Anyone who's lost a significant amount of weight knows just how many unwarranted compliments weight loss can bring from friends and strangers, alike. And Shonda Rhimes, who has lost a fair amount of weight over the last few years, knows these comments all too well.
In the latest edition of her Shondaland newsletter, the Scandal and Grey's Anatomy showrunner talks about how she felt after a purely physical change sparked a sudden increase in attention from everyone around her.
"Women I barely knew gushed. And I mean GUSHED. Like I was holding-a-new-baby-gushed. Only there was no new baby. It was just me. In a dress. With makeup on and my hair all did, yes. But...still the same me," Rhimes shared, per EW. "And men? They spoke to me. THEY SPOKE TO ME. Like stood still and had long conversations with me about things. It was disconcerting."
But even more disconcerting, according to Rhimes, was that all these people "suddenly felt completely comfortable" talking to her about her body. They told her she looked pretty or "so hot now." They said they were proud of her and told her she looked amazing.
"After I lost weight, I discovered that people found me valuable—worth of conversation," she shared. "I discovered that NOW people saw me as a PERSON. What the hell did they see me as before?...What value did they put on my presence at a party, a lunch, a discussion?" Rhimes was frustrated by the fact that she received so much more respect only after she'd lost weight. "Being thinner doesn't make you a different person," she wrote. "It just makes you thinner."
Unfortunately, Rhimes is right: Sizeism is still alive and well. Too often, anyone larger than a sample size (0-8) is seen as an object of ridicule, the punchline to a joke or a charity case to be taken care of. And Rhimes isn't the only one to draw attention to this issue lately. Actress Gabourey Sidibe recently told Refinery29 that she's tired of people congratulating her on her own weight loss. "My body actually has nothing to do with you," Sidibe said. "I don't really need your support for it. It seems ill-placed."