A lot of the times when receiving compliments, plus size people will always hear: “Wow you’re so confident”, “I just love your confidence” and “How are you so confident?”. Though seemingly harmless and something nice to say, this “compliment” is actually rooted in fatphobia. When thin people ask how a plus size person is so confident, they’re really asking how they can still love themselves despite their weight. Why are plus size people deemed so confident for posting the same kind of pictures and wearing the same kind of clothes as thin people? Being confident in yourself is not a bad thing, but when it’s thin people showing shock at the “confidence” in a plus size person, it gets annoying and repetitive. I know that I and many other plus size people are tired of hearing this backhanded compliment. So here are 3 things to compliment plus size people on besides their confidence.
1. Just a genuine, general compliment
Many plus size people will always receive compliments on things that have nothing to do with their actual bodies, such as: their hair, their skin and their eyes. Yes these are still nice compliments, but they are coded and commonly used with plus size people. Plus size people know that thin people equate being fat with being ugly. So when nothing else is complimented besides a single feature, they know it’s really a backhanded compliment. Some better things to say would be: “You look really great!” or “You are so beautiful.” These compliments show that you admire plus size people overall and not just for their features that fit into society’s standards.
2. Sense of style
For plus size people, it can be a lot more difficult to find clothes in their size and in the style they like. (This is a big problem on its own, but that’s a discussion for another time.) It’s always nice to hear appreciation and admiration for your outfits, especially for plus size people who more than likely have to work harder to put it together. This compliment doesn’t feel as loaded and is more genuine. Saying things like “I love your outfit” or “I really love your sense of style” can be some nice things to say.
Though to some plus size people compliments on their personality can feel loaded, they can also be nice to show admiration for something other than looks. Not just compliments on their sense of humor or their intelligence, but more genuine compliments on their kindness and compassion towards others or on how hardworking they are in school or their line of work. Some thoughtful things to say would be “I really value how kind and caring you are” or “I admire how hardworking you are.” These compliments show true appreciation, no matter what you look like.
To sum everything up, this article is not saying to not compliment plus size people at all, but to think about what your words truly mean. Plus size people are tired of hearing how “amazingly confident” we are and repetitive compliments that are intended to avoid our bodies. We need to all take into consideration how much of an impact our words have.