7 Ways You Body Shame Your Friends Without Realizing It

We all know that body shaming is bad, right? Of course we do. I know for a fact that a lot of us became a lot more aware of the concept of body shaming alone thanks to social media sources like Tumblr, where a day couldn’t go by without scrolling through a massive thread about the different ways that body shaming manifests in our society. From making fun of someone who dares to wear a bikini while overweight, to the casual way we tell a skinny girl to eat a damn burger already, most of us at least know what body shaming looks like and understand why it’s wrong.

Does that mean people never body shame ever again after becoming woke about it thanks to that one girl on Twitter? No. In fact, a lot of us have to unlearn a lot of those impulses we might have to do it. Not only to others, but to ourselves.

But speaking of body shaming others, one of the worst offenses you can do–if you ask me–is body shaming a friend. A friend is someone that you can trust to have your back, to laugh at the stupid meme you sent them, to make you feel good when you feel like crap. The last thing you want a friend to do is the make you feel small, and one of the most damaging ways to do that is by body shaming them. You might be thinking, “Who would ever body shame their friend?” Well, maybe you. Hear me out and check out these seven ways you body shame your friends without even realizing it.


You Make Your Restrictive Diet Very Known

Okay, listen. If you don't eat bread, cool. But don't go on about it as your friends are reaching for the bread basket at a restaurant. Don't go on about how you're avoiding sugar as your friend is biting into a brownie. You might mean no ill will toward anyone--maybe you're just really excited about your new eating habits/lifestyle--but you need to be aware that when you do this, it sounds like bragging and can make your friends feel self-conscious about their eating habits. Some things are cool to just keep to yourself.

Clueless

Complimenting Your Friend For Losing Weight

You don't know the circumstances behind someone's weight loss, period. I have a friend who is overweight and has been bulimic since she was a teenager. She's recently lost a fair amount of weight, and the last thing I want to do is compliment her on her weight loss because I might potentially enable her disorder if it was the catalyst. Sure, maybe your friend lost weight in a totally healthy manner because her doctor told her to. Maybe your friend who didn't have a medical requirement to lose weight is skinnier because she's stressed. No matter the reason, keep the swooning to a minimum unless your friend is candid about it.

Futurama

Calling Someone Overweight 'Brave' For Wearing What They Want

Please, don't act like your friend it's daring for your friend to wear anything other than dark colors and vertical stripes. If she wants to wear a skimpy bikini, a crop top, etc, gas her up and compliment her! But don't wax poetic about how brave she was to--gasp--wear something based on her personal preference and not society's standards. Let her live.

Little Miss Sunshine

Claiming Solidarity To Your Overweight Friend By Talking About Other Amazing Overweight People

Ugh, there's this one scene in My Mad Fat Diary where Rae (left) has to deal with her friend Chloe (right) trying to make her feel better about her body in relation to boys not liking her. Chloe does this by going on about how her sister used to be fat so she understands how Rae feels. Uh, no, no she doesn't. Knowing a fat person doesn't mean you understand what a fat person goes through, okay? Do more listening when your friend vents about their insecurities, and less ~trying to relate~ in super insincere ways.

My Mad Fat Diary

Insisting That Your Friend Isn't 'Fat' With Weird Problematic Compliments

"Fat" obviously has negative connotations, and you want to make your friend feel better if she's dogging on her looks, especially if she's overweight and is struggling with some serious body image issues. But here's what you don't say: You're not fat, you're beautiful. Again, you might mean well, but being pretty and being overweight are not opposites. To be blunt, you can be beautiful and fat at the same damn time. You're not helping, sis.

Daria

Jokingly Poking At Your Friend's Appetite, Whether It's Minimal Or Not

Whether your friend has a super small appetite or a super ravenous one...keep the snarky comments to yourself, even if you're just being playful. You don't know how someone might feel knowing that you seem to have a really good idea of their eating habits. They might feel uncomfortable eating around you in the future.

Skins

Avoiding The Word 'Fat' In Really Awkward Ways

Like I said, the word "fat" has a lot of negative connotations. But that doesn't mean that you should go at great lengths to use other words you assume are more palpable, especially if you're not overweight yourself. Using the term "big boned" to describe an overweight friend might not have the, er, empowering feeling you think it does. And definitely don't use any condescending terms like fluffy, squishy, etc, even if you mean it lovingly. Like...your friend doesn't want to be called squishy, okay?

My Mad Fat Diary

Admit it, have you done any of these things? Has a friend done any of these things to you? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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