Sticks and Stones: Hurtful Speech and Baffling Insensitivity
Being a fat girl usually doesn’t warrant much sympathy (not that I expect it to), but on the other end of this spectrum is the fact that I don’t need to be reminded of my weight on a constant basis. It’s not that I ever forget, but when I hear verbal comments from fellow females regarding my body, I tend to lose heart and even get a little angry.
Domestic Fashion Shows
Take, for instance, the trip I recently made to a friend’s house. My friend is 40 years old and wears a size two. She works out the way most people breathe, and she doesn’t have one ounce of fat on her body. She looks fantastic; her eyes are bright, her complexion is flawless, and she can wear clothes that I wouldn’t dare look at, much less purchase.
This friend, whose name is Michelle, invited another woman also her age to accompany us. The three of us sat in Michelle’s living room, basking in the rare afternoon sunlight of a Michigan winter and enjoying easy conversation. That is, until Michelle decided to flaunt her latest clothing purchases from a department store clearance sale. She sailed into her bedroom and returned with a stack of designer clothes, all with beautiful patterns and tailored lines. My mouth nearly watered just staring at the them; shopping is my one true vice, and I love nothing more than new clothes. On top of this, Michelle’s purchases sported tags with such delightful names as Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Tommy Hilfiger.
A Turn for the Worse
The whole afternoon took a nosedive when Michelle’s friend looked at me and said, “Of course she can find lots of clothes at clearance sales.” This friend pointed to Michelle and continued. “She wears a size two. But women like you and I,” now she referred to herself and me, “we can’t ever find anything. We’re bigger, and all the large sizes are always taken. It’s just not fair that shopping is intended for thin women.”
I know this woman didn’t mean to deliberately hurt my feelings (or my self esteem). She was trying to make a point, and I get that. But I can’t tell you how sick I am of being that woman, the one who has to commiserate with others because our body sizes are less than ideal. I’m also tired of being that woman who has to bear insults, whether they’re intended or not, and pretend that I’m not insulted. I don’t like being told I’m “bigger,” because I already know it. And I really don’t like being told that shopping isn’t for large women. While I believe this is true to a certain extent, I also believe plus-sized girls can and do find beautiful clothing that flatters our bodies.
Sticks and Stones...
I left Michelle’s house that day feeling terrible about myself. I know I have failed in some way by not conforming to the widely-accepted standard of beauty. I’m trying to fix this by actually exercising, but I fear the weight won’t fall off quickly enough (if at all) to satisfy me, and I will give up in defeat saying, “This is all pointless. I’m overweight and always will be. That’s that.”
To other women who are plus-sized and have to endure comments like those I hear, I can only say this: move forward. I like to think we’re all beautiful, even if we’re not all fashion models. And to those whose negative comments fall like rain from their mouths, I only wish you could see how much your insensitivity hurts. Maybe you’d keep quiet if you could see.