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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
this is a topic that i feel is pretty intense in our culture. many people associate "health" with "good looks." healthy means "thin." but i really don't think this is necessarily the case at all.

aside from the health angle, when it comes to being vegan, how much does how i look really matter? i know many people of vegan for health (and, yes, weight loss)…but do the animals really care?

just thought i'd see what y'all thought. recently did a vid on this cause there is SO much out there about wanting "thigh gaps" and that kind of crazy stuff…

 

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This has been somewhat on my mind lately because I have had a skin problem for most of my life, that has only been marginally improved with a healthier diet (which I kind of resent because some of what I have done to improve my diet has been extremely difficult and uncomfortable for me - glad to *feel* better but I would like to *look* better!). I am thin, at my ideal body weight, but I don't get anywhere near enough exercise and I know I would look better with some muscle.

The bad news is, looks do seem to matter in nearly every single aspect of our culture and society, from getting a job, to getting a partner/sex, to getting good treatment in a store, to testifying before Congress. When I say looks, I don't mean "thin" or "thigh gap," I mean dressing in good, well-kept clothes, having well-tailored hair, clear skin, no scars, not being wrinkled or too pale or blotchy, having (enough) hair - on your head and not other places! not having obvious handicaps such as missing a limb or having to wear a colostomy bag. Even glasses, or being the "wrong" ethnicity, can garner negative attention and turn people off. Sometimes, it's the sort of thing where you have everything "right," then it's not noticed... But if you do have a scar, or a handicap, or have thin hair, then they notice and suddenly, you're not the job seeker that had 10 years of robotics experience, you are the job seeker who has a terrible facial scar! It's pathetic, but it happens all the time, and people often don't even realize they are judging someone for the wrong reasons.

One place where I see this happening is the beauty pageant scene, i.e. Miss America... The "most beautiful woman in America" has no handicaps, no scars. Ever notice that? And she is always going to be feminine - she will never be a new Army recruit that just got a buzz cut. She won't be in a wheelchair either, or have a prosthetic leg. Why is this? I think our collective definition of beauty, especially with regard to women, is messed up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This has been somewhat on my mind lately because I have had a skin problem for most of my life, that has only been marginally improved with a healthier diet (which I kind of resent because some of what I have done to improve my diet has been extremely difficult and uncomfortable for me - glad to *feel* better but I would like to *look* better!). I am thin, at my ideal body weight, but I don't get anywhere near enough exercise and I know I would look better with some muscle.

The bad news is, looks do seem to matter in nearly every single aspect of our culture and society, from getting a job, to getting a partner/sex, to getting good treatment in a store, to testifying before Congress. When I say looks, I don't mean "thin" or "thigh gap," I mean dressing in good, well-kept clothes, having well-tailored hair, clear skin, no scars, not being wrinkled or too pale or blotchy, having (enough) hair - on your head and not other places! not having obvious handicaps such as missing a limb or having to wear a colostomy bag. Even glasses, or being the "wrong" ethnicity, can garner negative attention and turn people off. Sometimes, it's the sort of thing where you have everything "right," then it's not noticed... But if you do have a scar, or a handicap, or have thin hair, then they notice and suddenly, you're not the job seeker that had 10 years of robotics experience, you are the job seeker who has a terrible facial scar! It's pathetic, but it happens all the time, and people often don't even realize they are judging someone for the wrong reasons.

One place where I see this happening is the beauty pageant scene, i.e. Miss America... The "most beautiful woman in America" has no handicaps, no scars. Ever notice that? And she is always going to be feminine - she will never be a new Army recruit that just got a buzz cut. She won't be in a wheelchair either, or have a prosthetic leg. Why is this? I think our collective definition of beauty, especially with regard to women, is messed up.
fantastic insight, Rocket. the societal idea of beauty is indeed narrow. i myself am heavily tattooed and get some discrimination about that. now, that differs in that it is of my own creation, as are my scars from old self-harm

my largest handicaps are mental, which aren't visible…which can be good and bad. it's good in that it's not always evident, however it's rough in that it's always assumed that I'm "okay" and any battles with an invisible enemy are difficult to explain.

thank you for your insight.
 

