For those who argue that women in the spotlight are open to criticism on their bodies (which of course, prostate isn’t true), online I would like to ask you what the argument is for someone criticising mine? Stuck in a position that I wouldn’t want of any person to be in, I was told by a middle-aged man in a coffee shop that I would never be in a relationship because men would be embarrassed to be seen with me…of course they would sleep with me in secret but to walk in the street hand in hand with me? NEVER. Why you ask? Because I am a bigger woman. You see, him and I had slowly built a friendship as we both used the shop as a place to work from. Learning about his life and him learning about mine must have given him a sense of ease to tell me exactly what he thought without thinking of the repercussions and now it’s the only thing I think of myself.
I have been aware of my body from a young age and it had always been under scrutiny whether that was family members or strangers, who felt the need to shout slurs at me from car windows. I knew that I was not meant to feel comfortable in my own skin, that I was not meant to feel anything that disgusted with how I looked. The tale’s as old as time with my teen years being filled with eating disorders and depression.
At 18, I started my first (and only) relationship. With years of insecurity behind me, I never felt good enough. With a mix of a rocky start and eventually him cheating me, I couldn’t help but blame myself. I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t thin enough. I wasn’t enough. I had put my worth on a boy who actually didn’t deserve me but at the time and even now, it’s hard to understand that. It’s hard to think that maybe I was too good for him. Almost five years on and I haven’t even been close to being in another relationship; starting off hating single life but finally learning to enjoy it I had gained a confidence in my self and in being alone that I could never have learned if I had been with someone and for a while I felt like it was my choice. I could walk down the street and think that I was worth something until the coffee shop incident.
Telling my friends about the experience has been met with “WHAT THE HELL, IF I EVER SEE HIM I’M GOING TO TELL HIM EXACTLY WHAT I THINK OF HIM” but all I could think was ‘he’s right…’. I thought of a casual relationship I had been having with someone and whether he thought the same. Whether he thought ‘she’s fine to fuck but I would never go anywhere with her’ and now this plays in my mind with any boy that I meet, this lingering insecurity that was made real by someone’s freedom to openly comment on my appearance.
I know what you’re thinking? Why does a man’s opinion mean so much to me? But it’s not just men, it’s every person who has made a comment that was not welcomed and yes, I do wish that my worth didn’t depend on what someone else thought of me and I wish that man’s thoughtless thoughts didn’t affect me as much as they did but he verbalised what I had been thinking a lot. His voice echoed what I believed society thought of me. In a world where we are trying to spread body positivity, we also live in a world where fat shaming is more present than ever – does it mean that the higher the size of my clothes go, the lower my value is?
I think about face value a lot. Maybe my face value is lower because I don’t fit society’s standards, maybe I don’t fit the mould of the social media model who men fawn over but I have so much to offer. Recently I’ve started looking at myself as an investment but I shouldn’t because anyone who deserves to be with me knows my true value from the get go without hopes that I’ll be worth more in time.
Society’s ease to openly comment via social media has transcended into real human interaction and it scares me that this will become the norm. Even just yesterday, someone asked me if I was wearing my body confidently or not because I was clearly a curvy girl and I pose to you this question: is that right?
Written by Genevieve Torabi