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Old 25th October 2011   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: January 2010
Posts: 188
Default Stop praising starvation

In this new article, the author delivers one of the most accessible statements I've yet read on why no one in this culture should praise women who starve themselves.

I say "accessible" because the very best arguments are already well known to everyone on this forum:

1. Aesthetics. Women who diminish in size diminish in beauty.
2. Well-being. The health industry is finally acknowledging that being full-figured is better for women's health, while losing weight ruins health.

Countless articles and essays posted on this forum have corroborated the above facts. However, for anyone who is still brainwashed by anti-plus media indoctrination, the linked article provides a host of logical reasons to persuade even them that praising women for self-imposed starvation is harmful and pernicious.

As the author writes,

We should all think twice before praising someones visible weight loss.

In one case, a woman who was losing weight because of an illness that she wanted to keep private, so the praise traumatized her.

Anna said, Every time I heard those words, it was like a punch in the stomach. It not only made me feel disgusted about my body, but it also put me in a position where I wanted to share my diagnosis with people, just to shut them up.

The praise for something that was actually a consequence of ill health was an invasion of her privacy. (This also underscores how body diminishment is actually a marker of illness, not well-being.)

The author cites another case where a woman diminished in size due to grief over a death in the family:

What no one realized was, her mother had died weeks before. Her weight loss was a result of stress.

The smiles and the effusive praise offered to these two women were in direct opposition to the pain that caused the weight loss to begin with.

Again, the anecdote illustrates how diminishment reflects a negative life situation, not a positive one. To praise it, either personally or as a culture, is utterly wrong-headed.

The author then mentions how harmful praising starvation can be from a perspective that everyone here will recognize: the triggering or fuelling of eating disorders:

Sometimes, more often than we realize, weight loss indicates an eating disorder and/or an unhealthy body image. And our complimenting of somebody whose weight loss results from one of these diseases only adds fuel to the fire...

So when we actively and publicly praise someone for his or her weight loss (especially young women/girls), are we praising someone...who is facing a critical, mental health crisis? Are we mistakenly encouraging someone to continue a process that has allowed them to lose weight, a process that will, if gone unchecked, lead to their death?

Furthermore, such comments are the worst form of backhanded compliment. From men, the statements come across as demeaning:

One good friend (a man), kept remarking how "attractive" she looked.

I had never heard these words from him before, ever. Was I just a disgusting pig before? Now Im worthy of validation?

And from women, the comments sound insufferably self-important and superior:

And others were effusive in their praise in a way that came across as decidedly condescending.

Jane would often hear statements like, Youre doing so great! Good for you!

It makes me feel like sh**, and I know their intentions are good, but its like I was some sort of child before.

The comments can also shine an unwelcome spotlight on someone who would prefer that such matters be kept private:

Ally was also faced with attention she did not want. She went to her aunts birthday party and one family friend yelled from across the room, Oh my god, look at you!

Immediately, everyone turned and looked at her. Ally, who had for years (and still has) struggled with major insecurity, who felt such deep pain and shame about her body and her weight, was suddenly made to feel like a circus freak.

I just want to move on with my life, not be reminded about how gross I was to people, she told me.

The author adds the capper by observing that if praise is offered for figure diminishment, then it immediately implies that the validation is conditional and will be removed if the woman becomes curvy again:

What happens if they...gain weight back? How are they not supposed to think that with their "relapse", they will be unattractive in your mind? Are they the opposite of beautiful when they no longer have that thinner body?

This effective list of reasons for not praising body diminishment should convince even people who have not yet reached a level of size tolerance (let alone size-acceptance or size-celebration) that enthusing over someone's starvation is offensive, misguided, and in the case of eating disorders, even dangerous.

Stop praising starvation.

On the other hand, more than just not doing harm, there is an opportunity here for actually doing good. If the public and the media were to do a complete 180 and begin praising women who blossom into curvier sizes, that would be a bona fide good, a complete blessing, with entirely constructive effects.

Unlike starvation, the acquiring of extra fullness is a natural process for women, one to which they tend normally and comfortably. The body fights food deprivation, but it welcomes self-indulgence.

Praising women who develop fuller figures can encourage them to accept their natural appetite and their physiques, and can lead to a normal, uncomplicated relationship with food where they simply eat whatever they like and allow their bodies to find their comfortable size, whatever that might be.

Stop praising starvation. Start praising curves.
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