Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Rant (or Why The Internet Gets on My Nerves).

*Note: Please bear in mind that I use "she" and "her" throughout this post, but these can easily be exchanged with "he" and "him" (except perhaps in the last section).  Men can and do have body image issues.  Though I still think that the majority of the time, body hate, criticism, and snark in the media are directed at women.*

I think eating healthfully and exercising are great.  Teaching people about the effects of food and exercise on their bodies is perfectly fine- even laudable- as long as you do it in, say, a nutrition or fitness class, use positive language, and then don't judge them if they decide that following your advice is not a priority.  I do believe that any true concern that someone has for another person's health should be relayed face-to-face and not online, through e-mail, Facebook/social media, or texts; in other words, if you are not close to the person you are concerned about, you definitely should not say anything.  I admire anyone who feels unhealthy, wants to make a change, and goes for it, but that is a choice that needs to come from within that person.  I do, however, firmly believe that health and attractiveness can be separate.  If you do not agree, I would encourage you to examine why you place such a high value on the appearance of health in other people.  Why do you give a flying fish what other people look like?

You see, I am officially Fed Up with some of the stupidity on the internet. And so, without further ado, I give you my mini-rants to the writers of and people who comment on body, health, and food articles on the internet.

"She looks like she doesn't take care of herself.  Looking as if she takes care of herself makes a woman attractive."
"Looking as if she takes care of herself" can mean many different things for different people.  For some, that could include having super-defined muscles.  For others, that would mean always having neatly styled hair or having skin that isn't deeply tanned.  The list goes on.  And for some, looking well-groomed/put together/what-have-you actually isn't a factor in determining a woman's attractiveness at all; personality or sense of humor might be key.  So I'm taking a wild guess here: you define "taking care of herself" as doing the same things you do for your own health and happiness.  You're really saying that a woman who has a certain lifestyle appeals to you.  You know what?  That's fine.  Everyone has preferences.  But you're a grown up (hopefully) and should realize that not every woman needs to meet your standards. 

"This isn't about bullying.  It's a health issue. You can sugarcoat it all you want.  Her BMI is too high/low, and that is unhealthy."
Hi there, fat shaming bully!  Your comments are very predictable, you know.  You always insert attacks on other people for "skirting around the facts" or "sugarcoating" or "normalizing" so that you can get readers to subconsciously believe that you are just the Good 'Ole One Who Tells It Like It Is, when you are actually using that phraseology to skirt around the fact that you're being extremely rude and unnecessary.  Let's leave aside the fact that BMI is an unreliable measure of health and pretend like you just said "weight."  I could argue with you all day that weight and health aren't always related. But you probably wouldn't bother processing my words and likely have some ridiculous stock insult prepared for anyone who disagrees with your opinion ("Well you would say that- you're probably fat!" Fabulous argument, there.)  The real question is: Why do you give a flying fish?

"You should NEVER eat this.  Did you see how many calories/how much fat/how much BAD STUFF is in it?"
There is no way to say this politely: get off your high horse.  If you go to most large websites with recipes, I can almost guarantee you that there will be an easy-to-find section with healthy recipes advertised on the main page.  So why not relax and let people talk about the taste of the food instead of using the comment section as a platform to blame other people's (posited) health issues on the mere existence of junk food recipes. It's as if recipes for things like bacon cheeseburgers are magnets for people like you who would never eat them and feel that it is their moral duty to tell others to do the same.  You will say there are foods you simply shouldn't touch with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole and look down your nose at anyone who dares say that they enjoy those foods, even if they only eat them occasionally (by the way, eating better does not make you a better person).  You will say, "Yeah, until you have that heart attack/high cholesterol/BAD STUFF."  Which brings me to...

"Moderation is just an excuse for the lazy/weak-willed."
Please, please let me know about the scientific studies (plural) you've seen that take a group of people who exercise and eat healthfully the majority of the time who have a slice of cheesecake a week, or a McDonald's combo once in a while, or even a bit of ice cream every evening, that finds these (non-elderly, without preexisting conditions) people at a higher risk for health problems.  Or studies that find that these people often keel over from heart attacks after eating one high-calorie or high-fat meal.  I haven't found any yet, and I've looked.  I'm guessing there aren't any. And please don't use something like "Supersize Me" as proof of your point; that was not a documentary about moderation.  Even if some people using this Unholy Recipe actually eat like that, again the question arises:  Why do you give a flying fish?

"You can tell she has had children."

This could just be a simple statement, but you almost always say it derogatorily.  When did this crazy idea that women's bodies need to be exactly the same before and after kids come from?  I admittedly haven't had children yet, but I'm pretty sure pregnancy usually involves growing another freaking human being in your body.  Even the women who come out of the delivery room wearing their pre-pregnancy clothing or who live healthier lives than they did before kids will show some evidence that they had children.  That isn't wrong or ugly.  It just is.  Also...

"I don't want kids because it will ruin my body."

If you truly like your body as it is and don't want it to change; whatever.  I could even support you in that decision, as long as you don't look down on others for not doing likewise.  It is certainly your choice not to have children.  But why are you telling the entire world about it in this particular manner?  Are you looking for validation in your quest not to have stretch marks?  Applause because you won't go through nine months of weight gain?  OK, good for you!  Huzzah!  Better now?  And if you must tell the world about it, just say, "I'm happy with my body the way it is, so I'm not having kids," instead of saying pregnancy would "ruin" it.  You do realize that you're implying that your mother, and her mother before her, and all mothers around the world have bodies that are irreversibly screwed up after having children?  It is rather sickening if you actually believe that.  If other women have gone through pregnancy and labor and as a result have stretch marks, or cellulite, or their skin isn't taut, or they've gained weight, why do you care?

Really, if ANY woman has stretch marks, or cellulite, or her skin isn't taut, or she has gained weight...

Honestly, do I have to keep saying it?

Do you have any comments like these that drive you absolutely bonkers?


  1. I loved this post! Whenever I read articles now, I try to avoid the comment section (especially if a woman's appearance is involved) because it's just pure vitriol spewed forth. Disgusting! Another type of comment I dislike is the whole "Well, you can tell those are fake," or "She's had work done." It's another way of staying on a high horse and judging others for the decisions they make with their bodies.

    1. Thanks! Ugh, those bother me too. I keep telling myself that I'm not going to scroll down on articles anymore, but usually I end up thinking, "These are all human beings; perhaps they'll be decent to each other today" (also I always scroll through comments on recipes looking for advice/tips/tricks- they can contain gems for tips and modifications). I think I'm usually an optimistic person, and then after reading a few, I become a severe pessimist, but it's just in my nature to be optimistic, so that doesn't last long enough to avoid the comments on the next article :-)... if that makes any sense at all!