...to be so sad about the fact that women can't just be happy with their bodies.

(65 Posts)
justanothernotsoyummymummy Sun 29-Sep-13 15:39:29

The thin ones are told they're not "real" because they don't have curves.

The heavier ones are told they need to follow fad diets to become thinner.

Why can't we just be encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle and to embrace our figures for what they are?

It really upsets me. sad

gaggiagirl Sun 29-Sep-13 15:41:34


DurhamDurham Sun 29-Sep-13 15:49:58

I struggled with my body image for years, despite never being more than a size ten I was convinced I was fat. Since having my two girls I have tried and succeeded in hiding my insecurities. They have grown up to be confident and at peace with their shape. That is why I am so angry that my dd1's boyfriend of two years decided to tell her she could do with 'worrying about her weight a bit more'!!!! This was out of the blue, not on the back of an argument and she was devastated. I could cheerfully kill him right now.
He has upset my daughter with one comment and although she told him to f**k off she has since said that he must have a point or he would not have said it.

How would the beauty and diet industry make it's money if it didn't send out negative messages?

They have a vested interest in making people insecure and unfortunately hold a lot of sway because of the amount of money their industry is worth in this country and in many others. It's shit though.

justanothernotsoyummymummy Sun 29-Sep-13 16:49:54

Oh Durham sad What a jerk. You need to keep reminding your daughter that she is beautiful no matter what. Is she still with this boyfriend?

thebody Sun 29-Sep-13 16:52:31

it's not just women and girls though is it? men and boys worry too. it's human nature.

thebody Sun 29-Sep-13 16:55:22

can understand your fury with that lad though. I would have spat feathers

Dancingqueen17 Sun 29-Sep-13 16:55:25

There is huge evidence now supporting the biological basis of eating disorders. Anorexia can now be described as a brain disorder. So as lovely as it would be for everyone to be happy with their bodies for some it is not that simple.

DurhamDurham Sun 29-Sep-13 16:57:26

She is still on speaking terms with him but hasn't seen him since. She hasn't decided what to do but has said that even if they were to stay together she knows now that it won't be for keeps, they were planning on moving in together next year. How can she be with him now, wondering what he is thinking when they are together?
She has just turned 20 and is a gorgeous girl, a v normal size 12, the same size she was when she met him.
He is constantly calling her and texting to say how much he misses her and how sorry he is. I hope he has learnt his lesson and doesn't treat his next gf in the same way.
The shame is that until now he has been great, they rarely argue and seem to genuinely enjoy each other's company.
Pleased he has shown his true colours now before they move in together.

Tee2072 Sun 29-Sep-13 16:58:07

It's not human nature. It's society.

I have no problem with my body. I also read very few magazines and rarely watch commercial TV.

I do watch what I eat and I'm trying to lose weight, but that's because of my diabetes, not because I'm trying to look like some "ideal woman".

You have to find yourself. Then you won't care. It took me about 40 years.

jasminerose Sun 29-Sep-13 16:59:54

I have no problem with my body at all. Im not really in to the magazines and see through the fact its all just making money out of peoples insecurities

emuloc Sun 29-Sep-13 17:00:54

I get tired of the phrase "real women" which is offensive to me as a person of slim build. Am I not a woman because I do not weigh 16 stones?

thebody Sun 29-Sep-13 17:03:52

I think there are very very few people who have 'no problems' with some area of their body or face.

I have yet to meet one.

jasminerose Sun 29-Sep-13 17:05:53

I am totally happy in how I look. I would never have plastic surgery or change anything even if I won the lottery. Its pretty having things that make you look individual not everyone looking the same.

emuloc I weigh a shade under 16 stone and we're both real women. Anyone saying a woman isn't a real woman because of her size is a nitwit and can stick it up their arse.


ziggiestardust Sun 29-Sep-13 17:08:55

Mmm, I think the sentiment is admirable, I really do. I think I worry less now that I have my DS; I'm 5ft 8in and wear a size 12 on top, 14 on the bottom. I think that's ok. I eat when I'm hungry; that's it .

