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To not understand why being underweight is considered by many to be 'dangerous', while being overweight is considered 'curvy'?

(103 Posts)
EnterWittyNicknameHere Wed 30-Jan-13 11:49:46

This has something that's really annoyed me recently.

In newspapers/magazines i see artcles about dangerously ill supermodels/people because they are underweight.

In the same newspapers/magazines, i see articles glorifying overweight people for being curvy.

My weight has fluctuated over the years between 8 and 12 stone. For my height, a healthy bmi is a weight between 8 1/2 stone and 11 1/2 stone. So i've been half a stone over and under before.

During my 'under' days, almost everyone would criticise me for my weight, saying i was unhealthy and a bad influence on dd. I was sacrificing my health, i could drop dead with heart failure etc. I need to stop being selfish.

I was eating very well, had cut out all chocolate/sweets/white bread etc and was exercising daily. I wasn't starving myself at all, just being stricter than usual.

During my 'over' days, people were complimenting me on my shape. I heard comments like 'it's better to see a bit of wobbly skin than bones', 'you're setting a good example to dd that looks aren't everything/you can be curvy and attractive', 'you look much better now than before.' 'be proud of your body.'

I just don't get it!

I'm now a slightly wobbly size 12, almost 11 stone, so considered a healthy weight. However, i am extrememly unfit and untoned.

I mentioned last night to my friends that i was thinking of starting up my old regime to lose a stone, and they totally freaked out.

My two best friends are overweight. One posts those picture things on FB almost on a weekly basis such as 'real men like curves', or pictures of a skinny supermodel next to a plus size model which reads "i know which one i'd rather be."

It just feels so confusing and unfair. They're really being hard on me for wanting to lower my weight, yet when i mention their weight they make out that they're happy, and being curvy is better than 'looking like a boy'.


Hammy02 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:48:25

I don't see how size 10's are bigger than they used to be? When I was younger (20 years ago) there was no such thing as a size 6. The slimmest girl at my school was an 8.

PrincessBellaBoo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:49:04

Yes why do some people think its acceptable to be rude to skinny folk?! I was bullied terribly at school for being thin so I am self-conscious

PrincessBellaBoo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:50:57

My mum and I both used to be size 10 about 15 years ago. Now we are both size 6/8 but weigh the same. Sizes have got bigger

TalkinPeace2 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:52:52

Size 10 is bigger than it was because they have changed the measurements.

I was just trying on old clothes (charity shop run time)
I am a Sainsbury's size 6
A Next size 8
A 1990's Easy Jeans size 10
A 1980's FU Jeans size 10 but only just

The waist on a pair of size 10 jeans is now 4 inches larger than it was in the 1970's
supporting article

givemeaclue Wed 30-Jan-13 12:53:11

Unfortunately they are jealous so are trying to make themselves feel good about being fat by calling it curvy

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 12:57:18

Have you been hiding under a rock?!

The explosion in obesity is banged on about perpetually in the media!

I think you are just sensitised to comments which are more likely to apply to you than those who don't. Don't pay any attention to what your friends put on facebook in order to rationalise why their weight problme is OK - they're entitled to think what they like, you don't have to agree with them.

"Yes why do some people think its acceptable to be rude to skinny folk?! "

I think the real question is "Why do some people think its acceptable to be rude" - is there really any need to start comparing whether people are ruder on average to skinny people or fat people - is there any mileage or point to this.

Being called a "Fat bitch" by a stranger hurts (bitter experience) and so I've no doubt would being call a "Skinny bitch". I have only noticed being rude about fat people is more prevalent becasue fat people are more prevalent!

Susan2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 13:01:58

Nope utterly reasonable. People and society is largely too fat and unhealthy, however because of the whinging of the fat its become UN-PC to mention that someone is unhealthily fat whilst its still OK to attack very thin people. shrug I ont think you can change this though.... sad

Procrastinating Wed 30-Jan-13 13:07:10

Maybe you just look better when you are bigger.

degutastic Wed 30-Jan-13 13:10:27

Whilst I agree with you that it is as unacceptable to criticise someone who is underweight as it is to criticise someone who is overweight, I think using the BMI as your guide may cause issues. The BMI is highly unreliable, because people are different shapes and thus their healthy weight is not solely dependent on their height.

