Eyek Ntekim 

Writer + Content Creator

Hello and welcome to my blog! AfrikanRising is a place where I (Eyek) discuss (complete) health, beauty, and social justice. As a twentysomething year old Nigerian, I'm sharing my stories, from my struggles with self acceptance, to my favorite skincare products.

 I created this blog because I want you to feel something, whether that's joy, sadness or a desire to self-reflect. I'm learning and growing everyday and I want you to learn and grow with me. Join me on this journey and watch this African rise. 

 

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"You've Lost Weight" Is NOT A compliment

Hey guys, let's get right into it.

A few weeks ago, a very good friend of mine from high school posted a few photos documenting her health journey. She, of course got a whole lot of well deserved comments congratulating her and telling her that she looked "amazing" and "looks so beautiful now". Of course it bothered me a bit but I read through the comments, left my own congratulatory message and kept moving  along. 

A few hours later though, I started thinking about other people who posted similar photos and I of course thought about the comments made. To sum these comments up, they all suggested that the person looked great now. Of course I am guilty of not only making similar statements, but also literally saying "you've lost weight!" to someone as a compliment. 

Okay by now you know it usually  takes me 10 years to get to the punchline, but as you can see, I'm making improvements because it only took me a year and a half today...

Why:

Imagine someone walking up to and telling you that the sky is blue. Would you say thank you? No? Exactly.

If you were once 300 pounds and you lost 100 pounds and someone said that you, how is that a compliment? It's completely understandable as to why you would feel obligated to say thank you because of course if you didn't, you would probably get an awkward look and may be accused of being "arrogant".

Stating a fact is not a compliment, so stop expecting a thank you. Period.

The Problem

The problem for me isn't even necessarily about the "you've lost weight' commentary, it's about what follows. Telling someone that they look good now suggests that they didn't look good then.

Let's go to the celebrity sphere for a moment. In the U.S, I'm sure a lot of us can  think of two or three (or twelve) celebrities who suddenly become the "girl of the moment" because they lost weight.  I'm talking about women because we all know that the experiences for us is just not same as it is for men. Take for instance Jordin Sparks. After she "slimmed down",  in 2012 she suddenly emerged, for lack of a better word. She was on the cover of major  magazines and starred in "Sparkle" all in the same year that she "lost the weight".

(Ya'll thought I was joking?)

(Source: Shape Magazine)
                                                       (Source: Ebony Magazine) 

                                                       (Source: Ebony Magazine

(Source: Redbook Magazine)

 *As if she wasn't litty (my version of "lit") before this.*

 

Also, a lot of times, we become to get obsessed with women/femmes losing weight and we forgot about their work and the value of their contributions to their field of work or study.

Let's move a few countries over. Lepacious Bose, a well known Nigerian comedian lost weight due to health reasons and all of a sudden everyone forgets what she does for a living and every other headline is about her body and her transition to a healthier lifestyle. 

*Yes girl, I know I need to charge my phone* (source: www.funmishittu.com) 

*Yes girl, I know I need to charge my phone* (source: www.funmishittu.com) 

                                                           (Source: BellaNaija.com)

                                                           (Source: BellaNaija.com)

You see what I mean? 

In case this  wasn't already clear, your life has value, your contributions have value, you have value, whether you lose weight or not. I'm not saying this to chastise anyone because I know that a lot of us associate how we feel about ourselves with how we look and that is normal. I know I don't feel like a slayer 24/7, but when them edges are laid and I put my liquid lipstick on, I feel like even Beyonce can't see me. 

My point is this,  the reality is  that regardless of intention, what matters most are the implications of our actions and words. Telling someone that they are/look_______now  may be well intentioned, but what is really being said is that they were not those things before. In addition to that, stop stating the obvious and expecting anything more than a nod in agreement.

Thanks for reading! God bless.

-Eyek 

 

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