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why don't we just stop talking about body shape and size full stop?

(44 Posts)
donajimena Thu 31-Mar-16 23:22:31

I'm in Wales and watching #welsh teens :my perfect body. Its quite rightly focusing on how the media doesn't portray real life (photoshop etc) its touching on eating disorders.
Then we have plus size Megan (iirc) who is now entering beauty pageants and wants to show that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes..
why can't we just all stop talking about bodies? Full stop. How has it come to this?
I'm very thin. Naturally, but I do work out a few times a week. Because I am quite thin I exercise for my bones and cardiovascular and above anything else my depression (which exercise has pretty much alleviated)
I had a conversation today in which a woman remarked when I said I was off to a dance class 'oh you really don't need to lose any more weight' no I don't but I quite like to think I am warding off osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease... grrr

OpenMe Thu 31-Mar-16 23:34:56

I don't know what the answer is but we can't just not mention it. It would be like saying we know smoking is bad for you but best not mention it.

The whole thing about the perfect desirable body is nonsense and harmful but so is pretending that it's ok to be very over (or under) weight

StrapOnDodo Thu 31-Mar-16 23:37:38

I agree

Goodnight wink

Holowiwi Fri 01-Apr-16 08:06:26

With our growing obesity crisis and everything that comes with it, it would be negligent to 'not mention it'.

scallopsrgreat Fri 01-Apr-16 14:43:01

The problem is though that it is women bodies that are disproportionally discussed but there are just as many men who are obese. Men's bodies aren't discussed to the same degree. If we were talking about bodies purely from a health angle then we would be discussing men's bodies too.

But eating disorders also disproportionally affect women. Because women's bodies are discussed more.

I agree with you OP. Less focus on talking and analysing the shape/size of women's bodies would probably help a great deal. In addition reduce talking about the eating habits of women and girls. If you see threads on here about parents who are worried about the eating habits of their children it is almost always about girls. Especially if they feel they are eating too much. The same worry does not appear to apply to boys eating habits.

It's also interesting in your example that women and exercise are associated with losing weight. Men and exercise is more often associated with keeping fit/competition.

AdrenalineFudge Fri 01-Apr-16 16:35:03

The thing is I think a lot of women take pride in and enjoy discussing their weight, the weight of other women, comparing themselves to other body types, losing weight, gaining weight etc - the whole 9 yards.

It is the larger attitude that women's bodies are something to discuss that needs to be tackled. A comment here or there about weight won't shift attitudes. In fact I doubt that this will become an issue of yesteryear in our life times. Women do seem to enjoy this regardless of the opinions of men. I think women will have to address this first before tackling the opinions of men. There are entire boards and sections here on MN dedicated to weightloss/gain, entire sections that discuss the body type of certain women largely coming from women. It's almost a self-hatred. It's almost as though it's the one thing that unites us all above race, class, status etc.

I'm also thin and when I'm stressed I become even thinner. I don't need another woman to tell me that she thinks I should eat something. I find that a lot more offensive than any man who'd comment that I looked nice in a bodycon dress for example.

EElisavetaOfBelsornia Fri 01-Apr-16 17:15:40

I do try never to mention my body issues or weight around my DDs, and to talk about exercise as positive, healthy and fun. They are little and it angers me that they will have this crap ahead. I'm determined not to pass on negativity and self hatred like my DMdid to me. Wish I could kick it for myself though.

HelenaDove Fri 01-Apr-16 18:41:11

I used to be obese. I was 21 stone and a size 28 Ive had to drop 10 stone to get down to a size 14.

I agree with everything you say scallops but there is another element which is inaccurate representations of weight loss in the media. This week it was reported that Lisa Riley has lost six stone to get from a 30 down to a 16. This is going to sound like im doing her down and im not but its not possible to lose that many dress sizes from that weight loss.
What worries me about it is that young women and girls will read this and think its possible to lose that many sizes with that weight loss and it isnt

And abusive men will use it as a metaphorical stick. "i know you have lost weight darling but how come you have only gone down this amount of dress sizes when Lisa Riley has gone down all those sizes."

