“STFU Thin Terry”: Ramblings on Weight Gain and Fat Shaming
Once upon a time there was a girl named Terry who was skinny with an ironing board flat stomach and the ability to wear crop tops. That was me just conventionally pretty, basking in the glow that comes with the approval of society.
Sadly that all came to an end; now, much like an old trend, I am out of fashion and all I dared to do was gain weight.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been the skinniest girl in my squad. I resented it, I resented the playful hatred that I would receive from other womxn who were average build and beyond. This was me constantly bitching about the enormous chip that bigger girls had on their shoulder using phrases like “so what should I do about the fact that I am skinny?” I was blissfully unaware of my own thin girl privilege until the year 2015 when my body started expanding and I came face to face with my own self-righteous ignorance.
I was one year into my current relationship and not trying to have a baby so I went on birth control. I had been on birth control before, the pill, but I had never gained weight so I had figured that the other methods would be the same. January 2015, marked my 5th month on the injection and I could sense that something was wrong. Being lazy and not one to run to the doctor for every hiccup, I only decided to go in June after having several 1 month long periods. I was never ready to hear that I had endometriosis. Endo comes with weight gain, drastic weight gain and excoriating pain. I didn’t know then that weight gain meant another form of pain- the disapproval of society.
The fat shaming started early, it was swift, subtle and deadly. It started with the common phrase “Wow you’ve gained weight!” and progressed to “You should stop eating” and “what happened to you? You used to be so thin”. It was constant. Family members were the worst. I dreaded visits to my mother’s house because of the same old remarks that I would get from cousins and aunts and people in the street that I had never even talked to.
I finally understood why average womxn hated the thin me, I hated the thin me. Thin Terry was never ‘lazy’ or ‘unhealthy’ no one thought to comment on how tight her clothes were or whether her dresses were right for her body type. Thin Terry could walk around in shorts and short skirts without receiving disapproving looks or hearing people whisper that she should dress for her body. Thin Terry could always look at images on TV or in magazines of womxn that looked just like her, images that reassured her that her body was indeed the ideal.
Fat shaming has got absolutely nothing to do with health. We get fat shamed for just being slightly bigger than a pencil. We get fat shamed because how we look is not within the prescribed tastes of this sick patriarchal society and thus offends them. Society and more frequently men want to tell us which parts of our bodies can have fat and which parts cannot. Clothes are designed in a way that emphasizes your faults. You are faced with two options: either wear that tight around the waist top and have the world see that you have a pot belly or wear that really loose around the waist top and hide your shame. Every piece of clothing from spanx to blazers that is bought by not so thin womxn is bought with the purpose of creating a “flattering” body. We can never just be.
And this is where I find myself, stripped of society’s approval because I gained a few Kg’s. And it does not matter if it was from endo or eating. Why should my body be society’s concern?
Oh and fat shaming is mean and unnecessary, please stop that. Especially you men, you can’t hold yourselves to the same standard that you hold us womxn. And don’t tell me about the pressures that you put on yourself to look buff so that you appear manlier, that can be blamed on the patriarchy. Let’s try and make the world a better place for the babies.
Do it for the babies.
(If you want to read more about Terry-Ann please follow her blog https://www.terrytalksblog.wordpress.com/ )