The language of curves: why body bashing is not ok

by Laura Agar Wilson on September 6, 2013

in self reflection

realwomencomeinallshapes

When I posted my last ‘wordy’ post, a few commenters made some excellent points about how we talk about body shape and connect that to our woman hood. In what I see as a back lash against the main stream focus on slim shapes, ‘curvy’ has become the antithesis of that. Women are proud to be curvy and so they damn well should! However, what seems to happen sometimes is that the curvy love is accompanied by statements such as ‘real women have curves’ and ‘who would want to be a bag of bones’ etc etc… 

As I’ve written in my manifesto (just sign up for my newsletter to get it for free!) I think we need to be so careful about the language we use. I’m curvy and proud, but no more a real woman than a one who is slender. We are all real women. Size does not define our womanhood and body bashing someone that is different to us to make us feel better is not good. 

Us lovely women come in all shapes and sizes naturally. I’m not against thinnest if that is a women’s natural shape. If she has to starve herself and exercise to a ridiculous extent to be ‘thin’ then that is not natural and that would be worrying to me, especially if that is all just so she can feel desirable in today’s society. But even if she was doing that, I don’t think that commenting on someones body negatively is ok. 

I’ve experienced both sides of this. When I was bigger I was called a ‘fat cow’ and when I was thin I was a ‘skinny bitch’. Sometimes you just can’t win.

Now, I choose not to play the game in the first place ;-)

As I say in the manifesto, own your natural body shape and celebrate it with an appreciation for the wonderful diversity of natural healthy body shapes out there!

What are your thoughts on this? Have you experienced body bashing? 

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes September 6, 2013 at 8:48 am

It’s do true! I hate in some respects that curvy women seeming look down on smaller figures with horrible remarks. Woman are beautiful whatever their shape and size. I just wish people would realise that!
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Emma September 6, 2013 at 10:53 am

Great point Laura! One which is particularly close to home. My family are all naturally slender and I’ve recently asked around and found out that most of the females have BMIs under or at the bottom of the ‘normal’ range. We do come in all shapes and sizes and there’s not a “right” or “real” one.
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:10 am

I think it is useful to look at family members and genetics for an idea of what might be a natural shape for you :-)

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PoPpy @ Persistence Over Perfection September 6, 2013 at 10:55 am

I agree with this too – we are all beautiful and things of wonder in our own right. EVERYONE deserves respect, whatever their size. I’ve never experienced this from the thin side of the scales, but I can imagine it would have the same effect as it does now. I am so fed up of people underestimating my intelligence, or disregarding my opinion just because I am overweight :(
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:10 am

Urgh, I despise that – I’m sorry to hear that you have experienced that kind of attitude :-(

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Lara September 6, 2013 at 11:12 am

Well said, no one shape is the ideal, what is ideal is individual to each and every one of us.
I love your quote on not playing the game – brilliant!
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catherine September 6, 2013 at 11:15 am

So true. Sometimes you just can’t win, and have to learn to say ‘sod it !’ I really hate the ‘real woman’ label. Where is the line between not a real woman and a real woman? Such a load of gubbins!
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:12 am

Isn’t it! Such a silly thing to say when you think about it, like you can define a women simply on her shape :-/

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Lucy September 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Really fab post – I sometimes get confused when people/friends/family comment on my weight or body shape, I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a complement or a dig sometimes! The other day a close friend said “You’re looking skinny at the moment” (complement? dig?) but then later in the conversation… “and I saw you at the party and you are looking great!”. I really don’t know how to respond to stuff like that, so I just nod awkwardly and move on. At the end of the day, I’m the same person, and I’ve learnt the most important people to listen to are myself and my boyfriend (because I could be wearing a bin liner and be x kg heavier and he would still call me beautiful!)

Read through your manifesto and loved what you wrote, particularly about how one size most definitely doesn’t fit all (regarding following the same diet), and your dialling up concept again… Plus it totally exuded lots of positivity and feel good vibes so glad to see you’re in a good (and inspiring!) place at the mo:)
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:13 am

Thanks Lucy! So glad that you enjoyed the manifesto, that is exactly what I wanted it to do :-) I think it is horrible sometimes because those skinny remarks, as you say can be both a complement and a dig and I think that is why some people think they can get away with it!

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Maria @ runningcupcake September 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm

One of my friends is naturally very thin, and she has had people come up to her in the street and have a go at her for being skinny (she is very very slim, but you can’t see her bones like you can with anorexic people- I think she looks healthy)- also people will make offhand comments to her “oh you have such skinny legs” etc which she finds offensive, but as most people are trying to lose weight they think they are giving it as a complement- she used to say that no-one would say the same thing about slightly larger people, but for some reason they think it is OK to say that to her.
I think the focus should not be on looks at all- big/ small/ short/ tall- it is what it inside that counts.
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:14 am

I absolutely agree! I can’t believe your friend has had comments like that, as she says no one would likely say that to an overweight person!

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Kerry September 7, 2013 at 10:46 am

I’m so guilty of body bashing myself! Awful, all day every day!
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Alex September 9, 2013 at 9:31 am

Great post. I’ve told so many people off for body snarking (as it’s termed in my house) in recent months especially on skinny girls! I’ve never understood this outrageous double standard – it’s not okay to call someone fat but it’s okay to call someone too thin?! Ridiculous.

We are who we are, as long as we’re healthy and happy then who gives a f*ck.
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Laura September 9, 2013 at 10:48 am

Could not agree more, the double standards are crazy and really just come from a place of misunderstanding – I wish more people could get there heads around the fact that not all skinny girls are anorexic and not all larger girls over eat!

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Bruised Passports September 9, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Fab post as always Laura :-) It’s really time to re-think binary distinctions and embrace individual shapes and sizes – wish the media would follow suit
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Laura September 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm

It is interesting, I was just reading that Special K have dropped their ‘drop a dress size’ campaign for a new ‘feel good’ style campaign! Hopefully signs the media is getting better!

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