But you get weight threads on here occasionally where people say 'don't kid yourself, you're overweight', and yes, tbh I could happily drop 10lbs to get myself into the 'right' weight bracket. But I'm ok with myself. I look and think 'yeah, you'll do'.

emuloc Sun 29-Sep-13 17:11:46

Thank you SunshinesuperNova.

IfYouLoveSomebodyLetThemSleep Sun 29-Sep-13 17:18:56

It is sad, so yanbu.

I think about stuff like this a lot, yet I still find myself unhappy with my body and appearance and I KNOW there is nothing wrong with me, I'm just not stick thin and have normal slightly wobbly bits.

Maybe avoiding the media is the way forward. It has far too much power over us anyway.

dopeysheep Sun 29-Sep-13 17:23:01

Society IS human nature though isn't it?

Personally I am just glad my body pretty much works as it should apart from my shit pancreas.

Viviennemary Sun 29-Sep-13 17:23:31

I don't agree entirely. For example if somebody is really overweight to the detriment of their health it's not good for them to say I'm happy with my body. On the other hand if they are average BMI or even quite slim it's a bit mad to keep wanting to lose weight.

Yonihadtoask Sun 29-Sep-13 17:35:51


On a personal note, I find it extremely sad that I have spent over 30 years of my life worrying about what I eat or don't eat on a particular day, and getting really upset if I can't get into a size 14. I am not overweight or underweight, but am rarely satisfied with my current size. Most women I know are the same.

Katerlina Sun 29-Sep-13 17:39:48

Sound like the boyf could do with a parent like you.... I am in my early 40s, overweight, and I have two kids under 5. Knowing my own food issues, I am trying not to instil an obsession with food into them, and if anyone suggests my kids are fat, they are tongue lashed to within an inch of their lives! (They are both completely beautiful obviously). It's hard though, and it's really made me examine my own behaviour with food. Oddly enough, I've been slowly losing weight since dd was born 2 years ago, so I think it's working! That and the running around after toddlers, managing the house and working part-time.... :-D hope she feels better, she's better off without, but only time will heal.... And the next lad who has more sense than to risk Armageddon!

PlayedThePinkOboe Sun 29-Sep-13 17:47:04

these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!

Another one here a whisker under 16 stone. When you see me you'll see a fat, uncontrollable monster. You won't see the fact that most days I starve myself and I cry after I've eaten.

Sinful1 Sun 29-Sep-13 18:12:38

You're kind of arguing cross points OP. Being too thin or too far is unhealthy and has complications, so you can't say "why can't we all just live healthily and embrace our shapes" because if they were living healthy they wouldn't be you fat or too thin and if they started to those shape would change to come back to the healthy size.

People forget you can be happily obease for a long time before the problems really arise that give you the lick you need to lose weight but by then it's too late the problems will make it harder and they will still be there once the weight is gone.

Someone pointing out your weight is getting to be too much or too little early on means the problem can be easily solved with small.changes and little long term effects, leaving it too late however is a life time of suffering

DurhamDurham Sun 29-Sep-13 19:37:51

Katerlina I think we have similar issues with food and body image, it hasn't made for a happy life but I have made peace with myself now.
Here's hoping my gorgeous dd remembers me telling her how beautiful she is and not her (hopefully) ex boyfriends cruel thoughtless words.
My mum told me I looked fat in a pair of shorts when I was 13, cue twenty + years of being convinced I was hideous. Mum doesn't remember saying it, she is adamant she never said I looked fat. But I remember like it was yesterday what must have been to her a throw away comment.

Teapigging Sun 29-Sep-13 20:34:47

Honestly, I have no issues with my body. I look like a 41 year old woman with unruly hair and a liking for scarves. I like clothes, but am not fashion-conscious.

I'm self-aware enough to see the vested interests who make money off the back of creating and exacerbating female insecurity (and yes, increasingly boys and men, too, but no industry has yet succeeded in making profit from men banishing their body hair, wearing make-up and control underwear etc etc). I don't buy into that.

