Society loves to shame people for their bodies. We aren’t skinny enough, aren’t muscular enough, aren’t tall enough–it seems like no matter where we are physically, society has something to say about it. It gets even more tricky when it’s our friends and people we trust.
Reddit user throwawaybikinibody found herself in that very situation: a trusted friend started criticizing something she was incredibly insecure about on her body.
After a powerful reaction, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for some justification concerning her decision to keep her ex-“friend” out of her life.
“AITA for not forgiving my friend over what she said about my body?”
Our original poster, or OP, set the scene about why she came to ask for Reddit’s judgements.
“I’m a bit at war with myself because I’ve been called petty before, and I hold grudges. So I know these things are part of my personality, but I don’t know if I’m overreacting and taking it too far.”
“So I (31F[emale]) was looking for bathing suits online, with my friend (30F). We’re getting into beach season where we are, and Covid restrictions have been lifted in our area.”
“I have 2 young kids, and as you can imagine, stretch marks on my stomach, thighs, and breasts. I mean, nothing too crazy or severe, but I think, looking at me you can tell I’ve been pregnant.”
“I have a mixture of one-piece bathing suits, and two-piece sets. That day, I happened to be looking at two-pieces.”
OP’s “friend” then decided to chime in.
“My friend, who has a history of being oh-so-helpful-and-honest, asked me why I was looking for two-piece suits.”
“I showed her the picture of the current suit I had loaded up on a website, a cute bikini set with high rise bottoms. I said I thought I’d look decent in it.”
“Friend says, ‘But you have stretch marks all over, and you have the mom pouch. You should probably look for a one-piece to cover yourself up.'”
And the conversation continued to devolve from there.
“My defenses went up, but I calmly replied, ‘Okay well, imma go out on a limb and say most people have some form of stretch marks somewhere on their body, be it from pregnancy, sudden weight gain or loss, etc.'”
“Friend: ‘But you won’t look sexy at the beach when we go.'”
“Me: ‘I guess I’m not looking to be sexy? I’m married, I’m not there to pick up guys, I just want to tan my back and tummy at the beach.'”
“Friend: ‘Just because ‘lots of people have stretch marks’ doesn’t make them pretty to look at, though.'”
And then her friend made an outlandish comparison.
“Friend: ‘Isn’t that what you said? That even if something is common or popular, it doesn’t mean it’s good.'”
“I knew exactly what she was quoting me on. Wanna know, redditors?”
“Ages ago, a group of us were discussing politics and history and blah blah, and at one point in the conversation I said, ‘Hitler won the popular vote. Just because he rose to power doesn’t mean he was right.'”
“Y’all, she made a comparison between Hitler and stretch marks being unsightly.”
After sassing her friend back, she started to distance herself.
“After a long pause, I said, ‘I guess we won’t be going to the beach together then, I wouldn’t wanna subject you to my disgusting body.'”
“She rolled her eyes at me and said, ‘Ugh, don’t take it to the extreme. I was just trying to be helpful. People will stare.'”
“The rest of our visit was quiet and awkward, and I’m still miffed. She’s trying to pretend nothing happened, but I’ve been distant.”
“She texted me ‘Seriously? You’re blowing this out of proportion. I’m not apologizing for something I said with good intentions.'”
“And… yeah, I guess that’s it. I’m pissed off and not really being as friendly as normal. Am I being too petty?”
“Am I blowing it out of proportion? AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors agreed OP had the right to distance herself.
“NTA and your friend is an idiot. People will not be standing around staring at you.”
“People have stretch marks, it happens. Those are not a visual affront to others.”
“And your friend wasn’t being honest about anything save for how shallow she is.”~AdministrationThis77
“NTA. She wasn’t even being honest in her assessment of the two-piece revealing OP’s stretchmarks or stomach.”
“The only difference between a two-piece with high-waisted bottoms and a one-piece is a couple of inches of skin up above your belly button.”
“Not to mention you can get a better fit with a two-piece since you can mix different sizes.”
“OP’s friend was hoping that she could sh*t on her and that OP would be so embarrassed and hurt that she wouldn’t argue.”
“I’m guessing also that OP’s friend is… maybe not the most progressive politically and views OP more as part of the opposition than as a friend.”
“There’s a reason she was so quick to want to somehow prove that OP was a hypocrite for saying that Hitler’s actions were immoral as if the friend maybe wrongly believes that OP’s current political party shares the same views as Nazis.”~scrapsforfourvel
“I’m assuming your friend wants to pick up guys at the beach and thinks your stretch marks will somehow detract from that, or possibly give away her age.”
“F**k that noise. You rock your two piece, and your stretch marks. I wish more people would. You know what you’ll look like in a two piece on the beach, stretch marks and all? Confident.”
“NTA. Tell your friend to pound sand while she’s at the beach. Maybe then she’ll learn that good intentions for herself is not the same as good intentions for you.”~princessssamm
“ALL BODIES ARE BIKINI BODIES IF YOU HAVE A BODY AND PUT A BIKINI ON IT.”
“ALL BODIES ARE BEACH BODIES IF YOU GO TO THE BEACH WITH A BODY.”
“Your job at the beach is not to be decorative. Your job is to enjoy the beach.”
“For her, part of that enjoyment is apparently being decorative in a way that she believes is pleasing to men (or women, if she’s into them), but that’s on her. You don’t have to do it.”
“(and none of this means to imply you are not appealing or what is or is not beautiful)”
“I say this as someone who won’t wear anything form-fitting for fear of being mocked or looked down on, so you know, I’m full of it, but really, it’s no one’s f**king business.”~stonoceno
And everybody agreed OP’s friend was just rude for no reason.
