From my Wexin (WeChat) the other day:
Woman 1: [shares photo]
Woman 2: “Hey, your face is fatter than it used to be, you should pay attention to control how much you eat so you can lose weight.”
Woman 1: “Haha, that’s because I’m the farthest in front. I sacrificed myself! You’re both behind me.”
Chinese (and other cultures) can be incredibly blunt by North American standards. Particularly when it comes to bodies and physical appearance. Or: North Americans are hyper-sensitive about their bodies (probably because we’re raised in a photoshop-saturated media culture, we’re taught to have very thin skin and feel entitled to society’s affirmation, and neo-platonic dualism is a major formative element in our general worldview). While Chinese may ultimately rate somewhere on the “insensitive” side of a global scale, they’re closer to the majority-world norm than we are when it comes to talk about appearance.
Jessica has an endless supply of funny-but-painful anecdotes like this.