Who You Callin’ “Chunky”?

Let’s be real.

Do we as women worry about our weight and appearance because of guys primarily, or because of other women?

Whenever I’ve seen a friend or co-worker who has lost a lot of weight, it’s almost always other women that compliment her and rave about it, like she’s just single-handedly achieved world peace. On the other hand, when they gain a little weight, most men barely bat an eyelid, while – let’s face it – most women make bitchy remarks on the sly, secretly making themselves feel better in the process (e.g. “And I thought MY arms were flabby.”)

Sure, I’m aware there are guys (ahem, jerks) out there whose sole focus is weight and appearance, that won’t accept anything short of a supermodel who NEVER suffers from morning breath, like, ever. But, as far as I can tell it’s mainly women who care about what other women look like.

Recently, a female, NBA cheerleader was accused of being “too chunky” by a fellow female – a blogger, to be exact. Is this what we’ve been reduced to? What’s the point? Jealousy? Boredom? Why do we insist on picking at the weight issue?

It works in both directions, too. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told to put on weight. “You’re tiny!” “Eat a burger!” I get it. This isn’t me complaining (or having a little humble brag) about my weight, either. The fact of the matter is that some of us have what might be considered “good” genes when it comes to weight, and some of us have less-than-desirable genes. We have different lifestyles. Different incomes. Different upbringings. We SHOULD take the good with the bad, because no one has everything. It gives us even less right to judge those who are different.

I’ve tried and failed to gain weight. I can devour mountains of candy and ice cream with the best of them, but it makes little to no difference (…yet). It’s not against the law to want to change how we look. It’s when we do stupid things, like put ourselves down, starve ourselves, gorge ourselves with cake and cheese, yo-yo diet, exercise every day to the point of no return (what I like to refer to as “Spewsville”), or worse… then there’s a problem.

So, why is there such a fine line between support and competition? We want other women to like us, but why does it have to be about weight, hair color or what brand of clothes we’re wearing? The best relationships in my life aren’t based on appearance. They’re based on people. Those people can gain 78kg, wear brown paper bags and draw a fake mustache on their forehead every morning if they like. I’ll still love them. Because, at the end of the day, if we continuously chose friends based solely on appearance and little else… well, life would be damn boring, I think.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is, next time you judge another woman’s weight or appearance (hey, let’s include men in that, too), think about how miserable it feels to be judged. Maybe the girl (or guy) you’re staring down just lost 30kg and they’re feeling pretty damn fantastic about themselves. Maybe they have a health problem and need to do twice the work to get half the results. You don’t know. And if you want to lose weight, do it for you, not that “lovely” girl at the gym that stares you down in the change room just because you’ve got a little extra cottage cheese on your thighs.

You can read more from Ellie Johnston on her blog.