3 Unfair Consequences of Being Overweight
I was walking through the rows and rows of clothes for sale, lightly touching each sweater. Each was extremely soft with a silky-smooth texture. One in bright attractive colors caught my eye, so I asked the lady running the store what sizes they carry.
“Extra-small to extra-large.”
My heart sank as I realized that nothing in this store was going to fit me. So, I instead watched my friends try on the cute clothes while I just sat there telling them how pretty they looked. Behind my fake smile, I was super uncomfortable. I felt like I didn’t belong in the store.
Let’s be honest for a moment. It’s extremely difficult being a large woman in a fatphobic world. I understand that every woman, regardless of size, has insecurities. But, being a curvy woman adds an extra layer of difficulty. It’s like how right-handed people don’t realize how much the world is catered to them because they don’t have to think about it. Whereas, left-handed people must constantly deal with the inconvenience of having computers, cars, scissors, pencils, sports, etc., created for only right-handed people.
While we live in an unfair and unbalanced world, and the only way we can make a difference is by speaking up. So, here are three of the things that I, as a larger woman, continually deal with:
1. Being automatically looked down because of your size.
Studies have found that plus-sized people “receive lower starting salaries, are ranked as less qualified, and work longer hours than normal-weight employees” because they are “assessed [as] having less leadership potential, are less likely to be employed, and are expected to be less successful compared to normal-weight peers.” In fact, “obese” women are almost three times more likely to report discrimination than obese men.
Why? Because of stereotypes of larger women. Overweight people are “consistently attribute[d] negative adjectives such as stupid, sloppy, sad, and lonely” compared to those that are not overweight. That is total nonsense!
Does that make you mad? Good! That should make you mad.
2. It’s assumed that I am unhealthy.
It is assumed that I’m overweight because of how I eat, how I exercise, and how much willpower I have. We are not taught as a society to view larger people as being healthy. Instead we are taught that weight is a factor that can easily be adjusted based on life choices. Burlesque performer Fancy Feast shared her story of being stereotyped as a plus-size athlete by stating that she is frequently “congratulated for ‘trying out the gym for the first time,’ even at facilities” she has attended for years. Plus, she is also being continually offered weight loss advice from total strangers without invitation because people think it is going to improve her life.
Bodies are naturally different, but we are continually taught that thin equals healthy, despite being proven that’s it is healthier to be overweight than underweight. So, because of what society says, people assume a person’s health habits are based on their weight. When did it become OK to just assume things about people? You’re not my doctor or dietitian, why do you care what I eat? Do you want to know how often I brush my teeth, or how often I wash my hands too? No, so why does only my physical health matter? Oh, because we as people only care about looks. Well, that’s shallow…
3. Trying to find clothing is a nightmare.
Shopping for clothes can be a pain to begin with, but it’s even harder when most stores don’t even carry your size. It’s unfair that the average woman is size 16-18, a size that is larger than most stores carry! It hurts to know that companies don’t want my money because of my size. I want to look cute and stylish just like any other woman!
When I do find my size, it is not attractive. Why do fashion people think I don’t want to wear colors or anything that doesn’t look like a square potato sack? And, don’t get me started on pants shopping, because it’s impossible to find any jeans that fit right! Then, when I do find some, they are double the price and don’t last long before getting holes in the thighs.
I appreciate finding stores that carry clothes of all shapes and sizes. It’s amazing to feel like I am truly accepted at these stories. They don’t care what size I am. They just want to help me find the perfect outfit. I love that I can go shopping at these clothing stores with all my friends and we can each find something to try on. No one has to worry about feeling left out due to size.
I’m super passionate about raising awareness about the fatphobic world that we live in because I’ve experienced the shutdown of believing I don’t belong because I couldn’t keep my weight in check. Too often I’ve experienced hiding under my covers crying, refusing to be seen by anyone, because I gained weight. Terrified that if anyone sees my body, they will know what an ugly, lazy, slob I am. Believing that it would be better to not exist then to put everyone through the annoyance of having a revolting overweight woman tagging along.
The hardest and most terrifying thing I have ever done is to start accepting my body for what it is. To not let my physical size stop me from living the life I want to live. I still have a long way to go in accepting my body and it’s still a daily challenge, but I am so much happier. I no longer feel like my weight is holding me down, even though my size hasn’t changed. I’ve realized that I am worthy of love and acceptance regardless of how I look. I deserve to be seen and heard, no matter how people may stereotype me. I can be a beautiful and powerful woman without changing a single physical thing about myself.
Follow this journey on A Beautiful Mind 4 Me.
Photo by AllGo – An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash