When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies

I was recently reading When Women Stop Hating their bodies, and as the title suggests, it's about how weight obsession is taught to women to distract them from actually important things, and to create a sense of inferiority in them. Weight obsession is also one of the first ways women learn to not trust themselves, by believing that they don't even when they're hungry enough to eat and full enough to stop.

I know all this to be true, but I also know I really hated being fat and I loved losing weight! It's hard and sometimes I do want to stop obsessing, but then other times it doesn't seem like thinking about my weight is a big a problem for me. I go back and forth on weight loss so often that even though I'll talk about how I lost weight, when my friends do I urge them that their weight doesn't define them and they shouldn't worry about it!

Anyone else have a back and forth though process like this? Ever wonder how important any of this actually is??

Link to the book here:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/439907.When_Women_Stop_Hating_Their_Bodies?from_search=true
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Replies

  • VelcroButt
    VelcroButt Posts: 34 Member
    I'll have to check that book out. If you're interested in this topic you might also enjoy The Beauty Myth.

    I definitely understand how you feel. I have a hard time living my ideals in this department too.
  • salembambi
    salembambi Posts: 5,605 Member
    patriarchal society is the worst

    I will have to read both the beauty myth and the book you suggest op sounds good to me
  • jenifr818
    jenifr818 Posts: 805 Member
    I was recently reading When Women Stop Hating their bodies, and as the title suggests, it's about how weight obsession is taught to women to distract them from actually important things, and to create a sense of inferiority in them. Weight obsession is also one of the first ways women learn to not trust themselves, by believing that they don't even when they're hungry enough to eat and full enough to stop.

    I know all this to be true, but I also know I really hated being fat and I loved losing weight! It's hard and sometimes I do want to stop obsessing, but then other times it doesn't seem like thinking about my weight is a big a problem for me. I go back and forth on weight loss so often that even though I'll talk about how I lost weight, when my friends do I urge them that their weight doesn't define them and they shouldn't worry about it!

    Anyone else have a back and forth though process like this? Ever wonder how important any of this actually is??

    Link to the book here:
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/439907.When_Women_Stop_Hating_Their_Bodies?from_search=true

    Emphasis on the bold part there ... um, pretty sure no one ever intentionally tried to get me to hate my body to distract me from "more important things". Maybe it's just because I grew up in a progressive family, and I lived in a rather "progressive/liberal" part of the country growing up (New England) but that was not happening in any way, shape or form. I'd be interested in where on earth the author got the idea that women hating their bodies was in any way overtly "encouraged".

    Edit to add: I very well may be completely missing the point or it going over my head. If so, then please, let me know. It wouldn't be the first time today I've been totally dense
  • bcattoes
    bcattoes Posts: 17,303 Member
    It's a double-edged sword. If you openly love your body, people say you are conceited. If you don’t love your body, people blame society for making you that way.

    Honestly, I’ve never hated my body (except maybe a few times during TOM :grumble: ), but I also never tell anyone that I like my body. Many times I've thought it would be much easier to lose weight if I didn’t like my body. It’s hard to stick to a plan when you already believe you look good. Or, I suppose that should say “I” because I really don’t know if this applies to anyone else or not.

    I constantly read articles on the health consequences associated with extra weight because that’s the only way to keep myself on track.
  • bcattoes
    bcattoes Posts: 17,303 Member
    I'd be interested in where on earth the author got the idea that women hating their bodies was in any way overtly "encouraged".

    Barbie. She's been setting an unrealistic goals for girls for decades.
  • citizenpioneer
    citizenpioneer Posts: 37 Member
    Well, you can see it in the culture, it's more subversive than saying, "Care about your weight because it's all you have!" We care more about any actress's weight than how well they do in movies, like if a fat woman is in the movie, people get really upset just because she's seen in a public form, nevermind how well she did and the fact that she managed to work hard to get into the movies in the first place. It's a particularly big problem among young girls; just as they hit puberty and are supposed to be putting on weight and getting rounder, so much of their self-worth is placed on how much they weigh that thousands are injured or die from eating-disorder related complications instead.
  • VelcroButt
    VelcroButt Posts: 34 Member
    I was recently reading When Women Stop Hating their bodies, and as the title suggests, it's about how weight obsession is taught to women to distract them from actually important things, and to create a sense of inferiority in them. Weight obsession is also one of the first ways women learn to not trust themselves, by believing that they don't even when they're hungry enough to eat and full enough to stop.

