I heard an interesting quote the other day (from a Beth Moore bible study, ironically). Sequence of events after hearing it:
2) Nod in agreement.
3) Feel disgusted about that agreement.
4) Think about it for the rest of the week.
5) Decide I need to know what YOU guys think about it.
“There are few things that give a woman greater joy than seeing that another woman has gained a few pounds.”
I think that the reason this is so true for so many people is because I believe girls are raised to see themselves as in competition with the world. We have to be ‘the best’ in everything, whether it is our clothes, our house, our grades, our body. We don’t necessarily find our self-worth internally, but in our relationships with other people, so that naturally lends itself to comparing. It might even just be, “OK, she’s gained a few pounds, so if I gain a few, it’s OK.”
I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but I think it has a bunch to do with the way woman relate to the world.
As for me, I have to admit, I’ve probably felt that way more than once.
just going to go right out there and say it: I snarkily nodded my head in agreement with that statement.
except then I sat back and thought about it. I don’t think i’m truly happy seeing somebody else has gained weight, unless that somebody else was a complete bitch to me at some point in which case, i enjoy it, and laugh a little inside every time I see her (unless it becomes a health issue … then I’d feel bad. for a while.)
I wish I could gasp and say NEVER but women compare things by nature. Men, shoes, clothes, food, and of course each other. As much as a “never” would be great, the truth is we all get a bit of a satisfaction when we see someone who has gained weight and we know we haven’t. It’s a secret pick me up and it’s natural.
ugh we’re horrible – i mean women are horrible – but it’s so true! ugh actually i enjoy seeing celebrities gain weight – even when its just gaining healthy weight – like when cameron diaz got buff and it was awesome and she looks gorgeous and so much better and it made me think wow okay she gained weight obvi and is rockin’ it. but yeah other than that its a sad but true statement. grrr
I think it’s that whole “crabs in a barrel” thing. No need to put a lid on it ’cause if one starts to climb out the others will pull it back down. If one woman starts to lose weight, get fit, go back to school, start a business, rejoin the workforce instead of staying home, leave the workforce to stay home… whatever the choice is that makes us look at our own choices, then we get scared. Because if she can do (blank) then maybe, just maybe, I’m not trying hard enough. Then if she fails, it proves me right, it says “I’m doing just fine, see if you try you fail”.
No way. I think i tend to feel sorry for someone who has gained weight…because I know how much I would hate that. But I have to admit I have felt jealous at women who LOSE weight and look good.
I think that instead of being happy when people gain weight, I definitely tend to get jealous when other people LOSE weight.
If I’m going to be superduper honest with myself, sometimes it does bring me that little bit of guilty joy, especially when it’s one of those “perfect body” girls. You see them gain a few pounds and you’re just like HAH! So I guess you can gain weight too! But at the same time, it depends on who it is. If the person was already medically unhealthy i.e. obese, i’d be worried and concerned. If the person was extremely and drastically overweight, I’d be ecstatic that they gained weight. It’s one of the subjets where it’s a touchy and potentially even “shameful” issue. It’s also one of those subjects society shuns and doesn’t talk about much, so thank you for bringing it up!
Being happy because your friend gained weight is absolutely horrible. That is not an attitude that you want to have and it completely shows a lot about your character. People who struggles with their weight need support and guidance. You make them feel that there is still hope and not laugh at them.
If it is a friend, I am more concerned than anything else. I do not find joy in it at all. I do have acquaintances that find joy in seeing others fail. In seeing them get a slower time on their workout than the last time. In cheating on their diet they are trying to stick to. It hurts my heart. Just lift people up.. why tear them down?
It would NEVER cross my mind to feel joy when someone else gained a few pounds! Not even satisfaction. But I would look at someone who lost weight with a mixture of jealousy, pressure, and as a personal trigger.
I think I had the same reaction as you! My thoughts – if I see another woman has put on a few pounds, it makes me feel like I’m not alone in my struggles with weight. It’s not that I want someone else to feel bad, but more that it’s almost comforting in a way to know that someone else is going through the same thing as me.
Well, I’m a little shocked that your initial reaction was to agree with this quote when you’re job as a trainer is to promote the opposite. As Athena mentioned, a feeling of empathy might be evoked when we see that others share our struggles, but this is not the same as joy. To become joyous over something as petty as another person’s weight gain is of no value to anyone. I agree that society is partially responsible for this response, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t held accountable.
That friggin scares me – UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sure it is true fro some & maybe even many – especially in the entertainment arena but I find it disgusting! :(
Oh jeez. Just shows how dependent our self esteem is on other people. Unfortunately, it’s true, at least for most women. I wish we as women could define ourselves by things that truly matter!
