Opinion

Haters gonna hate

Curvy is used here as a euphemism for fat.”

Got your attention? It got mine too.
Long before I posted my first post on Mind the Curves (Mind the Fat doesn’t have quite the same ring to it), I grappled with the thought of what I’d do if I suffered the wrath of the more critical Internet populous.

Until now, for the most part, I’ve received nothing but positive feedback, ranging from chummy ‘You go girl!’s to heartfelt messages about how I am an inspiration, which have almost brought me to tears.

And then today I spotted a string of comments on a post of mine that ran on Women24.

The comments ranged from concern for my health, to calling me lazy and fat.

And, just like that, with one little drop of acid, the entire glass is bitter.

I understand that by writing this blog and putting myself out there I am, in a sense, inviting this criticism. That doesn’t mean that I’m any better prepared or less affected when someone criticizes me. I’m such a fragile little hatchling on this body positivity journey myself.

But, it occurs to me, maybe in this situation lies a golden opportunity to confront those who are so ready to criticise another’s body and perpetuate the trend of body shaming.

I believe that there’s a lesson that we can all learn together here.

Confrontation, of any sort, is not my strong point. So I’d like your help to put together a list of how to respond when someone criticizes your body. Please drop me a line on the blog, via email or on social media to tell me, in your words, why is the body positivity movement important to you? How would you respond to someone who criticises your body?

Hopefully we can help prepare each other for this sort of criticism, and maybe open the eyes of a few people along the way.

Red lipstick kisses to you all,
The Girl in the Pearls

Meg

Take some body positivity, add some plus-size fashion and lifestyle, sprinkle with humour and quirk, top with pearls and you have mindthecurves.com.

20 Comments

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    Kara Gillis

    Hi Meg,

    When I read this, it made me very upset to read that you are experiencing a practice that is unfortunately very commonplace and easy given the anonymity of the Internet.

    Let me just tell you this – which is something I, too, must tell myself every day. Our (women’s) bodies are not created solely for sexual appeal. They not only create new life AND feed babies, but they also conduct thousands of activities that sustain our own lives every day. The most beautiful part of our bodies is that they differ from one another because we are unique and individual humans with intricate stories, experiences and physical presences that happen to inhabit this earth.

    Of course being healthy is important, but in my opinion, mental health is equal – and very much part of – physical health. You are a physically healthy woman, but you must retain your mental health above all else in this journey you embark on to promote body positivity. You are one of the trailblazers of an attitude, a style and perspective that refuses to let a flawed objectivism dictate public discourse. When any trailblazer stands up to say, “I have a voice that deserves recognition and respect,” detraction ensues. Where does this come from? Fear and confusion. What gives these detractors a platform? As previously stated, the anonymity of a comment section on a website. I am commenting on this site because this was important to me to voice, but does anyone worthwhile listening to REALLY have the time to spend putting negativity into the world through the comments section of a website article? We both are smart enough women to know the answer is a resounding “NO.”

    My big piece of advice to you during this endeavor (and a beautiful one at that) is to take all the negativity they throw at you, internalize it for a moment and then release it back into the world as positive energy. You know why? Your message is getting attention. You are being heard. You are making a net positive impact on the world. You know you’re doing the right thing, so fuck everything else. You rock. Keep up the good work, girl.

    -KG

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    Faeron Wheeler

    The best way to deal with haters like those trolls is to ignore them and stick to your message of learning to love your body! In fact, these trolls are a sign you’re doing something right because no one would respond if you weren’t making waves.

    I was never truly comfortable in my own skin until quite recently when I made some changes to my lifestyle. I went through significant weight loss and gain and loss again and gain again throughout my teens and twenties and had to work really hard to come to terms with it all. It’s hard to be comfortable with yourself when we’re constantly bombarded with images of stick figures as the “norm”, but you’re trying to change that. This is the kind of blog I wish I had to read as a teen.

    Stick to your guns, love, and leave it to us to tell those haters where to shove it (I will gladly pick a fight with an a-hole online for you). xxx

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    Kerry

    Firstly, your confidence is enviable so people can pooh in the bush if they have nasty things to say about a beautiful woman who is confident.
    Secondly, Women24 is full of people who have nothing better to do with their lives than to put up ridiculous comments – it is not just you who gets this, it is every single person who puts themselves out there on Women24.
    I also had an article featured on there about being curvy and received the same negative feedback but unfortunately there are always going to be haters and then there are going to be those who admire you so do it for them!
    Body positivity is a war and war is never fair BUT we fight for what we believe in so lets just carry on.
    You are beautiful! Your body doesn’t make you any less beautiful.

