my upper for less of my middle! emoticon
    1971 days ago
    It's true! I often think of a friend from high school. She was gorgeous. Long blonde hair, perfect skin, beautiful features. Now in our 60s she says she hated high school because she felt so insecure with the barbs thrown her way about her looks. People, like children, can be mean and often are. Good for you for not responding to the negative comments!
    1971 days ago
    Guys can be just as cruel to others when it comes to weight. Although I was hopelessly skinny in high school, I definitely saw the prodding given to those that were overweight. I wonder if that still goes on since almost everyone is overweight?
    1971 days ago
  • JGRAY76
    I right there with you on this one. Flat chested and don't understand why people feel the need to comment on it.
    1971 days ago
    Well said ! emoticon
    1971 days ago
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