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Body image

(68 Posts)
Blossum123 Fri 11-Jul-14 18:00:07

Iv read lots on how men sterio type woman and see them as objects -I'm a size 16 in proportion but still a bigger all boobs and bum basicaly ! I don't have problems with men learing particularly although friends say I often attract admiring glances .
What I find horrible is other woman's reactions .iv been asked by work collegues if I would want to loose weight why don't i ? One even commented I would look better with a few pound off!a family member frequently comments on my boobs and would I go for a reduction ?!
It seems woman are much more hostile and negative about other woman's body's than men are . Yes some men are perving but aren't been outwardly horrible .
It's other woman that have made me feel a bit rubbish about my body at times - iv actually found the majority of men to be more respectful - iv certainly never been told I'm fat by a male collegue !

Blossum123 Fri 11-Jul-14 18:01:27

It just seems , with the men I know, they accept you as you are, whereas woman are always suggesting how you should improve yourself

WannabeMrsJoshHomme Fri 11-Jul-14 18:03:50

I don't get why weight is such a massive issue. I know it's healthier to be within your ideal BMI range, etc. but people just seem to place so much importance on weight and yes, you're right, especially when it comes to women.

squizita Fri 11-Jul-14 18:22:18

It is a very strange thing- shape as well as weight. The two are very much intertwined: no one says it but many people judge as much as for 'where' weight is as how much it is.

I've also had comments from women about how I "feel about my body as a feminist" ... i.e. I have massive boobs and bum (think Carry On Film cartoon) therefore there's some judgement that I'm in some way disadvantaged as a feminist because of this shape.
Or comments suggesting I must be 'bubbly' (I'm a grumpy slightly geeky person). Or am a 'real woman' (Oh OK, what makes me real is not 35 years of life it's some bags of fat on my chest?!).
Why should I wear a minimiser bra and spanx to hide my form? I dress appropriately for work, church etc'.

And the term 'boyish figure' meaning smaller chest: so insulting. So a woman with a smaller bust in proportion to her body is immature and male?

Often these ideas are shared on the internet as if they are an alternative to or improvement on the 'model' ideal in the mainstream media... to me they are an unpleasant extension of that.

Blossum123 Fri 11-Jul-14 18:37:42

I realy object to people ( woman )presuming because I'm
A size 16 il want to loose weight ! It's almost a obsession at our work . It's as if it's programmed in u need to b a size 10 and have big boobs . I'm know men can be a bit boob obsessed but I find it less offensive than the woman who are size and fat obsessed

WannabeMrsJoshHomme Fri 11-Jul-14 18:40:57

I think mentioning someone's weight is a bit risky full stop, tbh, no matter what it is. MIL (when she had anything to do with us) used to comment on my slimness every time she saw me. I'm not naturally 'skinny' and have never been smaller than a size 10/12 but I always wondered why it was so bloody important to her and what was she gonna say if I put some weight on? FGS, it seems such a personal thing but people think they can say whatever they want when it comes to a woman's size!

SevenZarkSeven Fri 11-Jul-14 19:56:51

I think a lot of women are uncomfortable with their own bodies and this can come out in the ways you describe. From trying to "share" diet and weight loss and clothing "ideas" which comes from a helpful place, to trying to make themselves feel better by putting someone else down, to jealously and so on.

It all boils down to the fact that our society likes women to be really paranoid about their physical appearance and that pressure starts when we are very young. The comments are a symptom of that.

If you think men and boys don't comment on the bodies of women and girls you are incorrect though - they can just quietly sit around judging while wearing much less revealing clothing themselves, and of course sometimes talking with each other about it.

I think men don't talk to women about their personal appearance generally nor vice versa when they know them - thinking about work and stuff. Women tend to comment on each other's clothing etc (flattering generally!) and men don't at all really.

I think their position is the preferable one really.

TheSameBoat Sat 12-Jul-14 07:40:12

OP, you are right, it drives me nuts when other women assume that you must want to lose weight and care about fashion. But considering the overwhelming pressure there is on women it's hardly surprising that it's such an obsession. I mean I'm guilty of obsessing over weight because in the end it just seeps in.

Seven's right though. I've had comments made by male friends/boyfriends when I've gotten a bit podgy. I also think men do pretty well out of the situation because they can sit back and relax safely in the knowledge that women police themselves, put the pressure on themselves whilst also reeping the benefits of women's obsession with looks. And they can look scruffy as hell and no one cares.

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Fri 18-Jul-14 21:22:35

I wouldn't say nobody cares how men look, I definitely prefer men in well-fitted suits or decent casual clothes than looking all scruffy. But there is definitely less pressure on them than on us!

As for the weight thing - I don't like how women feel the need to police other women. I'm a size 12-14 depending on time of the month (yay water retention) and I often get comments from family about losing a few pounds. I'm actually comfortable as I am, but they seem to have a hard time believing that. Why can't everyone just mind their own business?

MontyGlee Fri 18-Jul-14 21:44:03

I try and be really strong about my body shape; like it or not I'm never going to be anything other than dumpy (there's about 1000 variants of dumpy and I've heard them all over the years). The most crushing comments I've had have always come from other women, but I think that's because the body image thing is shared in a way it wouldn't be from men - other women feel more entitled to broach the subject and comment on it as if 'we're all in this together'. I also think it's sometimes competitive. Men are judging more from a sexual pov or even a health one.

rosabud Fri 18-Jul-14 22:17:17

Men are judging from an entirely sexual point of view. Men are not worried about women's health.

It is sad how women are so conditioned by society to realize that they will only be valued for their appearance (eg recent coverage in the media of women joining the government) that they feel a sub-conscous need to criticise and police the appearance of other women. Although it's tempting to feel aggrieved when you are judged by other women, instead try to understand how this is a result of patriarchal oppression and try talking to them about it. Many women are very strong at communicating and sympathising with each other about these issues once they have overcome the need to police each other. I try a tactic like this with teenage girls in the classroom and it is very successful.