If I were to have a BMI of under 18, I would be very underweight, but with a BMI of 25, I am just slightly wobbly round the edges - simply because I am broad shouldered, wide hip-ed and generally stocky. Obviously if you carry more muscle, you will also have a higher BMI despite not being healthy. Obviously this works both ways (if you're tall and skinny) and you can be a healthy weight despite a very low BMI. That could explain why in an individual case, such as yours, you got such a different response to your weight.

I also don't think that genuinely overweight people (ie not by BMI) are applauded for being curvy - certainly the press have no qualms about making derrogatory comments about larger women.

That said, personal comments about weight are never acceptable in either direction, and I have seen examples of larger women dominated advertising being very offensive to smaller built, slim women.

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 13:12:40

"its become UN-PC to mention that someone is unhealthily fat"

Really? No-one else apart from me has watched Embarrasing fat bodies or The Truth about fat, Fat fighters or that dreaful Gillian McKeith programme?

No-one else fat been called names apart from me then? I'm surprised.

And no I'm not a "whinging of the fat" though I object to a total stranger randomly commenting on it - its rude and not relevant to them unless I'm spraying my half eaten pasties over them.

Themobstersknife Wed 30-Jan-13 13:22:08

I think the exact opposite is true. I can't think of any overweight celebrities whose weight is glorified, but I can think of many, many, many clinically underweight celebrities who are celebrated as having the 'perfect' body. Quite often, when a celebrity is reported as being curvy, they have gone from a size 6 or 8 to a ten!
I do agree however, that being overweight seems to be the new norm in the real world, and that we need to do something about it.
I suspect your friends are a little jealous and being defensive about their weight. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. Certainly do not dwell on it.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Wed 30-Jan-13 13:28:08

People have no right to be rude.

On why people feel more nervous about under than over, I'd guess it's evolutionary. We haven't been able to get fat for very long without being extremely good hunters/living in a very lush area. Then I'd guess it was still only the few who managed it. Whereas too thin has been a sign of illness for ever. That's my guess.

Viviennemary Wed 30-Jan-13 13:29:38

I don't think too much either side of recommended weight for your height is a good thing. And being underweight isn't healthy as your body probably lacks certain nutrients and it can compromise the immune system. But being overweight is not good either. I need to lose weight. But I don't try very hard.

noviceoftheday Wed 30-Jan-13 13:36:10

I sympathise OP. a few years ago, I changed my lifestyle and dropped 2 dress sizes from a 12 to 6/8 which I have maintained. I barely touch 5'2" so at 8 stone I am we'll within the healthy range. But the comments I got angry, mainly people accusing me of not eating. No, I just stopped eating the same portion sizes as 6 foot dh! Anyway, I just find it easier not to engage in any conversation and just lightly bat back stonewall any comments about weight.

Susan2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 13:37:25


You quote me I said....."its become UN-PC to mention that someone is unhealthily fat"

YOu said......"I object to a total stranger randomly commenting on it - its rude and not relevant"

That entirely proves my point. You see it as un PC. shrug

halcyondays Wed 30-Jan-13 13:38:09

It's not just down to your weight and height, it's your bone structure as well. Two people might be the same bmi, but the one with a small build will look slim and healthy, while the other may look unhealthily skinny because they have a larger build. BMI is just a rough guide, if you're thin and you feel tired and lacking in energy, you may be too skinny, if you feel well in yourself you're probably fine.

EuroShagmore Wed 30-Jan-13 13:47:27

I agree OP. I am currently the biggest I have ever been, with a BMI of 22 (following fertility treatment). I feel flabby and unhealthy. I feel best when my BMI is 20-21, but someone will always tell me I look skinny then!

LessMissAbs Wed 30-Jan-13 14:09:02

I suspect its to do with ingrained attitudes towards how women should appear and aspire to look, rather than being tolerant of individuals. Both extremes are equally dangerous - I'm a size 8/10, I'm pretty sure if I went up to a 14, I'd have high blood pressure and diabetes-risk, because it runs in my family, plus dangerously high cholestorol.

