Actress Solenn Heussaff’s image of her family on Instagram came with the caption “The Heussaffs.” In the photo are her husband, businessman and model Nico Bolzico and their newest member, actress Anne Curtis, who got married with Solenn’s brother, Erwan, last year.
But some of her Instagram followers speculated that Curtis could be pregnant, observing that the television personality seemed to have gained weight based on the photo.
Curtis gamely responded to one of the comments and explained, “No. I’m not pregnant. It’s just the angle. And also all the egg tarts I ate.”
While her reply was polite enough not to show her annoyance over comments on her weight, her sister-in-law came to her defense.
“Even if you [are] saying cute things, its really a bad habit to always comment about people’s weight,” Solenn wrote. “It’s always done in the Philippines by our titas and friends and has become like a ‘Hello’ in our society.”
It’s true, relatives give unsolicited body weight-related comments.
Social media complaints from those whose aunts, uncles and relatives remarked about them having putting on some pounds show that Heussaff has a point. A from of “body shaming” has become a customary greeting among family members.
It seems the phenomenon gets worse around Christmastime when family reunions happen.
Yung tipo ng Tita na nakakairita tuwing reunion daming sinasabi tungkol sa buhay mo.
"O, bakit wala ka pang boypren?"
"Di ko naman type yang nanliligaw sayo. May kakilala ako anak ng amiga ko."
"Parang tumaba ka?"
— PaoVill-ugh ?? (@PMVilla) June 20, 2018
Sabi ng tito ko na di ako nakita for a year or so, tumaba daw ako. ? Just proves na mas tama ang mga tita kesa sa mga tito.
Pero Merry Christmas na lang din po sa inyo! Haha! ?
— Jeremiah Vallente (@jeremiahrvmd) December 26, 2017
Tita: Tumaba ka
Tito: May girlfriend ka na ba
Me: I am a corporate communications manager. I am required to have an extensive vocabulary so I never use inane and poorly-worded language like "tumaba ka" or "may girlfriend ka na ba" to greet family members I haven't seen in a while pic.twitter.com/tztWG31TFw
— Echoserang Froggy (@mamshiefroggy) December 25, 2017
Women get body shamed more often.
A 2016 study found that as women who age find themselves being body shamed more often then men. Men, in contrast, become more confident over time.
Women do feel more confident over time as well, as they develop a “greater sense of meaning and fulfillment” in their life. But women who have become more comfortable in their own skin are fewer than their male counterparts.
“Within our culture, it’s fair game now to comment on a woman’s weight, regardless of her age,” says psychologist Sari Shepphird. “It used to be that only happened for women who highlighted their bodies, like models.”
The study was confined to Americans and a similar one is yet to be done in the Philippines. Still, results of the survey are applicable to the wider conversation on the need for more body positivity, or the feeling of satisfaction with one’s body.