What to Do When the Body-Shamer Is Your Friend

Illustration for article titled What to Do When the Body-Shamer Is Your Friend

Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email friendzone@jezebel.com.


During a recent lighthearted conversation about bikinis, cleavage, etc (in mixed company), a gal pal of mine said, "If I had breasts as small as you, I would have gotten a boob job a long time ago!" I'm well aware I have very small (i.e. flat with nipples) breasts. Normally jokes about my breasts don't bug me, but this has really stuck with me. The weird thing is that she has really small boobs too! Just not quite as small as mine. Is it ok to tell her I didn't appreciate her comment?

Repeat after me: "When someone hurts my feelings, it is always okay to say something." You are well within your rights as a friend, a lady and a human being to tell her you didn't like her comment. Now maybe she was a few beers in and was feeling loosey-goosey, but that's no excuse.

I think you need to talk to this girl one-on-one and tell her how you feel. If she discounts your feelings, she's an asshole and I'd strongly consider backing away from the friendship.

In future, I suggest bringing up one or more of the following points when somebody mocks your breast size:

  1. Your tits will never sag. When big-titty ladies like me have our nipples knocking into our knees, you will be perky and adorable.
  2. You will always look cute in a tank top or t-shirt.
  3. You are proud of your own hotness.
  4. It's weird and insulting for someone else to care so much about your boob size.

And don't be afraid to act more confident about your body than you actually feel. Sometimes I do that, and I find it actually boosts my self-esteem.


For the past year, my roommate has been engaged in an emotionally abusive relationship with her on-again-off-again boyfriend. Every time they break up the arguments escalate in abusive nature, to the point that during the last one he put his hands around her throat. The other night, right after hearing her say that she was done with him, I come home from work and TO MY GREAT SURPRISE, this asshole's in our apartment again to "talk it out" with my roommate. I almost flipped my shit. What do I do? What can I say to be a good friend and ally to her? How do I react to this jerkoff being in my apartment?

He got violent with her? Oh no no no no no. He is no longer welcome in your home. You can be there for her; you can listen to her; you can tell her you love her; but you cannot put yourself in the vicinity of someone with a demonstrated history of abuse against women. Nope. No negotiations here. Unh-uh. No fucking way.

I can say that sometimes it is very easy to excuse a man's violent behavior if it leaves no bruises. It's easier to say "Well, it wasn't that hard" or "It didn't hurt" or "I probably overreacted" than to admit to yourself that someone you care about has harmed you. I can't read this girl's mind but I wouldn't be surprised if she has convinced herself that his behavior was no big deal. As her friend, you must proceed with love and caution.


Sit her down and tell her in a calm and caring fashion that you're very worried about her. Express that you're also worried about your own safety, and that this fellow should not come around your apartment anymore. Be very clear with her about your opinion, but be sure not to shame her or blame her for staying with him. She needs your support, but "support" does not mean approving and enabling every decision she makes.

Please share with her the National Domestic Violence Hotline. She can call 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). She can even chat online with one of their experts. She needn't give any identifying details about herself or the guy in question. This is not a call to law enforcement. That said, I do encourage you to seek out counseling or even chat with a NDVH expert to ask about steps you can take to protect yourself and your home. For example, if this guy has a key, I'd start by changing the locks.


Sound like an overreaction? It's not. When it comes to your safety, never ever ever ever compromise. We're often taught to be polite, not make a fuss, stay quiet. Not in this case. It affects you, too.

I've been seeing various therapists for the last two years off and on, for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from severe neglect and childhood abuse. I feel like an outsider, defective in some way. I'm a petite, thin girl with big boobs, blonde hair, and blue eyes, and I think some people assume I have it easy. But honestly, there are some days when my service dog is the only thing that keeps me going. Some friends seem to think I'm snooty and aloof, but really, I'm grappling with an eating disorder and agoraphobia. I just don't know how to talk to people about this. I can connect with people online, but I often cancel plans to hang out in real life. They think I'm flaky. I don't know how to tell them the truth.


Ooh, I'm agoraphobic too. Sucks, right? I'm really glad you're in therapy. I hope you can find a therapist who fits well with your personality and goals and that you can maintain a consistent relationship with this therapist. I know it is hard for people like us sometimes to make it to our appointments. I actually just called my therapist up to make an appointment after months away. I'm not exactly looking forward to it, but I know it's good for me – and, I am guessing, for you as well.

Anyway, the best way I've found to explain my condition and sometimes-odd behavior to friends is to be open about it. If you don't feel like writing a memoir and announcing it to the world, I suggest dealing with the issue in one-on-one conversations with friends. Start with the people you care about most, and work your way to others. Remember that you don't have to tell everybody. Most people will understand, and if they cannot empathize, they will sympathize. Some people may not get it, and that's their problem, not yours. I wish you the absolute best.


Image via Shutterstock.



My advice for number one: Just respond with "I guess I'm just not as insecure as you are."