Thursday, April 8, 2010
On Being the Fattest Girl
There are certain things I try not to do. I try not to lie. I try not to say dirty words when I see a child nearby. I try not to get annoyed with my boyfriend when he hogs the bed.
I try not to look around any given room and assess where I lie on the Thin/Fat Spectrum.
I do all of these things on occasion, not even meaning to. The other day, I looked around one of my classes and thought, for the first time in a conscious sense, about the weight of every girl there. There was the grad student with short, red hair that must weigh 100 pounds and always wears tights with mary janes. There was the girl with curly black hair that sits up straight as if her back is tied to a board. She looks like she must be a dancer. There was the girl that wears funky glasses and eats soy beans out of a plastic bag and drinks water from a small glass jar. There are others.
And I found that of all 15 of us, I was the fattest girl in the room. I pulled on my skirt and my top uncomfortably for the rest of the three-hour-long class, eyes shifting back and forth among these lithe young women. I did not compare to them. I wondered if they ever look at me and think "that is the fattest girl here." I tugged at my clothes a little more.
Today in class, we talked about the culture of competition between women, and how women are constantly reinforcing the norms that we're so often trying to break down. Comparing bodies is just one of those things that functions as a way to keep us breaking each other-- and ourselves-- down.
And honestly, I don't want to be a part of that. It's not good for me and it's not good for you.
Of course, I doubt people will ever really stop assessing each others' bodies, but how about this? Don't bring comparison into it. Think about how nice someone's eyes are, or legs are, or clothes are, or figure is, sure. But you don't have to think of it in terms of your own-- and if you just have to, make it something positive.
Example: "She has such a wonderful figure. It's a lot different than mine, but mine's great, too."
Does feel a little phony to say that sometimes? Yup, sure it does. But like anything, if you reinforce it enough times, it'll feel natural. Not to mention the fact that I know it's true. You are special and great and awesome and beautiful just like any other woman, regardless of how you think you compare. You don't need to compare.
Because comparing? It just breeds all these negative feelings about ourselves and others and do any of us need such negative energy in our worlds?
Remember, we're all in this together.