Its bad enough that women have all this pressure to look and be a certain way WITHOUT this blatent inaccurate reporting when a celebrity does lose weight.

Its irresponsible inaccurate reporting which puts even more pressure on women.

Bluebolt Fri 01-Apr-16 20:03:39

When Lisa did strictly she had slim legs she carried most of her weight around the centre so it possible she could lose that amount with that many dress sizes. But that also suggests with women it is more about the image than the health as this is what many focus on.

HelenaDove Fri 01-Apr-16 20:05:48

Check out the overweight kids thread on AIBU People minimizing the bullying of overweight kids. On a PARENTING site. I am absolutely disgusted.

OpenMe Fri 01-Apr-16 20:29:00

"there are just as many obese men as women" That's not true, not by some considerable measure

scallopsrgreat Fri 01-Apr-16 22:28:37

Really OpenMe? Care to expand? Here are some figures from England: www.noo.org.uk/NOO_about_obesity/inequalities and here are some from the US www.ibtimes.com/heres-how-obesity-relates-gender-race-income-us-charts-1469056. Ratios seem pretty even across genders. Certainly not untrue "by some considerable measure".

SpeakNoWords Sat 02-Apr-16 01:15:03

Helena, I'm very overweight at the moment, but I have been in the acceptable weight in the past. If I lost 6 stone, I would drop around 5 dress sizes, and Lisa Riley is significantly more apple shaped than I am. From the pictures I've seen, her whole shape seems to have changed, so I can see how she could have gone from a size 30 waist to a size 16 waist.

HelenaDove Sat 02-Apr-16 01:59:34

Oh i see If we are talking waist i have got a fitted size 12 skirt i can get into t shirts and tops a size 14 yet if i buy a blouse that has to be buttoned up its an 18 because im a 32HH. Yet my shoulders are v. small so tops tend to fall off my shoulders. Im an hourglass .

SilverBirchWithout Sat 02-Apr-16 02:18:01

I personally think that the whole focus on and othering of obese people actually creates more obesity.

Over eating to the point of making you unhealthy overweight is no different to any other eating disorder. The more we obsess about size, diet and body shape the more individuals will feel anxious about themselves. This results in an unhealthy relationship with food (& exercise) resulting in anorexia, bulimia or over-eating. It's always much easier to make healthier choices when your self-esteem is good.

HelenaDove Sat 02-Apr-16 03:06:22

Completely agree SilverBirch

scallopsrgreat Sat 02-Apr-16 10:13:21

Agreed SilverBirch.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Sat 02-Apr-16 10:19:28

For some reason the only people I ever hear discussing someone's body shape or size and making judgements about it are women.

Sometimes I think we're our own worst enemies.

scallopsrgreat Sat 02-Apr-16 10:28:28

No we aren't. You only have to read male dominated forums and how they speak about women to understand that really we aren't our own worse enemies. We just take on board the messages we receive. From the male run media. From male run society where men are positioned as 'doing' and women as 'adorning'. Men also reinforce the status quo - often by positive reinforcement like admiring what they consider to be a nice body/face.

Where do you think street harassment or sexual harassment on public transport comes from? This is overwhelmingly done by men from a position that women are on this planet to please men and we are only 'allowed' in their spaces if we do that. And that's only one example.

So no, we aren't our own worse enemies.

BelaLugosisShed Sat 02-Apr-16 14:22:17

This is going to be whataboutthemenz but I work with predominately young men and they are obsessed with their bodies , gym going/weights: running and all of them drink massive amounts of protein shakes. They are all about their hair and clothes too , much as they were in the 1950's.
It's nothing new but what does seem to be new is the pressure on women to look a certain way, when I was a teen in the very early 1980's, It was very important be be individual and look as differrent as possible, now it's kids looking all the same

HelenaDove Sat 02-Apr-16 14:36:37

scallops i agree with what you say I used to get called nasty names in the street by men when i was very big but the only criticism i have got since losing weight has been from women and it is really shaking my belief.

scallopsrgreat Sat 02-Apr-16 18:40:49

I can imagine Helena sad. I didn't mean that women don't internalize the misogyny and use it against other women. I just think people forget what's at the root of this and how men go about enforcing it too. Often more brutally.

