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Pretty for a Big Girl: Body Shaming Phrases that Need to Go

All bodies are beautiful, but that doesn’t stop body shaming from happening. There is a lot of judgement and hate in the world, so it’s no surprise that people are cruel to each other about their bodies.

Sometimes, you have to rise above the negative comments and keep on loving yourself and feeling confident. It could piss people off, or it could show them that love and positivity is possible and much needed. Let’s hope for the latter.

Growing up, I had friends of all sizes, because let’s face it, one size fits all isn’t reality. I heard a ton of body shaming phrases for all body types, and it drove me crazy. Now that I include body acceptance and positivity on my blog and socials, I’ve heard more than my fair share of comments that really need to go. Today, I want to talk about some of these phrases and how it’s time to cut them from our lives.

Pretty for a Big Girl

Since I was a teen, I’ve heard people toss around the phrase or variations of “she’s pretty for a big girl.” To this day, it still makes my skin crawl, and when I hear it, I can’t always bite my tongue.

I get this phrase in my DMs quite often. I’ve heard everyone from my buddies to my mom use it, and it’s time that it stops. Beauty doesn’t have a size, first of all, and including “for a big girl” makes it seem as if beauty is exclusive.

Once, one of my more shallow friends used this phrase while talking about a girl he was so surprised that he was sleeping with because she was curvy. I silently thought to myself, “well she’s probably thinking that at least he’s cute for having no personality and a small penis,” but I kept it to myself. There’s no point in fighting body shaming with more body shaming, so I let it go and hoped he’d grow out of that mindset.

The point is that we can all be beautiful regardless of our size. If size is holding you back from noticing someone’s beauty, I hope you can work on your own insecurities rather than cause others to feel bad about themselves. Also, you’re a jackass.

Go Eat a Cheeseburger

Like I said, I’ve had friends of all sizes, and this is another phrase I’ve heard a lot. I’ve also had it said to me during some of my toughest years of my battle with bulimia. Skinny shaming is different than fat shaming, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay and doesn’t hurt. Shaming is shaming.

Again, all sizes are beautiful, and to put any size down, is wrong. I know many people who are thin and just as insecure as those who are plus-size, because body shaming phrases stick with us.

More, More, More

There are so many phrases that we all use that can promote a negative body image, and it’s time we take back the negativity and throw it away. Stop giving these phrases so much power.

  • “You’re not fat; you’re pretty.”- I hate this phrase, because it makes the word fat seem like it can’t seem synonymous with pretty. Not only that but it makes fat a bad word, and it’s not. I’m fat and fabulous, and so are many other women. The two can coexist beautifully.
  • Did you lose weight, because you look great?”- I actually had a visitor during my hospital stay for my bulimia say this to me. This phrase can be so toxic, because it associates weight loss with beauty, and perpetuates the idea that everyone should be thin to look good.
  • “You’re like a twig.”- I think shaming any size is wrong, and putting down people for being thin is still body shaming. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and negatively pointing out differences is wrong.
  • “Real women have curves.”- Even has a curvy woman, this has bothered me. I was consistently teased for having a smaller butt, and I had many friends who were told this because they didn’t have an extreme hourglass figure. I get that someone was trying to boost a curvy girl’s confidence, but putting some down to lift others up isn’t the right way to go about it. All women are real woman.
  • “You’re so brave to wear that and show your body.”– I hear this a lot, and it can apply to any size. I understand that the person is usually trying to be positive, but saying someone is brave for showing off their body makes it sound like they weren’t supposed to in the first place. It also reinforces the idea that clothes are body type specific, and that’s also wrong. I get a lot of comments where people say things like, “wow I wish I could be brave like you and show my stomach in a crop top.” Um, you can wear those things. Don’t let society’s messed up standards dictate your body.

I could go on and on, because our everyday phrases are littered with negativity about different bodies. It’s time to stop shaming what’s different and start celebrating diversity.

All Bodies Are Good Bodies

I stand by the phrase all bodies are good bodies, because we need to be more inclusive in our society. I get messages that tell me I’m not preaching body positivity or acceptance, I’m supporting unhealthy bodies. What those closed-minded people don’t understand is that you can’t tell someone’s health by their size, and phrases that are around that thought process are just as damaging and can also cause body shame.

I’m a plus-size healthy woman. Those two concepts can also coexist. Because we are all so diverse, you never know someone’s internal health based on a size. You can make assumptions all you want but that just makes you look like a judgmental ass.

What we need to focus on is that all bodies are beautiful, because we are all filled with life and dreams. We are so much more than the negative labels that are forced into our minds. Beauty is a mindset, so we need to take the power back from those hurtful phrases and words. We need to embrace not only our bodies but all bodies.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Be kind to bodies. Just be kind.

-Jenni

21 Comments »

  1. I had heard someone say the dreaded you look so good about losing weight when one of my friend’s got really sick with kidney disease. It enraged me so much , my poor friend was sick and they didn’t seem to think how bad of taste it was .

  2. Fantastic post. There is so much negativity and pressure put on us (women especially) to look a certain way and it is awful.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Alyssa
    THESACREDSPACEAP.COM

  3. I am so glad that you included “Real Women Have Curves” because it is such an upsetting phrase to hear.

    I was at a concert his Summer where the singer was attempting to be “body positive,” but was shaming petite women in the process. She of course said that “Real Women Have Curves” AND that women who are natural size 2s and 4s don’t exist. As a petite woman, these types of phrases really get under my skin!!

    • People don’t realize that shaming naturally thin people does affect them. I’ve been all sizes, and all shaming is different. But it’s still shaming, and it’s still very wrong and hurtful.

      I always hate hearing “real women have” this or that. Who are we as a society to define characteristics of anyone. It drives me nuts!

  4. Ahhhhh LOVE this! So true and so empowering, wicked post!
    I wrote a post about body shaming recently too would love you to check it out. It is something that honestly needs to stop, people body shame so flippantly and don’t understand the impact it has. Does my head in!! x

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