It's probably not coincidental that I don't watch television much, never read magazines, and am completely unattuned to the cruel 'celeb X flaunting her curves/putting on a few pounds/back in a bikini a fortnight after giving birth' culture.

I realise that sounds a bit holier-than-thou, but allowing yourself body insecurities is giving a series of interlinked industries power over you. It is in their interests for you to remain tormented.

harticus Sun 29-Sep-13 21:09:39

I agree with Teapigging.

Eleanor Roosevelt said quite brilliantly that "Nobody can make you feel bad about yourself without your consent."
If you don't subscribe to this body nonsense, it you treat it all with the contempt it demands then it cannot touch you.

HeySoulSister Sun 29-Sep-13 21:15:53

I think more people should worry more.... There is a huge obesity epidemic in this country. It's rising. It's affecting our children

The NHS say this is a mounting problem.... Obesity related illnesses, along with smoking related is the biggest killers

Don't kid yourselves....

Thants Sun 29-Sep-13 21:20:06

Heysoulsister. Low self esteem and body hatred does not cause people to be more healthy. It makes them more depressed which leads to more unhealthy habits as people self punish by over or under eating.
Happy people are healthier not people who hate themselves.

MrsWolowitz Sun 29-Sep-13 21:20:21

YANBU but you are being a little naïve.

Being very overweight or very underweight is very unhealthy and is not ok so it would be quite damaging to people's health to not care at all about their weight.

I don't wear much make up and certainly don't consider myself to be vain however I have had plastic surgery. I had a tummy tuck as I had diastis recti and an apron of skin that hung down to my pubic area from my belly after having twins. I had to tuck the skin into my trousers sad

There are lots of people that automatically assume that anyone who has had surgery is vacuous and has only done so for the approval of man and that closed-minded judginess really upsets me.

MrsWolowitz Sun 29-Sep-13 21:21:20

I'm not saying that you are closed-minded or judgey OP, just that people can be when they discover that someone has had surgery.

HeySoulSister Sun 29-Sep-13 21:24:06

thants a bit of exercise releases endorphins, can only be a good thing. Don't doctors recommend that?

MrsWolowitz Sun 29-Sep-13 21:25:16

Thants I think SoulSister has a point.

Not everyone who wants to slim down has low self esteem or body hatred. They might just want to lose a few pounds, increase their fitness and improve their diet. I think there more people in that category than the self-loathing people that you describe.

LEMisdisappointed Sun 29-Sep-13 21:27:33

Playthepinkoboe - such mixed thoughts on reading your post sad

Am going to steal that poem for my FB page and send you hugs for the comment sad Am edging towards 16 stone here, size 22 up top and 18 below - and although I have real self esteem issues, i actually bloody love my body. I am however realistic and know that i am not a healthy weight and need to lose some weight, but for no reason other than fitness 0 im buggered if i am going to beat myself up for not being thin!

I have often been made to feel bad for my size - but only ever by women!

I am not kidding myself either!

Thants Sun 29-Sep-13 21:32:48

If you read your post you said you thought people should worry more. Worrying more means disliking yourself. Yeah eat more fruit and veg and do more exercise that's great. But worrying and being unhappy is not and I think it's wrong that you want to encourage that.

LEMisdisappointed Sun 29-Sep-13 21:33:35

Oh i see this has moved on to surgery - well as a person who never wears more than a teeny amount of mascara and the occasional smattering of lippy, i have never ever been vain - but i tell you something, If i had the money, id be having work done shock

I used to mock those women who have filler in their lips - stuff that, that will be the first thing i sign up for - i swear my lips have shrunk! Oh and then i'd have some sort of surgery so that no more hair dare grow on my face ever again. I don't think i'd have botox as i have quite a high forehead and would look really silly though. Liposuction and tummy tuck? ummmm, maybe, ah go on then, why not. Boob job - nah, don't need one - i have 38FF beauties that still defy gravity although i can't help but wonder if my tummy is offering some assistance these days Oh and if someone could just do something with the tops of my legs........

