I am angry.
I’m angry at myself for not standing up for something I feel really strongly for.
A few weeks back an acquaintance was laughing at a meme or a screen capture or some nonsense a friend sent him. It was a photo of a naked, plus sized girl sitting on a bed, the image was cropped so it was just her torso, her breasts hanging on her soft belly rolls. It was compared to a head shot of Homer Simpson. He showed it to me and instead of expressing my anger, I shrugged and looked away. He thought It was hilarious and shared it around to a couple people after showing me.
I cannot even fathom the bravery this girl had to share this very personal photo of herself. I’m quite sure it was submitted to a body positive blog on tumblr. I follow a few of those blogs. These photos are usually an F you to the world, a bit of empowerment to a group of people that are made to feel shame for no other reason then they do not fit the ideal. While she was posting this image to a community that is about empowering each other and making each other feel good and comfortable with our bodies. It was taken, mocked, made fun of and turned into the exact opposite of it’s intended purpose.
I’m mad because I let the joke continue. I’m angry that these jokes have a real effect on girls and their mental state. I’ve been the joke before. I know the pain of being the punchline and I didn’t like how it felt. I’m mad at the insensitivity and thoughtlessness in thinking I, a plus sized girl, would find humour in making fun of my body type. And lastly, I’m mad that I didn’t speak up and let him know how insensitive and thoughtless it was.
I’ve come to terms with my body and I don’t let it hold me back from feeling stylish or happy or sexy. But that doesn’t mean I’m ok with people making fun of it. It still hurts to be ridiculed, directly or indirectly.
I worked at accepting who I am, at not hating myself because I carry extra weight. Life is too short to spend so much negativity on your body. I don’t believe I am glorifying an unhealthy lifestyle, I am just living my life and don’t think anyone deserves to be bullied because of appearance. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”
I wear what I want to wear because I like to have fun with fashion and I don’t think I should let my measurements get in the way of my expression of who I am or let it dull my personal style.
I get compliments like “You don’t look like a normal heavy girl” Or “She doesn’t carry her weight like a fat girl”, or the ever so famous “Pretty for a big girl” these are such back handed “compliments”. What is wrong with being fat? What is wrong with having a shape & style? Why does there have to be a tag on any compliment given? Why can’t it just be, “She’s pretty.” ? There seems to always be a reason why someone is not good enough. Too fat, too skinny, too tall, big nose, lank hair etc etc etc. Why are we hating on our bodies so much? Why are we tearing others down? We are so often left feeling like we don’t live up to what we should be. If we all have different shapes and styles why don’t we find ways to play up what we do have?!
“Skinny jeans are for skinny girls”, “Spandex is a privilege, not a right”, “Don’t you think that skirt is a bit short for your thighs?” FUCK THAT NOISE! Don’t tell me what to do! People that say those things are under the assumption that I am here to impress them or that I am in need of their approval. I dress to impress…MYSELF. I do not take in to account what others will think of me. Do I like it? Because that’s all that matters. Be true to yourself. The more stylish ladies out there of all sizes, the less people are going to feel compelled to make a comment.
“Why are YOU so dressed up today?” Because I feel like it.
I remember a high school teacher once telling my class that she was in a workout group and the instructor asked all the women in the class to raise their hands if they were happy with their bodies, not a single person raised their hand. It was a shock to my teacher since she admired so many women in her class, she thought they had perfect bodies, but those women didn’t see it. She, herself didn’t see how great her body was.
I’m so thankful that she shared that moment of hers. That lesson has been carried with me ever since. It’s changed how I view bodies and even though it took a lot of time for me to come to terms with my own body, it’s made me ever mindful that no one ever feels like they can live up to what society thinks is the “right body”.
So if no one feels they can live up to that standard, why not create a new standard? Or better yet, why not just celebrate who you are?
I don’t know what I would say if that image was shown to me again today. But I don’t think I’d sit back and let it be a joke in my work place. I don’t want to be a body positive nazi, but maybe I kind of do. Ideas won’t change unless someone challenges them. I feel like I rage a personal war on body perceptions everyday in the clothing choices I make and the way I present myself.
I am fat, I am stylish, those two things are not mutually exclusive.