Thank you for your question! This is a huge issue, so often we tell little girls and grown women “OMG YOU’RE NOT FAT” in response to their self degradation.
This is one way to handle that situation.
FRIEND: UGH I look so fat in this
YOU: And gorgeous!!!!!!
Refrain from conflating fat with feeling bad/ugly/bloated/unhappy etc… even if your friend has already done it. It only serves to fuel their momentary or chronic poor self esteem in addition to reifying the already pervasive stereotypes surrounding fat people.
Another way to handle the situation is by not responding to the question/playing into the dialogue that your friend expects. Sometimes when someone says they are fat they do it to convey to others how unattractive they feel, they expect others to respond with OMG NO WAY’s that they can dismiss or accept at their leisure. When someone describes themselves as fat in a negative way try shifting the conversation. Ask them what they mean by that? Do they mean that they are in actuality a fat person? At which point you can tell them that fat is by no means a bad thing. Do they mean that they feel unattractive? Ask them why they think fat=unattractive.
If you are fat yourself it can be especially hard to address people who aren’t perceived as fat when they say things like this. It can be extremely hurtful to hear your friends stereotype fat people and consequently, you. Sometimes when you bring this up your friends will rush to tell you that you’re not fat or you’re not like those OTHER fat people because you’re not sloppy/lazy/unhealthy/dirty/unattractive/stupid/all other bad things here. At which point you can promptly tell them how offensive they’re being or ask them to think a little bit more critically about why they think fat people are those things when there is a living breathing fat person in front of them who they think defies these stereotypes.
In summation there are a few ways to handle these situations. My favorite being the bubbling cauldron of optimism and love that Mama June chooses to use.
TW: SELF HARM
Long jeans can be very hot on the wrong days congratulations on your ENORMOUS step towards self love :)