Why can women be so cruel and hard on themselves??? It doesn’t surprise me at all that this quote has been announced out loud. I can never see a male feeling this toward another male. Instead of worrying, criticizing, and focusing on other peoples flaws, maybe women should start focusing on themselves and worry about themselves. Interesting quote Lindsay and thanks for sharing!
I feel like there’s a couple sides to this one. There are the women you are connected to, your friends, supporters, family, and loved ones. Those women you want the best for and hope they succeed in everything. Then there are the women who were catty to you (past and present), who have treated you or others poorly. Personally I want those women to have some kind of karma, it doesn’t have to be weight.
Is it one of my husband’s ex girlfriends? Then, yes. Is it anyone else? No, I don’t enjoy seeing women gain weight.
While I think it is definitely something that is common in our society, unfortunately, I don’t think it applies to everyone. I know the women at my gym (I CrossFit) are incredibly supportive of one another’s goals and nothing makes me – or them – happier than to see one of us reach those goals.
But I haven’t always been that way – I would say definitely in the teen years or even after having my child I fell into that category of women who are thrilled when they see others struggling with the same things I was.
I wonder how we start to shift our mindset to the way things are at my gym? I can’t pinpoint when my attitude changed, but I feel like it has to be related to having support of other strong females – I’d be interested to hear what others think about this.
This is so sad but for the most part true! I don’t think it is entirely our fault though. I think the influence of society and the media has had a huge impact on body image. They have taught us to compare ourselves to others, especially celebrities!
Haha, sadly yes…especially if it was someone who was never nice to me. A few months ago, I saw some girls from high school that I hadn’t seen since graduation and they were like “Abigail, you got so pretty!” “Oh thanks…***thinks to myself,was I not before?!***” Those are the girls…haha…and they HAD gained weight since I had seen them last.
Okay, done being a catty girl. :D
Eeek. That’s sad. I think that, unfortunately, there are people out there that could be described by that quote. But I also think that those people aren’t necessarily “living healthy” then. Meaning, that their priorities might be a little out of whack, succumb to jealousy, or are fighting some sort of battle with themselves. Overall, I don’t believe that most people are this way!! I’d like to believe that most people are always wanting the best for themselves AND everyone around them. :)
Oh my gosh, it’s so true! And it’s not just about weight gain. It’s in all areas. My husband and I watched SHeryl Sandburg on Jon Stewart just yesterday talking about her new book Lean In. That, of course, sparked a discussion and one of the things we both agreed on is that the greatest obstacle women face is other women!!
Hmm, I’m not sure I agree with this quote. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way looking at somebody else, and I hope I never do. I think many (too many!) fall easily into the comparison trap, so maybe the “joy” is just knowing that other women aren’t perfect either. Which means it’s not coming from a MEAN place, but just a HUMAN place. My point is – we’re all too hard on ourselves!
I don’t know that it gives me joy but rather makes me worried. Honestly. And that doesn’t mean I don’t still find myself in the “comparison trap” but especially when it comes to good friends, I get more concerned than anything else.
I completely agree with this comment.
I agree too!
It’s so bad but so true. It comforts that awful voice inside our head that tells us we aren’t good enough – because if someone else has gained a little weight then we are the same and/or better. I think it’s just in our human nature, something that I personally try to recognize and stop when it happens, but it happens.
Oh, I definitely do not agree with that. But, I’ve been overweight and struggling with it my whole life. Knowing how hard it is, if I saw a woman gaining weight I would feel nothing but empathy and sadness for her. (even if I didn’t like her! lol)
HOWEVER! In a similar vein… it is very hard for my body to drop weight, despite a lot of work. So, when a girl starts LOSING weight with little to no effort, THEN I get envious and agitated. So, I guess there’s a little trigger there for everybody :-)
As sad as it is, in this society, it’s true. We are so focused on weight and image that we lose sight of the things that really and truly matter.
I have been told on several occasions that women are harder on one another than men are on us. So many women talk about the social pressure to be “skinny” or to look a certain way can be blamed on the media. But really? We women do it to ourselves and to each other. And the worst part? I am conscious of this and at the same time totally guilty of it. While I don’t necessarily feel better when someone else is gaining weight, I definitely am envious when someone else is losing and I am not–even when I know that I don’t need to lose any weight. When are we going to stop doing this to ourselves?!
Hmm, is it bad to admit that it would make me feel better about myself? I think it’s got a big thing to do with our natural instinct to constantly compare and compete with one another. Having low self esteem and being unhappy with your body would make this enjoyment (at the other lady gaining) be greater I reckon. It’s sad but it’s reality for many.