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"Healthy" looks doesnt just mean thin. In my experience very unkempt people get just as much or more of a stigma as clinically obese people. Out in the world even someone with an ideal BMI will be regarded as inferior to an obese person when the obese person is clean, groomed, confident, and reasonably happy and the thin person is angry, dirty with frizzed out hair, in pajama bottoms and a stained T-shirt with neon Cheezy Poofz dust all down the front.
If peoples opinions about how you look matters to you then do what you can to look good, within reason. Loosing lots of weight or building muscle and fitness takes months or years. Being cleaned and groomed and holding your head high can be done in a day, so its the logical place to start.
Dont be the person covered in vegan Cheezy Poofz dust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"Healthy" looks doesnt just mean thin. In my experience very unkempt people get just as much or more of a stigma as clinically obese people. Out in the world even someone with an ideal BMI will be regarded as inferior to an obese person when the obese person is clean, groomed, confident, and reasonably happy and the thin person is angry, dirty with frizzed out hair, in pajama bottoms and a stained T-shirt with neon Cheezy Poofz dust all down the front.
If peoples opinions about how you look matters to you then do what you can to look good, within reason. Loosing lots of weight or building muscle and fitness takes months or years. Being cleaned and groomed and holding your head high can be done in a day, so its the logical place to start.
Dont be the person covered in vegan Cheezy Poofz dust.
ha! indeed. i do try to look presentable but must say i never feel i look "nice" clothing and presentation-wise. i don't wear makeup and have no idea what to do with my hair and get most of my clothes from second hand stores. but i am clean and bathed…so hopefully that helps! :)
 

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Not wearing makeup isnt a bad thing. I've never found makeup attractive and I remember feeling sort of vindicated not long ago when a study showed that men normally find less makeup to be more attractive.
Less or no makeup shows more self confidence and cleanliness. Hard to look at someone covered in makeup and think "I'd love to lick them all over". Licking makeup is gross.
(For the record I do not go around licking the faces of strangers, it was half metaphorical)

Second hand stores are a great place to get clothes. New clothes are only new for a day anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not wearing makeup isnt a bad thing. I've never found makeup attractive and I remember feeling sort of vindicated not long ago when a study showed that men normally find less makeup to be more attractive.
Less or no makeup shows more self confidence and cleanliness. Hard to look at someone covered in makeup and think "I'd love to lick them all over". Licking makeup is gross.
(For the record I do not go around licking the faces of strangers, it was half metaphorical)

Second hand stores are a great place to get clothes. New clothes are only new for a day anyway.
ha! love the image of licking someone covered in makeup…gross.

the few times i have had makeup on it just felt gross. i just don't like it at all.

i am quite tickled but the image of licking strangers, though :p
 

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Out in the world even someone with an ideal BMI will be regarded as inferior to an obese person when the obese person is clean, groomed, confident, and reasonably happy and the thin person is angry, dirty with frizzed out hair, in pajama bottoms and a stained T-shirt with neon Cheezy Poofz dust all down the front.
This, I think, is mostly related to social class. That is, the obese person in this case would be perceived to be of a higher social class than the dirty lean one.
 

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I have to disagree with thin being perceived as healthy.
I think that in a lot of cultures, thin is actually perceived as unhealthy, and thick (not fat) with a little bit of fat is what is perceived as healthy.
I'm a girl, and I don't get why other girls want thigh gaps. Seriously, I doubt your boyfriend or husband cares if you have a thigh gap or not.

I will say that, sadly, in others' eyes how vegans look matters more than how other people look. You know... If you're a fat omnivore, "no one cares" about your diet. If you're a fat vegan, it's strange. You're vegan, you're not supposed to be fat. If you're a thin omnivore, again no one cares (people don't associate it with your diet much). If you're a thin vegan, you're thin because you're vegan and therefore unhealthy.
I think that looking good as vegan can help more people become vegan, but if those people are doing it just to have a nice body, they're not going to be vegan for long. A lot of people eat a plant-based diet just to get a bikini body.
 

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I agree with all that has been shared here, especially what jessendreia said. Although I once had a doctor compliment me on how good I looked when I was 25 lbs underweight, until she later found out I was in an eating disorder treatment center and suffering with heart and bone issues. Sadly I have been complimented on my body when I was mildly underweight and my thinness was perceived as "athleticism" even by family though I have never been an athlete but physically active. My low weight however and my sickness has had very little to do with appearance and caring how I look. On the converse side, having gained to a healthier weight, I find that people are much friendlier towards me and people smile and talk to me that never used to and don't stare at me in such awful ways. I seem to get more respect and people are less intimidated by me. and I am like the least intimidating person on the planet lol. Totally passive. Maybe it is because I am more present, focused, and engaged in what is going on around me and generally feeling better than when I was sicker and focused only on my body. I don't know.

