How To Deal With Positive(?) Comments About Your Body by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.
I’ve been promising to write this post for a while now.
A few months ago, I wrote a post about dealing with negative comments. You gave me some really positive feedback on it, but a number of you raised the question of how to deal with positive or seemingly positive comments.
It’s a great question. How do you deal with stuff like:
“You look great. Did you lose weight?”
“You have a great ass!”
“You look gorgeous today.”
Now, these compliments may seem mostly positive or innocuous, particularly the last one. But so much will depend on this one big factor:
Context! Context is everything, right? By context I mean the relationship between the complimenter and the complimentee, and the complimentee’s current and past body image issues.
When Weight Loss Is Tied To A Compliment I have a somewhat different take on this than you might expect.
I think people are, in some ways, nearly literally blinded by weight loss culture. So when they read something or someone as beautiful they make an automatic connection between beauty and weight loss. I really don’t blame people for that. I think that most of us who have woken up from weight loss culture have been truly hurt by it (or have great empathy for someone close to us who has been hurt by it), so people who haven’t had that experience often just see our current weight loss culture as normal.
So the question becomes, what do you do in the moment? Depending on the context and your relationship to that person, you can handle the compliment of “You look great. Did you lose weight?” in many ways.
Probably Easiest: Say “thanks!” and move on to other things. It’s really not your job to educate anyone about weight bias nor answer any questions about weight loss.
Use Humor: I’m a big fan of using humor, but I’m usually one of those people who thinks of witty retorts when it’s way too late. If you feel comfortable, you can always say something like, “Thanks! But just so you know, I’m still the same gorgeous fatty I was yesterday!” (If you have some good retorts, let me know!)