I watched a talk show recently when the guest told the host she’s so skinny, she looked like a holocaust victim. The host’s response was, “why, thank you…” What kind of world do we live in when being called a “holocaust survivor” to describe ones weight is considered a compliment.
This mentality is not exclusive to the entertainment world, I have girlfriends (and one straight male friend) who completely buy into the idea that looking unhealthy is actually attractive. For instance, I’ve heard my girlfriends express happiness when they get the runs because at least they lost a lot of weight quickly.
It’s gotten to the point where I cannot compliment their bodies when they look healthy because immediately I’m accused of calling them “fat.” Saying someone looks “good” is translated through their "anorexic ears" as “obese.” In this case, what would constitute a compliment? Here are some good ones to try.
1. When someone goes through a major crisis like a break up or lost of job, you don’t say “cheer up” or “sorry.” To make them feel better, you say instead, "You should go through major depression more often, it does your waistline good..".
2. In general, say. "OMG, you look so anorexic, what’s your secret?"
3. "You look like a prepubescent kid, I’ve never seen you better."
4. "You’re my skinniest friend. I’m a whale standing next to you."
Oh, and you should use these kinds of compliments often because lack of recognition also means calling them “fat.” I have some real insecure friends with body image issues you say? Well, yes, but then again, you may have friends that also say, "I look so fat," when you're hard press to find out where they would actually store it. Then you're in the same boat I am in.
These "skinny" folks, including many women and gay men, represent a vast number of people of all ages, creeds…living in the United States. It’s a state of mind that is constantly reinforced in images all around us. It takes quite a bit of deprogramming to rethink our ideas of beauty and weight. I'm not exactly immune myself but with most things, it's a work in progress.
I’ll leave you with this story. I was in LA at a cute brunch place when I saw an emaciated pug. Pugs are known to be, well, pudgy. I told its owner that it was the skinniest pug I’ve even seen. To which, he announced in gay diva style, “he’s an LA pug, honey.” Scary.
Oh, and if you found the image of the woman above, "hot," you should also check your "anorexic eyes." Just sayin'. Agree?