The news (especially these days) is sending everyone into a tailspin. So, when something pops up that is seemingly light and airy, or any good news at all really, our reaction is to latch on and celebrate it.
I get it — we all need a breath of fresh air and don’t always want to be hearing shocking stories that make us have diarrhea and stress eat potato chips. But listen, it’s 2020, and a person’s weight –– whether it’s a loss or gain — should not be making headlines anymore. It’s problematic and gross, and there are so many other noteworthy things that we should be paying attention to.
If you are celebrated and complimented for losing weight, it sets the tone that you are a much better person now that you’ve dropped the weight. It makes people feel like if they go back to their former selves, or put on a few pounds, they are “less than.” It also overshadows their many other valuable attributes.
And don’t @ me with the bullshit “people are too sensitive these days, and you can’t say anything” trope. No one is “too sensitive” — these comments can have a damaging effect on people and can be triggering.
A perfect example is the dialogue around Kelly Osbourne’s recent weight loss. The singer recently dropped some weight and posted some pictures on Instagram.
In an interview for Us Weekly back in 2010, Osbourne said, “I took more hell for being fat than I did for being an absolute raging drug addict. I will never understand that.”
Think about that for a second: People talked about her weight and gave her more criticism for it than they did for her drug problem. How fucked up is that? Of course that kind of behavior is going to make someone think they are better and worth more for being a certain size, regardless of how they got there.
And her mother, Sharon Osbourne, isn’t helping the cause — saying she doesn’t believe “big girls” are happy with themselves.
She was quoted on The Talk earlier this year saying, “When these women say that they are really happy in their bodies, I don’t believe them. My body was really, really big. But I wasn’t happy. Sure on the surface, but at night in bed alone I was very unhappy.”
Newsflash, Sharon: You don’t speak for all women. And when you say things like that, you take something away from people who do, in fact, feel great in their bodies. At any size.
I have a friend who recently gave away all her smaller clothes with a smile on her face and said, “You know, I realize I’m not a size 4 anymore, but I’m so much happier now that I don’t feel the need to hang on to these tiny shorts and try to fit into them again.”
Um, if that doesn’t sound like freedom, health, and happiness, I don’t know what does. And that is what we should be celebrating — joy and wellbeing — not a number on a scale or a clothing tag.
The very fact we are lauding people (ahem, women) for their looks and size above all else is damaging to all ages. Especially our younger generations, who are constantly soaked in messages through social media about how to look a certain way.
Osbourne’s quote about how she heard more about her size than she did about her addiction is proof that our society values the wrong damn things. We are so quick to congratulate someone for losing weight and the way they look, like they were somehow an inferior or unimpressive person before they dropped a few sizes. A recent post published by Beauty Refined on Instagram explains this problem perfectly.
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When you celebrate someone for their weight loss, are you celebrating *them* or are you really just celebrating the dangerous myth that thinness is best at any cost? Are you celebrating someone’s *progress,* or are you celebrating their progress deeper into an objectifying culture that doesn’t actually care about their health and fitness at all? We encourage you to *celebrate* people as much and as often as possible, but celebrate them in ways that honor their humanity, their abilities, talents, and character. Celebrate who they are, what they do, and how they inspire you! 🖤If that includes celebrating their body, do your best to make sure you honor and respect them regardless of how they look, and that they know that deeply. Because bodies constantly change, focusing your validation on someone’s body does little to really honor them in a sustainable or impactful way. It can also cause them to focus more on their looks because that’s where they find validation. The compliments that really stick with you go much deeper than your body, and can’t be brushed off nearly so easily. And because weight loss compliments are often deeply painful for people unintentionally losing weight due to illness or stress or fueling disordered eating or unhealthy extremes, it’s best to dig deeper with your compliments. 🖤Look no further than our post a few weeks ago about weight loss compliments to see 100s of devastating examples of compliments gone very wrong! In a world that values women as bodies first and humans second, we can remind people of their worth by the way we celebrate them. We are more than bodies. Let’s see more, be more, and say more. 🖤For more body image inspo, from Lexie & Lindsay Kite, PhDs, check out Beauty Redefined’s blog, TEDx talk, latest podcast interviews, & online body image course all linked in bio! #morethanabody #seemorebemore
“In a world that values women as bodies first and humans second, we can remind people of their worth by the way we celebrate them. We are more than bodies. Let’s see more, be more, and say more.”
The thing is, so many of us are so used to commenting on someone’s weight loss and putting so much emphasis on that, we are losing sight of the truly important shit. We give people more recognition for their pants size than their talents, their accomplishments, their mental wellbeing — and then we wonder why we are a society obsessed with weight and looks.
We wonder why eating disorders are such a problem and are completely ignoring the fact anorexia is the most lethal psychiatric disorder.
NEDA studied 496 adolescent girls for eight years, until they were 20, and found over 13% of those girls suffered from anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. The study also reported: “Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 with anorexia have 10 times the risk of dying compared to their same-aged peers.”
Whether you think this is a sensitivity issue or not, it really is a small thing to do that can make a huge difference in how our society treats those who have lost weight: stop complimenting people about their weight loss more than you’d complement them for going back to school, getting a new career.
How about paying more attention to celebrity news like how Selma Blair is coping with her struggle with MS?
Maybe share and comment on stories about how teens are making a huge difference during COVID-19 with their time.
Focusing on folks, both famous and not, who are leading by example and making a difference is a hell of a lot more inspiring than talking about anyone’s weight loss.
It’s 2020, people. A celebrity dropping a few pounds doesn’t need to make the damn news. We’ve all had it with airbrushing, and we’re constantly telling our kids they are more than just their size and their looks when they are feeling down about themselves. We can’t directly defy this message by making “inspirational” weight loss stories trend.
We need to do better. Because when we celebrate other people’s weight loss, we are sending the message that size is the most notable thing about a person. We reduce their worth and their accomplishments to a number. And we miss out on the things about them that are infinitely more amazing.