“NTA. I’m sorry, I need to know exactly what her ‘good intentions’ were. Like give me bullet points.”
“Because from my end, it looks like she repeatedly tried to convince you that the opinions of strangers mattered more than your own.”
“F**k it. Go wear a goddamn string bikini to the beach. Let the world bask in the glow of your mom bod.”
“There’s a woman on twitter who says it best: ‘In art, every imperfect is perfection. It adds to the price, it makes it expensive. Your cellulite is adding to your price. It’s making you expensive and you’re trying to hide it!'”
“Show the beach how expensive you are 😉”~BroadElderberry
“Didn’t you know, OP? ALL beaches now have designated people who follow mothers around yelling ‘BEHOLD! THIS WOMAN HATH BORNE CHILDREN! SEE HER UNSIGHTLY RENDERED FLESH, AND KNOW SHE NOURISHED A BABY IN HER WOMB! DOES SHE NOT LOOK LIKE A TIGER?'”
“I think they even come with bells to draw even MORE attention. The ones for seahorse dad’s are even worse, you can actually smell the toxic masculinity coming off them from a mile away aside from the bell and yelling.”
“The criers for NB parents are still being decided. NTA by the way.”~Cables_For_Days
“NTA. Good riddance. BTW I am probably a lot bigger than you, with plenty of stretch marks and scars, and I’ve had a double mastectomy.”
“I go to the beach all the time and nobody stares. Nobody pays attention to me at all. They’ve got their own things to do.”
“Your ‘friend’ has major body image issues and she’s projecting them onto you. Don’t fall for it.”~sparkledotcom
“NTA. Your friend had zero right to body shame you. Stretch marks are beautiful and unique.”
“Personally, I haven’t given birth or been pregnant past first trimester, and I’m tits to knees in stretch marks already.”
“It took years to consider them beautiful, and I even showed them off at my wedding. They are a symbol of life’s journey. Of growth and change!”
“People like your ‘friend’ have such narrow standards of beauty that they will likely have a hard time adjusting to aging.”
“Nobody is gonna stare at your stretch marks. They so so commonplace and many people have them.”
“The fact that your friend made such a big deal says more about her than society, and she did not body shame you with ~good intentions~.”
“It’s not like you didn’t know you had stretch marks and she needed to remind you. There’s no way to slice that cake and not have her comments look/sound awful.”
“All bodies belong at the beach wearing what they please. If someone doesn’t like it they can look away!”
“Your response was super on point and I wouldn’t see the need to be friendly with someone who has such flawed logic to back up her ~good intentions~ instead of saying she was wrong and apologizing.”
“Your friend took zero accountability for her words. It’s 2021, aren’t we supposed to be a little more woke about body positivity?”~synesthesiah
After all, how would true friends actually behave in this situation?
“NTA!! I could never be friends with this person after this. You’re not blowing anything out of proportion. Is she outright trying to hurt your feelings?! That’s what it seems like.”
“Bodies are bodies and I cannot believe she had the audacity to be so blatantly rude. And then to throw in your face another argument for SO long ago? WOWWWWW. She seems terrible.”
“Take your trip with people who don’t judge you, and wear whatever damn bathing suit you please. You aren’t an object for people to stare at.”~baggleboots
“NTA. Your ‘friend’ though is a massive one in trying to body shame you.”
“I had practically the same experience with a former acquaintance. I have had 3 children and have stretch marks. I also have prominent scars on my neck and chest from cancer surgeries.”
“She took great pleasure in trying to drag me down by pointing out the scars and the fact that I have stretch marks and pudgy belly. All in the guise of being, in her words ‘a good friend.'”
“I was a single mother and she told me no man would ever look at me twice, cause no man wants someone with them. I was hurt but then I had a light bulb moment.”
“It wasn’t about my flaws, it was about her insecurities. She had been putting me down in someway since we met when we were 11.”
“I then went off at her and told her that my stretch marks are a reminder that my body carried life and that it’s actually an amazing thing. My cancer scars are a reminder that I actually beat it, something that sadly too many people can’t say.”
“I am actually happy with myself, flaws and all. And obviously she is the one who has a problem with them, and I don’t need someone around me who is as negative as her and someone who is trying her best to drag me down so please show herself out.”
“And that was how a 16 year friendship ended.”
“Could say that I had the last laugh cause I met someone who actually didn’t care about the so called flaws and I have been extremely happy for 13 years and she is a lonely bitter woman because other friends got tired of her crap and constant judgments.”
“Don’t let anyone try and drag you down. Be proud of those stretch marks and wear them with pride. No one on the beach will notice them, but what they will see is a woman confident within her own skin.”~halfpintsmurf
“Nta shame on her for being so horrible! I’m only 21 with no kids and I have tons of stretch marks – everyone has them!”
“Our bodies are literally built to stretch out during pregnancy and obviously we’re going to get stretch marks. Your body is amazing, it carried two kids in it.”
“And I mean this in the best way – no body cares about your stretch marks. No one will look twice because they’re that normal.”
“Don’t let her shame you into not wearing that two piece. Wear it and get the tan you deserve.”~Invisibleamber
“NTA – your friend is a jerk and I don’t think you’re being petty by limiting contact.”
“Life is too short to surround yourself with people like that and it seems like you have a fulfilling life as it is with your husband, children, and presumably other friends.”~kacastro
OP’s choice to take a step back from this friendship was universally supported.
We hope she finds some better friends soon.