    I know all this to be true, but I also know I really hated being fat and I loved losing weight! It's hard and sometimes I do want to stop obsessing, but then other times it doesn't seem like thinking about my weight is a big a problem for me. I go back and forth on weight loss so often that even though I'll talk about how I lost weight, when my friends do I urge them that their weight doesn't define them and they shouldn't worry about it!

    Anyone else have a back and forth though process like this? Ever wonder how important any of this actually is??

    Link to the book here:
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/439907.When_Women_Stop_Hating_Their_Bodies?from_search=true

    Emphasis on the bold part there ... um, pretty sure no one ever intentionally tried to get me to hate my body to distract me from "more important things". Maybe it's just because I grew up in a progressive family, and I lived in a rather "progressive/liberal" part of the country growing up (New England) but that was not happening in any way, shape or form. I'd be interested in where on earth the author got the idea that women hating their bodies was in any way overtly "encouraged".

    Edit to add: I very well may be completely missing the point or it going over my head. If so, then please, let me know. It wouldn't be the first time today I've been totally dense

    It's not necessarily something that's intentionally taught to women by individuals. It's more concepts that are perpetrated by society, particularly the media.

    disclaimer: I haven't read the book
  • tempehforever
    tempehforever Posts: 183 Member
    I'd be interested in where on earth the author got the idea that women hating their bodies was in any way overtly "encouraged".

    Well, they may not be encouraged to hate their bodies, but they are definitely encouraged to view their physically appearance as playing a huge role in their self worth. Thus, when their body doesn't meet a beauty standard, they dislike that body, because they perceive it as directly linked to their value.

    Examples:
    -Little girls are more likely than boys to receive compliments related to their appearance. One might call a young girl "cute" or "pretty" and call her twin brother "smart" or "rambunctious."

    -High profile women's bodies are analyzed much more than men's bodies. Think how many more comments you've heard about Hillary Clinton's appearance than most other politicians, many of whom are pretty ugly themselves (excluding maybe Chris Christie--but the fixation on his weight is just as bad, IMO).

    -Men can be considered valuable if they aren't attractive but are still rich, or funny, or smart, or successful. The media often depicts women who are successful in many ways but still miserable because of how they look.

    -Girls grow up seeing zillions of ads for beauty products, weight loss programs, tips on how to look and dress. This gives them the impression that everyone else cares a ton about her appearance, so they should, too.

    Etc.

    Before someone brings up that men are also held to a physical standard--they are supposed to be tall, strong, muscular, etc.--I'll point out that that is a problem, too. But men are more likely than women to be depicted as having qualities that go beyond their appearance. Watch any sitcom or mainstream commercial--the male main character may be fat, short, awkward, whatever, its OK because he's funny or relate-able. His wife, however, is always hot. 'Cause who wants to have to look at an ugly chick?
  • GothyFaery
    GothyFaery Posts: 762 Member
    I was recently reading When Women Stop Hating their bodies, and as the title suggests, it's about how weight obsession is taught to women to distract them from actually important things, and to create a sense of inferiority in them. Weight obsession is also one of the first ways women learn to not trust themselves, by believing that they don't even when they're hungry enough to eat and full enough to stop.

    I know all this to be true, but I also know I really hated being fat and I loved losing weight! It's hard and sometimes I do want to stop obsessing, but then other times it doesn't seem like thinking about my weight is a big a problem for me. I go back and forth on weight loss so often that even though I'll talk about how I lost weight, when my friends do I urge them that their weight doesn't define them and they shouldn't worry about it!

    Anyone else have a back and forth though process like this? Ever wonder how important any of this actually is??

    Link to the book here:
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/439907.When_Women_Stop_Hating_Their_Bodies?from_search=true

    Emphasis on the bold part there ... um, pretty sure no one ever intentionally tried to get me to hate my body to distract me from "more important things". Maybe it's just because I grew up in a progressive family, and I lived in a rather "progressive/liberal" part of the country growing up (New England) but that was not happening in any way, shape or form. I'd be interested in where on earth the author got the idea that women hating their bodies was in any way overtly "encouraged".

    Edit to add: I very well may be completely missing the point or it going over my head. If so, then please, let me know. It wouldn't be the first time today I've been totally dense

    It's not necessarily something that's intentionally taught to women by individuals. It's more concepts that are perpetrated by society, particularly the media.

    disclaimer: I haven't read the book

    Have you ever seen a Carl's Jr commercial? Beautiful size 00 women wearing next to nothing shoving a 900 calorie burger down their throats with windswept hair in slow motion. They are shoving this image of a "perfect" woman in our faces while telling us to eat the very thing that will make you NOT look like that women. That's how we are taught weight obsession. We are constantly exposed to what society calls the "perfect" women but the look is next to impossible to achieve. Furthermore, it is made even more difficult to achieve this look of the perfect women because we are not taught how to. There's some many different things out there that confuse us and push us in the wrong direction while dangling this image of what we SHOULD look like in front of us.....
    Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    Maybe I grew up in a progressive family as well...to be quite frank I have never hated my body...I have high self esteem (maybe too high) so confidence has never been my issue...

