纽约时报文摘 | 你会向闺蜜抱怨自己的身材吗?

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你会向闺蜜抱怨自己的身材吗?
‘Fat Talk’ Compels but Carries a Cost

Over winter break, Carolyn Bates, a college senior, and a friend each picked out five pairs of jeans at a Gap store in Indianapolis and eagerly tried them on. But the growing silence in their separate fitting rooms was telling. At last, one friend called out, “Dang it, these fit everywhere but my thighs! I wish my legs weren’t so huge.” The response: “My pair is way too long. I need to be taller or skinnier!”
寒假时,读大学三年级的卡萝琳·贝茨(Carolyn Bates)和一个朋友去了印第安纳波利斯的盖普(Gap)商店,每人挑了五条牛仔裤,高高兴兴地去试穿。可是,她们俩在各自的更衣室里却一直保持着沉默,似乎在说明着一点什么。最后,一个人先叫了起来:“哎,这条裤子哪哪儿都合适,就是大腿不行!我的大腿要是没这么粗就好了!”另一个人回话:“我挑的这条太长了。我得要么长高点,要么变瘦点!”

The young women slumped out of the store, feeling lousy.
两个女孩颓然步出商店,心中郁闷不已。

This exchange is what psychological researchers call “fat talk,” the body-denigrating conversation between girls and women. It’s a bonding ritual they describe as “contagious,” aggravating poor body image and even setting the stage for eating disorders. Some researchers have found that fat talk is so embedded among women that it often reflects not how the speaker actually feels about her body but how she is expected to feel about it.
这段对话用心理学研究者的说法,叫“肥胖聊天”,是女性之间进行的贬损体态的对话。据心理学家说,这种女性加强感情联系的仪式具有“传染性”,它会恶化对身体形象的判断,甚至可能为患饮食失调症埋下伏笔。一些研究人员已经发现,“肥胖聊天”在女性间根深蒂固,它往往并不能反映说话人对自己身体的真实感受,而是反映出他人对其身体形象的看法。

And while research shows that most women neither enjoy nor admire fat talk, it compels them. In one study, 93 percent of college women admitted to engaging in it.
同时,研究还发现,尽管大部分女性既不享受也不欣赏肥胖聊天,却会被迫参与。在一项研究中,有93%的大学女生承认自己曾参与过这类对话。

Alexandra F. Corning, a research associate professor in psychology at the University of Notre Dame, wondered whether a woman’s size would affect her likability when she engaged in fat talk. As an online experiment, Dr. Corning showed 139 undergraduates photos of two thin and two overweight women, each making either a positive or negative remark about her body.
圣母大学(University of Notre Dame)心理学研究助理教授亚历山德拉·F·康宁(Alexandra F. Corning)想知道,在女性参与肥胖聊天时,她的身形是否会影响其受欢迎程度。于是她做了一项在线试验,向139名大学生展示了两名苗条女性和两名超重女性的照片,这四个人每个都对自己的身形发表了或正面或负面的评价。

Because of the stigma against heavier people, Dr. Corning expected that the most popular option would be a thin woman who made positive comments about her body. But she found that wasn’t the case.
由于胖人会遭到耻笑,康宁博士本以为大部分人更喜欢的应该是苗条且对身形做出正面评判的女性。但她发现情况并非如此。

The most likable woman chosen by the students was overweight and quoted as saying: “I know I’m not perfect, but I love the way I look. I know how to work with what I’ve got, and that’s all that matters.”
学生们最喜欢的女性是这种类型的——她身材超重,且这样表示:“我知道自己并不完美,但我喜欢自己的样子。我知道该如何面对自己的长相,这才最重要。”

The results were heartening, Dr. Corning said, a glimmer that nearly two decades of positive body-image campaigns may be taking hold.
康宁博士说,这个结果鼓舞人心,它暗示着近20年的“正视身体形象运动”或许取得了成效。

But, she acknowledged, her experiment had limitations. “Are the students really liking these women the most? Or are they saying it because they think they should?” said Dr. Corning. “They might like them more, but would they really want to hang out with them?”
但她同时承认,这项试验有局限性。“学生们真的最喜欢这一类女性吗?还是说,她们之所以这么选,只因为她们觉得自己应当如此?”康宁博士追问,“她们也许最喜欢这种女性,可她们愿意真心和对方结交吗?”