I do think that the animals may care if we are healthy or not (as opposed to how we look) because it is hard to commit time and effort to advocating for the treatment of animals and so on if one is sick. And if a vegan is sick (heaven forbid) then omnivores like to blame this on our diet and therefore reject veganism as too extreme. But in terms of having the lowest fat percentage and being chiseled with muscle and having the absolute perfect diet, yeah, don't think the animals care lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have to disagree with thin being perceived as healthy.
I think that in a lot of cultures, thin is actually perceived as unhealthy, and thick (not fat) with a little bit of fat is what is perceived as healthy.
I'm a girl, and I don't get why other girls want thigh gaps. Seriously, I doubt your boyfriend or husband cares if you have a thigh gap or not.

I will say that, sadly, in others' eyes how vegans look matters more than how other people look. You know... If you're a fat omnivore, "no one cares" about your diet. If you're a fat vegan, it's strange. You're vegan, you're not supposed to be fat. If you're a thin omnivore, again no one cares (people don't associate it with your diet much). If you're a thin vegan, you're thin because you're vegan and therefore unhealthy.
I think that looking good as vegan can help more people become vegan, but if those people are doing it just to have a nice body, they're not going to be vegan for long. A lot of people eat a plant-based diet just to get a bikini body.
so true jessandreia! as vegans, everything about us, fro our appearance to our success in life, to our mental status all *must* be a result/consequence of our diet. it is frustrating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree with all that has been shared here, especially what jessendreia said. Although I once had a doctor compliment me on how good I looked when I was 25 lbs underweight, until she later found out I was in an eating disorder treatment center and suffering with heart and bone issues. Sadly I have been complimented on my body when I was mildly underweight and my thinness was perceived as "athleticism" even by family though I have never been an athlete but physically active. My low weight however and my sickness has had very little to do with appearance and caring how I look. On the converse side, having gained to a healthier weight, I find that people are much friendlier towards me and people smile and talk to me that never used to and don't stare at me in such awful ways. I seem to get more respect and people are less intimidated by me. and I am like the least intimidating person on the planet lol. Totally passive. Maybe it is because I am more present, focused, and engaged in what is going on around me and generally feeling better than when I was sicker and focused only on my body. I don't know.

I do think that the animals may care if we are healthy or not (as opposed to how we look) because it is hard to commit time and effort to advocating for the treatment of animals and so on if one is sick. And if a vegan is sick (heaven forbid) then omnivores like to blame this on our diet and therefore reject veganism as too extreme. But in terms of having the lowest fat percentage and being chiseled with muscle and having the absolute perfect diet, yeah, don't think the animals care lol.
totally agree, Naturebound. being healthy IS important, for us and for the animals.

and sadly it's very common to be complimented on appearance when it's a product of unhealthy habits or an eating disorder. many doctors even, as you said, aren't really aware/well-versed in these issues
 

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I'm a girl, and I don't get why other girls want thigh gaps. Seriously, I doubt your boyfriend or husband cares if you have a thigh gap or not.
A thigh gap can look very attractive if the girl has wide hips. Narrow hips and a thigh gap tends to mean the girl is underweight.

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I'm amused by OPs point of view. You're concerned with what animals think of you, but not what humans think of you. Why value the views of a less intelligent being over a more intelligent being?
Don't get me wrong, I love animals, but I wouldn't put an innocent animal over an innocent human.
 

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Not wearing makeup isnt a bad thing. I've never found makeup attractive and I remember feeling sort of vindicated not long ago when a study showed that men normally find less makeup to be more attractive.
Less or no makeup shows more self confidence and cleanliness. Hard to look at someone covered in makeup and think "I'd love to lick them all over". Licking makeup is gross.
(For the record I do not go around licking the faces of strangers, it was half metaphorical)
**Sad chuckle** Well, unfortunately, it is also hard for someone to look at a skin problem and think "I'd love to lick them all over!" I don't wear makeup every day, but I do wear it any time I don't want my skin to distract people - i.e. job interviews and going out. I generally wear only as much as I think is necessary. Lately I have not had to wear a lot, but there are times I have to use a ton. There is no question it helps my appearance.

As much as I would like to live in a world where stuff like this does not matter to people, I know full well that I don't.
 