    I had barbies but never "dreamed" of looking like her...

    My mom "dieted" I could never figur out why she looked amazing at 30 after having 5 kids.

    I grew up in the same society as all the other woman here ( in my age group that being 40 something)

    As a matter of fact I was told I needed to lose weight to find a decent looking man...I didn't diet...I met the hottest young fella (he's 9 years younger than me) who fell hard and we were married in under a year...he's not fat...see ticker...he's hot and loves me regardless of my size...

    So why did I lose weight cause I wanted to...my knees hurt, my hip hurt, I was weak and couldn't do stuff I wanted to do...screw that.

    Society doesn't dictate how you feel unless you let it and a book blaming everything but the reader for their issues is a slap in the face to all of those like me who grew up in the same society and don't have those "issues".
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    Well, you can see it in the culture, it's more subversive than saying, "Care about your weight because it's all you have!" We care more about any actress's weight than how well they do in movies, like if a fat woman is in the movie, people get really upset just because she's seen in a public form, nevermind how well she did and the fact that she managed to work hard to get into the movies in the first place. It's a particularly big problem among young girls; just as they hit puberty and are supposed to be putting on weight and getting rounder, so much of their self-worth is placed on how much they weigh that thousands are injured or die from eating-disorder related complications instead.

    No we don't....Kathy Bates is a great actress and did well in hollywood...and there are number of woman who do well in hollywood despite their size...
  • Siansonea
    Siansonea Posts: 917 Member
    I'd be interested in where on earth the author got the idea that women hating their bodies was in any way overtly "encouraged".

    Barbie. She's been setting an unrealistic goals for girls for decades.

    Oh, that explains the corset craze of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Oh wait…

    I love dolls, and I also love my body. But maybe I'm just magically immune to self-hating body syndrome or whatever. :huh:
  • tempehforever
    tempehforever Posts: 183 Member
    Maybe I grew up in a progressive family as well...to be quite frank I have never hated my body...I have high self esteem (maybe too high) so confidence has never been my issue...

    I had barbies but never "dreamed" of looking like her...

    My mom "dieted" I could never figur out why she looked amazing at 30 after having 5 kids.

    I grew up in the same society as all the other woman here ( in my age group that being 40 something)

    As a matter of fact I was told I needed to lose weight to find a decent looking man...I didn't diet...I met the hottest young fella (he's 9 years younger than me) who fell hard and we were married in under a year...he's not fat...see ticker...he's hot and loves me regardless of my size...

    So why did I lose weight cause I wanted to...my knees hurt, my hip hurt, I was weak and couldn't do stuff I wanted to do...screw that.

    Society doesn't dictate how you feel unless you let it and a book blaming everything but the reader for their issues is a slap in the face to all of those like me who grew up in the same society and don't have those "issues".

    Eh, I also grew up without "issues," and have a hard time relating to women who have body image problems. That said, I don't think I'm better or tougher than they are because I didn't succumb to a lot of society's bull****. Different people are different, and grew up in different environments than I did--I'm not going to judge them for having issues I'm lucky to have escaped or pretend that major cultural problems aren't real just because they didn't affect me.
  • in_the_stars
    in_the_stars Posts: 1,395 Member

    Beautiful size 00 women wearing next to nothing shoving a 900 calorie burger down their throats with windswept hair in slow motion. They are shoving this image of a "perfect" woman in our faces while telling us to eat the very thing that will make you NOT look like that women. That's how we are taught weight obsession. We are constantly exposed to what society calls the "perfect" women but the look is next to impossible to achieve. Furthermore, it is made even more difficult to achieve this look of the perfect women because we are not taught how to. There's some many different things out there that confuse us and push us in the wrong direction while dangling this image of what we SHOULD look like in front of us.....
    Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.

    yeah, that's me. I don't hate my body. I like that I can't gain weight.
  • somefitsomefat
    somefitsomefat Posts: 445 Member
    TL;DR. Let's inject a little manly common sense in to this. Why not stop reading "beauty" magazines, watching Bravo, and worrying what your catty friends think?
  • VelcroButt
    VelcroButt Posts: 34 Member
    Maybe I grew up in a progressive family as well...to be quite frank I have never hated my body...I have high self esteem (maybe too high) so confidence has never been my issue...