I am shock because i always swore i'd never have work done - and realistically, i wont because i can't afford it and im a wuss, but i would actually reallly like to have a few bits sorted.

freddiefrog Sun 29-Sep-13 21:33:43

I'm pretty happy with my body on the whole, but I am fed up with hearing/reading/being told that 'real women have curves' or 'men like meat on a woman's bones' or that I need to 'eat a burger'

LEMisdisappointed Sun 29-Sep-13 21:35:39

Oh and my DP lurrrves my body - so if had work done it would be 100% for me, the only other person i am remotely interested in pleasing is him, everyone else can do one!

LEMisdisappointed Sun 29-Sep-13 21:38:05

freddie - i take it you are of a more athletic build then? I suspect that those who you hear that from will be jealous! I do think more men than we realise like women with curves, just as lots of men like ladies who are slim - we are, thank God, all different!

Thants Sun 29-Sep-13 21:38:07

Lem try working on why you dislike yourself rather than dreaming about surgery. How you look is simply not that important. Definitely not worth mutilating your body for. Maybe try counselling to work through your body issues. Wounding your body and risking your life will not lead to happiness.

LEMisdisappointed Sun 29-Sep-13 21:43:44

Oh, thanks for your concern Thants - I can assure you that i really don't have body image issues and the list of "work" that i would have done is total fantasy rather than a dream. Honestly, wans't being entirely serious - have had too much wine I am having counselling for my self esteem issues and my body is definately not on the agenda, if you read my previous post you will see im actually happy with it. Despite my wish list to the contrary grin

justanothernotsoyummymummy Sun 29-Sep-13 21:44:56

To all of you saying that extreme obesity or being severely underweight is a bad thing - obviously I realise that, and that isn't what I was referring to. What I mean is size 8 women being told they aren't "real women" and size 14s being told they need to be skinnier.

Please bear in mind that I did say in my OP - we should be encouraged to have a healthy lifestyle - i.e. obesity and being very underweight would naturally need addressing.

justanothernotsoyummymummy Sun 29-Sep-13 21:52:32

Sinful1 there are plenty of people, myself included, who are healthy but skinny. For me it's a combination of high metabolism and genetics. Why should I be told I won't appeal to men as I'm not curvy?

DD (16) is just like me. We ordered her a bodycon dress for a party. She tried it on and cried because she has no curves; and thought the dress looked bad. Why can't girls grow up feeling happy in themselves?

This makes me feel so depressed. sad

PaulSmenis Sun 29-Sep-13 22:00:44

I think it is a real shame. My friend is in her first trimester and is basically not eating because she doesn't want to go from having a good figure (in her words) to being overweight. She is determined to be a yummy mummy. I'm a bit worried about her/

Nusatenggara Sun 29-Sep-13 22:56:06

I'm thin and hate it. Someone in a shop the other day asked me if I ever ate anything hmm. I find it so offensive, I wouldn't dream of suggesting to someone overweight to lay off the cakes.

I'm 5" 4" and weigh 7.5 stone, have done for 30 thirty years and really dislike the way I look, actually that's not strictly true, I'm fine with myself until somebody makes a comment like the one above, or that I need feeding up, or some meat on my bones or other such delightful comments. Then I feel like crap sad.

Opalite Sun 29-Sep-13 23:00:03

YANBU at all.
It's not just about being underweight or overweight. It goes A LOT further than that. Look at the women who are represented in the media, even women in serious and important roles are picked apart in magazines, their outfits, hair and figures analysed and criticized as if a womans worth is based on her appearance.

Yes, it happens with males too but not as much. Women on TV are regularly being replaced by younger, more glamorous women who conform to a certain ideas of what an attractive woman is. Tv programmes, films, music videos and magazines constantly reduce women to their appearance, ignoring their character and them as a person, it's so easy to be influenced by this and to want to conform and 'be as good as' the women that are represented in the media. This is fed to girls from a very young age and continues to be fed to them. With SO much importance placed on the appearance of women, it can be bloody hard for a woman to be happy with their body, especially when that celeb beach body diet plan tells you that you can achieve a figure that has actually been airbrushed and altered to death and can't be obtained because it doesn't exist. Or when you're constantly told that men like 'curvy' women but there are very specific rules for those curves and the celebrities they fancy are actually very thin women with various implants, a figure which can't really be obtained without plastic surgery...