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I think you need to temper the words said with the source, the intent, along with your personal feelings.
If it's friends who are commenting, are they typically judgmental, or trying to be constructive? Personally when I hit my forties my friends were more supportive of me accepting my weight gain and inactivity, and I really wish I hadn't listened. I had always loved food, and did yoga and kickboxing. When I injured my back in my late 30's and my lifestyle changed, I started eating as more of an hobby. Rather than confront what I deemed a problem the people around me encouraged me to "accept myself". I did, and wish I listened to my voice inside.
Once I gained the 30 lbs I still struggle with it seemed to become my new "normal".
I have to agree with Redpill about secret denial. When you get accustomed to behaviors it's very hard to be realistic. I've known so many people that swear they can't lose weight, and for the most part only eat lightly in public. When I get closer to what their real day is like I find a lot of denial, a lot of extra calories that don't get counted, a lot of exceptions. True for me too, but I see it and often just choose to look away
Just like the youtube clip of the belly dancer.

This thread has really gotten derailed. It's not okay to make random hurtful comments to anyone about appearance. When someone comments on appearance it should be said in an attempt to help and not criticize, and never be random.
 

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I just realized my comment was on a different thread! I shouldn't just leave things up and decide to comment hours later when I get back on!
I thought this was the thread about hurtful comments. Oh well, I quess it's okay.

I hate that in this day of so called equality make up is considered a daily thing women do.
I haven't worn make up in years and recall the transition. First my eye lids were kinda puffy by the lashes. I think that was probably from bacteria from eye liner. My skin was blotchier, again I think from daily use of foundation. In other words I think I looked pretty yucky. But I stayed away. My skin got better, my eyes less puffy, and I got used to how I look.
People have such stereotypes of women "needing" makeup. It's pathetic. I hear comments all the time about how men just look fine they way they are and women don't> Puh-leeze! That's just conditioning! They don't seem to realize women who never wear makeup look fine not because of genetics but because they don't wear makeup and you're used to how they look!
I actually like makeup as an occasion thing-for men too! I find dark rimmed eyes and colored lips very sexy~!
 

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I dressed in drag for a wedding once (not mine) and my female friend who was the architect of the plan had to hold me down when putting on the eye liner, lol, but your right.. it can look good on guys ;) I cant imagine doing it every day tho.
...it's very common to be complimented on appearance when it's a product of unhealthy habits or an eating disorder. many doctors even, as you said, aren't really aware/well-versed in these issues
When I was a teen I had absurdly low muscle mass and I was skinny. A doctor told me I needed to gain weight, so I asked him how. He told me to eat lots and lots of ice cream, milk shakes, potato chips, french fries, and lard. ...yes, lard.
That doctor took early retirement due to cardiovascular disease.
Doctors are great for broken legs and knife wounds, its rare to find one that has even the most basic level of common sense in regards to diet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I dressed in drag for a wedding once (not mine) and my female friend who was the architect of the plan had to hold me down when putting on the eye liner, lol, but your right.. it can look good on guys ;) I cant imagine doing it every day tho.

When I was a teen I had absurdly low muscle mass and I was skinny. A doctor told me I needed to gain weight, so I asked him how. He told me to eat lots and lots of ice cream, milk shakes, potato chips, french fries, and lard. ...yes, lard.
That doctor took early retirement due to cardiovascular disease.
Doctors are great for broken legs and knife wounds, its rare to find one that has even the most basic level of common sense in regards to diet.
SO SO true! doctors (MDs) typically get A course in nutrition. most of med school is "here's a symptom, here's a drug"

my father was an MD and my best friend is in her residency currently. they both had to look outside their medical training for nutritional knowledge…

oh and yes, eyeliner on men can be fantastic ;)
 

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I dressed in drag for a wedding once (not mine) and my female friend who was the architect of the plan had to hold me down when putting on the eye liner, lol, but your right.. it can look good on guys ;) I cant imagine doing it every day tho.

When I was a teen I had absurdly low muscle mass and I was skinny. A doctor told me I needed to gain weight, so I asked him how. He told me to eat lots and lots of ice cream, milk shakes, potato chips, french fries, and lard. ...yes, lard.
That doctor took early retirement due to cardiovascular disease.
Doctors are great for broken legs and knife wounds, its rare to find one that has even the most basic level of common sense in regards to diet.
A pediatrician once told my lactose-intolerant 13-year-old thin but healthy daughter that the best way to develop breasts and get her period was to drink 8 ounces of half and half (whole cow milk and cream) per day. We couldn't switch doctors fast enough.
 
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