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AIBU - two different rules for body weight

(39 Posts)
AnnoyedinJanuary Fri 06-Jan-17 18:27:28

I am hopping not to get abuse for this one or have it that I am looking for sympathy because I am not. I am just fed up of the comments that I am receiving.

As background I am almost 6 foot tall and very slender - size 6-8. I don't have big bones and am generally a stressful person and have a young family and full time job so never get to sit down. Last year I was dealing with a number of issues which were very stressful and I did lose weight - I don't like it when I get too thin - but I thought once the stress went away it would go back on again, not so much. But the number of comments that I have had to face started off as tiring but now are getting really annoying.

These comments range from
(1) what do you eat? people ask me what I have had for my lunch - even though they can see me eating in the office - (I actually eat what is a largely balanced diet but I do love chocolate and so will always eat a bar during the day at work)
(2) what do I eat when I go home? people who are on diets in the office say they want to look like me - while others say "no you don't she looks ill / sick" (even when I am clearly within earshot) and
(3) my favourite - DO YOU EAT??? I've been told when going round to friends for supper and telling them not to go to any trouble - that no they want to cook for me to "make me fatter". I am always asked about my body morphology - have I always been like this etc.?

One of the other girls I work with also of a v slight build faces exactly the same comments. People will come up behind me and touch my shoulders or if we hug good bye say "there's nothing of you there" - if I complain I am cold it's because I am "too thin" almost every comment is brought back somehow to my weight.

Recently I got to thinking - why do people think that it's ok to say something like that to someone who is thin - when we wouldn't dare dream of offending someone who was on say the slightly heavier side. When was the last time you asked an overweight person unprovoked - what do you eat? or said something like - I mean you can't have woken up like that you must be eating the wrong foods or too much? or I see you've had a salad and diet coke for lunch - so do you stuff your face when you go home then? or if they say they are hot - then it must be because they are too fat and need to lose weight - or - come over to mine I can make you a salad so you get thin. Or hug them and say - wow there's rather a lot of you there isn't there? Or have you always been this fat? Or comment when we see them eating a chocolate bar? I mean we just wouldn't would we? Because it's not nice and you don't know what's going on in their lives or if they are happy or not with their weight and if not you wouldn't like to hurt anyone's feelings right?

Do people think that thin people have thick skins or something or because the world seems some how stupidly to glorify thinness that you must be ok if you are thin and therefore it doesn't matter what you say. All of this has made me stress even more about my appearance at a time when I am dealing with a huge and very stressful personal issue. I have started to buy clothes which are less fitting so that my true shape can't be seen in the hope that it brings me less attention.

On my FB feed almost weekly, I see articles about someone who posted a photo of themselves on Instagram or FB and got body shamed because some stupid person thought they were overweight and made some nasty comment and the article is usually about their put down, which is always deserved. We are trying to teach our young girls that it's ok to be whatever size they are so long as they are healthy and happy and comfortable in their own skin. We instil in our daughters the fact that they are beautiful and weight is just a number but yet for me it's not been like that. Because of all the comments I have faced over the years I have never ever commented on any other person's weight, I am extremely sensitive on this matter but it is none of my business what my friends or family weigh. And when I was brought up I was taught if you can't say something nice - don't say anything at all, but that's not what I am finding. It is starting to affect my own confidence now and I hate that. Does another other Mumsnet lady out there experience the same?

fuckoffdailysnail Fri 06-Jan-17 18:30:47

I'm so glad someone has posted this! Happens to me all the time because I'm slim! No advice just to say you're not alone

anyname123 Fri 06-Jan-17 18:32:39

Pretty baby I was always super slim, but ate like a horse. It really gripped my shift the way people think it's fine to crinkle their nose up and call you skinny / scrawny. Judgemental bastards

FormerlyFrikadela01 Fri 06-Jan-17 18:34:53

All body shaming is wrong and no one should have to put up with it.

However you are very wrong about this:

when we wouldn't dare dream of offending someone who was on say the slightly heavier side

As one of those people on the heavier side I get comments all the time. I thought you were on a diet, you've got plenty to keep you warm, you'll have no problem having that baby with those birthing hips. Just a few I get.

We're also blamed for bleeding the NHS dry.

