Culture

Feminist Internet: Telling a Fat Person She Has a ‘Pretty Face’ Is a ‘Microaggression’

So is saying you've lost 20 lbs and that you're happy about it.

Apparently, telling a fat person that she or he has a “pretty” or “handsome” face is a fat-shaming microaggression, because what you’re really telling them is that everything but their face is ugly and disgusting.

In a piece for the feminist blog Bustle, sex educator Jodie Layne explains that although this kind of comment might seem “like it’s actually pretty positive,” it absolutely is not:

“Well, fat people are more than used to being praised for the appearance/attractiveness of their faces and nothing more,” she continues. “It’s likely been used as a micro-aggression against all people of size.”

To me, this seems like questionable logic. If people compliment me on my bracelets, I don’t assume that they’re in effect saying they hate everything else I’m wearing. If someone tells me, “I had fun hanging out with you last night!” I don’t interpret it as, “Every other night we’ve hung out has been a nightmare!”

Layne’s piece is titled “7 Things You Might Not Think Are Fat Shaming That Definitely Are.” Yes — “definitely,” so if you disagree with her, you are definitely wrong.

#share#Other microaggressions on the list include saying “I can’t believe I lost 20 pounds! I feel amazing!”

Even if you’re feeling body positive about your weight loss, diet talk is still incredibly triggering for many fat people,” she writes.

Oh, okay. So expressions of body positivity are unacceptable for fit people just because they’re fit? Layne says yes:

“Of course, positive self-talk about weight loss you’re happy with might be OK if positive self-talk about weight gain you’re happy with was equally socially acceptable,” she writes.

Very interesting, especially considering how phrases like “I don’t care what the media says! I love my big fat body!” are not only accepted but also praised as heroic.

#related#I’d also like to direct Layne to my Twitter mentions and Instagram comments, where people constantly say things like “You’re too skinny!” and “Seriously, doesn’t your family get creeped out watching you look like a skeleton in drag?” and “Your upper arms are as thin as your wrists 🙂 You are one sorry looking anorexic :).”

Yes, those are actual examples, and they absolutely prove Layne wrong when she says that only losing weight is celebrated in our culture. After all, telling me that I’d look better if I gained weight is telling me that gaining weight would be something to celebrate. That’s just a fact.

Oh, and by the way: I didn’t share those examples because I want sympathy. In fact, that kind of Internet hate has always been more funny to me than anything else. I don’t know — I guess I’ve just never felt compelled to allow some creepy dude who lives in his mom’s basement to decide how I should feel about myself. Crazy, I know.

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