Renee Engeln, who directs the Body and Media Lab at Northwestern University, cautioned that “we have complicated reactions to confident women in general, and particularly to women who are confident about their bodies. Women sometimes see them as arrogant.”
西北大学(Northwestern University)身体与媒体实验室主任蕾妮·恩格因(Renee Engeln)提出警告,“对于自信的女性,我们得到的反应非常复杂,而那些对自己身材非常自信的女性,取得的反应尤其如此。有时候,女性会觉得这类人太狂妄自大。”

Fat talk has insinuated itself among men, too, Dr. Engeln added, though it is far less frequent than with women. In addition, men are more likely to place emphasis on different issues, like muscular bulk or being too thin, something women rarely fret about, she said.
恩格因博士进一步说,肥胖聊天在男性中间同样存在,不过发生的频率远比女性要小。此外,男人往往把重点放在其他问题上,比如肌肉块的大小或者身材太瘦,而女性根本不会抱怨这类事情。

But putting a stop to fat talk is difficult. Dr. Corning said, in part because it feels airless and scripted and seems to offer the responder no avenue to change the dynamic without threatening the relationship. She gave an example:
康宁博士说,停止肥胖聊天是件难事,部分原因在于这样做会让人难堪,显得很生硬,而且有得罪人的可能。她举了个例子:

First friend: “I can’t believe I ate that brownie. I am so fat!”
朋友甲说:“我是怎么回事啊,竟然吃起了布朗尼蛋糕。我都已经这么胖了!”

Second friend: “You must be joking — you are so not fat. Just look at my thighs.”
朋友乙说:“你胡说什么呀——你根本不胖。瞧我的腿,那才叫粗。”

The second friend’s reply, an “empathetic” self-deprecating retort to maintain the friendship on equal standing, includes reflexive praise of the first friend’s body, supposedly feeding the first friend’s hungry cry for affirmation, Dr. Corning said. But to do so, the second friend has eviscerated herself, a toxic tear-down by comparison.
康宁说,朋友乙的反驳是在用“移情式”的自贬来维护两人基于平等立场的友谊,其中包括了对朋友甲身材自然而然的褒扬,而这应该可以满足对方拼命寻求的赞许。但为了取得这个效果,朋友乙直接拿自己下刀,通过两人作比来恶毒地攻击自己。

Dr. Corning said that to break the cycle, a person shouldn’t engage. But particularly for younger women, it’s hard to say something like, “Hey, no negative self-talk!” or “Why do we put ourselves down?”
康宁说,想要打破这个循环,谈话者就不应参与进来。但对于较年轻的女性来说,想要说“嘿,咱们别自己毁自己了好吗!”或“为什么咱们要说自己的坏话?”,这尤其困难。

Instead, for adolescents, she suggested, “Keep it light; it’s not a moment for major social activism. Teenagers can change the topic. They do it all the time.”
她建议,年轻少女可以这样做:“轻松处之;这种时候没必要采取激进的社交行动。女孩子们可以换一个话题。她们聊天时一直在跑题的。”

Ms. Bates, who recently graduated from Notre Dame, pointed out that “when you focus on clothes and make it about your body, you’ve put your friend in a position where she can’t say anything right. She can’t be honest, because it could come off as hurtful.”
刚从圣母大学毕业的贝茨说,“如果你一心放在衣服上,然后谈到了自己的身材,你会让朋友很难做:她怎么说都是错的。她没法说真话,因为真话很伤人。”

That winter day, as she and her friend drove away from the Gap feeling so deflated, her friend said, “We always get good clothes from that store, but their new pants just don’t ‘get’ us!”
在寒假的那天,她和朋友们沮丧地开车离开盖普店,朋友说:“我们总能从这家店买到好看的衣服,但它家新出的裤子就是不‘配’咱们!”

It wasn’t that their bodies didn’t fit the clothes; the clothes didn’t fit their bodies.
并不是她们的身材不适合衣服;是衣服不适合她们的身材。

Ever since, said Ms. Bates, when the friends try on clothes that don’t fit, their go-to remark has become, “This doesn’t get me!” And, taking a cue from the positive-image primer, they leave it at that.
贝茨说,从那以后,只要朋友们试的衣服不合适,她们总会脱口而出,“这衣服不配我!”接着,她们就此搁下这个话题,这是她们从正面体形运动初级教材中得到的启发。

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