The world is becoming much more body positive — and that’s a good thing! It’s high time for such a movement, and it’s rapidly gaining steam across all channels of social media. The thing is, even the strongest, most empowered body positive advocates can be on the receiving end of well-meaning comments about how they look that just completely miss the mark. Here’s a collection of some of those situations in which body positive advocates have found themselves and their best reactions.

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1. US Weekly Shares Lena Dunham's "Slim-Down Secrets"

After an US Weekly cover promised to reveal what “motivates” the “Girls” star, author and director to “slim down,” Lena Dunham posted her reaction on Instagram. “I have no tips I give no tips I don’t want to be on this cover cuz it’s diametrically opposed to everything I’ve fought my whole career for and it’s not a compliment to me because it’s not an achievement.” She also included what really keeps her motivated. Among the best of her retorts: “anxiety disorder, resultant constant nausea... baseless but still harrowing threats to physical safety online and through snail mail... a quiet rage that replaces need for food with need for revenge.”

Read more: Lena Dunham Just Can't Win When It Comes to Her Body Weight

Instagram: @lenadunham

2. People Who Glorify Only "Good Fat" Bodies

As founders of the Body Confidence Canada Awards, both Jill Andrew, Ph.D., and Aisha Fairclough have heard their share of body-related criticism through the years. Though even within the body positive movement, there’s plenty of skewed representation, as shared with Bustle in 2016. “The term ‘body positivity’ also sometimes excludes certain bodies. By glorifying or having overrepresentation of so-called ‘good’ fat bodies, for instance, other bodies that aren’t as ‘easy’ for mainstream consumption often get pushed to the margins (i.e., racialized fats, disabled, gender nonconforming, trans fats and others that don’t have the appropriately placed fat rolls — aka other than hourglass-shape).”

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Instagram: @fatinthecity

3. Glamour Calls Amy Schumer Plus-Size

Amy Schumer is fit as hell, but she still endures some madness from the press about being “plus size.” After Glamour put her in their plus-size-only issue without her consent, she took to Twitter. “I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus size,” she wrote. “Beautiful healthy women. I go between a size 6 and an 8. @glamourmag put me in their plus-size-only issue without asking me or letting me know, and it doesn’t feel right to me. Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool, Glamour, not glamorous,” said Schumer.

Twitter: @AmySchumer

4. Ashley Graham Asked If She Gets Paid

After being named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year, the gorgeous model Ashley Graham recalled an instance of how she was not so subtly snubbed for her size on a modeling job. “When I was 17 or 18 years old, I was doing a group shot for this really big campaign, and one girl, who was probably a size 2 or 4, said to me, ‘Did you actually get paid for this job?’ I remember thinking, ‘She’s asking me that because I’m fat,’” said Graham. “It’s one of those things I’ll never forget.” But these days it’s Graham FTW: She’s the first-ever size-16 model to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and has more than 4.2 million devoted followers on Instagram.

Read more: Ashley Graham Just Called Out Victoria's Secret in a Major Way

Instagram: @theashleygraham

5. Mindy Kaling Receives Backhanded Compliments

Actress Mindy Kaling told Jimmy Kimmel she’s heard her share of nonsense from people about her size. “I also am the recipient of a lot of backhanded compliments about it (referring to her size), where people are like, ‘It’s so nice that Mindy Kaling doesn’t feel she needs to subscribe to the ideals of beauty that other people do.’ And I’m like, ‘I do subscribe!’ They’re like, ‘It’s so refreshing that Mindy feels comfortable to let herself go and be a fat sea monster.’ By the way, I like to run and work out. It takes a lot of effort to look like a normal/chubby woman.”


6. Karl Lagerfeld Said Adele Has a "Beautiful Face"

No one can argue that the singer Adele is one of the most gorgeous women in the world. But when designer Karl Lagerfeld felt compelled to say something about her, it was nasty and catty. “The thing at the moment is Adele. She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice,” he once said. Being the class act that she is, Adele told People, “I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women, and I’m very proud of that.”

Read more: 22 Famous Women Share Their Role Models


7. Barbie Ferreira Questioned About Her Stretch Marks

Gorgeous plus-size supermodel Barbie Ferreira once took to Instagram to vent about an experience on the job as a plus-size model. “I stood naked at work in front of strangers (super vulnerable position) and got asked what was wrong with my hips... pointing at my stretch marks. By a woman. I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t say microaggressions like this don’t happen on the daily for me in this industry. And like I always do, I choke back the tears and keep going like nothing happened. Grown ass adults commenting on my teenage body needing Spanx, bra cutlets to make me look ‘better’ or Photoshopping my body to be ‘smoother’ right in front of me.”