I'm not happy with my figure, I'm tall but fatter than even my height can handle, starting the gym tomorrow for my dc's - fit healthy mummy - and also to fit into clothes without looking for either fat sizes or a fat people department.

I love me though and although I'm a fat shit I dress nice and am confident in myself most of the time.

ZingWantsCake Sun 29-Sep-13 23:11:10


and a very good question.

Darkesteyes Mon 30-Sep-13 02:02:05

Opalite what a lot of men want is for a woman to be slim but have big boobs and still be able to eat steak and chips with him.

Opalite after what you wrote in your post i thought you may be interested to see this article Spotted it in my twitter feed earlier this year.


EmmaBemma Mon 30-Sep-13 05:41:10

"I'm a fat shit"

I know you prefaced that comment with "I love me" and obviously you can describe yourself however you want but I felt quite shocked and sad to read that. If you'd posted that someone else had called you that, it would look like the most brutally abusive language.

englishteacher78 Mon 30-Sep-13 05:55:42

I was doing really well, until an awful 'friend' at the gym. Decided to take me aside and say she was worried as I'd put on weight since the wedding. (Size 12 instead of size 10 - over 9 months)

Fozziebearmum2be Mon 30-Sep-13 06:31:47


There are 2 issues here being discussed health and body image.

My view is that women's bodies are interesting as they are so many naturally different builds - big boobs, small boobs/hips etc. We can never change our build (without surgery) and should feel good about the unique body we've been given and embrace this.

But, there is a health epidemic and I do believe we need to all eat healthily and exercise to maintain our health. I'm not talking about being a gym bunny-far from it, just eating a balanced nutritious diet and exercising in a way that you enjoy-walking/swimming etc and bringing the next generation up the same way.

Assuming you do these things it should be irrelevant whether you are naturally a healthy size 8 or 16. I have no idea why the media likes to shoehorn us into feeling bad for not being their 'ideal' shape-who decides what this is?!

If you look on awful websites daily mail where they judge women's bodies, the comments sections are always full of positives and negatives around someone's body. We don't all have the same view!

I don't find the same male physique as attractive as my friends-why would I, would make for a very dull world..

Emmabemma - if anyone else called me it I'd rage - More calling me a shit than fat though grin i was a but tipsy and poking my flubby dough belly last night I wouldn't normally refer to myself as poop flowers

It is not so bad for men.

I often get asked if I ever eat anything. Frequently I used to get mistaken for a woman. I get asked for ID in off-licences even though I'm in my mid-thirties. I get told not to grow facial hair as I'd look like a paedophile. I've on occasion been nicknamed "the hobbit" at work. I got bullied at school, and getting my hair ruffled by the girls was as much romantic success as I ever had there.

I know that I'm no Adonis and probably don't get the breaks I'd have had if I'd been taller, more handsome and so on.

But to be honest, I really don't care, just becuase although being skinny and short didn't help, no one ever really encouraged me to put any value on my appearance, as long as I was half-decently turned out. It is so very different for women. It is so much better for us men.

PaulSmenis Mon 30-Sep-13 08:58:50

This "real women have curves" stuff is annoying. I'm straight up and down and I'm a real woman.

It's swful the way the media constantly picks fault with the way women look. You're either too fat, too thin, your boobs are too small, too big, your to ugly, wearing the wrong clothes or your two old.

justwondering72 Mon 30-Sep-13 12:30:12

What Fonzie said. Health and appearance are separate issues. It is possible to be a size 16, have cellulite etc and still be living a perfectly healthy lifestyle. It's a completely different issue from the one the OP raised, which is more to do with the fact that women are continuously judged, scrutinised, criticised etc for their appearance, their body size and shape being particular targets.

