9 Ways to Clap Back at Body Shamers

We all have bodies. Unfortunately, some folks feel that gives them the right to comment on other people’s physiques. While often said with the best of intentions, these oblivious sort of body-shaming comments can be hurtful. Celebrities with armies of Instagram and Twitter followers like Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Lawrence can clap back at body-shaming trolls with a single, stinging post. For the rest of us, it’s good to be armed with some healthy perspective and a few pithy responses, should the following common body-shaming provocations arise.

1. “Are you sure you want to eat that?”

A simple, curt “yes” is often enough to silence unwarranted comments. While it’s possible your friendly food fascist is coming from a place of genuine concern for your health, this passive-aggressive inquiry is condescending and rude. Feel free to let her know that you're perfectly capable of making thoughtful choices on your own. Many women feel ashamed going ahead and eating that cookie after someone has questioned them. If that's the case, save it for later when you can actually enjoy it!

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2. “Should you be wearing that at your age?”

If you feel good in it, then yes! No matter what your age, you should be wearing whatever makes you feel good. When someone confronts you with this always-inappropriate question, let your unbidden fashion consultant know that at your age, you are certainly capable of picking out your own outfit. Say something like, “Life’s too short not to wear things I like!”

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3. “You're too skinny! You need to eat more.”

Lots of people think it’s OK to comment on other people’s bodies as long it’s to tell them they look skinny. How did skinny become a compliment? No need to justify yourself with this one. Simply let the food police know that you're not in the market for unsolicited nutritional advice and say, “Thanks, but I’m good with my choices.”

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4. “Did you see how quickly she got her body back?”

No new mom wants to be compared to any other new mom. Everyone’s “mom bod” is unique, so there’s no point in trying to be someone else. You just went through one of the most intense experiences of your life, and it’s time to let your body heal. It’s recommended to wait at least six weeks before starting to work out again, and if you're breast-feeding, this isn't the time for a restrictive diet! You need to nourish that baby! Tell those backseat-baby-body shamers that you're doing what’s healthy for your body and your baby.

5. “But you have such a pretty face.”

On the surface, this is framed as a compliment, but there’s a blatant implication that if only you lost weight or changed something about your body, you’d be even prettier. It’s tricky to clap back at these sorts of comments because they often come from older members of your family. The best thing to do is to ignore this one and keep reminding yourself they likely mean well, but you don't need their offhanded comments affect your self-esteem.

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6. “You look like a boy in that.”

OK, who gave this person the authority to determine what a woman should or should not look like? Also, maybe you got dressed this morning with the specific intention of looking a little boyish or who-knows-what-ish. In that case, just put on your biggest smile and take it as a compliment: “Thanks!” Otherwise, set the gender police straight: “There are infinite ways to look like a woman.” Same goes for guys, too! Just wear what you want.

7. “You’ve lost so much weight. You look fantastic!”

This well-intentioned comment might be welcome to some, but that doesn’t mean it’s not downright insulting to others. If you’re trying hard to lose weight, it might feel great to get a little acknowledgment of your hard work. However, inside this so-called compliment lurks an unspoken insult about how you looked before. This sort of comment is such a part of everyday conversation that it’s a difficult one to clap back at. You’ll want to say, “Don’t you have more important things to do than keeping a running tab on the size of my body?” But it may be better to either let sleeping dogs lie on this one or deftly steer the conversation to another topic.

8. “You should've bought two seats on the plane.”

Our world is not one-size-fits-all. Plane seats were originally designed for men who were five feet, nine inches tall and 160 pounds. It’s not surprising that many smaller and larger people don’t find these accommodations particularly accommodating. Receiving or overhearing a comment like this from a fellow passenger is going to make your flight all the more uncomfortable. If you're seated near such a jerk, you’re probably best off talking to a flight attendant and trying to move seats or get them moved. If you’re stuck, the best clap back might just be a smile and good pair of headphones.

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9. "Can you do the Belly Button Challenge?"

In the age of social media, we are all inundated with images of what our bodies ostensibly “should” look like. It’s hard to keep up with all the new reasons to feel bad about ourselves! Depending on your body type, a lot of this stuff is not only unattainable, but unhealthy. Clap back at the social media noise by celebrating your body — exactly as it is today — in whatever way makes you feel confident and beautiful!

What Do YOU Think?

We love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite ways to clap back at body shamers? Share in the comments below!

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