MontyGlee Sat 19-Jul-14 01:01:03

men are judging from an entirely sexual point of view. Men are not worried about women's health.

What nonsense. You'd give the 'not all men' brigade a field day with that one. Let's just call them all rapists whist we're at it.

It is sad how women are so conditioned by society to realize that they will only be valued for their appearance.

Also nonsense because of the only. You think we ALL walk around ALL day with the impression that our only value to anyone is our appearance. What rot. Pick up a paper tomorrow and yes you will see women's appearance being judged left, right and centre. However, you'll also note a great many other contributions being noted, judged and appreciated.

Women's appearance is usually judged to a great extent than men's. That's as far as you can go with that generalisation. Until there is approximate class-parity in the amount of time and money that men and women dedicate to their appearance then it will always be so. Turn on the tv tomorrow and look at the different tv presenters. Men in grey suits with short plain haircuts and women with party dresses and £200 finely-coiffed manes.

rosabud Sat 19-Jul-14 08:16:13

I don't agree with any of the things you have written in your post above which answers mine, Monty, and you are clearly struggling to agree with any of my points so let's not continue with that debate.

However, my post examined why women might behave in this way and put forward a tactic for dealing with this scenario and explained how this tactic has been successful for me in RL,whereas your posts seem to imply that there are no excuses for women being horrible about other women's appearances and, therefore, I am struggling to see what the point of your argument is? Are you saying that, in your opinion, or that you have come to realize recently, that women are just more horrible than men when it comes to criticising other women for their appearance? Or is there another point to your post? I assumed that you would not be putting forward anything so silly and shallow and assumed you wanted to look at the issue further but I now don't see which angle you wish to examine it from? confused

Sleepwhenidie Sat 19-Jul-14 08:27:56

I think in the vast majority of cases, when women judge and criticise other women's appearance, you can be sure that they are judging their own at least as harshly. So in a way you should feel sorry for the women who say such things, rather than angry at them. Having a poor body image (regardless of the reality of the body), involves a relentless process of constantly assessing and comparing yourself against others and never being good enough. If you are happy in your own skin (again, regardless of how you look), you generally don't give a shit about other women's appearance and would never comment. Poor body image is unfortunately drilled into most girls from a very early age, sadly it often starts with the mother modelling it, then strongly reinforced by media and society- as you say rosabud, it's conditioning.

MontyGlee Sat 19-Jul-14 09:57:36

Good grief, holier than thou much?

It wasn't a debate anyway; what you said was a gross generalisation and I called you out on it.

However, yes - of course, it's always good to challenge what people say and see if they understand the drivers for why they may be saying it. If you look at the body hair thread, you'll see that there's also a debate going on as to how we can challenge ideas by not conforming to them.

scallopsrgreat Sat 19-Jul-14 16:33:21

"I think in the vast majority of cases, when women judge and criticise other women's appearance, you can be sure that they are judging their own at least as harshly." Yes I think you are right Sleepwhenidie.

"what you said was a gross generalisation and I called you out on it." Nope. It was class analysis.

MontyGlee Sat 19-Jul-14 16:54:48

It wasn't class analysis. It was a gross generalisation.

Darkesteyes Sat 19-Jul-14 21:43:12

Plastic surgeons do very well out of these insecurities.

From a recent interview with Tess Daly.

"The general maintenance that women are now expected to have is at a much higher level than it was five years ago. Where does it end? I once met a cosmetic surgeon at a party and he said to me "ive noticed you have these lines when you smile which you should get filled" But actually I don't want to do that because then I will have a face that wont move , and I wont look like myself. Fast forward 15 years when ive retired...maybe. But not now. I wouldn't dare risk it. It can go so wrong and if it did, id be out of a job so I just wont take that chance.

CaptChaos Sat 19-Jul-14 22:05:19

Maybe in future, to save snarkiness, we should put something like:

(TIACA) this is a class analysis, after anything we posts which is posted as a class analysis.

It might save the NAMALTery and whataboutery?

I may or may not be serious about this

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 19-Jul-14 22:46:42

I think rosa is absolutely spot on.

It's not dissimilar to other systems of discrimination - way more effective (and poisonous) when internalised. I think comparing across isn't always perfect, but it reminds me a lot of how much girls I grew up with, whose parents were originally from India, would get flack from mums and aunties about who had the palest skin - especially if their own skin was darker.

I do agree it does feel horrible and it doesn't help you deal with the sting of it.

MontyGlee Sat 19-Jul-14 22:59:33

Something like men be like sex sex sex. That's all they ever think about (TIACA) or maybe society never gives a damn about a woman except her what she looks like (TIACA)? Ok, got it. A handy way to legitimise gross generalisations.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 19-Jul-14 23:06:18


I know it's hot, but I have no clue what on earth you mean. Still less what's with the 'men be like' phrasing, which reminds me uncomfortably of someone doing a bit of casual racial parody. Really hope it's not.

Gross generalizations are different from class analysis.

MontyGlee Sat 19-Jul-14 23:07:45

Glad I have you to point that you. Thank you.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 19-Jul-14 23:08:50


I'm sorry, I've no idea what you meant to type.

CaptChaos Sat 19-Jul-14 23:30:56

No, gross generalisations =/= class analysis. However, there are some posters who, no matter that they are told and told that what is being said is on the basis of a class analysis, simply insist on making it into a gross generalisation.

Hence my half joking thought of making it clear. Not to legitimise, but to differentiate.

Sorry that wasn't clear. Maybe, you'd rather put NAMALT in all posts as well? Just so everything is completely fair for the men?

A total non issue.

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