Instagram: @barbienox

8. Hunter McGrady Was Told "You Have a Pretty Face"

In a video shot by Teen Vogue, a group of plus-size models gathered to discuss what they’re sick of hearing, and Hunter McGrady’s tale was a doozy. “In my hometown, I get ‘You’re a model? I heard that you’re a model.’ And they’re like, ‘I can see that. You kind of have a pretty face.’ I’m so ready for a revolution where a normal-size body is just that. That’s that. We all have different body types. I’m 6-foot tall, and I’m a (size) 14/16 and I have huge boobs. We all are different body types. When is that going to be normal?”

Instagram: @huntermcgrady

9. Gabourey Sidibe Deals With Twitter Trolls

When actress Gabourey Sidibe wore a white, beaded gown to the Golden Globes in 2014, a few haters went to town on Twitter. One troll said she looked like she was wearing a “condom,” and another said she “looked like the chubby ghost from Casper.” Sidibe not only took it all in stride but shut those haters down with style and panache. She tweeted, “To people making mean comments about my GG pics, I mos def cried about it on that private jet on my way to my dream job last night. #JK.”

Read more: 19 Celebs’ Great Responses to Body Shaming

Twitter: @GabbySidibe

10. Ariel Winter Gets Unsolicited Comments About Her Body

Even thin actors and models hear unsolicited comments about their bodies. According to BuzzFeed, a then-17-year-old Ariel Winter posted a photo of herself wearing a bikini on a boat with her nieces. What followed was a slew of really inappropriate comments, saying she “knew what she was doing.” In response, she dropped some truth about slut shaming and body shaming. She posted, “The [length] of a girl’s skirt, or whatever she is wearing for that matter, does not imply what she is asking for. You are not asking for anything because of what you are wearing — you are expressing yourself and don’t you ever think you deserve the negativity as the consequence to what you are wearing.”

Instagram: @arielwinter

11. Katie Willcox Was Called a "Thick Mom"

When we asked Katie Willcox, model, body positive activist and author of Healthy Is the New Skinny, about backhanded compliments she’s heard, she said: “Instagram is notorious for allowing people to voice their opinions on my body. I remember when I was eight months into a healthy pregnancy with my daughter True, I posted a cute bikini photo next to the pool and someone commented, ‘Are you pregnant or are you just fat?’ I also posted another photo of myself — a completely normal photo, nothing provocative — and a man commented, ‘You’re pretty hot for a thick mom.’ Comments like these are absolutely uncalled for and are not compliments.”

Read more: Amy Schumer's Workout Proves She's Fit as Hell

Instagram: @katiehwillcox

12. Studio Uses Unusual Motivation Tactics on Jennifer Lawrence

Actor Jennifer Lawrence has dealt with her fair share of body shaming. She told Harper’s Bazaar that when she first started her career, she was told she was fat and was going to be fired if she didn’t lose weight. “They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked and told me to use them as motivation for my diet. They thought that because of the way my career had gone, it wouldn’t still hurt me. It doesn’t matter what accolades you get. I know it’ll never happen to me again. If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet,’ I’m like, ‘You can go f&$# yourself.’”


13. Kath Read Is Fed Up With Fake Concern

Body positive activist Read, who blogs at Fatheffalump, has a list of all of the backhanded things she’s heard. Among them: “I’m just concerned about your health/well-being.” Her reply? “No you’re not. If you were, you would be standing beside me fighting fat stigma and advocating for equitable health treatment for all... You don’t care that the public vilification of fat people causes depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. You don’t care that fat people are dying because they are so shamed by the medical profession that they can’t bring themselves to go back to the doctor when they are ill. Claiming you care about our well-being is a lie.”

Read more: 11 Celebrities Who Struggle With Depression


What Do YOU Think?

What are your thoughts about these thoughtless comments? Have you ever heard them yourself? Please share in the comments below!

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About the Author

Vivian Manning-Schaffel

Vivian Manning-Schaffel is a journalist, essayist, senior copywriter and rabblerouser who lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her work has been featured in Science of Us/New York magazine, The Week, DAME, US Weekly, CBS Watch!, Parents, Parenting, The New York Times and The New York Post.