I'm watching Game of Thrones at the moment (when I can bear it). That's very good at illustrating women's place in society. Things may be better than that for women generally (in certain parts of the world anyway) but we aren't out of the woods yet. Those attitudes of women being the sex class are still out there and men have been forcing it on women for millennia. It's hard to break.

Anyway sorry this is going a bit off topic!

HelenaDove Sat 02-Apr-16 23:22:13

Not at all scallops thanks

Wolfiefan Sat 02-Apr-16 23:25:13

I am going away tomorrow and wanted a weekly type magazine to take with me. I failed!
Every magazine seemed to be about Kim K's body or Kerry Katona's body or..... Well you get the picture.
I don't care what size or shape or whatever these women have been, are or may be in future. Their appearance shouldn't determine their worth.
I just wanted a magazine about shoes and recipes and lovely places to go on holiday.

HelenaDove Sat 02-Apr-16 23:35:59

Just posted this on the overweight kids thread and it might not be relevant but im copying and pasting it here to show the REALITY of weight loss.

HelenaDove Sat 02-Apr-16 22:54:30
Junk food on offer? I notice it but am not tempted and it just doesnt bother me anymore.

Ive remembered something ive forgotten. Im not on a high dose of ranitidine anymore I used to have to take 150mg twice a day Now i take 75mg ONCE a day which i can pay for myself they are pence a box so i can knock the repeat prescriptions on the head. There is one that is in process right now so i could make this the last lot.

The docs did tell me i wouldnt need these meds at all once id lost the weight and yet i still need a lower dose. If i dont take a 75mg dose at bedtime i wake up with a burning at the back of my throat......,it has been a few months since last time i tried.

When i lost 10 stone (before the 4 stone regain and subsequent loss) i developed gall bladder disease (now before anyone starts 2 doctors and my surgeon told me it was due to losing weight too fast. In fact they asked me Slimming World or Weight Watchers? The surgeon was very kind to me and when i made a private appointment to see him after being told i would have to live with frequent gallstone pain for another YEAR everytime i ate SOLID food not fatty food because id already lost the weight remember ....but SOLID food....the surgeon did however say to me that he wished he could use me as an example to his other patients who wouldnt believe him that heartburn is affected by weight.
Re. the gallstones he was appalled that i should have to wait a year after making all that effort .....

5 weeks later i was on his operating table under the NHS!
Add message | Report | Message poster HelenaDove Sat 02-Apr-16 23:16:07
Before that operation i had spent months having intermittent attacks where i was rolling around on the floor or the bed in excrutiating pain every time i ate solid food. I was living on slim a soups and water biscuits and tinned salmon
while trying to hold down a ten hour a night job in a sex chatline office running from room to room answering different phones.

Every time i had a very severe attack i would have the emergency on call GP come out and give me a morphine injection. The neighbours actually said they could hear me screaming. On Xmas Eve 2002 the doc had to come out for the same reason... and on Xmas Day i couldnt stand up My legs kept giving way and i had to be taken to hospital where i was kept under observation until the morphine wore off.

A later attack came at work DH had to come and pick me up help me into the car and take me to a little local hospital where a camp and v. funny doctor who would have made me laugh if i hadnt been in so much pain gave me a box of morphine pills and told me to put one under my tongue when i felt an attack coming on.

Prior to the morphine injections i had been given tramadol which did fuck all to stop the pain and i got so desperate i was taking 2 of them an hour later 2 paracetamol then nurofen anything to stop the pain.

To this day i owe my thanks to the surgeon who did my op and the doc at the local hosp who gave me those pills.

I hope no one ever has to go through what i did

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