DramaAlpaca Fri 06-Jan-17 18:40:43

My mother is 80 years old, has a tiny frame and has always been very slender. She eats well & healthily. Even at her age she still gets bitchy comments from other women about her weight.

Areyoufree Fri 06-Jan-17 18:41:03

I have been both underweight and overweight, and there is no comparison. Yes, I get annoyed when people constantly talk about how I have no boobs (perfectly respectable a/b cup, thank you very much!), and it's frustrating when people assume you have no body issues if you are very slim, but being overweight makes you feel like a constant failure. Society is geared to belittle people who are overweight, and then make out that it is acceptable to do so, because fat is unhealthy. Which is absolute bollocks. An unhealthy lifestyle is unhealthy, regardless of body fat (not including extremes here, obviously!).

I do agree that no one should make personal comments about anyone's body, but, as annoying as constant comments about a low body weight are, they are far removed from comments about a higher body weight.

NotExactlyHappyToHelp Fri 06-Jan-17 18:42:45

YANBU at all. I was saying exactly the same thing to my friend the other day.

I've seen both sides of the coin as I gained a large amount of weight during and after pregnancy and I was 5 stone heavier than I am now. At 5'2 it did not sit well on me at all.

When I was medically classed as obese I never had anyone remark on my weight/body at all.

I'm now 7 1/2 stone which is a healthy weight for me and the amount of people who think they can comment on my shape, my weight, my eating habits and my clothes size is unreal.

Am I not allowed to be fucking cold because I'm slim?! angry

lovelearning Fri 06-Jan-17 18:42:53

I am dealing with a huge and very stressful personal issue


The stress could be damaging your health

Have you spoken to your GP about this?

Cheby Fri 06-Jan-17 18:44:12

It's not ok. But people do it because being thin is socially much more acceptable than being fat. So they don't see it as an insult.

Bluntness100 Fri 06-Jan-17 18:44:40

If you're six foot and a size six then sweetie you're painfully thin. Like it or not, find it rude or not, you absolutely are. If people are commenting it will be out of concern due to your appearance and I make no apologies for saying that. Take it the way it's intended, concern about uour low body weight.

ememem84 Fri 06-Jan-17 18:46:18

Omg me too!

I'm 5'10 and a a size 10. Regularly get told that I'm too skinny. And asked why I'm going to the gym. I don't need to go. I'm skinny.

I go because I want to get fit. Not for weight loss. I eat loads. Its relatively healthy.

It's frustrating. You're right though. If I said this sort of thing to an overweight person it wouldn't be ok.

SenseiWoo Fri 06-Jan-17 18:46:46

I sympathise with all the crap you've had. My thin sibling got a lot of similarly mean and intrusive comments when we were growing up.

I have to tell you though, that those comments pale into insignificance compared to the remarks, judgments and bullying that overweight people get. Some of them can even be humiliated and assaulted. It is vile.

Don't brush it off. Be firm with people about this-they should stop commenting on your appearance and eating habits.

RubyWinterstorm Fri 06-Jan-17 18:49:18

Oh, I would feel a bit motherly/protective of you OP

I would not comment though (never comment on people's body weight, good advice from my mum!) but my mothering instinct would be all aflutter!

Just eat grin

SnatchedPencil Fri 06-Jan-17 18:49:22

YABU. People think it is ok to tell you that you are thin, or want to ask you how you stay so thin, because rightly or wrongly being thin is seen as desirable and healthy.

People don't go up to a fat person and say, "hey, how do you manage to maintain 25 stones all year long" because being overweight is seen as undesirable and unhealthy.

In short, when people speak about a thin person's weight, they mean it as a compliment. Even if they use words like "anorexic" or say "you've lost so much weight there's a rumour going round you've AIDS!" they mean it as a compliment, that you are thin, therefore "healthy" and "desirable". When they speak about an overweight person's weight, it is seldom a compliment. It's a "you could try harder" or "you need to lose weight" or "I'm glad I'm not as fat as you" type of remark.

Comments about "fatness" or "thinness" are not the same thing, and are certainly not intended to be the same thing.

peroxidebrown Fri 06-Jan-17 18:49:26

It's because people don't understand how some can eat normally and remain very slim. More people struggle to lose weight than to gain it and not many are naturally slim, I think that's why.

