Courting controversy

Friday, November 30, 2012 Permalink

I was about to head to bed on Wednesday night – having stayed up later than planned watching some ridiculous Angelina Jolie movie on a channel I can’t record JUST cos I needed to see what happened in the end. (She died, incidentally.)

And  naturally – now that I have my broadband properly connected – I checked Twitter before going to bed. As it was after 1am I was a tad weary, but alert when I saw a brief conversation about a weightloss competition.

When I got up the following morning I scrolled through hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds) of tweets to try to find the source to no avail. (And given that it was at least 8 hours later and I follow hundreds of people, it’s no wonder. Note that searching Twitter using keywords also didn’t help!)

Fortunately despite the late hour, at the time I’d checked on the preceding conversation which related to a magazine’s competition for ‘big losers’ (my term, not theirs). You know the kind…. you get to be the covergirl or in an article or similar if you’ve lost a lot of weight*. I couldn’t work out if the competition had already finished and winners published or if it was ongoing. Or perhaps their conversation was about such competitions in general.

Anyway, the gist of it was that they believed that those who’d undergone weightloss surgery (lapbanding and so forth) AND those who’d recently had children shouldn’t be allowed to enter such competitions.

Don't forget to get a queue number as well. #Quotes.

I’m sure we’ve all heard this before. A friend of mine used to scoff when she saw pictures of women who’d ‘lost 20kg’ but had started their ‘diet’ just a few months after giving birth when she believed they’d be losing weight anyway. It was unfair to the rest of us, she said.  She also thought it sent a bad message to claim to be overweight when – in reality – you’re just carrying some extra baby weight which would soon/eventually disappear.

I can understand her point and we constantly read now about pressure for mothers to look like they did previously within a couple of months (or weeks!!!) of giving birth. I was pleased to read a recent article about Pink in SHAPE magazine when she said she didn’t even start exercising until eight weeks after giving birth and took longer than most celebs to get her pre-baby body back. Yay!

I can also see the point of the tweeters because they were talking a competition, which – naturally – brings out our bitchy ‘we wanna win’ behavior.

But… I drifted off to sleep wondering why we have to be so nasty to each other?! A couple of US bloggers I follow have recently copped some comments about their weight and lack of recent weightloss; and the impact it’s had on them is obvious.

There will always be trolls – I like to think those that are mean to women-struggling-to-lose weight are insensitive highly-strung supercilious women who’ve never had eating issues/disorders, or men who ‘diet’ (and bloody well lose weight) by (just) skipping seconds.

But it’s not always the case. And it’s sad that women can be so nasty to each other. Or feel the need to stomp on others as they make their way to the winner’s podium.

That said, I’m a competitive not-so-little bitch myself. I’ve confessed to begrudging others’ success when my own ‘failure’ (for the want of a better word) is no one’s fault but my own.

Why can’t others (and indeed, I) be ambitious or competitive without belittling others?

It must be possible.  Surely?

* Note that I have no problems with these kinds of competitions! (Other than jealousy that I may never be able eligible to enter!!!)


  • Liz@LastChanceTraining
    November 30, 2012

    Hey Deb,
    I’m a competitive little cow as well. No ifs and buts, I’m in it to win it. However, I do like to think that I’m a gracious loser!

    • Debbish
      November 30, 2012

      Hmmm… I like to think I am too. Not so sure that’s the case though! #eek

  • Char
    November 30, 2012

    The whole thing about competition is that you’re comparing yourself to someone else. That makes it really hard not to bring all the emotional crap that you were talking about into it. I think it’s only human to have thoughts like that but when you start acting out on that and being nasty is the time that you’ve got to step back and reassess. Whatever happened to ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’? That’s certainly a motto that the trolls out there should consider.

    • Debbish
      November 30, 2012

      Yes definitely. We should be treating others the way we’d like to be treated. A very good point!


  • Jess
    November 30, 2012

    I wish there were not trolls out there. The last thing any of us need is nasty comments from random strangers. I agree with you though, I always figure that they have some issues and insecurities and really that is sad for them!

    • Debbish
      November 30, 2012

      Very true. Sometimes feedback – even negative feedback is useful but it can be done constructively… or taken offline. Most people have contact info somewhere on their site so someone who’s REALLY trying to provide useful feedback that might be negative could do it via personal email… (The blogger might choose to post their comment anyway!)

  • Marion
    November 30, 2012

    I’ve been thinking about this lately. Should I be competitive regarding weight loss??? In the past, I wasn’t, for the reasons above. But I’ve learned in fitness that it doesn’t really hurt anyone for me to do my best (which can be pretty great) so long as I’m not mean to others and want them to do well too.

    My family says that I am ultra competitive, but I don’t always realize that because I’m a fairly nice person. My blog almost failed (I almost stopped it) because I didn’t want to brag about my fitness successes–meaning that I sounded as interesting and motivational as mud, giving no enthusiasm to others, and correspondingly no comments. Then I realized that telling all I can do give other women a chance to see what they could do. It’s a good thing. I’ve recently also found that for weight loss. People in my weight loss group are motivated by my loss and it helps them.

    My successes or struggles may not directly correlate to what is happening in your life, but I’ve read a LOT of research lately that suggests that we gradually become like the people we associate with. So it may help you when I’m doing well with something, or not. Who really knows how or if we influence people? Just when I think I’ve not mattered to a certain person, they tell me I did.

    🙂 Marion

    • Debbish
      November 30, 2012

      I can understand that Marion. I really find your commitment to exercise – particularly the strength stuff – very inspiring.

      And as for mattering, every so often I decide I’m going to shelve my blogs (no one’s reading / commenting etc) and then I’ll get a comment from someone who says they appreciate what I’m writing and it spurs me on again!

  • Julia
    December 4, 2012

    In graduate school, the first reaction a lot of students have when they hear about someone else’s success is fear – not envy. It is the feeling of – why didn’t I get that? Is this person going to be more marketable than I am? I think that is the same when it comes to weight loss. We think “what is this person doing that I’m not doing?” These questions can lead to feelings of inadequacy and then its easier to be mean than to be introspective.

    You know, its like we learned from every 80s teen movie – you cut others down to feel better about yourself. If you can find a fault in someone’s weight loss the question isn’t about how much weight they did or didn’t lose, it becomes a character judgement.

    • Debbish
      December 4, 2012

      It scares me that I’m like that in general. “Why do so many people read THEIR blog, and not mine…” sort of thing. “What am I not doing right?” Perfect lead-in to the next post where I talk about playing the victim. “Poor me. I’m not losing weight but everyone else is. They must be cheating…” (Or something!)

I'd love to hear your thoughts