What’s the matter with your life?
Why you gotta mess with mine?
Don’t keep sweating what I do
Cuz I’m gonna be just fine.
~ Salt-n-Pepa, “None of Your Business
A dear friend of mine teaches fitness classes out on the West Coast. She e-mailed me recently to say that someone stopped her at the gym to ask if she’d put on weight. And as I lay on the floor gasping in horror at such an invasive, rude, and insulting question, I realized something: THAT question is socially inappropriate, as we all know. But so is it’s mirror image, “Have you lost weight?” Your weight is nobody’s business but your own. Fluctuations in your weight are nobody’s business but your own. Ever. Why on earth do people feel so free to inquire about weight, or express concern and dismay over someone’s weight loss or gain, or pass judgment so openly about weight-related matters? Changes in weight can be caused by a vast array of circumstances, and a perceived change tells the observer virtually nothing about those circumstances.
Originally posted 2010-03-22 06:50:00.
The messages are loud and painful and hard to ignore: Flat stomach required. Hair that resides anywhere other than atop your head is utterly repellent. Makeup is a must. Cellulite is Satan. The short and round and stocky are innately inferior to tall and angular and lithe.
We hear it from the diet ads, from “America’s Next Top Model” and “The Biggest Loser,” from catalogs and magazines full of cookie-cutter bodies, from the endless stream of movies featuring Barbie-esque heroines. Sometimes we hear it from our parents and friends and coworkers.
Originally posted 2009-10-07 06:02:00.
“She REALLY shouldn’t wear that.”
I’ve heard it. I’ve read it. And back before I really considered the impact of casual language on self-esteem, I even said it myself. But nowadays when I hear that phrase, I absolutely cringe. It strikes me as more damaging than many of the other phrases used to criticize style choices related to figure flattery. And here’s why:
Delineating what others should or should not do is a very loaded action. It implies that what they are currently doing is wrong, bad, inherently destructive or negative. It implies that they aren’t smart enough to figure that out on their own. And therefore, it implies that you are superior, since you were able to draw the conclusion yourself. It’s judgmental and it’s harsh.
Originally posted 2010-09-23 05:11:00.