    I had barbies but never "dreamed" of looking like her...

    My mom "dieted" I could never figur out why she looked amazing at 30 after having 5 kids.

    I grew up in the same society as all the other woman here ( in my age group that being 40 something)

    As a matter of fact I was told I needed to lose weight to find a decent looking man...I didn't diet...I met the hottest young fella (he's 9 years younger than me) who fell hard and we were married in under a year...he's not fat...see ticker...he's hot and loves me regardless of my size...

    So why did I lose weight cause I wanted to...my knees hurt, my hip hurt, I was weak and couldn't do stuff I wanted to do...screw that.

    Society doesn't dictate how you feel unless you let it and a book blaming everything but the reader for their issues is a slap in the face to all of those like me who grew up in the same society and don't have those "issues".

    Eh, I also grew up without "issues," and have a hard time relating to women who have body image problems. That said, I don't think I'm better or tougher than they are because I didn't succumb to a lot of society's bull****. Different people are different, and grew up in different environments than I did--I'm not going to judge them for having issues I'm lucky to have escaped or pretend that major cultural problems aren't real just because they didn't affect me.

    This exactly. It's wonderful that you haven't suffered from any of these issues but it's nothing to feel superior about. That's like feeling superior to someone with clinical depression because you haven't experienced it yourself.
  • mschicagocubs
    mschicagocubs Posts: 774 Member
    As a 25 year old, who is still considered in the young part of society that grew up with social media and technology ruling their lives....society does make you feel a certain way about weight and any one who argues that is completely ignorant.

    Want your post liked on myspace or facebook? It better be attractive. Every girl feels like they need to look like models, actresses, singers (because that is what society makes us believe). Sure there are larger famous people...Kathy Bates was brought up (She was never considered a sex symbol, so she is irrelevant.) When Kim Kardashian gained weight during her pregnancy, not only did magazines slam her, but people did on social media. When Kelly Clarkson fluctuates weight ... she is picked apart. Yeah, girls can stand up and say, "I love that Kelly (or anyone) is curvy..." But the truth of the matter is it's hard to be a female when women are constantly photo shopped. Even Jennifer Lawrence, a thin girl, is photoshopped down another 2 inches.

    Our expectations are completely skewed today because it is put in our face more and more that fat is not attractive. I do think we are starting to see this change a bit with Dove, Aerie and other major companies showing REAL women in their Ads, but it is still a very real problem.

    I need to read that book now :)
  • citizenpioneer
    citizenpioneer Posts: 37 Member
    To somefitsomefa:

    Your comment is exactly why women simply can't just ignore outside influences.

    First of all, you assume that you know better than any woman how to eliminate the problem even though you've never been a woman or ever given this any thought. You're doubting us right away by saying we lack common sense. You are already doubting a group of women you've never met.

    Combine that constant, nagging, daily doubt with a constant, nagging self-hatred built into you from the day you turn 7 or 12 or 16, and you'll see why simply ignoring a supermodel is not going to be a solution to the problem. We have to learn to trust ourselves and be trusted, rather than have some guy barge in and call us stupid for not seeing the obvious solution. It's not obvious.

    Plus, I can ignore all the magazines I want, I still have guys yelling "lose weight!" and "fat *****!' at me on the street even though they themselves are overweight/obese.
  • bcattoes
    bcattoes Posts: 17,303 Member
    I'd be interested in where on earth the author got the idea that women hating their bodies was in any way overtly "encouraged".

    Barbie. She's been setting an unrealistic goals for girls for decades.

    Oh, that explains the corset craze of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Oh wait…

    I love dolls, and I also love my body. But maybe I'm just magically immune to self-hating body syndrome or whatever. :huh:

    That was meant to be funny, though I have heard that all my life. I heard it growing up in the 60's and 70's. I heard it when my girls were growing up in the 80's and 90's.

    I admit to wanting to look like Barbie when I was little. But then, when I developed, I thought I did (except that I could flatten my feet).

    I was pretty jealous of her cool car and camper though.
  • citizenpioneer
    citizenpioneer Posts: 37 Member
    I'm obviously not speaking for ALL women on the planet. I'm just commenting on how sometimes it is difficult for me to differentiate between being told to be thin vs wanting to be thin. Some women don't have issues, a lot do, and it's not an inherent weakness on their behalf.