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    Claire

    So the news24 mentality extends to women24 too? Megs, you should be very proud of what you’re doing. Very proud. I don’t know if I’d respond to those comments – the sort of people who write those comments are just looking for a fight. And nothing you say will change their attitudes. But you have influenced so many other people with your positivity message – and the best way to fight negativity is carry on doing the good stuff. It feels like South Africans in particular are bitter and aggressive – they drive aggressively and they use the internet aggressively. A runner friend of mine recently posted a question on a running club’s Facebook page, very innocently asking if there was a problem with the route distance (long story short, a little bugger up resulted in all runners in a 21km race running an extra 1,5 kays). The responses deteriorated to the point that two of the runners wished constipation and diarrhoea on each other. I guess what I am saying is that people love to criticise, and they are quick to judge. This blog – and keeping it going as well as it is – is enough of a response to them. But whatever you decide to do – you go girl!

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    Alison

    Something I learned many years ago and have found over all those years to be unerringly true, is that when people are nasty to others and say mean things about them, it’s because they actually feel those things about themselves.
    Think about it, if you’re happy with yourself and love yourself, are you going to be hateful to others? No frikkin’ way. But, if you have spent your whole life secretly despising yourself and your body and beating yourself up over the way you feel and the way you look, are you going to be happy to see someone else has managed to conquer those issues and be free? No frikkin’ way! You’re going to jump on their backs and beat them down as hard as you can.
    So, Meggles, the only response you can have to these haters is pity. Pity and, I’m afraid, complete disregard – because there’s nothing you can do for them.
    They need to deal with their own shit – preferably with many years of good therapy. But the fact that they’re doing this means they aren’t even able to acknowledge their shit, which would have been at least the first step.
    Love you loads!

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    Alexis

    It is so much easier to sit behind a computer and write disrespectful and hurtful things, than to put yourself out there online with photos! Meg I think you’re beautiful inside and out, and those haters obviously missed the whole point of body positivity that is central to your blog. I think you should focus on how much you’ve inspired, encouraged and helped other ladies to look stylish and feel beautiful. I really enjoy your blog and the lovely clothes and accessories you model! Also, I have repeatedly been told not to read comments, as hard as it is not to, I think you should ignore them.

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    Zoe Pedersen

    Ignore them. I am so inspired by your confidence. I’m a pear shaped girl, size 12/14. I’ve struggled for years to feel beautiful…to feel as though being curvy, not being “firm and fit” is acceptable. It’s okay. It’s still beautiful. Reading blogs like yours make me feel better, make me feel that it’s okay to work, have a full life and not panic and stress about not getting to the gym. Thank you…thank you…thank you…DON’T STOP and don’t let comments hurt you. You are stunning, you are lovely, your curves look fab and you have an incredible spirit.

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    Lise

    Honestly, I am loving your blog. I love the clothes, I love that you are so confidently wearing them. We can’t all look like Twiggy and I guess we can’t all be fat/curvy/chubby. At the end of the day I think it is more about being healthy.

    A fairly strange analogy is that I have 3 dogs of the same height. They get fed exactly the same amounts of the same food. They go for the same walks. One of them is pretty fat while the other two are thin. His metabolism must just be slower. He isn’t unhealthy or eating huge amounts. The same rings true for humans. Everyone is unique.

    Would I like to be thinner? Yes, because it would make buying clothes a whole lot easier. But your blog has shown me that actually, I can look great as well. You are an inspiration.

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    Minette Fourie

    It was as if ‘The Internet’ knew what I needed to find yesterday. My friend, Anna (from Jacoba Clothing) posted your blog, and for the first time EVER, I found a local gal who is as funky and passionate about positive body image as any international BodCon blogger.

    I scrolled through your pics thinking to myself what an inspirational person you are… and even secretly wishing I had more mates like you. Girls that are confident. Fun. Vivacious! Able to laugh at themselves!!

    To my complete shock your post this morning about negative comments just hit home again. That society, as a whole, are still ‘size-ist’.
    You skin is glowing. Your hair, glossy! What does it matter what size you are? Is it because society is so broken that to feel good about themselves people feel the need to bring down others?

    You are gorgeous, and I am SOOO happy I ‘found’ your blog. You know what they say, “Stilbly is ook ‘n antwoord” – so I would really noteven engage with any of the negative trolls out there, and keep doing what you are doing. For women of ALL sizes.

