A comic explains the screwed-up reason people complimented this girl for being sick.
'Health comes in lots of sizes. Beauty comes in many forms.'
In the world of body compliments, there's an unfortunate pairing that still exists:
"You look great — have you lost weight?"
The seed of dieting was planted in America back in the 1830s by a minister named Sylvester Graham. He suggested eating a simple grain diet would encourage health and temper libidos, while a fatty diet would encourage sinful behavior. It marked the beginning of fad diets in America, which would eventually lead to an unhealthy focus on slenderizing.
While we know now that skinny absolutely does not equal healthy and attractive, the over 180 years of brainwashing has done enough damage to the point where we rarely even question what's underneath the skinny.
Case and point, illustrator Miriam Caldwell's poignant comic on how an illness that made her lose weight opened her eyes to the body issues we project on each other — and how to see past them.
"Nobody can tell how healthy a person is from looking at them except a doctor and the person themselves," Miriam wrote in an email, explaining that she wants her comic to "move the focus back to how we feel rather than how we look."
Compliments are great and all, but at the end of the day, it's how you see yourself that matters most.