All of my friends are very tiny, they're about 80 to 90 pounds each. I'm about 140, so I'm definitely the largest one of the group. This doesn't bug me at all, it's just that whenever I hang out with them they always talk about how fat they are.
They say how they're trying diets and how big their (minuscule!) stomachs are. This worries me to no end. They don't need to lose weight or talk about how fat they think they are, because they're not. Not only does this worry me, but it makes me feel horrible every time we hang out. I know I'm not fat, but when they start talking about how they think they have tree trunk legs it makes me think, "What do they think I am?" I feel like I can't hang out with them anymore, it just makes me feel bad every time I do. What do you think I should do?
Fun fact, Sparklers: did you know that there are countless articles, scientific studies, and an ongoing awareness campaign surrounding the social phenomenon known as Fat Talk, which leads to such scintillating conversations as:
“I’m so fat!”
“OMG, no you’re not! I’M so fat!”
“OMG SHUT UP NO YOU’RE NOT. My thighs are like hams!”
“My butt is like a planetoid!”
“My butt could eat your butt!”
Because ugh, this is something everyone does. And ugh, it is worrisome—because for ladies of all ages, body loathing is a bizarre form of bonding. One girl says she hates her thighs, another weighs in with the exact topography and longitudinal coordinates of her cellulite, another admits to drinking nothing but kale juice in an effort to lose ten pounds all at once—and as each one rolls over to show the vulnerable belly of her particular self-hatred, everyone feels better. Because, and this is the most depressing part of all, girls are encouraged from day one to see their bodies as ugly, inadequate, and something to be ashamed of... no matter what those bodies look like. And so we feel compelled, by forces both inner and outer, to engage in Fat Talk. Why?
Because it’s weirdly, horribly comforting. I mean, we might feel hideous and hopeless and hungry ALL THE TIME thanks to the unattainable standard of beauty we're told we have to achieve—but hey, at least we’re not alone!
And while it’s natural that you’d see your friend’s bemoaning the hugeness of their twig-like physiques and wonder, “Ugh, then what do they think of me?!”, the answer is: they aren’t thinking of you at all. They’re way too focused on their own bodies to think about what they might be saying, by implication, about yours.
But that doesn’t mean it’s okay.
So, what should you do? Two things.
Step 1: Give your ladyfriends a long-overdue clue as to just what they sound like.
In your own words: “I don’t know if you realize this, but we haven’t had a single conversation in months that doesn’t include someone talking about how fat they are. I wish you guys could accept that there’s nothing wrong with your bodies—but barring that, I wish you would think about how it feels to me, as a person who outweighs you by fifty pounds, to listen to it week after week after week.”
This should, at the very least, net an apology from your pals for being totally obtuse and tiresome—assuming (as I am) that they’ve been too distracted by their own enormous issues to think about how their comments might be affecting someone else. And once you’ve opened the topic, then move on to...
Step 2: Putting the kibosh on future self-loathing sessions.
You may not be able to stop your friends from hating their bods, but you can refuse to join them—and as the one member of your group with great body confidence, you’re in a perfect position to help everyone see just how unproductive it is to sit around comparing the relative wobbliness of your least favorite body parts. So the next time someone starts in on her tree-trunk-like legs or planetoid butt, just suggest, oh so gently, that you all move on to more interesting topics. And if they won’t? Then by all means, stand up, shrug, and say, “I just can’t be present for another one of these conversations. There is nothing wrong with your bodies. Come find me when you’re done hating on yourselves.”
Because if you’ve heard one conversation about planetoid butts, you’ve heard ‘em all.
Do you try to combat Fat Talk when you’re with your friends? Or are you the biggest Fat Talker ever? Or do you strive for the former but usually end up the latter? (That’s what happens to me!) Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at email@example.com.
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