How To Respond When A Family Member Body-Shames You

Photographed By Kristina Wilson.
Call it teasing, constructive criticism, or straight-up body shaming — it’s a uniquely sucky feeling when your loved ones put down your looks. And yet, it’s not a unique experience: It happens to everyone from the super-sensitive to the thick-skinned. My little brother once compared my thighs to hams. He was just a kid, and I laughed it off, but the words are still cemented in my memory. They pop up at random moments — when I’m trying on jeans, debating whether a skirt is the right length, or sitting next to thigh-gapped strangers on the subway (hmm, hers look more like hot dogs).
If you’re heading home to spend time with such well meaning but often obnoxious folks, you may be bracing yourself for an onslaught of these remarks, since family seems more than comfortable to mention that you’re “too skinny" and "need to eat!” or that you’re “looking very healthy” (WTF does that mean?).
Experts say it can take years to let go of comments like these, whether they’re lighthearted or serious, routine or isolated. Our family members’ words make a deep impact, whether we want them to or not. Luckily, there are ways to handle these interactions that empower you in real time, and help the sting subside faster.