[Never Say Diet] AskMen.com Thinks You’re Fat

But don’t worry. This website — which culls its literary talent from the very finest of frat boys and 40-year-old virgins — won’t come right out and say that to your face. Instead, they present a slideshow, imaginatively titled “Top 10 Subtle Ways to Tell Her She’s Getting Fat,” so we can all learn and share.

I don’t usually link directly to garbage like this, but in this case, I am — so y’all can click-through and add your votes to the “First Impression” poll. I trust that you will not feel that reading this article makes you “a better man.”

Because here are some of the gems on their list: “Buy her smaller clothes” on purpose, “try serving her smaller-than-usual portions,” and “plan a beach vacation” — all to shame your lady until she looks down at her body in horror and realizes how fat she has apparently gotten. Maybe because she has, I don’t know, birthed your child recently? Is too busy working hard to support your family to get the gym? Or is just a human with a full life and better things to do with her time than constantly train to be your sexbot? Anyway, as soon as the light dawns thanks to all these sneaky AskMen strategies, she’ll apologize for putting you through the hell of having to look at that. Oh and vow to take up a shame diet of carrots and Spin classes, obvs, until she can shrink back down to a person worthy of your love. Everybody wins!

There are so many things wrong with this story (and AskMen.com in general, and the slideshow’s author, Thomas Foley, in particular) that it was hard to know where to begin. When I put this on my Monday ideas memo for Angela, my iVillage editor, the best I could do was, “Gross, gross, grossgrossgross. Gross. They are gross. What is wrong with everybody? Gross.” Etc.

I’ve gotten a little bit more coherent in today’s Never Say Diet post, but wow. A lot of feelings. One thought that came to me after I wrote the post, so I’m sharing it here:

It’s not so much the core idea — one person in a relationship feeling less than attracted to the other due to a recent change in that person’s physical appearance — that is so abhorrent. It is gross to assume that anytime a woman gets fatter, her partner will automatically lose interest in her — plenty of people are attracted to bigger people of both genders in general, and plenty of other people are so attracted to their particular romantic partners that the standard fluctuations in weight that life brings don’t really do much to change that fact. Still, plenty of people aren’t attracted to bigger people, ever, and that’s their deal. Mostly. It’s also society’s deal, of course, because if we had an overall broader definition of beauty, “fat” wouldn’t be so automatically synonymous with “unf*ckable” in the eyes of AskMen.com and friends.

But what’s truly abhorrent about AskMen.com’s take on the issue is that it assumes that open communication with your partner is completely off the table — that there’s no respectful way to have a conversation about her appearance, health, lifestyle choices and/or whether any of the above is impacting your relationship. And that is a bunch of bullsh*t. I’m not saying that conversation will be fun or easy. But — excuse the gendered phrase but it seems appropriate here — manning up and having it sure beats AskMen.com’s approved tactics of lying and guilt-tripping your way through the issue.

Thoughts? Do you agree that it’s okay for one partner to sometimes not be so into something about their partner’s body — or is that never the business of anybody except that body’s owner?

Or should we just talk about how grossgrossgross that AskMen.com story is? Tip #5 is “Playfully grab her love handles.” I mean. You can’t make this sh*t up. More on all of that over on Never Say Diet. 

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7 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Thoughts? Do you agree that it’s okay for one partner to sometimes not be so into something about their partner’s body — or is that never the business of anybody except that body’s owner?

    I think it’s absolutely okay for one partner not to be too into something about their partner’s body. But I also think it’s absolutely okay for either partner to decide this is a deal breaker.

    For example, I am fat. While I don’t think it’s likely to happen with my current partner, he certainly retains the right to say to me, “I’m just not attracted to you at your current weight/size, and I think this might be a relationship-ender for me.” Conversely, he could say, “I’m just not attracted to you at your current weight/size,” and I could say, “I think this lack of attraction might be a relationship-ender for me.”

    Effectively, I think the right to say something (respectfully) always exists. But it never obligates the other person to try to change their body.

    • Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      I think the right to say something (respectfully) always exists. But it never obligates the other person to try to change their body.

      Ah! Tori. Yes. So smart. So absolutely the point that those AskMen.com a**holes missed completely. I dearly hope that after all their ridiculous schemes, at least one of the women unlucky enough to be partnered with them turns around and says, “yep, I’m fat — and your lack of attraction is a relationship-ender for me.” What a beautiful day that would be!

      Thank you!

  2. whenonedoorcloses
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Tori. The right definitely exists and I believe that most women would prefer a straightforward approach to bringing up the topic rather than the emotional and verbal abuse suggested by the article. Personally, I’d be very offended if my husband tried most of those suggestions with me and it would have the opposite effect, whereas if it was brought up as part of adult, mature conversation rather than trickery and games, I’d be more likely to take a hard look at what he’s saying rather than thinking “what the hell is he up to”.

    I find the following excerpts from the article particularly amusing…
    “When dishing up meals for the two of you…” Um, yeah how often does THAT happen?
    “…insist that she wears something from when you first got together…” My husband still doesn’t remember all the names of all my (small) family after 20 years, I doubt he’d remember what I wore yesterday let alone when we first started dating. LOL

  3. Posted December 15, 2011 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    So, men are suppose to manipulate their girlfriends by pointing out that they have gained weight repeatedly, and in different ways, and then claim that there’s no manipulation? That sounds a lot like gaslighting.

    Tori’s reply is the respectful way of both parties to handle the situation.

  4. midnightsky
    Posted December 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    What is *wrong* with these people? I’d much rather have someone say “you’re getting fat, so either lose weight or I leave,” so I can dump them and they can go find a skinny chick. Then, at least their preferences are out in the open, and it’s better for both of us, and we can all get over ourselves.

    This stuff is just horrible. Why are you dating someone that you can’t talk to about things, especially something so serious as body image and self-care? Really? Can you really not suck it up and have a conversation?

    Whoever wrote this, hopefully he will get his ass handed to him by his girlfriend when he tries this kind of crap.

  5. Posted November 2, 2012 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    Hi! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you
    I truly enjoy reading your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums
    that go over the same subjects? Thanks a lot!

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