I don't actually have the words to describe how much I loathe the celeb magazine/ heat / mail online trend and it bewilder s me that the vast majority of people that keep them running and hugely profitable by buying them etc are women.

EldritchCleavage Mon 30-Sep-13 12:31:54

I understand what you are trying to say but I don't like the thread title. It implies that women are the source of the problem. Actually, society generally (and the fact that it is patriarchal) has made women's bodies into a fraught issue.

It is so hard to be happy with your body when so many people in so many ways are invested in making sure you aren't happy with your body, from WeightWatchers right through to abusive partners.

Nancy66 Mon 30-Sep-13 12:36:07

I think it's a balancing act.

I don't think there's anything wrong in wanting to look your best but it makes me sad to think women feel compelled to look a certain way.

However, all this 'celebrating' being obese thing troubles me. Being obese is unhealthy and will shorten your life. I don't think celebrating poor health is a positive step forwards.

blue2 Mon 30-Sep-13 12:43:06

I think getting fitter is one of the ways forward. Its better to be fitter than slimmer, my GP once told me, and I think she's got a point.

I'm a size 16-18, 5'6" and have been for years. I have an eating problem - nothing terrible, like some poor folks upthread, but it shows on my body. I am obese.

However, I do try and keep fit. I walk 2 dogs every day, and go dancing twice a week... and it does two things:

1. Takes me out of the house and away from the kitchen
2. Boosts my mood so that I don't come home and binge afterwards

After 47 years, I'm looking after myself as best I can.

zatyaballerina Mon 30-Sep-13 12:59:26

It's human nature to want to be attractive and to compare well with others. There are always standards that people judge themselves and others by, even in primitive societies, it's just magnified in a global media culture because we're not just comparing ourselves with our friends/neighbours/colleagues/people we pass on the street but with advertisements/television/movies/public figures and the general standard set by those who live in public eye.

IceBeing Mon 30-Sep-13 13:02:01

Every so often I catch an advert pre peppa pig on youtube...

some sort of shitty plastic dolls house crap with a little girl playing at dressing up..

It kicks off with the phrase 'Everyone wants to look their best for the ball'

Unless we as parents take a stand against this kind of gender stereotyping body confidence undermining shit, they will continue to broadcast it and our daughters will continue to grow up unhappy about their appearance.

So who is with me? If enough people start flagging this kind of advert as 'offensive' then the ASA will start to take notice....

IceBeing Mon 30-Sep-13 13:04:17

oh * nancy* there really really is something wrong with the 'one must look ones best' meme.

It focusses attention on something that really isn't that important...and that makes our daughters unhappy with their own actual bodies. When children are saving up for cosmetic surgery there is something wrong with telling them they should 'look their best'. Surely you can see that?

EldritchCleavage Mon 30-Sep-13 14:35:24

'Look your best' I always understood as being about trying to be well turned out, well-groomed. So your shoes might be old, but they would be polished. Your clothes might not be fashionable, but they would be clean and pressed. And taken like that, as a message of dignity and self-care, I have no difficulty with it.

But if it now means, strive to be as conventionally physically attractive as possible, including undergoing surgery whenever it is deemed necessary, then it's part of the problem.

Nancy66 Mon 30-Sep-13 14:40:00

Icebing. yes Eldritch has hit the nail on the head really.

I think the majority of us have some pride in our appearance and it IS how we are judged. It's naïve to think that we're not.

However I do see the difference between me wanting to leave the house with clean hair and a bit on concealer on my eye bags as opposed to spending 2 hours looking like a Playboy Bunny.

IceBeing Tue 01-Oct-13 10:30:31

Yes if one moves the emphasis from 'looking the best one can' which could mean anything up to and including surgery, to 'being clean and tidy' then I am all for it.

I don't think many people would describe my appearance as 'unkempt' or anything of that nature...but there is no way I 'always look my best'.

I don't for instance use make up (beyond drawing some eyebrows on for communication enhancement purposes) and I don't straighten my hair etc.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now