I think what is tragic is that people don't consider the functionality of their bodies as much as appearance. I run competitively, so am very much aware of how much an extra half stone slows you down.

tbh I couldn't give a toss if some random man somewhere prefers "curvy" size 14s to someone my build (I have curves too, but not big ones...). I'm not a model, I don't make money out of appealing to random men and my DH finds me attractive. So why would I care? But DH is an athlete too. What is going to appeal to Mr Random who has always dated size 14s/16s is going to be different. I think the perception of what your body can do has been lost somewhere along the line that women should think no further beyond what men find attractive and whether or not their fertility might be slightly damaged by some esoteric, exaggerated risk.

I never get called too skinny yet I sometimes fit into a size 6. Its ridiculous. Clothes sizing is all about vanity sizing now, as there is no way I am a size 6.

btw am I the only one who prefers the still alive and healthy Eva Herzigovina (now) to Marilyn Monroe, and her early death and possible drugs use/risky lifestyle?

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 14:39:09

Susan2 - I assume you read no other post I wrote. I think it is rude to comment on someones weight (regardless of whether it is too high or too low) unless you are their health professional or a close friend or relative. I fail to see how that translates to political correctness. We call it politeness in our house.

FellatioNels0n Wed 30-Jan-13 14:54:02

The simple fact is this: the difference between a 'perfect' weight and being seriously underweight to the point of being in very real danger of dying imminently is pretty small in percentage terms. Whereas the difference in a 'perfect' weight and being seriously overweight to the the point of being in very real danger of dying imminently is really quite huge, in percentage terms. Many people live for thirty, forty, fifty years being really seriously overweight. They are not very fit, it's true, and they may not be very healthy either, but they are alive. They tick along.

Whereas anorexic people can only drop below a certain percentage of the minimum recommended BMI before their bodies start to eat themselves, their organs shut down, their bones crumble and they die. And it doesn't take thirty, forty, fifty years. It's much quicker than that. Being thin may be healthier and more desirable tham being fat, so long as you are within the healthy BMI range. But if you are outside a healthy BMI range, on balance it's probably safer to be too fat than too thin.

lashingsofbingeinghere Wed 30-Jan-13 15:00:16

This study is interesting and seems to suggest the smaller your BMI is (within the healthy range), the longer you live.

Lexagon Wed 30-Jan-13 15:05:33

Hmm. I think one of the issues here is "curvy", when used in a positive context about celebrities, etc, has a very narrow meaning. Essentially, big boobs, slightly wider hips and bum - certainly nowhere near "overweight". But when applied to people in general, it is largely applied to (seemingly) overweight people, as opposed to the "perfect hourglass" shape I assume it started off as referring to. I've seen horrible things from both sides - of course there is a horrendous amount of prejudice against fat people; but seeing things like "only dogs like bones", etc etc is hardly genial and supportive.

Latara Wed 30-Jan-13 15:08:36

YANBU. Lose the weight & get fit & toned if it makes you feel better; ignore the jealous 'friends'.

theoriginalandbestrookie Wed 30-Jan-13 15:13:46

Arf at Kewcumber dropping her half eaten pasties over unsuspecting members of the public !

I would never comment on a strangers size - incredibly rude, in fact I tend not to comment on peoples weights at all. I have a friend, she is lovely and she is significantly overweight. We went on holiday and she struggled to walk for long distances or be active because in the heat her weight stopped her. The quality of her life would be improved quite a lot imho if she lost weight, but she is not stupid I am sure she knows this already so its not up to me to say it.

FellatioNels0n Wed 30-Jan-13 15:13:55

This always makes me laugh when we get all het up about stealth upsizing of clothes. We are much bigger than we were 100 years ago. Ever seen Victorian ladies gloves and shoes? They are minuscule. Most ten year old would struggle to fit them. We are taller, broader and our feet are bigger - it's not just about fatness. We could just ignore that and have the very average woman wearing size 20 clothes and size 9 shoes, but I somehow doubt that would be very popular.grin

I think the fashion and clothing industry adjusts itself over the years to make sure that most high street mid-range shops cater to the largest middle band of consumers, whatever size they are. We can't keep going up in size number to represent the 'standard' as there is pretty much no limit to how fat the 'average person' can and will get, but we can easily go down in number (hence the advent of sizes 4 and 6 and the infamous size 0, which never existed thirty years ago) because there is a very definite limit to how thin people are likely to get. No-one is going to go below size zero ans still need clothes. Harsh and unpleasant though that may be, it's true.

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