"You’re not fat, you’re beautiful!" I get messages like this all the time, and it makes me so sad.
I am fat. Every stranger on the street, every medical professional, every concern troll on the internet, and every restaurant booth I can’t fit into would unanimously agree that I am, indeed, fat.
I am beautiful, too. From my red hair to my thunder thighs to my big belly to my gorgeous lips, I am in love with my body. But my love affair with my body is a personal one, and using my beauty as some kind of validation doesn’t sit right with me.
I could have mismatched eyes, “too much” body hair, I could have one leg or three thumbs or a flat chest. I could shave my head or have pockmarks, be riddled in stretchmarks and cellulite, I could be what most people would consider “butt ugly.” And it doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t make me any less worthy of love, of respect, of happiness and decency. It shouldn’t lessen my chances of living a happy and fulfilling life, chasing my dreams and not worrying about being harassed.
If you truly want to empower a person with a compliment, don’t go with the physical. Tell them they’re an amazing artist, talk about how empathetic or what a good listener they are. Tell them they bake a lasagna that’s to die for. Tell them they’ve always been there when you need them and you appreciate that.
We live in a culture that’s beauty obsessed. Just look at any magazine, any ad for makeup or clothes. Beauty means success, sex, worth. Complimenting someone strictly based on their physical appearance only exacerbates these unfair beauty ideals. I know I’m guilty of it, I do it all the time, even today I did it! But just think about your reasons for doing it.
Beauty is overrated. How awesome a person is and how they treat the people around them? That’s the ticket!
(reposted from my instagram, feel free to follow!)
(necklace from Fancy Lady Industries!)