SnugglySnerd Fri 06-Jan-17 18:51:15

I know what you mean. After I had my first baby I was breastfeeding and weight just fell off me. I was underweight and didn't feel particularly great about it, I thought I looked very tired and ill.
When I went back to work everyone kept congratulating me on losing the baby weight and saying how lovely and thin I was like it was a massive achievement. I just kept smiling them and thanking them but I don't think I can have looked good at all. I got a bit fed up of it all to be honest.

sonyaya Fri 06-Jan-17 18:51:33

It is rude and people shouldn't do it but society reveres thin women and despises larger women so I think it is a bit more upsetting for bigger people.

When I used to get called too thin I didn't take offence I was thrilled. I know that's awful but it's true (not happened for a while!!)

minifingerz Fri 06-Jan-17 18:52:21

"We're also blamed for bleeding the NHS dry"

'We' (me included - I have a BMI of 28) ARE bleeding the NHS dry. £1 in every £10 spent in the NHS is spent on diabetes related disease. It's going to get worse because obesity is on the rise.

I used to be thin (in my teens and 20's) and got all the comments the OP got. Water off a duck's back, frankly, because I liked being thin.

Comments about my weight now ARE hurtful because I don't like being fat and the comments remind me of what I don't like about myself.

Hidingtonothing Fri 06-Jan-17 18:52:48

I'm fat and wouldn't dream of commenting on anyone's weight whether they're fat or thin. I do think though that people think it's ok to comment when a person is thin because thin is perceived as 'good' whereas fat is 'bad' so people may not think they are being insulting and may even think they're complimenting you even when they're offering to 'fatten you up'. Ultimately it is always rude to comment on someone's weight and YANBU to be annoyed by it, quite what you can do about it I don't know though because I do think it stems from this thin=good/fat=bad perception and the majority of people genuinely don't realise their comments are rude.

Ummmmgogo Fri 06-Jan-17 18:54:33

There needs to be a like button for your post. The majority of slimish, slim and thin people have had comments like this. No one likes it, don't let them get to you.

And even if you are unhealthily thin, (which I don't remember you asking for opinions on!) you are right if you were the same amount overweight you would be left to work in peace. X

peroxidebrown Fri 06-Jan-17 18:57:39


How can you know that for sure sweetie?

TheWeeBabySeamus1 Fri 06-Jan-17 19:00:31

My sister was like that - one mum at school asked me if I'd been eating her share angry

She had a really good appetite mostly. Same as you when she was stressed, but in general ate as much or more than most people. People would accuse her of having bulimia because they just couldn't accept that's how she was.

I think commenting on anyone's weight is rude - especially work colleagues. Next time they start just say that you're one of those lucky people who can eat what you like and stay slim... Should stop them asking wink

AnnoyedinJanuary Fri 06-Jan-17 19:05:12

To those who have posted here on receiving comments for being what society thought was maybe a bit heavy, I'm so sorry. I couldn't ever dream of making comments like that and it must be truly difficult to put up with. Snatched pencil - trust me these were not compliments I was receiving. And what has surprised me most is that people are aware of my personal issues and they still feel it's acceptable to comment about my weight when they know the underlying reason. I'm at the point where I'm going to get rude from now on. I have been to my GP who has all my weights going years back and never commented about this recent weight loss. She has in fact been v understanding of my situation. It's not concern either, there is a way to ask someone who has lost weight if they are ok, but I've had only a few of those (and I am actually grateful for those comments because I know there is concern behind it). Most of them are sneery jerry sort of comments. And I apologise if I made it seem that overweight people never get comments as from the posts here - I'm certainly wrong about that - I just find it impossible to believe that people could be so intrusive to another human being and even worse say something which is not positive. It's certainly not how I was brought up and this most recent experience has really opened my eyes.

DailyFail1 Fri 06-Jan-17 19:11:26

Comments are only hurtful if you allow them to be. Next time someone comments on what you eat- tell them it's none of their business. If it happens at work you can also complain to HR.

AVirginLitTheCandle Fri 06-Jan-17 19:13:29

Even if they use words like "anorexic" or say "you've lost so much weight there's a rumour going round you've AIDS!" they mean it as a compliment, that you are thin, therefore "healthy" and "desirable"

Anorexia and AIDS are healthy and desirable? hmm

If you say so...

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