    Be femine, fun and most of all, inspire us to love what we have and ROCK IT!

    <3
    minette

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    Rose

    Meg, you’ve nailed it with your intro “Haters gonna hate”. What you’re doing is inspirational and beautiful – and your body is perfectly proportionate. When you read articles with stats such as “81% percent of {American} 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat” (stats from 2013) before they’ve even hit puberty, you can start to understand how crazy our world currently is – obsessing over unrealistic standards which are unattainable for the normal person. On average we receive around ‘5,260 “attractiveness messages” per year from network television commercials alone’ – and even in the 20th century it would seem the majority of the population prefers to ignore the fact that every TV ad and magazine has airbrushed their models to appear even thinner than they are in reality – to the point some of them are unrecognizable in reality; it just makes me shake my head. Curvy is beautiful – and real. If the people leaving comments on Woman24 are part of the 2% of South Africans who fit the skinny mold, well, that’s great for them. But they need to just look around in a shopping mall to realise that they’re in a minority – which isn’t good or bad, it is what it is. The comments bashing you just made my blood boil – they know nothing about you or your life, and make an uncalled for assumption based on a quick overview – which sadly, the internet is notorious for! In short, keep doing what you’re doing hun – we love it – and you! ^_^

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    Chantal

    I have always been bigger than most people so my whole life I have had to hear all sorts of comments….. I have been called fat more times that I care to remember, told what to eat, to eat less, to exercise , to not wear certain things because I have wide hips, a big bum….. And I hurts every single time.
    This all from people that don’t know me from a bar of soap, but then again friends and family have also had lots to say.
    I always feel and sometimes even say, is fat really the worst thing I can be, not only that what sort of person are you when you can just say whatever you want to someone not caring if you are hurting their feelings.
    My humble opinion, don’t let some rude stranger get to you, easier said than done I know. You have readers (I’m new and devouring for blog posts) like me, to whom you are an inspiration, who look at your lovely photos and your outfits and find inspiration and motivation from them. It’s like the saying promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Focus your attention and energy where it actually makes a difference to some ones day or how she sees herself.

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    Wayne

    There will always be critics no matter what you do or take on in life. Be proud of what you are because you have taken a stand to put it out there and make a difference. Haters will always hate and that one drop of acid does make the glass taste bitter but you are an inspiration to so many and that is what truly counts. The Internet is full of cowards who are negative. I am amazed by your confidence and what you have accomplished so keep at it because myself, your friends and your loyal followers are in your corner. X

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    Susan Hayden

    Oh, darling, the trolls that are out there. They’ve almost crushed me sometimes and I’m still scared, sometimes, to open my comments page, but like Onse Alison said, it is ALL ABOUT THEM and fuckall to do with you. It’s taken me a long time to understand that, and I’m still learning. You’re so beautiful and brave and amazing. That they would be half as cool as you. When you start to see that someone’s being abusive or unkind, don’t even read the comment. They’re not worth a second of your time xxx

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    Penny

    The bad news is that whatever you do, there will be someone who thinks it’s not good enough. The good news is that those people are not your target audience! I just discovered your blog today and from what I’ve seen here, the people you’re aiming to reach are very happy with you and what you’re doing. You’re a lovely woman and it’s too bad that the world isn’t full of only your kind. Keep aiming high and the body shame crew can take a flying fuck. You’re gorgeous and you’re doing a great job!

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    Cindy

    Love your blog Girl in the Pearls! you are what I look out for to make me feel better about myself! When you get confronted with haters, you remember that God made you perfect, and do not allow other’s hateful words to cut you, people often want to project their own unhappiness onto others and thus hurt others, but you jsut keep your head up high and flash your amazing smile at them! You are beautiful!

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    KIN

    To the ravishing Girl in the Pearls – Whenever we open your blog, what we see is a collection of elegantly styled outfits, with stunning accessories (*grin*) in sublime settings. Do we see dress size, figure debate or “euphemisms”? Nope. We see a gorgeous, vivacious woman enjoying her own beauty and sharing her experiences beautifully and bravely (because, no matter one’s size, it’s hard to put oneself out there). It boggles our minds that people are so keen to see differences, to separate, point out and voice their skewed opinions of what is better than what. It’s complete nonsense and means they have allowed their opinions to be formed for them by the media – HOW embarrassing! Leave them to their unhappy selves and leave your blog to us because we love it and we love you and we wouldn’t want either any different. Much love from all of us here at KIN 😡

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